The end of 2015 brought a turnaround for me. Two wonderful things happened: I returned to editing work, which I love, and I began working from home, which took a bit of getting used to.
Previously, working from home has meant working on my own writing. I have my laptop, desk, printer and comfortable chair at the ready. And on my days off, I can happily spend from four to six hours seated at my desk, writing or editing fiction.
In October, I bought a second desk and set it up next to my writing desk. My new employer sent me a laptop, monitor and other accessories. Then a steady stream of documents, books and reports began to fill my inbox. Suddenly my working days and days off started to look very similar. Rise, dress, make breakfast and sit at one of two desks. Stare at a computer screen and immerse myself in another world. My own fictional world or the non-fiction realm of museums and archives.
I had to figure out how to make working at home, practically seven days a week, not only possible but enjoyable.
The first hurdle was that my work days are longer. Almost nine hours in front of a computer. I bought a desk where I can sit or stand, which has been a back-saver. I have a lovely view out my patio doors of a green park, which only turned greener over the winter in Victoria, and I take small mental breaks to regard the outside world. But the biggest sanity boost came from securing walking partners, a workout buddy and coffee mates to ensure I take a physical and social break every single day.
We can take the social side of work for granted. Our colleagues not only help us with the workload, they also lighten the mental load by providing an ear, an interesting story or a different perspective. Granted, all of that can come with its fair share of difficult personalities, discord and occasional back-stabbing.
I do not miss office politics or working in a cubicle farm. Being able to hold a private phone conversation and avoiding all the drama has been a boon. My productivity shot up to over 90%. My supervisors were awestruck by the amount of work I could accomplish.
So awestruck that in January they asked me to move to Ottawa and work in the office with them permanently.
Their offer gave rise to mixed emotions. I truly enjoy the work and have been very happy with my supervisors. In fact, everyone I've met either in person during my visit to the office or over the phone has been lovely. So yes, I definitely want to keep working with them.
But it didn't take too much reflection to realize that I had to turn down the offer. It wasn't just the move to Ottawa, but the return to working in an office in another cubicle farm.
Although it had taken me perhaps a month to really settle into working from home, once I figured out how to make it work, I wanted -- no, needed -- to keep doing it.
I'm hoping we can find a way to keep the telework agreement beyond the one-year contract because my editing life has been good to me so far. My health is better, and I completed my book of linked short stories. So in fact, three wonderful things happened at the end of 2015.
Here's hoping my successful editing life continues throughout 2016 and beyond!
A writer's journey