The letting go, again

Like the dog, I’ve started taking morning naps. One of the things I’ll miss most about contracting is these times, taking walks with the dog during sun breaks or running errands on weekdays, staying on top of the laundry. I haven’t set my alarm in three years now (except for early morning flights), but the work has a way of waking you up, despite. Driving Lily to school…walking up the road with Charlotte…our goodbye routines when she gets on the bus. It’s time now to go back to an 8-5 work place, and I’m excited and sad at the same time.

I started contracting a year and a half ago, never thought I could really work from home. But I got a desk from IKEA and set it up in our bedroom, in the corner by the windows, and found I could do really good work through a mix of going into the office and working remote.

When I started working at Microsoft it was terrifying. I couldn’t understand anything anyone was saying; I tilted my head like our dog, pretending I did. “Pretend” goes a long way. I discovered that by being older somehow I was valued more, and that’s a narrow window of time to enjoy. I used my age, though at times I felt slower (most times).

When I interviewed for the new job the people interviewing me both said they’d read my blog, and I was glad and frightened by what they saw here. But like my hair stylist Donnie says, they’ve seen you naked, and now they see you for who you really are. And to be accepted or valued like that means a lot.

I used to view my work and creativity as two separate things, but I’ve worked hard over the past year to bring them together. Corporations need creativity — if you view creativity as connecting — and I still do my best work long-hand before prettying it up on PowerPoint.

I work odd hours and deliver whatever I need to, to keep my clients happy. But I take morning naps and afternoon walks and sometimes, Friday afternoons off. I’ll work Sunday mornings, or a few hours during the week before 9 AM. In a way it’s a more natural work rhythm, working when you feel inspired to work, or when you have to, based on the needs. I’ve enjoyed watching the seasons change vs. being confined to an office, and it’s possible I’ve done better work as a result.

What excited me most about the new job was the idea of working with young people out of college starting their careers in consulting. The firm needs help coaching and managing these people, and it will be hard, but rewarding. And I will be tired driving home in rush hour traffic, through Redmond.

I fit the eye pillow over my head and set my cell phone for a 30-minute nap, and fell back to the sound of our dog smacking her lips, to the laundry machine downstairs, the leaky shower head in the bathroom dripping into a bucket…the drip-drip sound that’s just like the days, it’s either a leaking or a falling away — or an accruing — depending on your point of view.




Categories: Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

33 replies

  1. Many congrats, Bill. A new job. You will be brilliant. Wishing you a fair following wind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How exciting! Good luck in your new job. That’s cool they read your blog and obviously liked what they saw – no surprise there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very smooth writing, starting with the opening line, which made me smile. Leaking/falling away/accruing, who knows, but always interesting & flowing beautifully. The only jolt to the pleasant feeling of reverie this induced, was the dog smacking his lips – when my dog did that, I’d jar, wake up, jump up, he was usually chewing on one of my favorite hats or a TV remote. Congrats on the new job, you’ll be an outstanding coach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We jump up like that when the car scratches the fabric, custom blinds. I actually like the sound of her smacking her lips which is odd, but comforting. Kind of an old man sound, from a female dog. Thank you for reading Robert, enjoy your weekend! Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Pretend” goes a long way. Story of my life.
    I liked this clear-eyed insight to where you’re at. It sounds like a good place, like the end of a season, all the plot points wrapped up and just enough of a cliffhanger.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. King of the quotidian. Almost sounds like your new job is professional mentor. Pretty cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for submitting your self-report for the three month probation period. We are very happy with your combination of skill and spark and hope to continue the association fruitfully. One small point, our payroll department totted up the hours based on your description above, and you will need to come in on the next three Sundays (starting Easter Sunday). Have a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Precisely. I realized yesterday I’ve done some kind of work every weekend now since early February, so I’m very glad to be taking this weekend “off.” Thank you for your submission, sir.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. An interesting flow of thoughts regarding your work and been working remotely since two years now, though we have a virtual office that I go twice or thrice a week, to move away a bit, meeting people and observing. I should write about the benefits of freelancing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. congrats on your new adventure, bill. it sounds like you suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’ at times, not feeling like we are really what we ‘pretend’ to be, and someone will find us out. also, sounds like you are coming to terms with that, and realize how you have earned it all and deserve to be where you are at any given time. no more, no less than anyone else. bravo –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that is a really insightful observation Beth, thank you. Especially the ‘impostor syndrome,’ I think you’re right. I’ll have to do some research in that, or get help! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to share such thoughtful remarks, I appreciate it. Bill


  9. The question would be; as those newbies are coming in, head tilted, trying to figure out what’s what, will you tell them that you’re doing that too, and that as a consultant every contract starts that way? All experience really means is you get better at faking it because you’ve got more props for the sleight of hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Its afterall adapting to your surrounding , just like a frog , you hibernate and come out and explore . I have seen very few Techies having this side to their personality !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the frog analogy! We have them starting to emerge here in the Pacific Northwest, for spring. Thanks for the note and funny, I don’t see myself as s techie but perhaps I should, as my line of work! Thanks for stopping by my friend. Bill


  11. Congrats, sir.

    Waking to an early alarm to catch a flight somewhere fills me with unspeakable joy.

    Your INTERVIEWERS read your blog?! The horrors and hazards of social media.

    We get college summer interns at the financial conglomerate I work for. They’re so funny. Fresh, enthusiastic, full of hope. Haven’t had a broken heart yet or the stuffing knocked out of them. Have only known academia. I don’t say anything negative to them. They’ll find out soon enough.


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