Yesterday, I finished what has been one of the most action-packed weeks of my recent career in preparation for a two-week vacation that will hopefully cure my stress levels, if only for a short time.
I've also taken myself off of the on-call rota for a while, if not indefinitely. It means a pay cut, but I think the tradeoff for a proper night's sleep is worth it.
How on-call works is that, one week in four, I have to be available 24/7, Friday to Friday, for any IT-related emergencies that might arise. Fair enough, you say, how many calls are you likely to get in a given period, and surely it's money for (practically) nothing?
There's that, of course, and I'd be lying if I said that being on call hasn't, in the past, provided me with a reason to avoid the occasional social event I might have felt uncomfortable attending. And in the earlier years, this was very much the case.
But now, as I've gotten older, I appreciate social contact and cherish my free time, so I've grown to resist anything that might interrupt my so-called life.
My health has also taken a hit, however, mostly from stress, something I don't deal well with (It's one thing being an interplanetary hero with powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary mortals, but when you have to hold down a day job and deal with politics and personalities as well...).And since when I'm on call I don't sleep much, well, something had to change.
I had a chat with Dave, my team leader, a while back - he noticed that I was having trougle dealing with something and wanted to make sure things were okay.we discussed what was going on, my health concerns and the stresses I felt I was under, and he said something to me that I hadn't considered:
"You put too much of yourself into your work, Bob."
Dave's a good guy; I've worked with him for nearly twenty years at this stage and consider him a friend, and value his opinion.
And maybe he's right.
I used to enjoy my work. Data backup and recovery might'nt sound the most interesting of subjects, but I think of it in terms of a logistics exercise; I have x amount of data to be written to y number of tapedrives in z hours. The schedule is ever-changing as clients are added or removed, and resources are limited, so it's a challenge; and I'd think nothing of staying back in the evening to finish something or going in for an hour or two at weekends. I still do, but not so much.
Storage administration is my secondary speciality, one I have less time than I would like to spend suitable time on.
But I do my best with it, and I'm good at what I do.
What I don't enjoy is work that I'm not good at, don't have training or background in, or being in a position where someone might have to depend on me to solve a problem in one of those areas, something that's happening on a more-frequent basis than before.
So I guess I've been internalizing a lot of frustration lately, because the cracks have been starting to show, and I may well have been headed for some sort of episode, which hopefully will not now be the case.
So I'm going to relax and chill, maybe blog a bit, see if I can't start to write that book I've been tallking about, that sort of thing.
Let's see how I get on...