This last week, I began a new job in a Technical Services department (the part of the library/library system that handles new or problem materials). In some ways, this is the end of my “freelance life.” (But not really, because I plan to continue blogging and consulting, since both are fun.) It’s a 40-hour a week job, but I’m happy about it because it’s a job doing something I want to do and plenty of it.
I’m essentially sure that I found the right job.
The work itself is something I think I can get very good at. I’m still learning, but I’ve got most of the basics down at the end of the first week. There’s always going to be room to grow, but I should be able to achieve fair competency within a month.
Even better, I get absorbed in my work. I bring an iPod and listen to music some of the time, but between that and the work I’m completely involved. I don’t spend my time wishing 5pm would come sooner. Sometimes I end up experiencing “flow,” a zen-like state
The workload should be enough to keep me quite busy without being completely overwhelming. One of the things I hated most about my last full-time job was that there was about 20 hours of actual work mixed in with 20 hours of sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring or something to happen.
Here, on the other hand, I should have something to do almost all of the time. And because my function is pretty critical to the library
At the interview, I got a good vibe from the people who would be my supervisors. And afterwards, I got a chance to walk through the department and meet the people I’d be working with on a daily basis. I thought my desk/cubicle was well-situated and that the whole environment seemed pleasant.
I was right.
There’s no such thing as a perfect workplace or coworker, so I don’t expect complete harmony. But judging from my own interactions and from watching everyone interact with each other, this will be a pleasant work environment. I’m even getting to know people outside my immediate department and so far most seem nice.
Benefits and Intangibles
The benefits are pretty good for a library position. The health plan is excellent and if I stay long enough, I’ll get some excellent retirement account matching (2 years until vesting, but the vesting is excellent).
And then there are a number of intangibles, such as having set hours on and off (so I can let myself enjoy my free time, which I had trouble doing before) and having absorbing/challenging/pleasant work (which has really improved my mood, even though I’ve also been quite tired from all the learning).
I plan to keep up with this blog and keep up with the consulting (scaling back on that, as I have time). Right now, my brain is a bit overloaded from all the things I’ve learned, so I don’t have as much energy and inspiration to post. I intend to write at least 3 posts during the workweek and 1 on the weekend. By mid-January, I’ll have figured out whether this is a good schedule or I can increase posting frequency.
Because the salary from this job should cover our living expenses, we’re going to be doing some massive snowflaking of blog/consulting/Micah’s income towards our car. I’ll write more about that once I get a game plan. I’m waiting for my first two paychecks (since health insurance won’t come out until January) to get my exact take-home amount. Then we’ll plan from that.
These last twelve months have been amazing and crazy and wonderful (and crazy). I went from a job I truly disliked, to a strange schedule of freelancing and part-time work, to discovering where I want to go in my career, to making that happen, to finally taking the first step.
Looking back, I don’t regret any of it. Coming to this job straight out of college would have been smoother, but I would have missed out on a million lessons about myself, life, and work. I wouldn’t have met people I’m now friends with, I wouldn’t have developed some skills, I wouldn’t be the me I am today. And I rather like that me.