Posts Tagged ‘workaholism’
This fall marks my three year anniversary as a (ahem) full-time productive member of society. I’ve worked from home for the last three years, with three different managers. There are some useful life lessons I’ve learned during that time, in general and about myself in particular:
It took the full first year and a major blow to my self-esteem for me to figure this first one out. I fucking hate, hate, hate micromanagement. I’m a pretty independent person, and this kind of submission – for lack of a better word – just isn’t for me. Micromanagement makes me feel pressured, and makes me feel guilty when I am not accountable for what I am doing every single minute of the work day. It depresses and utterly annoys me. It doesn’t work, either. I was the most productive – and my job was most satisfying – when I given a rough idea of our long-term goals, a carte blanche on how to spend my time (with occasional feedback, of course) and a role in the discussion about our agenda. A manager should be there to make sure I can do my job and represent their team to the rest of the company, not expect me to be at their every beck and call.
I do needs me some me time, but I’m not as solitary as I always thought I was. If I continue working remotely, it will either have to be as a nomad or with at least one or two days a week in an office with other human beings, even if that means having to put on a shirt in the morning.
If I don’t enjoy my job, that will kill my motivation and productivity. I have to care about what I’m creating, and understand why it is useful.
When I was unhappy in my first position and struggling to stay motivated, I pretty much accepted that as a given, since I did not know any better. It was a relief to discover that wasn’t necessary. Never again.
I’m easily bored. Really easily. Give me some hard problems, please.
Work isn’t everything. I’m sure I’m hardly the first person to experience this in their first job, but I’m really good at totally immersing myself in something and just forgetting about the rest of the world and its annoying distractions (social life, dating, hobbies). Another teleworker warned me before I started working from home that boundaries are important. It took me almost three years (stubborn? me? what?), but I have found out the hard way that he was right.
I was really pleased when I got the offer for my current job offer three years ago, but in hindsight I was also meek and somewhat naive. There are plenty of interesting job openings out there, and ample opportunity to be hired.
The process of looking for work is oddly liberating.
Of course I know there is a bigger world out there than just the tiny section of technology I’ve spent the last few years worrying about, but it’s nice to find out that world is still there and that it’s a welcoming place.
Recruiters are a lot like vultures around prey. As soon as one of them finds out you’re considering working somewhere else they all magically seem to know, and they start circling in. There is probably some funky brain wave thing going on; I doubt they would tell each other.
Looking for a job is a lot like dating, more than I realized. I’m starting to get better at both (practice, eh?), and enjoying the process more than I did.
There. I’ve decided. I’m moving on. I am not sure what is next, exactly. But it has to be different. Elsewhere. Exciting. Challenging. Fuck this shit.
Among the many others parts of my social life, I have neglected dating over the past couple of years. Other things kept me busy mostly, and I haven’t really bothered.. until now. I’m sure a lot of my friends settling down has something to do with it too.
The one unforgivable sin is to be boring.
Christopher Hitchens quoting Yvonne in Hitch-22
I’ve just returned from a week long camping holiday with some friends. As usual, I haven’t really managed to avoid reading my work e-mail. Checking e-mail, twitter and IM every dozen minutes or so has been a habit – and an urge – for so long that even cutting it back to once a day is hard. But unlike holidays in earlier years, I have managed to mentally occupy myself with other things than my day job and technology. While that may not sound like much, it really is a big difference. The obsession is gone.
“Rather than arriving five hours late and flustered, it would be better all around if he were to arrive five hours and a few extra minutes late, but triumphantly in command.” – Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea Time of Soul
My struggle out of the world of workaholism continues, and is accompanied by withdrawal effects.
For a long time, I have been known by my friends and colleagues as one of those incessantly late people. It’s not just an impression; I am usually a couple of minutes late, sometimes significantly more.
I am somewhat embarrassed to say that in the last couple of weeks people have actually been complimenting me for being on time.