After a year of absolutely lovely weather in South-East England (Poki, I don’t care what you feel obliged to say about English summers, 2009 was lovely ;P ) January was just dismal. Grey, bleak, dark, all those English weather cliches you hear about so much. I think we had 4 days that were not oppressively overcast. Blerch!
So, that’s my major excuse for lack of blogging here during January. Mild depression and introspectiveness caused by the weather. I didn’t have the energy to get my thoughts onto the page. Also, Jed gets SAD, so a lot of my January was spent gently bolstering him and picking up some slack in day to day life so he could take the time he needed for naps. (NB: this is not to imply he wasn’t pulling his weight, just that we all fluctuate with the seasons, and perhaps acknowledging this more often would lead to a less broken society).
The dismal weather was coupled with the 9 month homesickness jag. Or maybe the first winter homesickness jag.Whichever way reaching out to others was a bit tough for the last month.
However, while all this was happening there was also stirrings in other areas, indicating what the year ahead would be like. The soil in which my new life has been planted has been warming up, shoots are starting to poke through the soil, buds are unfurling, and all other aspects of that metaphor that are appropriate. To whit:
Work has been busy and mostly fulfilling. I’m running the implementation of a restructure for one of the services in the Council, which means my strengths are actually (finally!) being used. At least, they are for 2 days a week, since that’s all the time I am allowed to bill to this project. This is rather frustrating, not least because this service asked for full-time support and needs full-time support. My team is under-staffed and playing political games so this service didn’t get the support it needed.
I’ve been seriously thinking about my future, what I do well, what I excel at and enjoy. All sorts of ideas are cropping up, realigning my assumption that life was going to take me through a traditional hierarchical career path. Perhaps I am more suited to project based consultancy type work. Go in, fix a problem, then move on. I get rather bored once it’s all routine. Then combine this with ideas I have for a content-based online ittybiz for some other income. A more fluid life.
Combining the two ideas, next week I am going to see if the service wants to hire me full-time. I’m still on an ongoing monthly contract with my current team, so there’s no compunction to stay there. There may be internal politics, i.e. a feeling that my manager’s manager has to be asked if he can spare me. Which is unfortunate, since he is likely to say no, as they need me. They don’t, they could find someone else to rewrite strategies for them at the drop of a hat. Finding someone who can walk into a service and gently, respectfully guide them through a restructure is much more difficult to find.
Also, I’m a bit grumpy about this, as the entire bargain of having a contractor on site is that you can fire them when it’s expedient, but they are also likely to leave if a better offer comes along. I tend to have a very particular idea of the employment bargain: it’s two sided and I get a say in what sort of work I do, or I’ll find something else. I’m aware of my assets enough to not settle, and certainly not because one director holds more of a sway then another one does. We’ll see how this one pans out.
Talking futures, we’ve been plotting Jed’s future as well. Trumpet flare: He now has his paintings available for sale on line via a print-on-demand site. Go look! They’re fantastic, I’m so proud. Order something if it suits you, or forward to someone else who might like to look.
I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of months skilling up in online marketing and small business administration to support him in this endeavour. It will make him so much happier to be able to do this, and I have those skills already, generally contracted out to someone else. What better use of them is there than to support my love. Complementary aspects.
Last night we registered a URL for him. Today I will be doing the initial install and build of the site. Later next week (maybe) we’ll launch it. Very exciting!
Despite the SAD, I’ve watched him blossom and change in the last month, as he’s had permission (and given himself that permission) to paint, to create, to put his work out into the world and get good feedback.
My 2010 kicks off on Chinese New Year – next weekend. Stayed tuned for what this might look like. In short, brighter and better than 2009. Thankfully!