By Tory Butterworth
My office is as clean as it's ever likely to be.
I'm waiting for my official job offer from Human Resources, and taking time to do the sorts of things I never really do when I'm working five days a week. Cleaning out my home office, I ran across an old Christmas letter, written when I adopted my two cats. Thora is my Himalayan. Her name translates as, "Thor's struggle," the struggle between chaos and order.
For this one moment in my life, order has triumphed.
At the beginning of the summer, however, it was a different story. Despite my own frequent advice to clients and friends, "Don't leave your current job until you get another one," I left community mental health with a couple of job leads but no definite offers. In my heart of hearts, I was hoping to take the summer off, to get things in order.
I've done most of the things I set out for myself. My website is up. I re-organized my finances. Any day now, I'll get a formal job offer.
As summer officially draws to its close, I do appreciate being able to see the top of my desk. What I appreciate more, however, was having the chance to be at "loose ends," for a while, to stay with my job hunting process until something emerged. If I hadn't let myself live in the chaos of being unemployed this summer, I wouldn't have had time to explore some of the job options I did. I wouldn't have allowed myself to sit with them until one, in particular, felt right.
I think chaos gets a bad rap. Most people talk like order is good and chaos is bad. But that's not how it feels. Too much order can be stifling. Too much order and we stay in the same place, don't move out and explore. When we work and struggle and change, chaos is inevitable.
Most of you have heard of the psychiatric diagnosis, "Obsessive-compulsive disorder," or OCD, portrayed in Judith Rapoport's book, The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing. You could say it's a disease of too much order. People with OCD can't live with the normal chaos of everyday life. It makes them too anxious.
Sometimes I think I'm a bit OCD. But I guess not. My house is too clean now, even for me.
Thank heaven for Thora, she'll put that right in nobody's business!