I like the post-covid rules of the game. A good half of the vacancies are remote workers. We no longer look for the word “flexible” in the description – now it goes without saying. It would never occur to anyone to force a programmer to sit strictly at a computer from 9 am to 6 pm. Bosses now respect our time and personal space. And we are still paid very well.
It all looks like you can easily live with very high comfort, accurately dose work, and manage your life.
The first time I received an offer for a remote, I thought so. There is very simple arithmetic in how the office eats up extra time – you spend four hours on work, you suffer from garbage for four more, you spend two on the road and cross out an hour from every morning – although it is free, it is useless. You should sleep around eight o’clock. You only have five hours left for your chores and family interactions. This is negligible – after all, you are usually still terribly tired when you returned.
I had it like that. I woke up, cursing everything in the world, went to work and immersed myself in the process – I liked programming, hanging out in the office too – but I kept a fat pain in my head all the time: at home my little daughter is taking her first steps right now, learning to say “mom” and funny, awkwardly jerking his head around – looking for me. But when I got home, I was already too exhausted and didn’t want to play with her. Moreover, children, this is such a thing, interaction with them contains more work than pleasure. You leave all of yourself while you implement some service in Microsoft Dynamics CRM (I still don’t know what it is and why you need it), and then you come home and they tell you to wash it, feed it, bathe it, put it down.
At some point, I was given rallies with the Americans at eight in the evening. And I was secretly delighted – because now, when I come home from work, my daughter will already be asleep, and I will not have to work. And I will oversleep the freed morning anyway – good luck to anyone who tries to wake me up.
With a remout, 4 hours are still spent on work, another four hours of suffering from bullshit with colleagues turns into 4 hours with family, two hours of the road and a useless hour before work – there. And in my case, I could work these four hours at any time of the day – only one hour a week I was strictly busy on weekly sync. I’ll try to be even more honest, and I’ll say that I didn’t always work out even four hours.
But things only got worse
By that time, the number of my children had doubled. Instead of simply immersing myself in work, I began to shirk it – and this aggravated dissatisfaction with myself intensified. You get up in the morning and you don’t work. Children come up to you – and you SHOULD work. The wife takes them away, but you don’t work. Then you don’t work again, and then you don’t work again. Nobody touched you all day because you have to work. But you didn’t do anything. And now you want to sleep. The work done leaves a pleasant fatigue – nothing done feels like a ton of bricks unloaded alone.
You make a promise to yourself – I’ll sit down tomorrow morning, and I’ll do it all day. You believe him, and the dream removes as if by hand. The family is already asleep, and you have an indulgence to rest, because tomorrow everything will be done. And so you find yourself at six in the morning reading some news digests, or something like that. And you go to bed – for the whole day. And in the evening again you promise yourself to start tomorrow.
At some point, responsibility beats procrastination, and I actually sat down to figure out the code for twenty fucking hours straight. Fixed a lot of tasks. And the next day everything started anew. But at the same time, in this whole process there was not a single minute left when I would really be mentally calm and ready to just sit with my family – after all, I always have to work.
This state devoured me, and I defeated procrastination. I tried a lot of things, all sorts of schedules, methods – all this nonsense didn’t work. It worked when I just took the balls into a fist and accepted that part of my life should be suffering – and learned to suffer. So I learned to do close work by the afternoon of every day. Yes, I don’t want to work in the morning, yes, the first half hour of work is incredibly painful, but as soon as you turn on, everything will work.
But things got worse
Development cannot be done little by little. Here I am, I have a good position, and good indicators – no one drives me. But. I feel like I’m lagging behind the industry and I’m starting to get nervous that in two years I’m going to be kicked out like a dog. Therefore, I immerse myself not only in the workflow, but also in the industry in general. I feel technology, read books, look at all sorts of confes in the recording, invent something there – in short, again, as at the very beginning, I give all my activity to the profession – and again there is no strength for the family. It’s impossible for me to dose how many hours a day I will be a developer. It turns out either all or none.
The stupid tasks that I did at the beginning of the day, and for which there is still a lot of time, do not go away from my head. Ideas swarm, and constantly require concentration, and I want to think over and discuss new information with someone. As a result, even if you decide for yourself for sure – now it is four o’clock in the evening, I am free from business, and now I spend time with children – you will still be with them only half.
I realized this, and decided – well, okay. Career comes first. My children will study at Harvard, and they will not need anything, I will hire a nanny, they will have a happy and carefree life.
Took two full time jobs. At some point, I had three of them. At the same time, I started writing a lot, started my podcast, and several other potentially very profitable activities. I both gave and give all my activity to the cause – it’s just that now there are several of these cases and they are different.
But it got worse
Due to the sheer number of different tasks, I became a very poor engineer during the day. In general, I began to do everything badly – because I have more problems than I could solve. Therefore, when I meet any of them – to fix a bug, write a text, go to a restaurant with my wife – I quickly scroll in my head how I can do it as quickly as possible. Moreover, no matter how much time I gnaw out, the freed time will be spent on another task. I pick up my daughter from the garden, and on the way home I call on business. I listen to my daughter in the floor of the ear, and in the floor of the ear I listen to people on the other side of the zoom. In general, I do everything in half at best, and no matter what I do, there is always a thing that had to be done at this very time, and it is much more important than the thing that I am doing right now. But if you start doing it, there will be another more important thing.
I tried to schedule and plan everything, and I realized that you can’t cram things into twenty hours that need to be done forty hours. My subconscious mind began to sabotage the process – I often involuntarily schedule a call for a time already occupied by another call, and then I screw both. All the things I do I take as tasks – even a phone call from my father. Once I involuntarily ended it with the words “thank you colleague.”
And the most offensive, money – one hell of a fly away without a trace, I do not have the time and energy to plan finances. And even more so to learn how to do it. I look at my spending over the past six months and my hair stands on end. Gods, where the hell can you pour so many bucks, and why don’t I have anything? You can save money, but I only save up debts.
At the same time, I am much richer than when I was at that office job, and I do not want to go back there.
I don’t know about you, but all these people, telling cozy tales about the literate Work Life Balance, masterly conducted me. Nothing works. I had a period with one job and a relaxed pace, there was a period with a bunch of jobs that you can score and sell, there was a period of frenzied workload, there was a period when I could not cope with a couple of tasks, it happened that the sea of work was on my shoulder.
But it was always worse and worse
I’ve always been a mediocre developer. Bad husband. And a terrible father.
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