My Calf, My Career, Your Career

A week and a half ago, on Monday night, I was playing a mean game of capture the flag.  Lest you think I’m a great athlete, understand I was playing with a bunch of kids, mostly around 8 years old.

About 10 minutes into the game I was in jail… someone had just set me free and I started sprinting.  There was a kid behind me who started chasing me and I immediately felt like he hit my calf with a baseball bat.  It was one of the most painful things I have ever felt.  I really thought he hit me, intentionally.

That night I needed 100% help getting back to my van, and then help getting to my bed.  My wife couldn’t help as she had just had a baby (and I was supposed to be the one taking care of her!).  The entire week I “rested” my leg by not doing too much (compared to what I wanted to do), but I spent the week running errands, doing dishes and laundry, picking up the house etc.  Remember, I was the caregiver.

Then, this last Monday my 2 year old decided to get a bowl of chili out of the microwave by herself.  The lid looked like it was secured to the bowl, but it wasn’t, and i was afraid she was going to burn herself.  So I lept-hobbled to her rescue, only to RIP my calf again.  This time the pain was worse… much worse.  Bad enough to encourage me to actually visit a doctor.

As I’ve thought about this, here’s what I’ve come up with:

I neglect my physical health. I am in okay shape… not too bad.  Nothing like in high school, but hey, I have a different lifestyle than back then :p  I didn’t think I’d have this type of muscle problem, though, because I work out almost regularly.

I had neglected my career health. I had a good job, and did my job good enough.  I was a nice, personable person who trusted the company would take care of me – but the pressure came, my career blew out just like my calf did.

With my injury, I didn’t know what to do. Seriously – who reads about muscle tears, unless it happens to them?  I had no idea what to do… RICE (rest, Ice, compression, elevation) seems to ridiculously easy… it can’t really be the solution, can it?  A neighbor gave me two bits of misguided advice: take a hot bath with epson salt (bad move), and move it around the next day – don’t let it get stale (bad advice).  I followed both bits of advice, because he seemed to be someone who would know.

In my job search, I had no idea what to do. I assumed I knew… so I did what every job seeker does – spend a week to create a resume (that did me no good), and spend hours and hours and hours on job boards and looking online for jobs.  It was a completely misguided strategy.

My injury hurt, a lot (still does). During last week, before the second tear, my calf felt like there was a fire ball in it.  Medicine wasn’t helping, even the really, really good stuff :p  The pain of sitting, hobbling, hopping… it was really quite intense.  And then, with the second tear, OMG it was really amazing.  I answered the question “on a scale of one to ten, how much does it hurt?” with “9 or 10.”  I hope I never really feel pain beyond this.  Who’da thunk.

My job search hurt, a lot. The ego was crushed.  Pride was a thing of the past.  I was glad we didn’t have a family dog, or else even the dog would look down on me.   And that was just the beginning… as time went on and I didn’t find a job, it got worse.  Again, this type of pain is something i don’t ever want to feel again, and wish it upon no one (friend or foe).

I’m sure you have had similiar experiences – any other correlations?

5 thoughts on “My Calf, My Career, Your Career”

  1. Oh dear, take care of this. It’s probably something you can recover from entirely, but only with the proper care. That’s one of the problems with being self-employed in the U.S., isn’t it — health insurance issues can subtly (or not so subtly) incite you to neglect your health care.

    (Also, kudos for drawing parallels between a painful injury and your blogging topic. That’s more dedication than I felt when I tore up my knee!)

  2. Hi Jason,

    Great post! I have another correlation for you:

    The experience is one you will never forget (Health)
    I’ve never torn a calf muscle but I sprained my ankle really badly once and the pain was incredible! I now take a lot of care when exercising (warming up, wearing a neoprene support, etc.) and have much more respect for the limits of my health and my body.

    The experience is one you will never forget (Career)
    Like you, I have also faced redundancy and extended job searches in my career. Also like you, my response was to create something positive from these experiences and help others who found themselves in a similar position. I have treated my own and everyone else’s career with great care and respect ever since!

    Hope the RICE has you back to full health soon 🙂

    All the best for now,


  3. If I had written this, I would have included:

    It’s get worse as I get older (Injuries)….
    My body takes longer to heal, and doesnt have the flexibility it was once had. I’ve got arthiritis, and other various things! I’m certainly not as fit as I was in my younger days. I worry about re-injuring myself. Sometimes I think I don’t appreciate feeling good, until I am feeling bad.

    It gets worse as I get older (Job Searches)..
    Because I am not as competitive as I used to be; my skills are rusty and I realize that I need to do something to bring them up-to-date and make them more robust. I worry that employers don’t see me or my experience as valuable as “young blood”. I took the job I had for granted, and should have been preparing for a transition a long time ago!

    Feel better, Jason!

  4. I hope things get better.

    Often we make the same mistakes in different areas of our lives. What I remember is that if we know this, then repairing a mistake in one area of our lives can let us correct that mistake elsewhere.

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