My novel number
It is error
– The latest #spampoetry
Toward the end of July, I had a work week with three 24 hour days in it. It’s not like I’m not predisposed to insomnia anyway and haven’t worked those kind of hours before1,2, but this time was different, because I’d promised I wouldn’t do that anymore, and it took me to the end of that third day to realize that I hadn’t even felt a pang of self-preservation. Nope. None. There was work to do that needed to be done, and I was there to do it, and…
It was ridiculous. I wasn’t saving lives or putting out fires or keeping the streets safe or trying to make the world a better place through sweat, patience or holding the line against the darkness. At best, I was helping get people into jobs, or keep the ones they had.
At worst? Well. For a while, my work hours had been compressing my life to the edges of the day: I was staying up late to get homework done, or getting up very early to handle household chores and basic self-care3. It was manageable. For a while. Then my work started eating those hours, too, and the hours I’d ordinarily spend sleeping.
Which was insane, but I didn’t really notice it until @bhoneydew drew my attention to it. I went huh, he’s right, and around then was when I promised I wouldn’t work any 24 hour days unless it was necessary.
Like I said earlier, I wasn’t doing anything strictly necessary.
So, I gave my two weeks’ notice. I did consider negotiating an hours cap for my role, but the nature of the business made that impractical: sales and business development waits for no one, even sanity.
I quit. I’m back in school. I have an unexpected opportunity to get some hands-on experience with big data, which is something I honestly enjoy working with — in a purposeful manner, not just because I stumbled into it years ago.
I do stay up late sometimes, but it’s no later than 2:00 am, and it’s because I’m working on homework or something like this blog post. I sleep well when I go, and I remember my dreams when I wake up. Food tastes like food again.
I think this will work. We’ll see, won’t we? Who knows, I might even finish that sweater this year.
1I was on call during a lot of days while I worked the graveyard shift for Altavista during 99-2000, and overall so sleep-deprived that when I got the phone call inviting me to come interview for Lucent, it took me three days to realize that I hadn’t talked to someone from Genentech. I’ve been told my in-person interview at Lucent (this at three in the afternoon after I’d worked double shifts for a week straight while also planning a wedding) was hilarious: I was clearly asleep, but able to answer every question I was asked. I don’t remember more than pieces of that day: the dull grey carpet, the rectangle of sunlight on the conference room table and the white and green hedges out in front of the building that smelled like Ivory soap and gardenia.
2Other than a brief glorious period of three long naps a day, the Monster barely slept until he was seven. Ergo, I barely slept until he was seven.
3Ironically, I took better care of myself when I was traveling. Being forced to be out of the house meant I showered every day, instead of just the days when I was able to make it to the gym. I tried very hard not to give up on that, even during periods when scheduling became a nightmare. I don’t eat when I’m stressed. Going to the gym forced me to eat even when everything tasted like sawdust.