Today saw the completion of a 5-day training course for the day job, a crash course on the fundamentals of Mulesoft development delivered over the span of 32 hours. With this knowledge, I'll be able to begin helping out some of the core development team next year with a number of projects that might just solve a number of complicated problems that generally arise any time an organisation spreads its data across too many disparate systems. All in all, this is a good thing.
In order to make time for this training, I started to let people at the day job know weeks in advance that I'd be unavailable this week. First it was just casual mentions. Then it was statements during meetings. Then it was reminders at the end of emails. By the end of last week anyone who needed to know about my lack of availability knew and understood. Imagine my surprise when the inbox in Outlook remained quiet for most of Monday, followed by Tuesday, and finally Wednesday. Four emails in three days1. On Thursday a couple of schools reached out to ask for assistance, but nothing of extreme urgency. Despite the full days of sitting in a training session, this week has felt more like a holiday than most actual holidays. One evening, while out for a walk in the park, I even said as much to Nozomi.
The lack of anxiety and urgency felt really, really nice.
In yesterday's blog post, I made a bit of an admission:
The older I get, the less interested I become in spending my days in front of a computer to solve other people's problems.
Solving other people's problems is what many of us do to earn a living and there is something to be said for being capable of understanding a situation and providing a solution. It does get a little repetitive after a while, though, which is where I think some of my frustration and anxiety comes from. Being able to step back for a little while has given me the opportunity to reflect on what it is I do and how the work generally affects me. It's odd to think that I can feel stress despite all the good that has come about in the last couple of years as a direct result of the work I do. It's as though I'm so intently focused on the one or two negatives encountered each day that the 99 positive things are completely ignored. This is stupid. I know it. You know it. The whole world knows it. So why focus on it?
Earlier this week I decided — once again — to slow down and relax a bit more at home and with the day job. There will always be more to accomplish. There will always be unrealistic deadlines to meet. There will always be snarky messages from perpetually pessimistic people. What won't always be present is good health, family, personal time. I've grown tired of forfeiting the good to deal with other people's problems. Yes, I will continue to work towards all of my professional goals, but I'll be darned if I choose to deal with negativity outside of scheduled working time when I could be off the clock and teaching the boy how to properly throw a ball.
It's long past time I recognise that other people's problems need not become mine and that some issues are outside my purview. I want to enjoy this momentary calm in the storm that is everyday life.
This is four emails out of hundreds that were received and heavily filtered. The number of inbox rules I keep in Outlook is absurd, but it ensures that the stuff that hits the inbox is genuinely of value.