Meaning, I’m currently at a mental place where I don’t miss work.
Some of the people, certainly. But being out of the house 50-55 hours per week to see those people while I bring home a paycheck, not so much. Oh, I’ve been there during this enforced shutdown of my industry, and I’ll get back there too, but right now I’m good.
Since I’ve been off, I’ve pounded down the list of household projects to about a quarter of its original length. Of course, there are a couple of big projects (<cough> kitchen <cough>) we can’t afford with me off work, or even very easily if I’m back at work, but in terms of the small stuff and the small-expense stuff, I’m kicking it. Painting, de-cluttering, tree, brush, and stump removal, cleaning out the garage, tuning up our bicycles, small repairs… I’m probably going to be okay until I run out of stuff to do that isn’t just housework.
Yes, finances are tight. Not precarious, but we have to pay attention to every dollar. There’s no real disposable income anymore (if there ever really was, but now we’re keenly aware of it). The 27% increase in Ontario’s COVID “recovery” hydro rate isn’t going to help that, but we’ll adjust.
And I’m getting a lot of writing done.
And I’m going to more marital arts classes, albeit virtually, than I’ve had time for in a really long time.
And I get to be more politically aware and able to learn and write and comment and express.
And I’m available for my kids all the time. (Although they’re old enough that they mostly don’t need me.)
And I’m learning how to not suck at cooking. (Ask me about the sesame mushrooms.)
And my dog loves having me around. So do the cats, but the dog is more active at expressing it.
And my wife, who is in a very essential service and so has worked through the whole thing, claims she likes having me around all of the time, although maybe that’s because I’m doing all of the household chores instead of the half of them that I don’t actively dislike.
I do want a new normal at some point, but it needs to be different than the old normal and I’m in between wanting that right now.
I actually feel kind of guilty about that.
So the question becomes, what else should I be doing? Can I do more to make the world a better place while I’m at it? I’m trying, but I don’t know that I’m trying hard enough.
Stay safe and be well, everyone.by
Have you ever had one of those weeks where, no matter how much you get done, you finish the week further behind than you started?
That’s what this week felt like. And last week, for that matter. Every individual day was productive as hell. I answered things, submitted things to the right agencies, wrote things, did things, talked to people, completed projects, checked things off the list.
But, at the end of the day on Friday (which was actually Saturday), there is more email in the inbox it still has to be dealt with, more tasks on the task list, more documents that have to be submitted, more of everything than when I started working.
And next week is a short week, theoretically, because there was a holiday I haven’t caught up to yet.
There are moments, of course, that I wonder if I’ve done this to myself. Have I agreed to too many secondary hats at work? Am I trying to accomplish too much in my primary job? Is my primary job not actually doable within a reasonably close to standard workweek?
The person who is in this job right before me work to 70 to 80-hour week, or more, but was wearing two hats, doing two jobs for most of that time, and still waiting for their spouse to finish up their previous job in another province. I don’t know how much of their time was spent in my role. It probably didn’t help that we’d gone several months without a department head before they came on board and there were a lot of things left undone, plenty of which were still ongoing by the time I got to it. The person who had the job before them had a completely different methodology and outlook and I honestly have no idea how much time they spent on the actual job itself. I wasn’t in a position to have any idea.
So is it doable? I don’t know at this point, even almost a year in, if that question is answerable.
Actually, it would probably be entirely honest to say that I don’t know if any of those questions are answerable. I may just not know enough yet. I try to keep that as comforting thought, because it probably is true that at some point in the future, I will know enough, that I will get everything done the course of an approximately normal week, and then I can actually start getting good at the job instead of merely getting enough things done to keep the business moving.
But that’s probably going to take me a while to figure out.
In the meantime, a lot of my weeks have more on the list at the end of them there was when they started. I don’t know how long that’s maintainable.
Be well, everyone.by
It’s hard to come back to work after being on vacation for a week.
Actually, I suppose it’s hard to come back to work after being on vacation for any length of time. Strictly speaking, I was out of the office for 12 1/2 days, arriving to that first day back less than half an hour after I dictate these words. That said, I did continue to reading email and dealing with some things remotely for the first two days of my vacation, treating it like a weekend where I was still at home.
And I’ll be very curious as to the final email total. I have specifically not logged in this morning, choosing to go into the building blind and just let things unfold naturally. I will, of course, have to run a quick report before the managers meeting at 10, so I can know what I’m talking about when it comes to last week’s numbers.
But almost more important to my mental well-being, is the amount of writing I didn’t do while we were gone. I literally took nothing with me to work on other than two notebooks, one pocket-sized to jot things down in in the moment, and one about the size of a trade paperback book to keep a vacation diary in. That vacation diary also included notes on geocaching, a few quickly scribbled poems, and some settings and character notes for what may potentially be a novel that is at least partially set in Curaçao. I’m going to take, partially, the stranded alien theme and mix it with some human trafficking, politics and culture as an external viewer might see them, and probably a few other odds and ends that will just find their way in organically. I don’t yet know if it’s going to displace the next thing I intended to write or not, but it is possible. And yet, the next major thing I’m intending to write after Battlefield is finished is supposed to be Bad Teenage Poetry, a fiction novel set in a small city in the mid-1980s, combining my memories with some research. I’ve got a lot of actual research to do, mostly in the manner of making sure the little details are right and not just fallible human memory, figuring on doing it as I went along to the most part, but so it goes. I am actually having a little bit of luck with working on two long fiction projects at the same time right now, so it’s possible I might continue that, although I do want to write some short fiction this year, and a fair bit of it.
But we’ll see.by
There’s nothing like having your future be partially in limbo to get you to overthink everything.
Although, I suppose that’s kind of normal, depending on your point of view. Under the logic that no one ever really knows what’s going to happen, that there might always be fewer days ahead than there are behind, that everyone’s future is always unknown.
But I’m in a moment where I might be less than 48 hours from a job offer that will mean a major career change, that will, in some ways completely overturn the life and routine I have right now. And I have absolutely no idea if I have a chance the job or not.
You see, the final interview in the process was the least interview-y interview I’ve ever had. There were practically no interview questions. It was basically an hour-long, business-based conversation between myself and the General Manager, with the HR manager participating here and there. He’s building team, to open a new facility, and he was quite open about the way he sees the process: it wasn’t the conversation to see if I was qualified—the screening process to that point, he was sure, had taken care of that—but a conversation for him to figure out my basic personality and to decide where or whether that basic personality would fit into the matrix, the jigsaw puzzle he’s putting together.
I like to think I’m personable, presentable, and can get along with anyone. Most of the time, I’m fairly certain that’s even true. But it was a strange, strange interview, even if I left more comfortable with the process than I entered. The best I could do was to be myself and speak honestly, and if that’s always the right thing, it’s not always the best thing.
I left the interview having had engaging conversation, and developing idea of the direction he wants to take for the team, and some of the qualities he was looking for. The question is, how well did I personify those qualities? I suppose the next question is, how well do I fit into the thing he’s building?
I should find out somewhere between now and Friday afternoon. Until then, I still have a job to do, and I still have family that needs me. Either way, both of those things will continue, even if the job changes.
Be well, everyoneby