T minus 10 hours

January 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm (Tom) (, , )

It probably makes sense for the first post in our brand new crack-a-lackin’ secrets-of-the-universe-revealed blog should be some kind of witty, self-referential meta-post, exploring the bipolar nature of the online blah blah blah. But instead, I’m kind of fixated on the rapidly approaching end of my holidays. So, just read into this how brilliantly clever I am, and it’ll probably all make sense, I figure.

But holidays: I enjoy my job, 9 days out of 10, and I think I’m doing some good, about 5 days out of 10, and at least doing no evil 4.5 of the other 5. My in-house workmates are a roughly 50/50 split between the genuinely awesome and the generally inoffensive, and out in realspace my members are about as entertaining, well-intentioned and smart a group of individuals as you could probably hope for from a random sampling. Not one of them comes to mind as a bona fide problem member, which I doubt many of my colleagues could say. I get respect from my boss and my peers (especially when I wear a suit – expectation management FTW), and if I stick around, I know there’ll be more interesting and new stuff to work on, and more opportunities than you could shake a stick at. In a lot of ways, it’s somewhere close to my dream job, w00t!

So it’s not that I’m stuck in some awful dead-end factory farm viz a viz The Office (I’ve been there, man, temping sucks), or that I spend every day watching the clock (likewise), or that I’m holding out till I find something better (been there). However, I’m still sitting here, groaning about the fact that I have be back on deck in less than half a day.
I don’t think it’s just because I like sitting around playing L4D all day (although I do) – I I’m not a driven person, by any stretch, but I do get twitchy when I feel like I’m not doing anything productive for longer than about a couple of days.
(Frex, I spent most of today out trying to find dynabolts, an eyelet, and a hammer-drill to finally secure my bike in the backyard, rather than searching the Museum of American History for a suitable radar dish, which was another attractive option. I entirely failed, as it happens, but that’s not really the point of the story.)
I do miss Julia when I’m at work, especially when there are long hours, but conversely, the house can get too small when I’m at home all the time, too; so I don’t think that’s it.
Stress is out, too – it’s never been my biggest concern. Kinda the opposite, really – I know I’m fairly useless without some kind of stress, even if I know it’s self-imposed or artificial. (Thus my Monday post clocking in at 10:35pm).

So why do I care about going back to work?

I dunno.

(End Post)

That would be sort of funny, but mostly annoying and cheap, so here’s the two potentially valid reasons I’ve been musing.

Habit

I think there’s a big chunk of learned behaviour in there, too. Is it too unfair to blame school? Or previous crappy jobs? Well, probably. But I know that the dreary expectations I have for tomorrow aren’t really related to what I do now,  so unless I’ve just picked up sitcom tropes and internalised them, my previous experiences have a bunch to answer for. That’d be nice, too, because it implies that it’ll eventually go away, and I’ll be able to slipstream between work and holiday without so much as a murmur of discontent. Can’t wait.

This is your brain on holiday

I actually quite like who I am on a decent-sized break, because I don’t think it’s the same person as when I’m on the clock, or immediately between clocks. I like how my focus broadens out from my jorb, degree and related fields (and Left 4 Dead) to actually thinking about the world as a whole again (and Left 4 Dead); and how I can concentrate for long enough to actually read a book instead of bouncing between forums and news sites (and Left 4 Dead). And how I think – “Man, I’d like to see those guys more”, instead of “I should probably catch up with X”. I have a tendency to visualise my life as a series of objectives, and being at work, where that’s a useful thing, really seems to exacerbate the problem in my private life. Dialling down the workload or courseload doesn’t seem to help much, either – I find that I tend to set my trajectory during holidays, and then coast along them when I have a period of work; which can actually be quite problematic, especially when there are external changes occurring and I don’t have a real break to process them.

Aside: That’s part of the reason I’ve always liked good video-games, I think. They completely occupy my thinking space, and I can actually put down work entirely for that blessed space between Load and Save & Quit.

Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff I’d like to do. Travel, learn to program, actually do something about designing games, build some shelves, clean the house, find out about UTS’ extracurricular stuff, build a decent online presence for my chunk of the union, get fit again, join the ALP again (maybe), etc. etc. But I’m just not very good at adjusting course with my head full of work, so if I haven’t solidified a plan for this by about 8.30am tomorrow, it probably won’t get done for 6 months or so.

Hopefully this blog will help with that, and I have some other half-baked strategies this year, but I suspect I’ll need another holiday to figure out if they’ve worked or not.

Or maybe I just want to play more lunchtime Left 4 Dead, and I’m finding elaborate justifications for why my laziness isn’t the story here…

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5 Comments

  1. danoot said,

    did you get a plan sorted? or is it coasting tiem?

  2. juliadactyl said,

    Actually, I sat down and thought about Tom on holidays, and we have created a plan together. Well, for holidays. If Tom has several days in a row just playing computer games, he feels he’s wasting his holiday. However, if he has a holiday day with NO computer games, he feels like he’s not getting enough Tom-based relaxation. So we’ve decided on a strictly organised approach to holiday time.

    For example, it transpired he wasn’t supposed to go back until today, but he went to work yesterday, so he took today off instead. We have booked in up until about now (2pm) for gaming (due to wanting to stay inside in the head of the day), and now we will move boxes to our storage unit and go to the bank, then grocery shop, then game some more. The day will involve useful productivity and relaxing lazytimes, resulting in a happy Tom.

  3. danoot said,

    an excellent plan. I wish I was able to organise self in such a manner.

    Though I have been playing kind of rationed amounts of games of late (usually I don’t play anything at all, but: paint game yes).

  4. juliadactyl said,

    Our experiment today has been pretty successful – in four hours we went to the bank to deposit a christmas money cheque, moved three carloads of boxes to the storage unit, did the grocery shopping, cleaned out the fridge, and got some laundry done.

    Now our evening is free for relaxation. At some point I will make greek salad for dinner, but that will take 20 minutes at most.

  5. andrewcrisp said,

    I’ve been thinking about this post a lot, actually, because I’ve only been back at work for two weeks and already everything in my life is just another point on a big to do list. I just feel so overwhelmed, and my L4D is already suffering!

    Have you managed to keep some sense of normalcy, or has your prophesy self-fulfilled?

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