An update from the world of "funemployment"

I don't feel like I've lost my voice since my previous employer and I parted ways, although my post counts at Writelarge.com would indicate otherwise.

And that's ok.

See, the thing is: I've never been so busy. I've had projects and assignments and work to do. I've been hustling and meeting and going out and about. I'm cat sitting and sit catting and video-making and interviewing.

The truth is, it's non-stop working here. Non-stop. Like, never stopping. The Working. Just keeping the working going. Continuously. It's making it harder than it needs to be. Something needs to change.

Re-learning what work means.

I mentioned this to some friends at a meet-up I was at lately: Remember how I used to talk smack about how I was "done working for the day" at 9 a.m.? Maybe you remember me making jokes that implied I was a slacker, or suggested that I didn't work all that hard. You guys realize that was all an illusion, right? You guys realize that I was then (and am now) the kind of guy who works pretty much all the time, right? Because that's the honest truth. I might stop and have a pronounced coffee break at different points throughout the day, but I am almost certainly stopping as part of a general strategy of productivity.

And maybe I started to believe that I wasn't a hard worker. Maybe I didn't realize that when I was thinking about and making notes and observations relevant to work all the time, inside and outside of working hours, I was, in all actuality, working.

Because I have always done that. Time is hard to segregate out like that. Time is a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff and all that. Some of it is working. Some of it is not working. Some if it is both. Some of it is neither.

Where do you draw the line?

Out side of the realm of the artificial boundaries of a nine-to-five, I am suddenly faced with a work-day that does not end and does not have boundaries between "Gabe time" and "Paid time." I don't know how you free-lancers do it. I feel guilty every time I sit down to play a game. I feel self-indulgant every time I fire up a text editor to write my own things. I feel silly for spending any un-productive time fiddling with software or bits or tweaking out an operating system preference.

Fathers Day Gifts.

That being said, it was good to face a real weekend here. My child's annual dance recital weekend is capped with the observance of "Father's Day," so I was able to spend some time on the couch with the child and my lady and enjoy some quality time in Hyrule. It was good, and fulfilling. And pleasant. And nice. And now it's time to get back to work.

Monday is always and forever Monday, right? It's back on another non-stop workday right? It's frustrating and stressful. I'm up for it, though. And my family's certainly worth it. But I have learned something from this current situation: I do not give myself enough credit for being a hard worker.

Maybe this post is a little self-serving. I hope you can learn from my troubles, internet. I am re-learning how to work. It's like learning how to walk, I guess. I keep falling down. But I get up again. Never going to keep me down. The only other choice is to just lay there.

And I see now, more than ever, what a dangerous approach that would be.

Comments

Ugh... work

I'm not (terribly) embarrassed to admit that I, once again, live with my folks. Watching two 66 year-olds navigate life, each having been retired for 3 years, is interesting. As they zip from set weekly lunches every other day with different circles of friends, to Pickleball, to the garden, to their 6-week part-time summer job, to making dinner, to early evening walks, to dance class, I hear the oft-repeated phrase: "I don't know how we ever had time to work." And they truly mean it. Minus an extensive albeit intermittent newspaper reading session every day, they are so busy with their time, they honestly don't get how they used to spend so much time working, save for the fact that they needed to in order to support a family.

Retirement aside, when creative people at your level are awake, at a minimum, they are thinking. Contemplating. Considering options. Plotting. Scheming, even. And that's work. You may not be on someone's payroll, but you're still "developing" things. In your mind. In your relationships. In your grand scheme of things. And eventually, something you are developing will, well, develop into something that pays you for delivering the skills and perspective that you have developed. And that's the best kind of work.

Also, when it feels like you're working every hour of the day - paid or not - I think it's really importan - like, to the soul important - to budget time for f*ck-offery. Giving yourself permission for an allotted time of personal meandering, laziness, unproductive enjoyment... that's key. Many of the best conceptions in the world spawned in these permissive moments.

Good luck to you Gabe in your current (mostly unpaid) work. I hope not much changes for you, except those silly words in parenthesis.

Cheers,
Chris