The Phil Wells Dot Com

I Got A Big Mouth

Tag: work

“Me First” March


This month is about taking back some time for myself.  January and February were relentlessly full of day-job work, which is to be expected.  It’s a high-pressure deadline-driven job and I expect to be challenged by it.  But I was beginning to feel stressed.  I was neglecting myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.  But I also love writing and learning new things independently.  I love doing creative things and making people smile with my art.  I was getting no time for any of that.  I wasn’t exercising.

That’s changing this month.  This is “Me First” March.  Since February 28 I’ve exercised every day and done an hour of homework every day.  Well, yesterday I rested my body and just did two hours of homework, but I’m still counting it.

What kind of homework is it?  Well, it’s either learning something new about MySQL, studying for the ITIL v3 Foundation Certification exam, playing bass guitar for an hour, or writing creatively for a solid hour.  On top of all that, Lent is around the corner and I’ll be giving up drinking until vacation time in April.  I’m also staying away from fried foods, added sugars, and white starches.

More than anything I think the act of stealing back an hour or two every day for myself has rebooted the part of my brain that was just going through the motions with work stuff.  I get into the office now and I budget my hours more effectively.  And, more importantly, I leave the office now and feel like I’ve left the work that needs to be done back at my desk.  I’m not carrying it around like I used to.  Life goes on even if I’m not thinking about what forms I’ll need to fill out first thing tomorrow and who I’m going to have to interview before next week.  I feel refreshed.

I’ve been asked by friends what they can do to help. Don’t let me malinger about going to the gym.  And if I’m doing homework, leave me alone for an hour.  Just make sure I’m having fun.  If I seem stressed get me to say something funny.  The good news is I feel less stressed already.  I feel empowered.  I feel like I’ve taken part of my life back.  Maybe I’ll extend this into April.

I Could Never Do That

People find out that I’m writing a book and that’s what they say: “I could never do that.” They say this and they mean, what? “I could never work on a single thing for 200 hours or so?” I’m not buying it. Everyone who says this to me has something they’ve committed several hundred hours to. Work, school, improv, acting, poker, exercise, television fandom; these things are all hour-hungry activities and they all, to whatever extent, return on the investment that you put in. Your level of ability in poker is your book. Your flat abs are your book. Your paycheck is your book. You do it every day. If you don’t have anything in your life that you’ve chosen to dedicate hours and hours to, then go find it.

Product is the excrement of action. I have a book because I fill my hours with writing.

Just A Cog

I think my problem with office work is its tendency to blur a guy’s sense of what he does every day for a living. Receptionists also fix broken phones. Call center phone monkeys become team leaders. Waiters wash dishes occasionally. Managers do everything the members of their teams do.

I’m much happier being in a defined role. I’d prefer to be a valuable resource with a skill than to be the guy tracking down all the skilled people I need to get something done. I am no manager. But I’m a great resource.

I feel like the best managers realize the difference. Growth does not always mean a promotion to a better office. Sometimes growth is just honing what talents and skills are already there. If I’m given room to really learn how my role works, that’s when I shine. At the end of the day I don’t need my name at the top of a successful project, because at the end of the day I’d rather not think about work projects. Let me come in, excel, and forget about it. That’s my forte. My niche.

There’s no shame in doing good work for a great big office-type employer. Good work is good work.