The past month has been tougher than I could have ever imagined. If I had been aware that the transition from a comfortable life in our sailing village with a drinking problem, to a super-charged, atomic-paced city with an even worse drinking problem would be quite so challenging, I probably would have opted out of making the change.
Perhaps my biggest challenge has been settling into my job which I naively thought would be the least of my worries. Business is conducted differently here. Hong Kong is an entrepreneur's playground and anything is possible. 'No' has been removed from the dictionary which means that when a client proposes the 'impossible' you have to work out a way to make it happen. This requires quite a change of mindset when dealing with clients, shifting from the British 'conditioning of expectations' to the standard Hong Kong 'yes, no problem' - accompanied with well-disguised internal angst and (in my case) complete blind panic.
Dealing with this completely alien work culture has resulted in my mind going into over-drive deliberating over micro worries like do I have the ability to do my job, to macro worries like what do I really want to achieve from my life. The only thing I have concluded is that I don't know the answer to any of these questions, so while I try to get to the bottom of these dilemmas, I have begun to develop a coping mechanism. The techniques that I am applying to deal with the pressures and stresses are:
- Dealing with one day at a time and focusing only on what I need to achieve on that particular day;
- Learning to say yes but realising that finding a solution does not rest squarely on my shoulders alone;
- Trying to care less - the worst thing that can happen is I get fired;
- Pushing myself to enjoy the NOW and not postpone happiness and fulfilment for tomorrow;
- When all else fails - throw money at the problem by investing in a neck and shoulder massage followed by a lychee martini.
Chucking money at the problem... a foot massage
So in answer to the question in my earlier blog - "What’s the great lesson that this culture and these people seem to be teaching me?" - it is live for the moment and worry about the future tomorrow.