Runaway train

I read recently that the most productive time of day for most workers is before 4 p.m. I have to concur with that estimate. I am a fairly early riser who gets her best work done in  the morning hours. For just about, oh, always I’ve been one to fade fast as the afternoon approaches, no matter what the job: retail, desk work, parenting. I’d be ready to punch the time clock at around 3 and retire my brain for the evening. (When fully immersed into parenting little ones, my down time coincided with the start time of Dr. Phil and Oprah, whose shows were (they’re a thing of the past these days) a great way to unwind before the dinner rush.)

Well, this new job that I acquired has me working in the afternoon on a daily basis. In fact, one of yesterday’s assignments, which I was told would be difficult (and they weren’t a-kiddin’), didn’t start until 4 p.m.–way past my productive time. Not only was the assignment ill timing for my productive cycle, it landed smack dab in the middle of the dinner hour. I didn’t finish that assignment until 7:30 p.m., and only stopped once to remove three frozen pizzas from their boxes and place them in the oven, so that the family would have something to eat for dinner.

My husband supervised the baking of the pizzas, one of my boys put together a salad, and both boys handled the dish duty. There were cranky words among all males involved, as this prepping for dinner and cleaning up afterward is so foreign to them.

But that’s another blog post, this one concerns my fading brain that was on overdrive yesterday. As I usually wind down my day and put aside my work until the next day or for later in the evening, when I’ve gotten my second wind, I needed to be in full-force. Not a good plan for someone who is fading fast. And the rush nature of the assignment made me feel like I was conducting a runaway train with a blindfold on.

I hope I can arrange for my assignments to come in a bit earlier in the day (although being on the Left Coast, I am typically going to get these later-in-the-day calls). I suppose I’ll have to brew a fresh pot of coffee, make myself toast to snack on, and fool my body into thinking it’s morning again. Oh, yeah. That should do the trick.

Be careful what you wish for . . . yada, yada, yada.

OK, I’ve put down in this blog way too many times how frustrated I have been about not having a job. Well, guess what? I found one. Yes, in fact, since I last blogged things have been rather topsy-turvy for me.

Regarding the job I took a test for, I was put through training that I was told would take two to three days. Turned out to take two to three weeks, but that’s not the half of it. I also received an offer for another job I’d applied for–this one would be copyediting scientific and math journals for a publisher. I’d be given a computer (but where would I put it?) and be trained for 8 to 10 weeks. (Yikes, if it requires that much training it would probably take computer-not-so-savvy me twice as long.) It was a regular part-time job–not freelance–which has its good and bad sides. On the good side, the company would give me holiday pay, and I’d get a week of vacation every year. I’d be able to get raises (although quite small), and I’d even be able to participate in the company’s 401(k) plan.

It sounded great until I saw that the pay was half as much as the other company was willing to offer and less than what my daughter makes in retail. Since I’d already begun training for the other job, I took the bait on that one, because twice the pay means working half the hours. I did the math: I could work only six months of the year doing Job A for the same amount of money I’d be making working twelve months for Job B. And Job A is quarterly work, so I’d do a majority of the work from October to November, January to February, April to May and July to August, with some work in between. In fact, this company (a financial division of a media conglomerate) is just starting this department for which I’d be working, and it sees a lot of growth and potential in the future. Plus, I’d still be able to “keep my day job.” That is, take on other editing, proofing, and writing work as usual.

Well, I’ve worked two days so far, and I have to say that although the training was mega-frustrating and made me at times want to tell my trainers that they had it all wrong, that I can’t possibly do this job, I stuck with it and I almost know what I’m doing. Almost. There are still some kinks to work through, but I think I have the gist of it.

And, because I am in the feast-or-famine business of freelancing, after I began training I started to get work from two of my regular companies. They incidentally are now asking us contractors to learn a couple editing programs in order to keep working with them. So I ordered an expensive software suite that I hope is easy enough to learn. Still waiting for the thing to arrive and then I get to download it onto my already overloaded hard drive, but if it means more work, it’s worth it.

Like my hard drive, I’m feeling a bit over burdened these days, but it sure beats the alternative.