I appreciate my life

Working from home gives me freedoms I haven’t really appreciated before.  No one can see me when I’m on the phone, so I have the freedom to roll my eyes when certain annoying people go on and on unnecessarily about something.  I have the freedom to drop my head into my hands.  I have the freedom to shout at my computer when certain emails come in or to walk away or to pace during phone calls or even make tea during meetings.  I can get actual WORK done during meetings that don’t require my full attention without appearing rude or self-important.

My self-control during the two days I was in the office, after a year and 9 months of freedom, was, if I may say so myself, impressive.

And I am SO GLAD to be home.

Reinforcement

 

I certainly didn’t need it, but coming to the office these last two days has confirmed that we made the right decision when we left to work remotely.  I hardly got anything done yesterday.  It was nice to see everyone, but I’ve had the same conversation 75 times, and people who did and said annoying things still do and say those annoying things.  The pies and cookies were a hit (I made two sweet potato pies and dozens of cookies), so I can go home confident that I have renewed whatever good will I may have needed, but that wasn’t something I was particularly worried about, either.

Anyway, boo office stuff and yay working from home.

A moment of reflection

I had another frustrating run-in with a coworker, and as I walked to CVS, I mapped out an imaginary conversation with her where I tried to find a way for us to get past this stupid thing we keep butting heads about, and I got angrier and angrier because I feel like she’s taking this personally and getting emotional about it and that’s why we’re not able to work through it –

And then I realized how angry was getting and maybe I’m taking it personally.  Of course, the part I’m taking personally is her reaction to my very reasonable request for her opinion on something because it feels like a personal attack, but still.  It’s work.  It’s not personal.  Or maybe it is for her, but that’s not my problem, and it doesn’t have to be for me.

It’s work.  It’s not my life.


BUT I’M GOING TO THE OFFICE FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS AND I’LL HAVE TO WORK WITH HER IN PERSON!

 

Supervisors by the numbers

  • I have had 10 bosses in not quite 8 years with the same company.  Well, 9 bosses, since my current boss was my boss a year ago, but I had a different boss in the year in between.
  • 4 of them don’t work for the company anymore.
  • In 2 cases, I got a new boss because they left the company.
  • My shortest period of time working for someone was about 3 months.
  • My longest period of time working for someone was nearly 2 years.
  • 5 of my 9 bosses have been women, but not the past 3.
  • All 9 are older than I am.
  • I have had 3 bosses since I started working remotely (more than 2 years ago).  4, if you count the one who’s my boss again.
  • I’ve had 1 boss I’ve never met in person (my current boss), although that will change in about 3 weeks.

This has been illuminating.  I don’t know what it tells me – maybe that we have a lot of turnover (except that more than half of them still work for the company), or maybe that the company doesn’t know what to do with me, or maybe nothing, and this is just how it goes when you work in one place for nearly 8 years.

Tune in next week for more useless wishing for a longer weekend

Where did the weekend go?  We ran errands on Saturday and went to the last Waterfire of the season (pictures to come).  Today, we went out to breakfast and then got groceries and cleaned.  I need another weekend.  I need more time for reading and exploring and watching more Stranger Things (we started season 2).

Ugh, and I have to work again tomorrow.  That keeps happening!  Who needs work anyway?  All work does is clutter up my life with things that aren’t reading.  Buying stuff and doing fun things that cost money and, like, eating and wearing clothes are over-rated.

This has been this week’s edition of the Sunday Night Blues.  Thank you for reading.

I am a fascinating person

I’m not going to talk about work.  Instead, I will tell you what’s new!

(What’s new?)

Um….we joined a gym!  Again, but for the first time since we moved.  Our gym is less than a mile from our house, and it has oodles of cardio and weight machines and some group classes (although mostly at times I can’t go to because of work) and a scary half-circle-shaped room that’s always dark for spin classes – I’m not going near that.  (Spin classes have too much yelling.  I don’t want to be yelled at all, but I feel like if you’re going to yell, you should at least turn the lights on.  It’s weird.)  And they have 5 or 6 heavy bags, so we can resume our boxing workouts.  Yay!

I lifted weights (and by “weights”, I mean “lightweight dumbbells” – let’s not get crazy here) for the first time in months (since May?) yesterday morning, and I am paying for it today.  It’s the good hurt, but it’s still a hurt.  Oh, and then I sliced my finger on the edge of the sugar container lid that John chipped earlier this week, so that hurts too.  I did NOT bleed in the sugar.  (Much.)  At all!  For reals.  The sugar is not contaminated.  (Much.)  At all!  (I’m sorry -can’t help myself.)

