Janet (j4) wrote,
Janet
j4

Fray of light

My head is buzzing like a fridge. I've opened a couple of windows in the office despite the downpour; a couple of days ago they put locks on the windows to stop us opening them more than about 6 inches, which may be related to the general levels of morale around here, but at least we can still let some fresh air in. It smells like stale biscuits in here; it always does, though I'm probably not helping at the moment by keeping stale biscuits on my desk.

I've spent most of this week bashing my head against design/CSS issues. This really isn't my strong point: I'm an information architect, not an information interior designer, much less a painter/decorator. If I was going to try to put together a website as a showcase for our department's web design skills, I wouldn't ask our department to do it. (It's one of those all-too-familiar business-case catch-twenty-twos: if we want more resources, we've got to sell our services, but if we can make our services look good enough to sell then we clearly don't need the resources.) Still, I got landed with the task, so I'm doing the best I can, stealing bits of other people's design where possible and papering over the cracks everywhere else. It's fun, but it'd be ten times more fun if I had the time and skills (or the time to acquire the skills) to do it properly.

On the whole, though, work is satisfying, for the time being. Of course, there's scope for improvement -- of myself, of the role, of the way I fit the role, of the wider picture of the processes I'm interacting with at all levels -- and thank goodness for that, otherwise we'd just be marking off the days until we can lie down and go to sleep. Maybe some of the people here do feel like that. "I wish I didn't have to work," said one colleague. I asked her what she'd want to do instead, time and money permitting. "I'd buy a house in Crete, and live three months there, three months here, dividing my time between the two places." So I replied, blandly, smiling, that her plan sounded lovely, as you do; I refrained from asking But what would you do? How would you spend the days? Maybe some people can be happy just lazing around, just treading water. I don't envy them, but nor do I pity them; it's just beyond my imagining. I don't find it relaxing to just drift aimlessly from one thing to another; I find it far more relaxing to be able to do the things I want to do in my own time, and there are always at least a thousand things I want to do in any area of my life -- including work. Give me a project and I'll find things to do with it. It's not so much a talent as a compulsion, but I try to use it positively.

Having said that, right now I feel like I'm fraying at the edges, tired and hormonal and trying to keep too many plates in the air at once. What I really need right now is at least a week off work, a week thinking other thoughts and seeing something other than the same old square of tree and sky out of the window. It's fortunate, then, that this is my last day in the office until next Tuesday; less fortunate that when I get back I'll have a week's backlog of tasks to deal with that nobody else is likely to have covered in my absence, but I'll drag myself across that rickety rope-bridge when the hungry crocodiles of necessity start snapping at my heels. It's possible I might have some good news on the office-politics front when I get back, too, though right now I'd settle for an absence of bad news.

Still, it's only the edges that are fraying, the loose ends, the split ends. Underneath all that, it's whole, it's growing.
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