Thursday, May 20, 2010

Between jobs

I left Alphawest on Tuesday, and I must say it was a wrench. It's the first time I have ever left a job that I really didn't want to leave. On almost all previous occasions I have left my old job because I could not stand it any more: either the work or the management was driving me to distraction, usually both. A couple of moves have simply been about money, but usually I've moved to avoid impossible workloads and delusional managers. Leaving a job where the work was fine and where I liked and respected my boss is a first. However, as stated previously, I'm not prepared to spend hours in commute time, and I know that many of my former colleagues feel the same. So it was not so much a case of leaving the team as of getting out before the rush for the exits starts.

I usually don't get much of a break between jobs - sometime no more than a weekend - but this time I got three whole days. I intended to use the time to square away some domestic matters, so that I have a fairly clear first month, with the minimum of external interruptions. However, the people making my bedroom furniture are running about 3 weeks behind schedule, due to some problem with getting wood of the correct type and quality. And the people making shutters for my kitchen hatchway have had some sort of accident with a glass panel during the glass toughening process, and they are having to remake the panel. I am guessing that both parties will declare themselves "ready" next week, when I am too busy to deal with them.

And I'm looking forward to starting work, because the eerie quiet of "not working" unsettles me. The first time that I really noticed this effect was when I left Sun Professional Services in 2005. I quit, and suddenly the torrent of email that I dealt with normally dried to a trickle. Instead of opening my inbox every morning to see 50 or 60 new messages, 75% of which were important enough to require a response, I'd open my inbox to see 5 or 6 messages, of which perhaps 1 would merit attention. It was the sense of connectedness that I missed, and I was surprised at just how much I missed it. No other job has ever produced quite that volume of email for me, probably because Sun is the only major multinational that I have worked for since email became really commonplace. If you work for a company which really has a global presence, someone, somewhere, is likely to be generating work for you 24 hours a day.

What I am missing this time is the constant ping and buzz of my iPhone. This is the first job where I have had a smart phone connected to the company email system, bringing the background noise of email and meeting invitation sound effects to my side all day long. When I deleted my Exchange account from my iPhone, things went quiet. It feels strange.

I've synced the iPhone to TestLogistics' Google Apps mail and calendar, but until I start on Monday, there is not going to be much traffic. Most of the email that I am getting at the moment is either routine vendor spam, or from recruiters who don't realise that it is too late to offer me yet another "unique position".

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