Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Still Balancing "Work" at Home

I'M GETTING A LITTLE vexed with my home workspace. My whole apartment, really. There's no barrier between the two worlds any more. I feel like I'm still adapting to being here full time. This feeling is matched by my speculation about the direction my career should take. My roots are loose and I wonder how best to tighten my grip on the familiar soil.

To begin with, I have a big heap of shit from the office that I need to integrate into the existing mounds. I grabbed sample issues of newsletters with a bias toward taking more than I might need, figuring I could throw out those I didn't use. I have three plants floating from desk to table to chair, depending on which I need to clear. I also have several days of the Wall Street Journal to catch up on. The 45 minutes I used on the train to read it has not found a niche in my morning schedule just yet.

I want to clean, but I am also conscious of the limited amount of time I have to progress through the stages of the career-transition program I'm taking. I only have a month's worth of their services, as the coach I've been assigned has reminded me a couple of times. I'm nervous about missing out on some of the training by taking some time for myself to get the place in order, but if the piles of crap are getting in the way of my well-being, I can't see how reducing or eliminating them is bad.

The career work itself is a bit of a seesaw. I'm still trying to see where I fit, seeing as I am considering changing careers. Some of the materials look like they'd guide me to make a resume that would keep me in my current profession. This would be effective if I want to find another graphic design position, which I might have to if I need to take very basic retraining courses in another career. I'm just nervous about standing still, which would impress neither the future potential employers in graphic design or production, nor those looking for a body of relevant writing clips for a job in that field. At my age, I can't burn too much time in appearing to be idle.

The career program has been productive thus far, but because of my career indecision, I suspect it will take me longer than a month to complete all of the materials. There is a set of textbooks, an online learning track, and a series of conference-call seminars, in addition to in-office visits. I have 2 days' worth of those coming on Thursday and Friday. As long as they are packed with information, it should be very worth it. The online courses have thus far been informative, though I'm a little worried they mimic the content in the books. What does definitely follow that content are the conference calls. Sitting through these has been murder; folks not muting their phones, proctors asking questions and seeming surprised when nobody answers (you asked them to mute the phones!), and the numbing inertia of sitting for 60 to 90 minutes holding a phone to your ear. I buckle down and take notes as best I can, but if I had to do these every week, I'd invest in a headset so at least I could type my notes and not nurse a dead elbow after the call ends.

I know these problems are quite minor on the scale of global human misery, and even on that of layoffs of middle-class suburbanites. I have no dependents or debt to tend, and the means to survive without a job for quite some time. What I don't have yet, though, is balance. Ratatosk providentially wrote earlier with some pointers on how to make a stretch of joblessness more productive, and I was happy to see that some of my mental list matched his written one. I want to stay busy, but rounded, and as much as I can be snail-like and curl up in my house, I need to get out now and again.

It's all very new and I'm caught between not wanting to waste the chance to get it right this time, and my tendency to dig in so far I lose sight of the sun.

No comments: