Different Mountains of Work

I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the last week or so. I’m really good at giving myself misery. The funk mostly comes from the kind of work I’m having to do with my Day Job. It really has me down, which leads to me thinking all sorts of dark thoughts.

At the moment I’m dealing with the funk by sitting in a Starbucks with Michael Gallowglas. We’re both working on different writing projects. He’s writing in a notebook with different colored pens. I’m typing on a keyboard I made myself, filling in a post for a blog that I’ve been maintaining for over 10 years. From a certain perspective, our writing is a never-ending pile of work.

Unlike the Day Job tasks, when I look at all the writing I want to do, I don’t feel dread. I don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s the opposite, actually. I look forward to the writing. I’m glad I have so many writing projects in front of me, and I look forward to those times when I have the energy and time to invest.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day moving things around in my garage. It’s labor that I’ve needed to do for some time, but I kept putting it off. I still have more to do, and sneaking off to Starbucks is a way for me to put it off further. There is a lot of work to do, but at some point yesterday, I stopped dreading it so much. I started to see the benefits of having a clean space in the garage, with things put in their right place. There is value in getting everything in order out there, because it also means I’ll get to work on keyboards again.

Looking back at my Day Job, things there have changed in such a way that there is always a mountain of work in front of me. It is overwhelming and discouraging, and I’m starting to hate my job. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep going like this, and I’ve been there long enough that I’m afraid that anywhere else I go will be just as bad or worse. Furthermore, I don’t think I’m as good a programmer as I was five or ten years ago. I’m still extremely valuable to my current employer, even though the work has changed to something I cannot stand.

It would be really nice if I could make writing my day job.

I’m not afraid to work hard. I look forward to it. I just want it to be work that I believe in, and that fulfills me. We should all be striving for that. In a perfect world, all of our basic needs are taken care of, leaving us to pursue our passions so that we can make the world an even better place through our art and the things we love. Maybe that isn’t a perfect world as much as a fantastical one, but it’s still worth pursuing.

There is a difference between work that is put on our shoulders versus the work that we pick up ourselves. I’m looking forward to getting home and getting the rest of my workspace in order so that I can work on a keyboard that I intend on giving away at the Writing Excuses Retreat at the beginning of September. There is a lot of effort between here and a finished product, but that effort will satisfy me and leave me feeling fulfilled.

And even some unexpected work can be a treat if it’s the right kind of work. To bring this full circle, the keyboard that I’m using right now needs work. I accidentally left it in the car for the last week, and the Sacramento sun did some very unfortunate reshaping of the thing. It’s still full functional, but the case is cracked and warped. It looks like ass. I discovered it in this state a few minutes ago, and what I see is an opportunity to reprint it, rebuild it, and make it shiny and new again. It’s a lot of work that I didn’t expect, but I kind of love it, all the same.