Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The very busy week

It feels like last week is still not over, or at least there are still just a few things hanging over my head.

Unlike the previous vacation, when we came back from Chicago, we (or rather I) only had a few hours to recover before going back to work.  The kids had Monday off from school.

Monday was a slowish day fortunately.  Most of our Canadian clients had Easter off, though actually a few were open.  I had a few things to take care related to the new position.  I had half-thought I would manically stay up and write a short piece for SFYS (begun on the Chicago trip) and get it out before midnight.  That is the equivalent of slipping something under the professor's door.  In the end I was just too exhausted but more importantly I was feeling guilty about undone work, particularly the write-up for a modelling project that was due a month or so ago.  Normally, we would not be that far behind, but this is a case where the client grossly underpaid for the amount of work done, and I ended up doing almost all the work in the evenings on my own time and was somewhat resentful.  It certainly ended up as the last thing I would work on when I did have time, though I knew the day of reckoning was looming.

The first part of the week was wrapping up another big documentation job, and then finally notifying the PM that I was leaving.  It's more than a little ironic that another consultant is coming in and arguing that they have to completely revamp the model, so the shelf life of the model we developed might be extremely short.  I would be far more upset about this were I not moving on.

The middle of the week I tried to close out a long-term project that has been dragging on for well over a year.  I made a bit of progress and handed over my notes, but this is one that is going to be hard to salvage.  I also was furiously sorting and scanning documents to try to clean up the office.  In the end, I think I did a pretty good job.

Towards the end of Wed. I got the email from the client I had been dreading and I proposed that I send draft documentation on Friday and then clean things up next week.  Not unreasonably, the client felt that I might just vanish, so he counter-proposed that I get a solid draft to them Thurs. and they would provide comments and we could wrap things up on Friday.  That meant that I finally had to get going on the documentation.  I should say that it was not the case that I had done nothing -- I had a decent outline and a few sections already written, but there was a long ways to go.  I pretty much locked myself in my office and started working.

As it happens, I did have to head out Thurs. for my farewell lunch, but otherwise I did almost nothing but write this report.  I stayed much later than I wanted (I honestly can't remember if it was 11:30 or after midnight).  On the flip side, this forced me to take a cab, and I brought back both pieces of art, rather than doing one each evening on the train (and as it rained very heavily, I would have been out of luck on the second day).  While there were still a few holes in the documentation, I did get a solid draft out before I left.

Friday, I had a surprise urgent question from a different client, so I dealt with that in the morning.  (And let them know afterwards, that they would have to work through my colleagues after that, though hopefully that was the last major loose end for that project.)  I made a few edits to the documentation, pasting in some missing charts.  Then I got the comments back.  The good news is that there were relatively few comments and no major ones.  However, it was almost the end of the day.  At this point, the client felt that they had something in hand that they could work with, whereas before the documentation was essentially vaporware.  So the client agreed to wait until Monday for the final, final version.  I almost forgot that I stopped everything at 4:15 to take 7 boxes of books from my old office to the new one.  That was a bit of an adventure, but it just made so much sense not to have to bring them all back home and then lug them over to the new office.

I discussed it with my colleagues and we agreed that I would keep the work laptop over the weekend and drop it off on Sunday.  While my wife was kind of appalled when she found out, I decided this was the best solution.

What I forgot to mention was that he had a HVAC technician in to deal with an issue, and it turned out, he needed to go through the wall right where a bookcase was!  So I spent a big chunk of Saturday moving books and boxes.  The basement is still all messed up. I did take a few breaks to bike over to the library (there was snow on the way back!) and to get groceries.  While I didn't find the hair clippers I have been looking for, I found a few more missing jazz CDs (still not the Zoot Sims or Brubeck Take Five discs though).  More importantly, I found the hard drive I used at work in Vancouver and it did have quite a few missing scanned files.  Not absolutely everything, but enough that I decided not to stay up all night trying to restore my missing email files (and thus I got a bit of sleep!).

Sunday we had the HVAC technician come back around and handle the problem.  I have no idea why he wanted to schedule for Sunday, but I guess that was for the best.  It took him a couple more hours than expected, but the job got done.  Then I headed into work for the very, very last time.  I had one small issue to review for the on-going job and then the final edits to the documentation.  And I took the opportunity to do some final scanning and sorting, though eventually I just got sick of it.  (I might well have a lot more time free in the evenings now that this phase of backing up documents is finally over.*)  It didn't really help my mood that it snowed quite a bit that afternoon, and I hadn't expected it, so I didn't have the right kind of footware.  I'd also hoped to make a stop at the AGO, but that was just a pipe dream.  I probably won't go this weekend either, but perhaps the weekend after that I can check out the newish Outsiders exhibit.

The problem was that this took up a bit more time than I expected and I was really scrambling Monday morning to pull everything together for the new position.  I couldn't find some documentation, and I couldn't find the signed copy of the offer letter (fortunately, I had scanned and sent one the previous Monday).  Most importantly, I hadn't realized that the on-line training would take quite so long, and I was chastised (mildly) for this.  Nonetheless, I got through most of the day reasonably well.

The biggest adjustment will be to try to come in to work earlier, but then I also get to come home much earlier.  Over time, I am hoping that my sleep schedule will get more reasonable.  Right now I've woken up in the middle of the night, though that is really because I am worried about taxes.  I have put that off too long, and I'll have to scramble to get it done.  After I sign off, I need to gather up anything that seems relevant.  If I can find everything, then I will probably reward myself my going to see the Goldberg Variations tomorrow evening (unfortunately playing up in North York).  If I can have the first draft of the taxes done by Friday, then I think I will go to Hamilton on Sunday to see the Pacifica Quartet (I don't even know if there are still tickets, but I imagine so).

It is kind of silly to still be procrastinating so much at my age (both on that documentation and on the taxes), but I really have been extremely busy.  And for better or worse, I have almost never really suffered the consequences of putting things off until almost the last moment.  In the back of my mind, I know how long it will take me to do something in "crunch time," and while I don't like to work that way, when I am dealing with multiple projects as I was most of the last two years, something is going to be pushed off until nearly the last moment.  That said, I could have given up some of my weekend activities had it ever felt like a true crisis.  That would have made me even more resentful of how much my previous job sucked out of me of course, but I could have done it.  Probably it would have been more beneficial for me to really suffer once or twice due to procrastination.  (I have done half-assed jobs on paper abstracts and not gotten to go to conferences I wanted to attend, but that hardly counts.)  At this point it may be too much to expect me to change too much.  The tiger not changing its stripes and so forth...

Anyway, I am kind of exhausted just looking over my last week at the old job, and now I have to go scrounge around, looking for my tax records.  See ya.

* Certainly, I have a file cabinet worth of material remain to be scanned eventually, though I got through a lot of files.  One of the more amusing was a file from my senior year of undergrad where I was part of a study group that pulled together a guide to English literature ahead of our comps.  Also, apparently I read DeLillo's The Names back in my early 20s.  I have no recollection of this, so I will keep it on the reading list.  If I ever come across my reading log (which I maintained until my mid 20s), there probably will be a few other books that really surprise me.

No comments:

Post a Comment