So let’s see…what else is new?

Hm.

Well.

I guess that’s all.

Definitely not talking about work. Nope, no sir.

Someone I work with is thinking about moving and asked me about working from home.  She’s done it for a day here and there over the years, but now she wants to move out of state.  She was wondering if it was hard to get answers from people or if I went nuts if I didn’t get out of the house every day or if I ever regret not coming in to the office and seeing everyone.

After I stopped laughing at that last part, I could truthfully say that the only issues I have with work are about the work sometimes, not the working from home.  And for the record, it’s no harder to get answers from people than it is in the office when they disappear from their desks and you can’t find them, and I mostly DO get out of the house every day, so that’s not an issue, either.  It’s really helpful to be able to walk away from the computer sometimes – I needed a lunchtime walk outside to recover from some of the things that happened this morning.  It’s all fine, all taken care of, and it had nothing to do with where I was, which is nice to know.  I mean, it sucks that the same annoying thing would have happened no matter what, but it’s also reassuring to know that I would have gotten the same response face to face.  I’m not being treated differently because I’m not in the office.  John wasn’t able to say the same thing about his last job.

Focus Shmocus

Neither of us felt great this weekend, but we picked a good weekend for it since it was mostly overcast and rainy.  We’re better today, kind of.  It probably didn’t help that we got caught out in it yesterday.  We walked to the nearest grocery store to pick up a few essentials (and breakfast), thinking we’d detour a little to Starbucks on the way home.  The rain wasn’t supposed to start until closer to noon, so naturally, since we were walking, it started early.  It was just sprinkling when we left the grocery store, but it was raining outright two blocks later.  It wasn’t all that unpleasant.  It was a nice change to be out in warm rain.  In Oregon, it only rains when it’s cold out.  And luckily for us, the downpour didn’t start until we got home (barely).  We had to dry all the groceries as we put them away, which was weird, but then we decided we weren’t going to do anything else.  We watched all six episodes of the second season of Happy Valley (NOT a happy show), and I finished my book, and that was it.  Weekend over.  I sat in one chair for about eight hours.

I no longer get Columbus Day off, so today is a workday. Kind of a weird one, since plenty of people took the day off anyway.  Hard to focus.

I can breathe again

I feel so much better today!  Also, apparently I have named blog posts “So much better” twice already, so I will not name this one that.  I took most of Wednesday off from work to lay on the loveseat and read (I finished one book, started and finished a second, and started a third), had a ridiculously bad night for sleeping that night (congested, coughing, hot, cold, uncomfortable), suffered through work on Thursday, slept on the loveseat last night (I propped myself up in a corner and didn’t have to worry about keeping John up), and went for a run when I woke up this morning because I could breathe!  Mostly.  Enough.  No extra cold medicine needed today, and the only thing I’m fighting is a headache.  And a desire to not work anymore, but that’s every day.

A scare

We had a bit of a scare the Thursday afternoon we left for Portland and then Rhode Island. A few weeks before that, John emailed his HR department to find out if RI is one of the states his company has set up payroll taxes for.  I didn’t bother emailing mine because I’ve had several conversations with them about moving around, and they had indicated that even if they’re not set up in a particular state, it’s not a big deal to get it done.

So right at the end of the workday that Thursday, John got an email from his boss saying that HR won’t support our move to RI – it’ll cost too much for them to set it up.  John swooped into my office to give me the good news (really – he slid in in his socks).  If his company says he can’t move where we want to go, then screw the company – he’ll quit.  (He’s so excited – he’s been itching for an excuse.)  I had been waiting to email HR until we knew exactly where we were going to live because I didn’t think it would be helpful to them to know we were thinking about three or four states – they don’t care until we pick one – but I figured that with John’s news, I should check.

I emailed Jenny, my HR person, and told her that we’re probably moving to RI at the end of August, but we’ll know for sure by the end of next week.  Her response only said that RI isn’t on the list of states they allow, so I emailed back “If a state isn’t on the list, does that mean I can’t move there?” and tried to keep the freak-out to a minimum.  By the time I sent that email, it was after working hours, so we got in the car (Portland and airport-bound) and started discussing worst case scenarios.  I mean, there’s really only one worst case scenario, but what would we do if it happened, if both of our companies said we couldn’t live in RI?

And what does it say about us that our reaction is to quit, since we don’t think they should have any say over where we live?

