First, let me tell you about yesterday. I got up at 3:00, because I was awake, so I was able to get four blogs updated by 7:00 a.m. when #2 daughter came onto my buddy list. It’s like shift work. Normally, my local Computer Guy is on the list when I go to bed. Occasionally he’s still there when I get up in the morning, but usually I’m the first, and I answer all the emails from the late shift, and then #2 daughter comes on, and then the Computer Guy, and then the responses to emails start coming in, from the east coast first and then the west coast. By the time I’m supposed to leave for the gym, I have dealt with all the computer guys’ correspondence, and when I get back I can start on the Dark Art.
Yesterday I didn’t go to the gym, because I was meeting with a prospective client.
Having slunk into being a computer guy by easy stages, I’ve had opportunities to learn things. My local Computer Guy showed me the light on client education. My big client introduced me to quantification of data — not on a normal business or research level, since I already did that, but on a really fear-inspiring geeky level.
I attempted to thank him for that when we chatted yesterday (after email discussion of doing so, natch). “I was sort of a holistic linkbuilder,” I said. “Now I really have a much better idea about focused reporting.”
No doubt he was thinking that if that is my idea of focused reporting, I’m more pitiable than he thought. However, he was locking and loading his numbers in preparation for a family vacation, and he actually laughed. Happily.
Anyway, I made a very nice bulleted report for my prospective client, and explained it to her in a clear and non-patronizing way, and let her know that the report was hers for free. “These are the things that I would do if it were my site,” I said. “You can do these things yourself, or you can hire me to do them.”
It was very satisfying to see that the information I had given her had been new to her, and useful. I was also gratified to see that she was, by the end of the conversation, trying to figure out how to fit me into her budget. I think that this approach will probably work well. I enjoyed it, and I felt good about it. It didn’t take any longer than a job interview.
On my drive home, I considered how I would feel about the marketing job I’ve been interviewing for at such length. I don’t think I’d feel as good about it.
I scarfed down some partially reheated pasta and a candy bar while I had a little three-way email exchange about 302 redirects, and I’d love to hear your views on them if you have any, and then got on the phone with my big client and swapped some numbers.
He has a proposal for his board when he gets back from his vacation, and I’m in it, and he hopes I’ll save him some space in my calendar. I’ll be having a couple of weeks off from his company, but I may have a new contract before September.
I went on to the day’s linkbuilding with a light heart. My husband came home and cooked dinner as I finished it up, and then I did the laundry and tidied the linen closet and had a few bites of dinner and fell asleep.
Of course I woke up pretty quickly. My house is never quiet enough for lengthy naps. #1 son came home with a friend and they played the ukelele for a bit while packing up for a camping trip, so I snatched up my Stephanie Plum novel and pretended that I hadn’t been napping.
And that was when I got to thinking that I needed a new role model. I really enjoy being a computer guy. I greatly enjoy the work I’m doing. I like the variety of it. I like the other computer guys, I like being able to open a new world of possibilities to local artisans and helping professionals, I like being able to work at 3:00 a.m. and go to the gym or walk around the lake whenever I feel like it.
I don’t like being sleep-deprived and eating like a college student and usually not getting to the gym. (It has to be remembered that I have been living that way during Back to School, which is currently upon us, for some years, but I don’t think that my current schedule has to do with Back to School. I think it might be permanent.)
Stephanie Plum has a colleague who is a computer guy — in addition, I mean, to being a dangerous action hero — and he has a zen approach to life, all healthy food and regular exercise and sleekly clean spaces. He also has minions, but still. Maybe I could be one of those computer guys.
Or I could be a computer guy by day, and then turn, at some prearranged time, into a mild-mannered mom who bakes and cleans the linen cupboard without falling into exhausted sleep on the sofa.
I’ve installed Toggl. I think that might help.
This really isn’t about wanting to work less, I don’t think. This week, I had a job interview, and the prospective client meeting, and the store-minding, which was an extra 14 hours on top, but normally I have about 30 hours of paid work, plus the extra projects or learning experiences that arise, so I’m really not working more than I did as a salaried person.
I just want to work in a more civilized fashion.
So today I’m going to clean my kitchen thoroughly, clean the rest of the house less thoroughly, get rid of the leftover takeaway food and slimy produce and restock with proper food such as a zen computer guy might have, and do some sewing.
Once all that is done, #2 son ought to be home. #1 daughter is picking him up on her way home from a long visit with friends in the capitol. I’m going to make something nice for dinner, and a peach pie. Then I’m guessing there’ll be laundry to do. He’s been gone for six weeks. It’ll be great to have him back.