This will be much more detailed about work than I would ever write before. More brave now since I’m almost done.
I wrote about how yesterday was party day. I also wrote about how my last week was not a normal last week because I keep getting calls about decisions on things that will happen after I am no longer working there. Here is a snapshot of how someone tried to ruin my moment yesterday. Is it narcissism? They hate that yesterday was about me and they couldn’t take credit for any of the good things people said about me? Maybe.
Yesterday was a work from home day. I did work on the schedule for next week even though I am on on the schedule. I get a phone call about payroll stuff. I try to explain it to them and tell them there was a post on our intranet before but it seemed to be gone now. They tell me to find the post and email it to them like I’m their fucking secretary or something. I explain again that I did not see the post but this is what it said. More on this comes later.
My party is in the afternoon. The first few minutes is all about this person and their inability to ever do Zoom properly. The next hour is great. There is a slide show that starts with a video message from a friend from my old branch. There are plenty of pictures of me from my time at work. There are quotes from coworkers. After the slide show, people said nice things about me. Former coworkers were there. One all the way from Oregon. It was much more than I expected for someone who is not officially retiring. I worked an extra hour on Monday, so I clocked out soon after the party and should have had a nice afternoon basking in the glow of the nice things people said. It was not to be.
Soon after I get a call again. About random stuff. No reason for the call except to assert their power over my life one more time. Rambling talk about an upcoming event. Wanting to go over the schedule that they should have done in the first place. Talk about meetings scheduled the next few days(both on times I should be off. No respect for people’s personal time) to decide who is taking over my duties. I’m gone in four days. Shouldn’t this be done already? No longer my problem. Talk about their needing to quarantine and how they won’t work from home like others and will just take the entire time off. Like I give any fucks anymore about their schedule. And then, finally, I think it is over.
I take the dog for a walk. I’m listening to me Spotify playlist. I’m enjoying time outside. Phone rings. I really should just refuse to answer, but I answer anyway. Back to the payroll thing. They didn’t just do what I said they should do. They looked at my employee’s timecards and didn’t see where I did it and tries to make it my problem and tells me I need to contact payroll. I finally convince them otherwise. I finally get off the phone and get one more text to tell me they finally figured it out.
I watched the slide show again with my wife to try to get back the good feeling of the day.
Now I have this to look forward to: meeting this morning to discuss reassignment of my duties. Four hours in branch and then the last meeting of my mystery book club. Tomorrow a work from home day with a staff meeting where they will talk about things that don’t matter to me anymore. A meeting on my day off with my staff to once again talk about reassignment of duties. 9-2 in branch Saturday and I’m done. I’m sure numerous annoying phone calls mxed in.
First thing I do when I am officially done? Delete contacts and block certain numbers
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I think today is the day my departure from work will start to feel real. Today is the day of my Zoom farewell party. Today is the day people from across the system will show they like me just enough to log into a Zoom call to say goodbye. I did receive four nice messages via email and Facebook yesterday from former coworkers wishing me well. I found a gift from my current coworkers in my email this morning. It is everyone loves Tater week.
I feel like I could relax and enjoy it more if I worked in a normal place in normal times. Generally by the time you get to Tuesday of your last week you are mainly saying goodbyes and wrapping up a few final things. In my reality, I’m still getting phone calls about decisions on things that will happen after I’m gone. I’m still getting phone calls where someone is telling me when they think they will be out next week. I’m still being asked to work on the schedule for next week. At least on that last one they acknowledged that at this point they can’t really make me do anything. I’m not saying I don’t think I should do work. I just wish I was on site doing work that is immediate and not still doing work that should have been passed on to others by now. I have two meetings this week to discuss who is going to do my job starting next week. I gave them a month’s notice. How are they just now accepting that I am gone?
I had my exit interview Friday afternoon where I was honest about my work experience with certain people. If things go as usual, certain people will probably be told what I said before I am gone and my last week will be even worse. I hope that won’t happen but the past tells me that the odds are good that HR will tell the person about the complaints and make things even more awkward and stressful.
It’s only a week. Five more days and then I am done. No matter how bad it might get I can get through it.
I’ve written before about how used to love the Columbus Day and Veteran’s Day holidays because they were the times I was off work and the kids had school. It was nice to have a day off to do what I wanted and not what they wanted. Even so, when my work decided to change things and open on Columbus Day and move that holiday to Black Friday I was all for the decision. It made sense and still does.
What I didn’t realize was how much I needed that October day off. It was nice to have a holiday every month September through February. Losing that day in October meant a long stretch where you had to use vacation to get a day off. But that’s not why today annoys me.