We spent the car ride making plans.  Let’s say my HR says they can’t/won’t set up payroll in RI.  First step: appeal to my boss.  Can he convince the company to set up payroll in RI if the alternative is I quit?  Am I that valuable?  Let’s say they still say no.  What states are already allowed?  None in New England, but New York is on the list.  Would we consider New York?  Is it worth a year in NY if it keeps my job and gives us both time to find others (so we can move to New England)?  Or do we both quit anyway and take our chances on moving and finding work quickly?  What about not moving at all?  Or what about not signing a lease yet and moving homeless at the end of the month anyway, but when we maybe know more about the situation?  We could crash with family if it came down to it.

We had everything mapped out and were starting to feel okay with our plans when we stopped for dinner and before we even ordered I had my answer back from Jenny.  To the question “If a state isn’t on the list, does that mean I can’t move there?”, she replied “No, that’s not what it means.  Tell me which state you pick.  We’ll work it out.”

Big sighs of relief plus a cucumber margarita, and we were able to sleep that night.  As well as possible, anyway, in the loud and kind of icky Ramada.

I don’t need that kind of stress.  I aged a year in those two hours.

Customers think they can get away with anything

THREE-DAY WEEKEND IS HERE and I am very happy about it.  I got yelled at by two different clients on Friday, like with actual yelling, and I need a good long break.  The first time was around 7am my time, and with a client I’ve never talked to before.  Apparently, this is how she communicates.  I think she’s from New Jersey.  She wasn’t actually mad, or least wasn’t really yelling AT us – it wasn’t personal.  It was still unpleasant.  The second time was just before noon my time, and it was somewhat personal and it was totally uncalled for and thank everything that is good in the world that Harry (one of our VPs) was on the phone and did not take ANY of that crap from the customer.  It was wonderful, and he’s my hero.  And later, he congratulated me on remaining calm and reasonable throughout the call.  I would like to have him in every client meeting forever and ever, amen.

So. Work is done, I get three days off, AND Monday is my birthday, AND we’re in Portland today for a comic con, and I plan to enjoy every minute of this weekend.

I refuse to let it get to me

I feel like people have been asking me questions I can’t answer for the last two days.  At work, I mean, not personally.  That’s not to say that I’m capable of answering every question ANYone asks me, but the lack of answers at work (and the expectation that I would know the answers or that it’s my responsibility to find them out) is weighing on me.  (The feeling of helplessness about the world is part of it, I’m sure.)

Last night’s yoga class was good, totally unlike the one the night before.  This one was more active, more challenging.  It kept my brain focused on my form (and on not falling over).  Today I didn’t get to do yoga, but I did ride, and for that hour or so, again, I was focused on what I was doing (and not falling off).  I had to deal with a stubborn horse who didn’t want to get caught, and then didn’t want to slow down when I asked, and then didn’t want to go in the direction I wanted to go in.  It was good – I learned more about how to be the boss when the horse decides he knows better – and it took me out of myself.

And then I got home, found out I don’t have jury duty tomorrow, watched the end of Broadchurch season two, and sat down to a blank computer screen with no idea what I was going to write and no ideas.

And now I’m here.  Less depressing tomorrow?  Sure!

Do something else

Things I should be doing:

  1. Working, because that’s what I get paid to do and it’s the middle of the day (or it was when I wrote this).

Things I should be doing that will make me feel better:

  1. Looking for a new job.
  2. Reading my book. Sadly, this one doesn’t belong on this list right now.  Reading this particular book does NOT make me feel better.  It’s depressing, which is sometimes okay (memoir, sucky childhood), but it’s also not written very well.  I should probably put it down.
  3. Re-learning how to play my ukulele.
  4. Taking a walk.

My mantra

I am not going to let work get to me.

I am not going to let work get to me.

I am not going to let –

Good news!  Someone at work who I like but was having a problem with (the reason for the mantra) also thought she and I might be having a problem, but she responded to my olive branch (which was being ignored when I started this post), and it turns out we don’t have a problem.  Communication is a wonderful thing, although it helps that she and I are both eminently reasonable people* who agree on most things because if it had been someone else, that person and I probably would still have a problem.

But we don’t!  All is well.

*Modest, too.

Coincidentally (or not, since maybe that’s why mantras are on the brain), I’m thinking about trying a new yoga class.  Maybe tomorrow.

I have to say this out loud

I need to get this out of my system. Ahem.

I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO WORK TOMORROW.

Yes, I know.  No one does.   But I don’t want to get up at an ungodly early hour and have to catch up on emails and find out that I have to be a bit more sales-y in this new job that I’m comfortable with.  I don’t want to hear about which customer had a problem with the new thing they asked for and is spitting mad and won’t pay for the next thing they want.  I’m okay with the part of my job that deals with software development.  I’m not okay with the part of my job that deals with clients.  I think that’s going to be a problem, and I should do something about it.  But.

I DON’T WANT TO DO IT TOMORROW.

Okay, then.  At least it’s a short week.

You can’t make this up

Yesterday, I shipped my laptop off to the office for a stupid reason.  Truly, it is the dumbest reason a laptop has ever had to be shipped somewhere in the history of shipping laptops.

I have to ship my laptop back to the office so that IT can…..reset my network password.

Yes, my password, the one that I reset just a few weeks ago (DEFINITELY fewer than 90 days ago), no longer works when I try to log in to my laptop immediately after booting it up.  Why?  I don’t know.  No good reason, I’m sure, since it worked last week.  IT says try my previous password – it should work.  Well, that would be great, but since I haven’t used that password since I changed it WEEKS AGO and I don’t write down my passwords BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN PROTECTING MY PASSWORDS, I don’t have the faintest clue what it was.

Oh, IT can’t change my password remotely?  Of course they can’t.  It’s not like we have several people working remotely full-time now.  Sure, it makes perfect sense to set up a computer in such a way that it has to be on the network to change the password, but you can’t get to the part where you can change the password unless you’re on the network.

So off I went to ship my laptop back to the office.  To make it go a little quicker, they suggested I ship it to the Utah office instead of the VA office, since it ought to get there from Oregon faster.

You know what they’re going to do with my laptop once they get it?  They’re going to turn it on, log in, change my password, shut it down, and ship it back to me.  It’ll take 3 minutes, max.  For that, I’m without my work laptop for 4-5 days.

To top it off, I checked my tracking number this afternoon and found that my laptop is in Indianapolis.  Uh huh.  Apparently, the fastest way to Utah today is through Indiana.

Who knows when I’ll get it back…

Much ado about 15 minutes

Here’s the a downside of working east coast hours while living on the west coast:

I try to start work by 9am Eastern, so I get up no later than 5:45 Pacific.  My first meeting of the day is usually 9:30 Eastern, giving me half an hour to go through some email and wake up a bit more before I have to talk to anyone.  On Thursdays, I have a 9am meeting with my boss, just him and me, so on Thursdays, I get up at 5:30 Pacific – enough extra time awake that I can be coherent.  It’s feels like it’s a whole hour earlier when I wake up, but I get over that once I get out of bed.

That’s not the downside I’m talking about, although it is one.

No, the downside is when your boss, who you thought was a kind and understanding man, deprives you of that 15 minutes of sleep by rescheduling your 9am meeting to another day and making that schedule change at 8am the morning of.  I woke up at 5:30, crept downstairs in the dark to avoid waking John up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put my contacts in, and then, all awake, I sat down in front of my laptop and found that my boss, who is clearly a cold-hearted monster with no regard for my feelings, had moved the meeting to next week less than an hour before.  If he had made the change last night, I would have seen it AND I COULD HAVE SLEPT IN.

Bleary-eyed and expected to make sense

Some days, the whole getting up really early and immediately working thing is hard.  It’s dark, it’s chilly, and I want to go back to bed.  It’s going to get darker and chillier (not today – that would be apocalyptic).  I need to start searching for a really good incentive.  Right now, I’ve been awake for 40 minutes, contacts in for 20 of those minutes, and I’m about to start a 90-minute conference call.  Maybe they won’t notice that I’m barely following along.

Losing daylight

It’s August, the sun is coming up later in the morning, and for inexplicable reasons (some misplaced dedication to work?), I’m getting up earlier during the week. And that means it’s dark.  I am up before the sun rises (it was still dark when I started this post), and I’m of two minds about it.  Maybe three.

First mind: I like being up (once I’m up), and being up this early means I have the entire day ahead of me.  When I get up after the sun is up, I feel like I’ve lost precious hours.  Not work hours – they’re not precious, although I do feel massively behind if I don’t start work early.  I mostly feel like I’ve lost hours when I sleep in on weekends.

Second mind: *whining* It’s daa-aark out there, and I should still be sleeeeeping.

Third mind…no, just two.  Two is enough.