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Work interferes, and an update on resolutions

January 24th, 2010

It’s been over a week since I wrote Updates, G-spots and Resolutions, so I figured I’d write some updates. In short, I’m not doing too good at keeping them, thanks to my neverending work days, but it hasn’t been a total loss.

I did get a chance to take some pictures of rayne, and I’m hoping to take some more of her today (before, during, and post being beat with the knotty cat). I’m not having much luck with the twice a week resolution, but it’s still an improvement.

My blogging resolution is doing much better. This will be my second post in the past couple of weeks, which is a huge improvement over my normal once a year posting.

Everything else is still suffering, except for consistency. Despite my constantly busy work schedule, I’m still working on keeping my relationship with rayne fairly consistent. I’ve had to put off some of what I’ve wanted to do (such as the beating with the cat that she’ll be getting today), but for the most part I’ve been consistent with my expectations of her.

Which really brings me to something I had rayne post about already, which is that I work so much.

The company I work for has gone through alot of changes. I’ve always been a hard worker, which set the bar high for me from the beginning. In some ways, I did this to myself.

I work for an ISP, and anyone who works for an ISP knows that it’s not a 9-5 job. I’m the primary network admin (and our network is large and complex) and the only unix admin (for nearly 60 servers). On top of that, I manage our Netapp SAN and our large Vmware cluster.  The problem with this is I work mostly with Windows people. They help out when they can, but most of my coworkers simply do not have the knowledge to manage most of these systems. Which means, when there’s a problem, it’s me that gets called.

Add to that weekly oncall, and the result are many days a week where I wake up at 6am, sit at my computer to start working, and the next thing I know it’s 8 or 9pm. One would think since I’m working from home so much that I would have more time with rayne, but it rarely works out that way. There are days I’m on the phone from morning until night with only a few minute break between calls. Oncall is horrible, especially for weekends. There’s no guarantee of getting any decent sleep, and the expectation is we’ll put in a full work day come morning. I’m sure the problems associated with this are obvious, and I’ve seen coworkers accidentally wipe out a server because they were responding to a page after getting no sleep. Not a good way to run things.

On one hand, I’m grateful to have a job at all. The unemployment rate in our area keeps rising, yet I’ve had a consistent job for over 13 years now. I’ve proven myself repeatedly and a few months ago I got a sizable raise. Starting over again at a new company would be soul crushing, so I’m not eager to start at baseline again. On the other hand, this has got to stop.

Other than the obvious (just always being busy), there are some other negative side effects to being “always on”, as far as work goes. My mind is almost always in work mode. What am I thinking about? Chances are it has something to do with work, whenever that question is asked. That leads to a general mental exhaustion, which finally leads to physical exhaustion. It’s hard to think, it’s hard to have the energy for scenes, or to enforce rayne’s training. The constant interruptions happen at the worst times, such as when dinner is ready, or when we finally get time to play a little.

Working from home contributes to that “always on” feeling. Lately I’ve been getting us off our computers as soon as I can break away from work so that there’s a clear transition between work and relaxing. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect answer to the problem, but it does seem to work. We’ll watch tv or whatnot and try to clear my mind.

And finally, I work with many people I consider friends. Management knows this and will use that knowledge to passive/aggressively force me into putting in even more hours. Who wants to screw over a friend, right?

So, what to do? At some point a decision has to be made between continuing on with this lifestyle or making drastic changes. I’ll admit, I’m one of those people that prefer the devil I know, versus the one that I don’t. I can be spontaneous, but drastic changes aren’t normally my thing, but this situation likely calls for something drastic.

In fact, I was promised several months ago that the company would be hiring someone to share the load of what I do. That didn’t happen. Someone was hired, but he was hired to replace my already competent supervisor. The new guy is great, but he has little technical knowledge, and is far away from being able to take over any of my duties.

A lot of people in the BDSM community will say to master someone else you need to first master yourself. I would agree, mostly, and say that how we handle other things in our lives, such as our jobs, really shines a light on the type of people we are. For me, my sense of responsibility says something positive about how dedicated I am to someone when I make a commitment. On the other hand, letting my job essentially run my life indicates a general lack of control, at least in that area of my life. Since I”m all about consistency, you can imagine how this drives me nuts. 🙂

So back to what I can do. I’ve thought about this quite a bit. Once upon a time, when I wasn’t working the crazy schedule I am now, I’d started to work up a customer base for consulting and remote administration work. Even in the few hours a month I dedicated to that, I’d made a lot of progress and met a number of people that needed ongoing work. The benefit here was that I made my own hours, set my own price, and completely managed my schedule. Unfortunately, since the economy took a downturn, it’s much more difficult to find work as a freelancer. Still, it’s an option.

Another option is to go back to school and perhaps change careers. I used to have a lot of fun learning new technology (and occasionally I still do), but most of the time these days it’s boring and monotonous. I guess that should tell me something right there. What I’d prefer to do is get proper schooling in Photography and do that professionally. This might actually be tougher than working freelance. Everyone has a digital camera these days, and it’s so hard to stand out and get noticed. Photography is what I’d consider my passion right now, even tho I don’t get many chances to get out with the camera.

At the end of the day, there has to be a balance. Providing for my family is important, and isn’t something I can merely shrug off. However, it can’t be allowed to chew up my entire life. I don’t want to turn 50 and look back and not know what I did for the past 20 years.

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  1. alwaysHistora
    January 24th, 2010 at 15:39 | #1

    You and my Owner must be twins separated at birth…He is just as “married” to His job as you are (but with less hours, thankfully). As the property standing by watching, it’s very hard to see the sense of responsibility and loyalty be abused by a company He’s so dedicated to.

    Good luck with your impending soul searching. It’s tough stuff.

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