Laid off: not the same as Out of Work

So as some folks grokked from a Twitter post I made on Monday, I was laid off this week[1]. This was (fortunately) not something entirely unexpected; I report directly to the director of human resources and, without getting into the details too much, I had as much warning as any sane person could realistically expect and then some. I parted on good terms, exiting (I hope) with a certain amount of dignity, and garnered myself (again, I hope) no small number of positive references, should I require them.

So… how’s it going?

This joke, it turns out, is not beneath me.
This joke, it turns out, is not beneath me.
The comment made on Monday night was that the Wednesday night tabletop game should be awesome, because I’d have a lot more time to prep.

Yeah… not so much.

I’m actually kinda busy.

See, at my “final meeting”, I was offered a contract job to complete some long-term projects that my now-former employer really needed to see finished, but which they couldn’t retain me as a regular employee to work on. I took that offer for a number of fiduciary reasons (and the simple fact that, as a card-carrying Compulsive, I wanted to see the projects completed as well). The effect is that I’m working from home, collecting a reasonable check every time I wrap up one of these ten projects and (perhaps best of all) continuing to enjoy the company’s excellent benefits until I’m done. It’s not as-good-as, but as weaning processes go I have a vanishingly small amount of space in which to complain.

But… yeah, I’m busy. I’ve got eight weeks to finish up these ten projects. Also, a website transplant (“bring my blogger blog into wordpress, so I can host it on my site, and make it look exactly like all these other pages I have on the site… which were all built professionally… with lots of tables”) for another author.

And, of course, looking for another regular dayjob, which in my experience is probably the hardest job I’ve ever done or will ever do.[2]

So all of those things combine to create a kind of weird situation where I should (theoretically) be footloose and fancy free, and I’m not.

I’ve been on the internet less

You’d think (or at least I would), that working from home would provide ample time for idle browsing, twittering, Google Readering, and so forth, but that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been so wrapped up in my own little maelstrom of crap that I didn’t even realize I hadn’t updated the blog until someone else mentioned it. Looking over my twitter page for the last four days is… illuminating. And quiet.

I need to fix that, but first I need to remember how to “do” this kind of work, which is different from other kinds of work. There’s a lot to do, and the gestalt is hard to fully grasp.

Plus, there’s all the Mass Effect 2 to play. I mean, c’MON.

How is Work Done?

Certainly my non-day-job of writing requires working from home, but that’s different — I do that when I get home — essentially I use my play-time on more, different, work. What I’m doing now is different, and I’m not sure I remember how I should go about it.

When does the work day start?

When does it end? (That’s a big one: I find the line between “I didn’t do enough today to avoid guilt.” and “I think I’m burning myself out on work.” to be one so fine as to be nigh-invisible.)

What I’m saying is that I had my patterns and rules of measurement that let me judge how well things were going in a given day, and all those measuring sticks have been cast aside – I need new ones.

Those of you (and I know there are more than a few) reading this from the comfort of a work-at-home situation, please: share your insight and suggestions in the comments. [4]

I need your pajama-clad wisdom.
I need your pajama-clad wisdom.

Once I get properly settled (or once the first project is wrapped up), I have thoughts to share on writing and the Mass Effect 2 pause button. [5]

1 – Me and about 100 other people. Yeah.

2 – Which isn’t to say I’m not good at it. I worked for several years as a contract-to-hire guy, leaving a string of pleased and better-educated customers in my wake, so I know how to get work.[3]

3 – But it wearies me.

4 – Those of you reading this from the comfort of your regular-work-place, feel free to recommend me the next time your company needs to hire someone in training and education.

5 – I also need to schedule a post to publish one year from now, apologizing for all the Mass Effect babble I spewed back in 2010.