Monday, 3 October 2022

Falling asleep on the job

I’m not sure whether it’s an age thing, although I think it almost certainly is, but as time goes on my levels of tiredness seem to have increased. The trouble is the degree of tiredness is quite often at a sufficiently high level for me to nod off. Sleep may well be the body’s way of clearing the mind and allowing the body to repair itself, but when it comes during daylight hours, it’s not just inconvenient, but also counterproductive as well.

The worst times for me to be nodding off are during the evening, between finishing dinner and going to bed, which is a shame as this 3–4-hour slot is my main period of “free time” at the end of a busy working day. I say busy, because despite having reduced my working days to three, with a heavy workload, there is a temptation to try and cram five normal workdays into three. I am enjoying my new role, as the work is interesting and varied, with no two days exactly the same, and with no staff now to manage either. This means I don’t have issues such as holidays, sickness, or other causes of absence to contend with, so I can concentrate on my main task of moving the company forward, and ensuring it remains a safe and secure place in which to work.

Speaking of that four-letter word, I have been known to nod off at work on the odd occasion, which could end up being doubly embarrassing. The worst time is mid-afternoon, during the period when after returning from my lunchtime walk and eating my lunch, I sometimes find myself drifting off. Not a good image, of course, so the remedy is to leave my desk and take a walk around the factory.

One eagle-eyed colleague has noticed my occasional inability to keep my eyes open and has dropped the odd subtle hint, but he also knows I am not alone with this. I have mentioned before that our parent company is based in Japan, and I remember from a work visit to their headquarters in Kyoto struggling to stay awake whilst participating in a few of their rather structure-less meetings. One particular occasion involved a visit to one of their subsidiary factories, in a suburb of Kyoto.

My two UK colleagues and I, sat in the upstairs office of the factory manager, who spoke very little English. One of our Japanese colleagues was interpreting, but despite his best efforts the conversation was rather disjointed, and I found it hard to keep track of the direction it was taking. It was a hot and very humid day, and again I found myself starting to drift off. With no opportunity to get off my chair and take a walk around, I tried everything I could think of, to try and stay awake.

Fortunately, I didn’t embarrass myself, but I discovered not long afterwards that it is not unusual for Japanese people to nod off, even whilst in company, and furthermore it’s not regarded as impolite. I subsequently have witnessed this myself on several occasions, including an “end of exhibition” dinner, held at a well-known Cologne pub, overlooking the river Rhine. There not just one, but two members of our parent company fell asleep at the dinner table. This was in front of several board members, including the company president, but they just laughed, finding the whole incident highly amusing.

Okay, I am not Japanese, and my falling asleep in front of my computer at home, affects no one, apart from myself, but what does this all mean for the blog?? Well, only writing during the evening can mean a post taking much longer than it should. From a physical point of view, slumping in my chair, often leads to me waking up with a cricked neck, wondering where the hell I am, but apart from this, and the misuse of valuable time, no real harm seems to be done.

I did carry out a spot of online research, which revealed the most likely cause of this annoying habit to be, nothing more sinister than sleep deprivation. Most of us are aware that a period of 7-9 hours’ sleep each night is the optimum amount necessary to maintain good health, but in common with many others, I rarely achieve this amount. This brings us back to the same conclusion – sleep deprivation.

There’s no easy answer without changing my lifestyle, but I can report that as part

of my 4-day weekend, I normally enjoy an extra couple of hours in bed of a morning. And as for the blog, I’ve recognised what I knew for a long time that I’m at my most creative, as well as the most wide awake, in the morning. Consequently, I now try to set an hour or so aside each morning, from Thursday to Sunday, in order to concentrate on writing piece for the blog, selecting and editing photos, and generally putting the whole thing together.

Footnote: at first, I thought it would be difficult choosing photos to illustrate this post, but then I had a light-bulb moment.  Japan and its people play a part in the narrative, so why not use a few shots taken on my visit to Kyoto. As well as featuring my hotel bed, there are photos of gardens and temples – in fact all the things that the Japanese do best in order to symbolise peace, quiet and tranquillity.  



T'other Paul said...

"I have been known to nod off at work on the odd occasion, which could end up being doubly embarrassing".
I nodded off at work eighteen years ago, and I had NOT been to a pub at lunchtime, and got suspended on a charge of "gross misconduct", an allegation that was eventually disproved.

Paul Bailey said...

Being charged with gross misconduct, just for nodding off at work, does seem rather harsh Stafford Paul, unless you were employed in a "safety critical" role, such as driving a train, or in air traffic control! You obviously didn't work for a Japanese company, as the consequences would have been far less serious.

I take your point about a lunchtime visit to the pub; although given my current propensity for struggling to keep my eyes open, of an afternoon, a beer during my lunch break would not be a good idea. This is despite there being no official sanctions, by the company, against lunchtime drinking.

Dave said...

Never question pictures of Kyoto. What a beautiful place.

The Stafford Mudgie said...

Being charged with gross misconduct just for nodding off at work, actually with hardly having slept the previous night with worrying about two courses I was due to go on, was near the end my my thirty years there when the work had all but disappeared, hence me no longer really having a 'role', though nobody was given redundancy and the unofficial policy was to sack managers on trumped up charges and I could, but won't, give other examples.

Paul Bailey said...

Kyoto is certainly beautiful, Dave, and I am assuming from your comment, that you have been there. I would certainly like to visit Kyoto again, as well as see some of the other cities and regions of Japan.

Paul Bailey said...

It sounds like you are much better off being out from your former workplace, Paul. Fortunately, whilst I have worked for some rather odd employers during my career, I have never been the victim of such appalling behaviour.

T'other Paul said...

Yes, never looked back since being out from that former workplace in 2006, pay halved but job satisfaction more then doubled with my job from 2007 to my knees failing in 2017, and a year driving taxis between the two.

T'other Paul said...

That's too much about ME on YOUR site so please delete my comments here, and your replies which would become meaningless.

retiredmartin said...

Please don't delete Stafford Paul's comments, Kentish Paul.

Paul Bailey said...

Don't worry Martin, I wasn't going to.