Today annoys me because even though yesterday was a holiday for us we are open today. That means some people get a nice four day weekend and others have to work today. That means I have to work today. That means I have one extra day added into my Take This Job and Shove It countdown. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the four day weekend since we started this. We don’t alternate which people get the day. If it is your normal weekend to work then you work. That means one group might have several years of working Thanksgiving weekend while others have four days off.
Even though this is my last Thanksgiving working here today annoys me more than it has before.
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I posted on Facebook yesterday that it might be time to delete the app from my devices to force a break. I wrote about that in this post in the past but never did it. It’s become too much of a habit for me. It is even more of habit during isolation. I struggled to focus on a book. I watched a lot of TV and movies, but it’s easy to scroll mindlessly through Facebook and Twitter while watching a random TV show. I don’t post as much as I used to. I don’t interact as much as I used to. I scroll through more than I used to. There is not a lot of good there. It’s a bad habit that I need to break.
I have done a little better. I do crosswords on my iPad now during times when I would usually be on social media. I play Risk on there as well I’m reading a little more than I was the past couple of months. I still do sometimes scroll through aimlessly, though. Habit? FOMO? Who knows. Facebook is no longer pictures of people having fun or posts about the lives of my friends. It is mainly people arguing and posting political opinions. I still get some good content on Twitter, but it is a lot of the same there. I could fix Twitter easily by unfollowing the random strangers who annoy me these days. Facebook is harder since they are all friends and family. Deleting the app from my phone would be easier.
My phone, in general, has become a negative in life. There is the constant lure of social media. There is also the constant threat of a call from work that will ruin my day. And I can’t guarantee those calls will respect my personal time. I’ve had to tell people I was turning my phone off on a Saturday to get them to stop texting me on my weekend off about things that were not emergencies. If I didn’t get texts from family who don’t live with me I would turn my phone off at 5 and leave it off until 9 the next morning. That’s not possible, so the dark cloud of work looms over me all the time.
My phone has become my enemy that I helped create.
This was my first day this week that was fully work from home. I went back to work 4 hours a day on Thursday. This week more staff started to come back to work.
It was nice to see people face to face again.
It was good to get out of the house.
It was nice to have physical work to do again.
The days went a little faster than the work from home days.
My daily steps are up again.
Traffic is still light so the drive home is nice and easy even at 5pm.
The not so good:
On my afternoon days, I miss being home when my daughter finally wakes up.
I have to wear real clothes again.
My eating schedule is weird now.
Some drivers are still bad enough to make me have road rage.
More possible exposure to toxic people, mentally not virus-toxic.
It is official that my dream of convincing my wife I should quit rather than go back is dead.
I’m sure I will adjust back to things again. I will learn to quietly suffer through as I did before we were all sent home. I will hope that I can find a way to change my circumstances sooner rather than later. My daughter will eventually move back to campus and my wife will go back to work so there will be no one at home to miss while I am at work.
Maybe I should buy some lottery tickets…
One thing hasn’t changed with working from home for almost three months – watching the clock.
I wake up early every day. My clock watching starts then. Dreading the time when I have to clock into work and turn my home into my office.
I then watch the clock for the morning right at 9am call from my boss.
I then watch the clock for the 10am release of the state’s Covid data.
I then watch the clock for when it is late enough for me to eat lunch. It’s hard because I tend to get hungry early and since I’m home I can eat whenever I want. I try not to.
I then work and watch the clock for the time I can clock out and my house and my time is mine again.
I watch the calendar and I long for the weekend when I can try not to think about anything. I can watch TV, read, do whatever I want.
I watch the clock in dismay all weekend wondering why time moves so fast still on Saturday and Sunday.
I look at the calendar in dismay counting down ho much longer I have before I can retire.
We are watching the calendar as we get closer to my daughter’s school announcing the plans for fall. Can she go back? Will she be stuck at home with us again?
I see a lot of talk about how people are losing track of time. There were some days early on when I forgot what day of the week it was, but it is becoming less common. The above is more common. I am hyper-aware of the date and time.
All of this clock watching is probably not healthy, but I crave my personal time more than I have craved anything for a long time even though I can’t really do much during my personal time.
And now it is time to clock in and start my clock watching again.
In this case I mean sick as in physically ill. Every other day is the rambling of a mentally sick man. Today I am home sick from work. I went home early yesterday because I didn’t feel good. I woke up this morning not feeling great again. I knew the minute I woke up that I shouldn’t go to work. I got out of bed anyway. I had coffee and read the paper. I still knew I didn’t feel good enough to go to work. I took a shower and got dressed anyway. I still knew I didn’t feel good enough to go to work. I drove to work anyway. Once at work I realized I really shouldn’t be there. My boss took one look at me and agreed. I am now back home and under a blanket on the couch. I will try to nap today in hopes of feeling better. I don’t have one defining symptom. Just an overall feeling of blah. So, why do I try to convince myself to go to work when I’m sick? Let’s make a list.
