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.

Oh, he lives here too?

I barely saw John today.  I got up at 5am this morning so I could be awake for a conversation with my boss at 5:30 (8:30 for him – it was the only time we were both free today), and then work was non-stop meetings all day, so even though John was just down the hall, we barely exchanged words.  I forgot to eat lunch, and John left for the gym before I was done working.  He’s flying tonight with a pilot friend, so he needed to get moving.  I quit at 3:30 (my time), and when I headed to the gym, I met him at the bottom of our block just coming back.  We pulled our bikes over and caught up for a few minutes.  Honestly, it was like running into someone you don’t see every day.  “Hey!  How was the gym?  Oh yeah, tell me that thing you were going to tell me about work.”  He still had a schedule to keep, and I was still heading to the gym, so we headed in our separate directions.  I got back from the gym minutes before he headed off to the airport, and I guess I’ll see him when he gets home later.

Weird day.

I don’t want to fight, but I’m not going to give in

Guys, I can’t deal with work.  I feel like all I’ve done for the last two weeks is work and sleep (and complain about work).  That’s not entirely true (I didn’t work last weekend), but it’s mostly true, and I am worn out.  AND I’m still working.  I’ve spent the last two hours arguing with someone who wants to skip a safeguard before a software update, and I’m not going to let him.  We’re arguing over email which makes it even more frustrating.  He is clearly very angry with me now and has just petulantly thrown in the towel (I think).

I’m so very very tired of this.  These last two weeks have been awful, and that was without any fighting.  This, arguing with someone over something so stupid and yet so important, at the very end of a long day, is not what I need.

People suck.  Not you.  Everyone else.

Yeah, yeah, I know

Remember when I said work would be better this week?  Because it was so bad last week that this week just had to be better?  I was wrong.  Still bad, still too many hours at it.  Things just keep going wrong, and it’s my job to keep trying to fix them.  It’s exhausting and stressful, and I don’t want to do it anymore, but it’s taking up more and more of my day (my night, too – I’ll be testing an upgrade after 10pm tonight).

I’m going to read.  I don’t want to think about it anymore.

Working for the weekend is not how I want to live

Work this week officially sucked.  Every day, all day.  It’ll be better next week.  I’ll believe that if I keep repeating it to myself.  It doesn’t help that it got hot again (mid to upper 90s).  Yeah, yeah, the rest of the country has had it worse than us, I know, but we don’t have air conditioning!  We’re going to an outdoor concert tonight (Weird Al!  Should be fun.), and our only criteria for dinner before the show is that the place has to have A/C.

Oh, and John has been sick all week.  Nonstop fun in our house!

Why am I not already asleep?

I can feel my brain leaking out through my ears.  I am SO TIRED.  Yesterday, I worked 9 hours.  Then, because we were doing a software upgrade on a production environment, I got back online in the evening to test the upgrade.  It didn’t go well.  Five hours later (nearly 1am my time, nearly 4am eastern), we gave up for the night and went to bed.  I got up five hours after that and got back to work, and I got at least two more hours of sleep than the two guys who were working late with me.  I don’t know how they made it through the work day.  To make matters worse, we still haven’t fixed the issue.

Today was not fun.  Tomorrow is not likely to be, either.  This week is not a great work week.

I’m going to bed.

I felt pretty good, but then…

My weekend good mood disappeared in a clap of thunder at about 9am this morning.  I went from pretty patient with work stuff (after my nice relaxing long weekend) to ZERO TOLERANCE FOR IDIOTS, INCOMPETENCE, AND IGNORANCE, with pretty broad definitions for all three.  It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fun.

My work day is over.  I’m going to sit outside and read, and then I’m going to a zumba class, then a yoga class.