Since I got back from vacation, I’ve been putting in place some of my plans to re-imagine my job. I’m fortunate I’ve got the latitude to do so. The biggest part of it, pushing off trivial support tasks to other people so I can do the coding I’m responsible for, seems to be working well. Not only that, but the support people are responding positively too. No wonder they are called support people as they are being remarkably supportive. The job is not done yet, as I think I’m still feeling a bit traumatized by how hard it was and don’t trust the change yet. But it is a good sign that I can influence the direction this goes.
There’s a conference coming up at the end of the September for a volunteer organization I’m with which is of interest to me. It would probably be a great thing to go to; I’d meet some new people, make some friends, meet old acquaintances and friends. It would also probably be good for me to go for the sake of the organization. But I’m not feeling it. It is expensive both in terms of money and time. Quite frankly, at this particular time of year, I’d rather take those couple days off work and spend them hiking with my partner. I’ve been mulling this over for a few days and I realized today that a lot of the reason I think I need to go is due to a feeling of obligation to the organization. Now I need to sort out whether that obligation is real or something I’ve fabricated, and, if real, how important is it?
Today’s theme was procrastination. It popped up from a couple of my self-help sources within minutes of each other. Ironically, they appeared just as I was in the midst of distracting myself with unimportant diversions. They helped me figure out that I was avoiding an email that arrived last week that carried with it the potential, I was assuming, for a difficult conversation. Fortunately, I can take a hint. So I dealt with the email quickly, gritting my teeth for a challenging reply. In the end, I got positive feedback. Which is good, but even better was that I learned something about the anxiety, and anxiety-driven assumptions, that can fuel my procrastination. It is definitely something to watch for in the future.
I’m exhausted and really need some sleep so this might not be very coherent. That’s okay though because the exhaustion was well earned. We went to a delightful wedding/handfasting yesterday and then my band played at the reception. Then we joined a few late stragglers, specifically my coworkers and boss (who is a really good singer and guitar player), around a campfire trading songs until three in the morning. When we got back to the lake this afternoon, a singer friend invited a couple of her friends over for some lake time. Turns out they were both accomplished singer song-writers. So we enjoyed an afternoon of the most amazing three part harmonies and beautiful guitar playing. I am filled with gratitude to have such amazing people wander through my life.
I’ve been struggling a bit recently to pack everything I want to do in to each day. Play a bit of music, read a book, take some pictures, find some geocaches, do some yoga, or get in to any number of other distractions. Ironically, blogging about it is one of those things too. After working an eight-plus hour day, trying to find the time to do the things I really want to do is pretty challenging. I can’t decide if I’m being overly compulsive and, in doing so, am watering down all these experiences. Maybe, being aware of my increasing age, I’m trying to make up for a lot of wasted time. I suppose as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing, and getting some sort of benefit from it, I should just embrace the busy-ness. It certainly doesn’t leave much room for procrastination.
Sometimes you just have to be patient. You put some seeds in the ground and, hopefully, with some weeding and some water, something pretty or delicious will come up. Most of the time, that’s how we deal with our jobs and relationships too. We evaluate the circumstances, negotiate challenges, adjust boundaries, change our approach and, in doing so, we can improve our relationships and improve our careers. Sometimes it takes a bit of patience to see what needs to be done, do a bit of pruning and watering, and wait for the rewards to blossom.
I got back from a three week vacation today and spent a good chunk of the morning cleaning up emails and gaining clarity on some issues. One particular issue that came up was interesting in that one of my senior coworkers and our boss seem to have two exactly opposite ideas about how a particular technical problem would be resolved. And yet they thought they were on the same page and that I would be investigating the issue based on their (entirely different) idea of the problem. Fortunately, I have a third possible solution that may avoid sorting out that tangle altogether. It is a good reminder, though, to not make too many assumptions as even in a simple three-way conversation things can get mighty confused.
I need to pay more attention to the little things. As I head back to work after three weeks vacation, the little things are on my mind a lot. There have been loads of little things over vacation that have made me take pause and think about how great life is. Moments of time with fine people, beauty in nature, music, laughter, a child’s smile, a grand sunset, a tiny flower. And yet, I’m also aware that the little things, the daily worries, the small tempting low-hanging fruit in work, can distract me from focusing on the important big jobs. Those big jobs are often technical but the most important is self-care. So I’m going to try to pay attention to the small things; to see the good stuff wherever possible and to be aware when small things are getting in my way.
(It is the little things that can hurt you – the picture here is the tiny flower of deadly nightshade)
I’ve got a pretty sweet job by most measures. Everyone tells me so; great salary, I can work anywhere as long as I have internet, no commute, loads of independence. And yet I’m dreading going back to work in a few days. So I need to keep this in mind. Loads of people would love to have the kind of job I have. It is mostly up to me to do the work to make it interesting and enjoyable by setting good boundaries, learning to say no as appropriate, asking for help when needed, having a plan for doing the big interesting jobs instead of always picking the low-hanging fruit, and letting go of the belief that all responsibility lands on my shoulders. On the other hand, maybe I do “get it” – I just have to act accordingly.
We had a great time out wakeboarding and surfing today and I posted a few pictures from the adventure on Facebook. The kids look great of course, but one of the adults didn’t like the pictures so I quickly took them down. Looking at them, she looks great; she’s clearly skilled and she’s having a lot of fun. So it is kind of too bad because somewhere inside she’s being hard on herself for something that the rest of the world wouldn’t perceive. Then again, the pictures of me make me look, well, fatter, than I perceive myself. If only all of us could just relax and have fun the word would be a happier place.
(I chose to post the picture of feet because it was kind of cool in an anonymous way)