Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dream to Daze

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Today, I feel almost human.

Last week was my first full week of work. Well, at least, my first full week in a long time. From some comments I've gotten (here and IRL), I thought I'd clarify a few things.

I've been working part-time for about 5 years, I think. Once upon a time I worked very, very far away. (26 miles--about an hour--one way...I know, I know, others have it worse, but they made that choice. My company moved.) I couldn't take the commute, so I quit. Meanwhile, a solutions provider offered me a job. Problem: They were in the same building. Solution: They said I could work from home and only come in for meetings. Problem: After a couple years, they reneged on this offer. Solution: I went part-time. Eventually, I quit that job, and I actually took a year off (that's how bad the job was, and that's another subject entirely dealing with a boss who had issues with women). Now, before all that drama, I was working full time and had been since I got my Master's. At one point, I was even contracting in Orlando during the week. I've done 12-hour days (and more) many a time. I still do, in fact. But only when it's necessary.

After a year off, I went back to work as a contractor (still part-time). I actually didn't think they'd want me part-time, but I had more domain knowledge than anyone else they would have gotten, so it was worth it for them. The contract was only supposed to be three months, but they wanted to keep me. Even though there was a hiring freeze, and the company was bought and they let all contractors go, I was still there. I'm not sure what they did; I think they transitioned me to a permanent employee behind someone's back! Anyway, the problem again became the commute. I thought, I can do anything for three months, but I wasn't prepared to take up residence at a job that far away again. So, I found my current job.

I came into my current job as a replacement for a full-time programmer. Once he left, there were just two of us...another full-timer and me. This was great for about six months...then, he left as well. So there I was, all alone, doing the work of two full-time guys in my part-time schedule. This was due in part to my brilliant (former) manager, who kept non-essential tasks off my horizon until we hired another resource. And somehow I gracefully avoided making jokes about one woman being able to do the work of two men (at least out loud). =)

When I went full-time, indystitch, I did say "at least until the end of the year." I'm really hoping I can go back part-time then. Three days a week is great; it gives me two days to do all the household chores and rest up a bit. It's the equivalent of my sister the middle school media specialist (librarian); my vacation is just spread throughout the year. She's tried to get me to swtich to being a media specialist, but it'd take me a while to get to my current level of income in that position!

Normally, on Thursday, I sleep an extra 2-3 hours to make up for the amount I've worked during Monday-Wednesday. This past Thursday, I could tell my body was in shock. I felt tired, but more like my body was saying, "Hey, what's going on here? Oh, this must be one of the weeks when we're working a little extra. OK." Friday, it revolted. I was so brain-dead by about 3:00 that I couldn't even do simple coding tasks like removing carriage returns from Strings. I seem to have been getting through my weeks on stress; Saturday morning I woke up at 5am (after 6 hours sleep...and I'm one of those people that need 8 hours a night) and couldn't go back to sleep, I was so stressed. Not about anything in particular, except trying to get everything I'd normally do Thursday-Saturday done in one day. I did nap for about two hours. Sunday, I could express that Saturday I felt like I had jet lag, the worst headache ever, the worst lower backache ever and the worst upper backache ever, all at the same time. I couldn't have told you that Saturday; I was too much in a daze.

My (current) manager even told me on Friday, "I know how you are; you really need to pace yourself from now on." How often does your manager tell you to slow down?? I think that when I was part-time, I'd been trying to do five days' worth of work in three. Last week, I did that, then worked two extra days. That's not going to cut it. I'm trying to go easy this week. And last night I went to bed at 9:30 (unheard of at the Lott Loft), because I was already feeling dead tired yesterday (I wasn't totally recovered by Monday).

As for buying more stash with the extra cash, my stash diet for the year was not due to lack of was due to lack of time to do everything I have. And now there's even less time. I am ogling a few expensive electronic gadgets, though. ;)

Susan, I have one thing to say: GO FOR IT!! After all, we work to live and not the converse! Time is precious! And you'll definitely make more as a contractor, that's for sure.

Michael has been helping me with dinner, which has actually been kind of fun. It certainly seems like less of a chore. I just have to curtail my perfectionist tendencies and let him do stuff his still gets done and still tastes good. =) When I was part-time, I'd cook two or three nights out of Thursday-Sunday, and we'd eat leftovers Monday-Wednesday. Yesterday, we left work a little earlier (6:00 rather than 6:30 or 7) so we could cook.

Lene...totally. The dream is for Michael and I BOTH to work part-time!! Someday we'll make it happen!! People get way too wrapped up in their jobs and miss so much beauty around them!

I did get some more interesting reactions when people found out I was going full time. Quite a few "now you're just like the rest of us" (erm, sorry, still not like the rest of you people ;), spoken with varying levels of bitterness. I get it...really I do. You can't help the jealousy. But I have to thank you lovely commenters for being some of my few sympathizers! I know lots of people have it worse. I really had a rotten week (with some family kerfuffle thrown in the mix), though, and all I wanted was a little pat on the back and a "there, there". Sometimes you don't want your suffering judged on the curve.

Enough rambling on...I need to talk about the end of Amazon April and the start of May Memories. And, you know, show pictures instead of making your eyes glaze over with words, words, words!

Next time, I promise.

Working part-time is awesome, working full-time is terrible, and switching from part-time to full-time makes you feel like you're starring in Night of the Living Dead.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you had such a tiring first week! You definitely need to pace yourself and hopefully it will help.

You are my hero... I'd love to be so valuable in my job that they'd be thrilled to just have me three days a week! :-) You'll get back there!

Jill said...

I know getting up early and being somewhere for 5 days was I'm glad that you made it through and hopefully are having a better week this week.

Sorry on the sympathy aspect - I have been working full time all along, and no one held a gun to your head (that I know of) and said you must work full-time so it does seem like a choice to me. Besides, I know that you wouldn't do something if you *REALLY* didn't want to. :-)

Jean in Georgia said...

Somehow, I've managed to have the best of both worlds... it's called self-employment. :) It's not without its hassles tho... (ask my husband how much I fuss when I have to pay unemployment taxes on myself, just in case I fire myself)

Anyway, congrats on making it through week one... it'll get easier as you adapt. :)

Anonymous said...

I hope you can get into a good routine where you're not killing yourself; take it easy - take a lunch break every day, and ease back into it.

I hope at the end of the year, you can transition back to part-time, again!

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