Yep. A new job.
Well, sort of… I’ve been hired as a contractor to do something I’ve done repeatedly over the years, so it’s not like it’s really a new job. First of all, it’s a contract position, not exactly a career move. And second, it’s not really like it’s something I’ve never done before. So it’s not new, or really a job (at least not in the sense of permanent employment).
I’m going to be helping to roll out a bunch of new computers… like I said, something I’ve done a few times before over the course of seventeen years in IT. It’s always a big job, but that’s why they need a contractor, right? Confirm and tweak the images on the new computers, customize them for the user to whom they’re going, migrate the data… the programs… help organize the old computers for return or disposal… and keep records of what’s been done.
Yeah, been there… done that. And this time, it’s actually kind of fun.
I used to dread doing it, and I was surprised to find that it seems different this time. It took a little thinking about it to realize why. Before, I was always one of the guys in charge of the project – responsible for one aspect or another of a herculean task that often felt like the old adage about eating an elephant turned to reality. And all I could do was keep eating bite after bite of that persistent pachyderm.
But now, the scale is smaller. The elephant is more like a nice dinner. Where before, I was part of a team pushing out hundreds, and sometimes thousands of new computers, now I’ve only got double digits to worry about. Granted, the time-frame is also smaller, but in a way that’s also better. I mean, it takes a LONG time to eat a freaking elephant, right? As a result, you get to continue to worry about the thing for months at a time. And as a manager, you not only worry about your work, but that of your team as well. You get to worry about the project, the reports, the personnel… and you do it day after day for however many months it takes to get it done.
But I’m not a manager in this one. And like I said, it’s not an elephant. It takes only a short while to eat a smaller dinner. A shorter time, less worry about managing a team or justifying the progress. Now, I just have to do the work. And when I leave… I leave the work behind.
It’s a strangely comforting feeling, and my emotions are a little mixed. I want to do the best job for them that I can. That’s just who I am. But I also have to accept that I’m nothing more than hired muscle. I have no say in how the project will be done.
Don’t misunderstand. There’s absolutely no way that I should have any say in it. I don’t know the company, or the people, the systems, or anything else. It’s just that for so long, I had so much more responsibility in projects like this that it’s a bit odd for me to stand back and realize that my job now is just to do the basic grunt work. There’s no pressure to answer to upper management, to worry about the budgets, personnel reports, progress reports, inventories, disposal of assets…
I just have to do the work. And that lack of pressure is oddly freeing.
Now, I’ve been out of the field for three years now, and I’m admittedly a bit rusty. So there’s that small pressure to ramp back up to speed for them. But it’s coming back to me pretty quickly. And it’s going to bring in a steady income for a short while, where the writing hasn’t been.
Of course, the down side is that this is going to cut into the writing time. But like I said, bills have to be paid. Maybe doing temp jobs as an IT contractor can help me find a balance between what I love doing, and what will keep some cash coming in. At least until the writing can fill both niches for me.
So wish me luck, and I’ll try to manage my time a bit better next week so maybe I won’t be so rushed (or so late) with the blog post.
In the meantime, stay safe, and I’ll talk to you again soon.