- Guilt – I think about the fact that other people will have to work extra hours on the desk if I’m not at work. I think about stuff I need to get done that will now be one day behind. I think about meetings I might miss. I feel guilty about all of this and convince myself that I should do to work.
- Mild illness – I never get really sick. If others in my family get a stomach bug and can’t keep anything down for days I will feel a little queasy for a day or so. I get mild versions of everything so I never really feel so sick that I know for sure I should stay home.
- Judgment – People can say they don’t judge you for calling out sick, but I know that isn’t always true. I’ve had enough people make comments or bring up the fact that I called out sick to know that there are people who look down on people who call out sick. I just need to stop caring about people like that.
OK, so it’s only a list of three, but that still counts as a list. I need to learn to stop worrying about it and start making sure I stay home to get better.
I will end with a quote that has been in my head as I wrote this
Don’t kill yourself for a job that would replace you within a week if you dropped dead
It would take a little longer than a week, but the sentiment is true.
I had decided to write something this morning about the reaction to Andrew Luck’s retirement. I have thoughts about that. I just can’t get motivated to actually put them into a coherent post.
I have some thoughts about the reaction to Joe Walsh entering the Republican primary. Again, no motivation to put them into a coherent post.
I have to go to work this morning. I have no motivation to get off the couch and do that either, but mot going to work is not an option, so I will have to get over that.
I’ve been up since 5:30am. I read the paper. I watched two half-hour TV shows. I ate breakfast. I did a little bit of exercise. I took a shower. I should be ready to go. I’m not.
I think it is just a reaction to the time of the year. My daughter is back in school. Days are getting shorter. Summer is basically over. I think no matter how old I get and how little summer ending really changes my life it will still be a down time for me. I think after years of being on school and then having kids in school that end of summer feeling is just ingrained in you and will never go away.
It also doesn’t help that I’m aware of the fact that no one cares if I post or not. It’s not like more than 20 people will read what I write. It’s hard to get motivated to do something that no one cares about. Same goes for work. I could quit today and it wouldn’t matter to anyone. It would probably make a lot of people happy. I’m just a replaceable cog in a machine. I’m not sure cogs are every really motivated. They just work until they wear down and then they are replaced and thrown away.
Maybe tomorrow will be a better morning.
A post came up in my memories today where I talked about how to define myself now that my role as a dad has changed. I wrote that post when my son was heading to college and my daughter was starting high school. A lot has happened over those four years.
My son has now graduated from college and is starting his first real job this week.
My daughter leaves for her second year of college on Friday.
I accepted a new position at my place of work and moved to a new branch.
My mom died(and thus my role as son has ended)
That’s a lot in four years. The job and mom thing were just a month or so apart.
I still struggle with the thought of what defines me. I’m still dad, but I go weeks without seeing my kids. I go to work, I go home, I read or watch TV and then I start all over again. I still don’t want to be a person who is defined by my job, especially since I’m not sure anyone respects my job or my ability to do it. Also, I will no longer be doing this job in six years or so. I don’t want to be that person who struggles with retirement because my life has been defined by the work I do. So, the question is where do I go from here?
I’m not sure I can answer that. After all, the original post is from four years ago. I’ve had four years to consider this and I’ve done nothing. Maybe the “defining” thing is the problem. Do I really need to worry about that? Maybe it’s time to just think about doing more fun things after work. I already plan to see a movie on my Fridays off at least once a month for the next couple of months. I need to go ahead and buy that ticket to the concert in DC next month even though my wife won’t go with me. I need to get out and go to DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis. I need to take day trips to other places further away. There’s no reason to wait for retirement to start doing these things.
I guess it’s time to stop worrying about how present me is defined and start working on becoming the future, man of leisure, me.
I think I might be magic. Unfortunately, my magic is limited and I have issues with directing it.
We joke at work about figuring out a way to close early so we can go home. Earlier this summer I mentioned that the AC going out would be a good reason for us to gome home. Not long after that, another branch in the system closed because of AC issues. Last week, I mentioned that maybe all the storms in our area would knock out our power and we could go home. Less than an hour later, another branch in the system closed early due to a power outage. I started joking that I obviously had powers, but I was having trouble directing them to the proper place. I promised my coworkers I would work on channeling the magic to the correct location.
Yesterday I worked the 1-9 shift. While I was at home, I thought about how nice it would be to get a call that I didn’t have to go to work(I really need to retire). When I arrived at work I told my coworkers that I had worked on channeling my powers in the proper direction while I was at home. Not long after that there was an announcement on Facebook that the library close to my house(in a different system) was closing due to a power outage. It’s obvious that I am causing these outages. I just need to figure out how to use this power to benefit me.
Disclaimer: I really don’t believe I am magic.