Five months in…

Two more months of working from home and things are pretty much the same, except that I’ve actually restored my sanity by taking a couple of very no-contact and socially distant trips.

More random thoughts:

  • I was worried that distractions would be a problem while working from home. That really hasn’t happened. I stay pretty laser-focused on work for eight or more hours a day. I don’t really even do any random web surfing (abandoning a couple of social media platforms has helped in that regard) and I don’t take Perry Mason breaks. I’ve gotten much more done than I probably would have in my office since March.
  • Managing during remote work is just like managing onsite. Your good people do good work and don’t need prodding. Your less good people remain problematic, but they can’t see you scowling and gritting your teeth.
  • I’ve hit a schedule groove: Coffee and breakfast with a hour of work, and then I shower and dress before going back to work for the rest of the day. Lunch at 1.
  • I actually go into the office for  a few hours every two weeks or so to take care of some things that have to be done in person, to stage things for my staff to work on from home, and to remind myself that I do work for an organization with a physical presence.
  • As that physical presence is in fact a university library, I’m glad I work in a nice, locked IT department where no students can ever intrude or exhale.
  • I’m also glad that I still have a job at all, especially one that I can just as successfully (and in some cases more successfully) do from home.
  • The pimento cheese fascination wore off, but not the grilled pepper jack thing. I’m snacking less (thank the Great Pumpkin for that) but also doing less takeout (which may not be a good thing).

I’m curious about others. Are any of the three of you who still read this working from home? How’s it going for you?

Three months in

Today marks three months that I’ve been working remotely in pandemic mode. It’s probably about the same duration for others who are fortunate enough to have this option, give or take a week or two. It’s all very surreal, made even more so by the fact that there is no definite timeline for when I’ll actually return to work onsite. I have the option to do so now, but we’re being encouraged not to if working from home is still a viable option, and it pretty much is for my department and for the unit I manage right now.

Random thoughts from Stately Otherstream Manor:

  • I watch The National every night on YouTube. I find Justin Trudeau’s hair much less disturbing than Donald Trump’s, even though Justin’s got a little too fluffy for comfort before he finally cut it this week. I’m glad Adrienne Arsenault is now much warmer in her outdoor “physical distancing” co-anchor space.
  • I’ve gotten really into pimento cheese again, not mention grilled cheese sandwiches made with pepper jack.
  • Switching back and forth between my Windows computer at work (via remote desktop) and my Mac at home seems much less odd than it did at first, but when I’m using SSH to my Linux server via the Windows machine and thus have three different OS platforms rolling at once, it still impresses me sometimes.
  • It’s a little embarrassing when I forget to log off the work VPN before accessing sites I shouldn’t.
  • It’s nice having some good takeout restaurants and an Aldi within walking distance. I wish I were actually walking to them more often.
  • While I do miss many of my coworkers, I do not miss in-person meetings and constant interruptions.
  • Teaching a class with a beer in your hand is probably not appropriate. (I don’t really drink much anyway and I’ve actually been doing even less of it since March.)
  • My social life is not appreciably different during a pandemic “lockdown”, and I’m OK with that.
  • I’m not watching Perry Mason nearly as much as I thought I would.
  • I am actually starting to make some progress on the book I’m co-authoring. Finally.
  • If I don’t spend a night outside this town soon, I will surely go out of my mind.

By the numbers

Things insomnia made me count. In my life I have:

  • Owned 3 houses and rented 5 apartments.
  • Lived in 3 states (4 if you count a vacation home).
  • Had 2 roommates (not counting a few temporary situations of less than a month).
  • Had 1 (common law) husband.
  • Owned 9 cars.
  • Had 6 traffic accidents, 2 of which were ruled my fault.
  • Spent time in 3 countries, including 45 U.S. states and 6 Canadian provinces.
  • Had sex in at least 24 states.
  • Had phone numbers with 5 area codes.
  • No brothers or sisters, but 14 first cousins (approximately 12 of whom are still alive).
  • Spent 2 nights in a hospital (not counting when I was born).
  • Been to 0 high school class reunions (with plans to attend 0 more).
  • Had 5 primary home computers (all Macs, which is why I had each one for so long).
  • Had 3 full-time employers (though I had multiple positions in multiple locations for the first two, plus a ton of part-time and freelance employers).
  • Had 4 medical procedures for which I was put completely under.

Ten years in the profession

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the official start of my full-time career as a librarian. It also marks the midpoint of my career, as retirement becomes an option (and one I plan to pursue) at the twenty-year point.

I love my work. It’s essentially an extension of what I’d been doing as a hobby for more than a decade before I entered the profession; I create digital content from historical materials and share it with the world. As a librarian, backed by a university and a lot of grant funding, I just get to do it on a much larger scale, with more resources, and a much bigger content base to start from. It’s great; I was lucky enough to find a position doing exactly what I wanted to be doing when I decided to get my Master’s degree. Now I’m tenured university faculty with a pretty nice life and lots of job security. I think that’s pretty much the last thing most visitors to this site might have expected, say, twenty years ago.

My enthusiasm for my newfound career may literally have saved me from a  meltdown (or worse) in “the dark years” of 2011-2013 when I was simultaneously dealing with the end of my marriage, my mom’s startlingly rapid descent into dementia, and the loss of my dad. My career gave me something I could focus on and feel I had control over at a point when I didn’t really feel I had control over many other parts of my life. And the timing was good, as it coincided with the time I needed to be building up a beefy portfolio to make tenure. I became a bit of an overachiever in this one area, though I may have neglected some other areas in the process. My job, in short, became a bigger part of my life than I hd ever expected (or thought I wanted) it to be.

I’m at a little different point now. I still love my work and have no intention of giving it up, but the past two years (and especially the last few months) have been very challenging for me and really for everyone I work with. I’m finding myself reassessing what’s important to me, personally and professionally. After finally dealing with what was likely a longstanding case of depression a few years back, I learned how to enjoy other things again and stopped relying so much on my work for my happiness in life.

Now I’m once again thinking very seriously about what the next ten years will look like for me, both personally and professionally.

Literally.

This weekend.

It’s not really about the anniversary so much as about some recent issues at work, but this does seem to be an appropriate time to be thinking about this stuff. I’m 55 years old and whether I like it or not, I’m entering a new phase in my life that requires some contemplation. I need to start thinking about what’s important to me personally and then to make the things that are important to me professionally fit into that plan. That may be something of a reversal of the past ten years, or ot may just be a recognition of the fact that the two are not interchangeable.

Either way, I’ll let you know how it turns out. Maybe.