For the last fifteen years, I’ve worked as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for a software company with a major government client. I utilize my education and my background experience to demonstrate to the client how our products can improve their own data management processes, written procedures, and their overall data quality.
The job sounds both exciting and boring, and yes, there seems to be equal measures of both most of the time. I am constantly learning new systems and how we can integrate them into the infrastructure we have already constructed. This proves challenging because I can’t control how any external system creates and maintains its own data. The external company is solely responsible for those processes unless we can negotiate a written agreement on how to share data in formats which each separate system can process correctly.
There are times when I wish that I could try to market our products to other data producers, but that job is not in my career path. I exist in that nebulous world between client and software developers. I normally receive high praise from the client who sees what I can show with their data, while at the same time, the software developers in the same company i work for seem to view my inputs less favorably. I attribute this to the software developers mindset that they think they know best what everyone wants. They also seem to have forgotten to approach any data management system from a client point of view.
So, my job is interesting and often full of surprises. I wouldn’t still be doing it after fifteen years if I hated it, but there are some days that are worse than others, as with any job.
There are days when I just want to crawl back into bed and forget the world even exists. Today is one of those days, my outlook changed quickly after starting work this morning. The sunshine in my mind was replaced by gray gloom and a feeling of blah.
Actually, I know that this really started late yesterday right as I was trying to sign off from work for the day. My supervisor called me from California, where it is three hours earlier, and wanted me to take care of something “right away”. I know the ton in her voice so I had to stop my own plans for after work and start working on what she wanted. The part that pissed me off as I did the work was that at no point did she apologize for keeping me late, nor did she offer me come comp time on Friday to make up for the hassle. Things like that really piss me off, and unfortunately, I let it get to me. The results of the effort from yesterday were good, but there was no mention of my efforts. This set me into the downward spiral since I was already battling a headache this morning. Don’t panic might have worked well for Arthur Dent, but right now it isn’t doing me any good.
The first day back at work after any time off is always rough. After being off work since the last day of March, I am seriously dragging ass this afternoon, and I’m really looking forward to bedtime tonight. Of course, there are some things that have to be done after work such as a trip to the Post Office and the grocery store for picking up deliveries and getting necessities. Thankfully, none of these tasks is overwhelming, but I would like to have it all done as soon as possible.
At least almost everything is done here. There are one or two boxes still lurking that need to be unpacked, but they aren’t a necessity or an emergency, and they won’t be anytime soon. The new secretary-style desk is working out great for me. It fits into the bedroom at the perfect place and saves space for other things. Eventually, I will have my amps and guitars out to resume practicing. Those things will happen over time.
I’m done for now. I will finish up the day and get some rest tonight.
Apologies to everyone for not writing yesterday. I had a migraine that lurked right behind my eyeballs all day long at work. It never morphed into the full-blown migraine, but that didn’t make me feel lucky at all. I managed to make it through the day at work and then I made some spaghetti in the Instant Pot for dinner. I’m glad to report that dinner turned out delicious, and after a quick clean-up I went to bed after a shower.
I slept most of the night and my blood glucose stayed in range. I woke up this morning with only the slightest tingling sensation in my head, a good sign that things will be better today. The biggest obstacle today will be making the adjustment to everyone else who is working from home. I wrote the other day with some tips on how to be successful at working from home. I never expected any of the coworkers to read that, and they haven’t. Now I am throwing up my hands and declaring that my Thursday meeting will not happen due to everyone having issues. I will send out my presentation and instruct everyone to comment back if they have questions or see any problems. That should solve the issue for this week. I hope that things calm down soon. The uproar is affecting other people so much more than myself, I hope that their coping skills are up to the challenge.
Today I learned that I am able to help others who are suddenly having to telework due to the current situation with Coronavirus. I began working from home about 6 years ago and have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do in order to stay productive. I decided that it would be a good idea to post a few of the main lessons I learned through the years.
Always keep the same hours that you worked in the office. The temptation to “flex” your work time can be irresistible, but you have to maintain discipline and stick to a routine if you want to be successful at working from home.
Never work in sleep clothes or PJs. Even if you have no conference calls to attend, and even if those calls have no video functions, always get yourself up and take a shower and put some regular work clothes on. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be a suit and tie, but at least give everyone the impression that you care while you work from home.
Find a quiet location where you won’t be disturbed often during the day. Distractions are common at home, and we respond to them without thinking. Isolate yourself, especially in the beginning so you can learn to ignore the things that aren’t critical. Remember that if you can work from home successfully, you might have the opportunity to do more of it in the future.
Remember that working from home is not for everyone. If you cannot stay focused, tell your boss as soon as possible rather than just sit and get nothing done until the boss realizes you aren’t producing. That never ends well.
Keep family and pets at a safe distance while you work.
Take mini-breaks throughout the day to keep your mind fresh and focused.
Make a plan of what you want to get done each day and then try to reach those goals.
Answer your phone professionally, remember that you are still at work.
Make time for conference calls. The interaction will help you to break the monotony and maintain contact with your coworkers.
Enjoy lunch at home.
I hope that anyone thrust into teleworking without time to prepare finds some of these hints to be helpful.