Neo-Hippie Ramblings - I'm a Non-Conformist Just Like All My Friends: can I be a slacker for a little while?

Monday, July 25, 2005

can I be a slacker for a little while?

The stress level of my job (and life in general, at that) is burning me out.

I can't complain about the pay, because it's actually pretty good. If one of us made about 50% more, the other could stay home with the kids. It's just not realistic now, though. Between student loans, credit cards and utilities, it'd wipe us out -- even with the offset in childcare expenses and the ability to have a single car.

Co-workers are a mixed bag. Some of them are very cool and very easy to work with. Others, well... let's just say that it's a good thing I don't have a 'Dr. Evil' conference room where I could hit a button and dispatch them to a pit of alligators. That would rock.

My day starts at about 5:30 - 5:45 am, so I can take a shower before P. leaves for work at 6:10 or so. (The girls usually sleep until at least 7:30 - 8:00, but there's no guarantee that I'll be able to shower and shave unless I do so before she leaves. If they were a little older it wouldn't be as big of a deal, but they're too young to be left unattended right now.)

I get about an hour to myself, on average, in the morning. Necessary for my sanity. That's usually blog-time, or BlogExplosion surf time. I'm getting about a third of my blog hits from search engines and links now, but the volume still falls off pretty quickly without those BE referral hits. (Alternately, it's "I want mommy; I don't want you. Bwaaaah..." time.)

If the girls co-operate, eat and get dressed without incident I make it to work at 9. No guarantees there. I used to be a very punctual person and got irritated by people who weren't. Then I had kids.

P & I have alternated our schedules so we'd have more time with the girls. Upside is that they're only with the babysitter from about 9 - 3. Downside is that we no longer get to talk on the drive to and from work, which used to be most of our private conversation time. Most of our conversations take place over IM these days.

Technically, I'm supposed to take two 15 minute breaks during the day and a half-hour lunch. Hah! I don't remember the last time I took two breaks in a day, and lunch is often closer to a 15-20 minute sprint to the cafeteria with P. between meetings. My breaks are usually 3 minute walks to get coffee. I drink a lot of coffee. If I'm really pissed off about something, or have a team member who's reached the breaking point, we'll walk to $tarbuck$ and blow off some steam.

In theory, I'm supposed to be done with work at 5. Lately, it's been averaging about 7 - 7:30 pm instead, with the possibility of another hour or two from home over VPN. And even when I'm not at work, I'm thinking about it, or talking about it with P.

The job itself is insane. On the off-chance that you work in software quality, you'll appreciate what I'm saying. Otherwise, imagine a career where:
  • It's so very easy to do a mediocre job but very difficult to do a good one
  • There's no guarantee that you'll have adequate time to do your job, and you'll probably have to negotiate for even an inadequate window of time
  • Your phase of a project is always considered semi-expendable
  • Everyone on the outside seems to think they know how to do your job (and are only too happy to tell you so)
  • Your feedback is most needed when it's least welcome
  • You rely heavily on documentation created by others as the basis for your work, but those others view the documentation as a nuisance and do their damnedest to avoid creating it in the first place
  • A major part of your job function includes the delivery of criticism to others while they're under a great deal of stress

Bottom line is, people in my line of work tend to burn out pretty quickly.

Anyway, after 8-11 hours of that shitstorm, it's home to the (often cranky & hungry) kids. Dinner (which is fast food way too often), some playtime and then the bedtime routine. P is usually wiped out and falls asleep with the girls. I usually stay up, either doing laundry, working over VPN or reading news sites & blogs (or all of the above). I crash somewhere between midnight and 2:00 am, and start the whole thing over.

Weekends? Go to work in the morning and take the girls somewhere in the afternoon.

So anyway, I'd like to be a part of this slacker generation I've been hearing so much about. I was born in '72, so I should be eligible...

1 Old Comments:

Sounds tough! I hope that you are at least able to take some time off this summer with your family.

By Blogger landismom, at 9:25 AM