Oops, I Did It Again: Quit My Job

December 25, 2007 at 9:45 am | Posted in Career | 4 Comments
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On the last possible day of my probation period, I kissed my new employer good-bye. The team was nice, the office beautiful – but my tasks all too quickly became that of a secretary. Writing letters in duplicate and triplicate, translating them into English, even prewriting banal five-line emails and mailing the text to my boss (the time it consumed for him to call me into his office, print out the email he had received and tell me what to write would have been more than sufficient for him to write the response himself). I don’t mind writing invitations and sending them out to key note speakers – for as long as I get to invite them (pp is fine with me). But I certainly didn’t get a master’s degree and accumulate five years of full time work experience to prewrite letters that others are going to use. To be more precisely: I am not prepared to spend 2,5 hours on trains a day if the work I am paid for is that of a secretary’s.

So once I again I am unemployed – and scheming to become self-employed. I am beginning to think that this is the only form of employment where I don’t get the feeling that I am slaving for someone else’s benefit more than mine…

A Long Commute: Upside and Downside

December 14, 2007 at 10:44 am | Posted in Career, Work | 1 Comment
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I started on my new job the last week of November, and am pretty happy with it. What continues to be a downside, however, is the long commute: This and last week, I got up at 5:40 am to get on the 6:51 train (I need to have enough time to drink my litre of Earl Grey in the morning, so 6:15 won’t do for me). I arrive at my destination at 8:01am and try to sleep on the train, but that doesn’t always work out (Don’t blame it one the tea though; I surely noticed that my Christmas Green Tea kept me awake on the train, but I allow my morning Earl Grey to steep for five minutes – that is supposedly giving it a soothing effect). On the night train, however, I can sleep like a baby – unless I have to engage in conversation with colleagues on the train, which of course can be nice, but I am so addicted to sleep…

At least I don’t have to commute by car which would be quite a pain in the butt as you can neither read nor sleep behind the wheel. Unless the urge for sleep overwhelms you, one can use a good hour on the train for many useful things:

_catch up on your reading (most important point!)
_take your lappy with you and work on the train
_prepare yourself for meetings during the day
_make a few early-bird phone calls in particular to doctors and agencies
_knit, crochet or take care of other urgent needlework

So commuting isn’t all bad. And the one peculiar advantage of my present situation is that there is a COMPLETE SPLIT between work and home. Where I lived before, it was a 15 minutes walk to my office, and it happened regularly that I went in late at night or worked long hours. I don’t have this flexibility now anymore, and need to be more disciplined in terms of how swiftly I take care of things. But as soon as I get on the train home, I am leaving work behind. Not a bad thing!

The best of all commutes, however is telework! In the future, I might inofficially be able to telecommute at least one day a week. Then I’ll paste this sticker on my lappy:
I don't commute, I compute

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