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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Work/Life Balance

As good as everything is at the moment, it would be ideal if I had more time for myself during the week.

I appreciate that people in other vocations sometimes have longer hours, but 9am to 6pm was a bit of a surprise when I started working at Lovespace - I hadn't asked about the hours during interview, it was kind of irrelevant - but they are the longest working hours that I have ever known.

Add on the journey to and from work, which is normally around 1 hour 15 each way - but can easily be more depending on tube trains and Tottenham Hotspurs.

I used to moan when I got home at 6:45pm when I worked in Bracknell and lived in Reading.  Ahhh.

Nowadays from when I get up and start getting ready for work, until when I get home, is close to a 13 hour day.  Don't get me wrong, other people do more, but this is the longest working day that I have ever known.  And then there are the extras like occasionally doing the customer service chat in the evening, sometimes being on Skype in the evening, being available in case something goes wrong with the website and I need to urgently fix it.  It isn't just a 40 hour week.  It feels like a 70 hour week - sometimes the tube journey can be a trauma that feels like a day's work in itself.

I am more used to it now - not completely but at least somewhat.  I struggled at first - partly also due to finding the work difficult - using my brain to code is such a change from not having to use my brain to argue with people that haven't paid their bills.  I think part of the reason that I have put on so much weight is down to being so tired from the long days - and eating more crap, drinking Red Bull, etc (I hear you saying "do more exercise" - but I don't have time - though I probably wouldn't if I did).

Still, I would like more time in my life.  2 hours in the evening to do everything I want to do simply is not enough - eating, cleaning, washing, ironing, blogging, etc.  And I don't function on less than 8 hours sleep so that cannot be negotiated.

Changing jobs is a non-starter.  This is perfect for someone at my level, I do a good job and normally meet fairly high expectations.  I have so much to learn and can do it here.  There is no guarantee that I'd work less hours at other jobs - in fact, one job that I interviewed for and came close to getting involved working well into the evening, apparently.  I could try to get a job nearer where I live...but nah.  I like being in central London.

Other jobs could involve working from home, I guess, but I'm not convinced that is a good enough reason to leave a near-perfect job.  I can work home from currently, occasionally, but anything regular isn't going to happen.  Having a cleaner would help give me more time on a weekend, but I cannot afford one.

The other reason I don't have so much time, of course, is my location.  I could move house.  I don't want to.  I have fairly cheap rent but most importantly, I live by myself.  I live by myself - I have a whole house to myself by some fluke.  Is this worth sacrificing for a shorter commute?

And this is really not helped by the fucking Metropolitan line which has been a disaster since October.  So many complete service failures - I'm delayed by 20+ minutes several times each week (more often in the morning than evening), I had to give up trying to get to work twice a couple of weeks back.  Timing my journey for when there are no signal failures is some form of lottery.

Anyway, moving house is the only real answer to improving my work/life balance.  But I hate moving house and like living on my own.  Moving house in itself takes up much precious time that I don't have, and worse - money that I don't have.  I think I need to think more about this option.  I may well need a spreadsheet.

Maybe there is an end point in 4-5 years time, where I either do a good amount of remote working, or I even move myself to become a full-time freelancer...the requests for work in my spare time are ticking up - I say no to them more than I say yes - partly due to time constraints...surprise surprise.

I knew how difficult this career and life change would be, and it has proven so - yet it remains so worthwhile.

But I just want a bit more of my time back.  Something has to give.  There has to be some form of improvement on my work/life balance this year.