Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fridays "Off"

Since leaving my previous gig, some have assumed I’ve had a “huge” improvement with a change of schedule to the standard 40-hour work week, and others think it must “suck” to “lose” an afternoon off every week.  I haven’t found the change particularly stressful—nor, for that matter, particularly noticeable at all.  Those afternoons off came after four days every week of nine(-plus) hour days.  Indeed, some days, what with my penchant for showing up early and staying late, those afternoons off came after one or two eleven hour days (twelve and more, if you count commutes and errand-running time as part of your work day – and, sometimes, I did).  Plus, those afternoons off tended to be full of errands themselves, which I used to extol as “being able to do things without having to wait for Saturday or Sunday.”

Truth be told, so far (yes, only four weeks in – tomorrow is my first month-iversary) there’s no inconvenience in having to do things on Saturday or Sunday.  If it comes to car repairs or repairs on my home, I am able to work from home in a pinch, though that’s nobody’s preferred option.

The biggest change, for me, isn’t in the schedule itself, but in what it does(n’t) do to me.  I came home very tired yesterday, but not a bad sort of tired.  Not dispirited and stressed, just – had a busy day, want to meld with my couch a bit, tired.  I knew before I left how much the changes in my job were affecting  me, but now that I’ve left I’m not thinking about stress really at all.  The ballgame’s different, but not in ways that demand lots of attention and analysis and consternated conclusion-reaching.  Which feels, to me, like the right different.  Not feeling the need to think about and talk about my new job constantly means it’s not eating up my attention during my personal life.

In the past, even with good changes professionally (and let’s not forget, throughout the first two years at my previous job, I used to tell everyone – and I MEANT it – they were going to have to pry that job out of my cold, dead hands), I’ve tended to babble on like a girl in love about a new job.  I may be too tired after this change, it may just seem almost unreal now, after so MANY professional changes – or maybe it’s just that I don’t feel any need to sell anyone on this change – but I’m not doing that now.  I’m in the right place.  It’s the right time.  But, apart from discussing with my brother (by far the most sympathetic audience to The Babblings of Diane, particularly about work and writing) what it’s like to work for the first time in my life for an outfit that actually produces and moves actual, real THINGS into the world, I’m not gushing to all and sundry about the neat little benefits and opportunities here.

When I did that at my last job, a great part of the New Job Crush-Babbling was about the pride I felt in becoming a public servant.  It was incredibly hard to leave that subjective, but very real, sense of satisfaction behind – and I actually had some qualms about going to a place which, essentially, is feeding a nation hardly suffering from our lack of food.  But I’ve worked in insurance, y’all.  For sheer moral value, I’m not going to do a lot worse than that without trying fairly hard.  Heh.  (Hey, at least it was life, not health – but still.)  What we provide is at least a voluntary consumption.  And the people I get to work with do “real” things in the real (heh) world, to real results.  My guys run the trucks, the facilities, the infrastructure of a firm which dates back, in my very own hometown, to the 19th century.  I know the ancestral roots of what I do, and I’m contributing to the future of where this place goes.

I also get to do all this with a group of people I am grateful to be getting to know.  Not just the ones I take care of, but the company as a whole.  I’m struck by how many people pointblank state they are glad they get to work here – and, yes, I’m certainly struck by one in particular who left the same public service world I did, to *come* here.  That was a part of what I found compelling when I followed suit, and everything so far is proving out my choices.

So I don’t have my Fridays “off” anymore.  Apparently (so far), I have no reason to miss ‘em …

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