OK, enough goofing off

by Michael Alderete on 8/15/2003

Ok, it’s been two weeks of sleeping in and doing nothing (much) more than web surfing in my underwear. I suppose I should start doing some real work.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been unemployed. Rochelle and I both left our jobs about two and a half years ago. It was a coincidence, Rochelle taking a planned leave of absence to find her dream job (which she’s now doing), and my dot.bomb suddenly going under. That time we spent our days together, doing cheap stuff around San Francisco, and taking cat-sponsored naps every afternoon. For three months we basically spent all of our time together, and had terrific fun.

This time Rochelle is still employed, thank god. It’s not possible to stay afloat in SF on unemployment insurance payments, which are $370 a week, before taxes. (Yes, you pay taxes on unemployment. Tax cuts on stock dividends, paid for by the unemployed. That’s an economic plan that makes sense!) With Rochelle in a good job, we can tread water almost indefinitely.

Getting laid off is “winning the time lottery.” All of a sudden, I have time to work on the literally dozens of projects that have been building up around me. But in two weeks, I’ve accomplished nothing on any of them. Everything I’ve read or heard about being unemployed in today’s economy says that you have to come up with a routine, something to keep you on track, driving forward to the next job, or at least keeping busy and not frittering the time away. Certainly, when I took the job at Persistence after three months with Rochelle, I looked back and decided I hadn’t accomplished much with that time beyond improving my relationship with my wife (no small thing, that, but still…).

I need this time to be different, in no small measure because I don’t want to do marketing in my next job. I’m planning to go back to hands-on technical work, probably software development, and that means rebuilding a number of skills that have gone fallow, as well as acquiring skills for the technologies that matter today. I have a lot of work to do!

So today I’m starting to put together a weekly schedule for myself. I need dedicated, scheduled slots for networking, job hunting, exercise, e-mail, socializing outside my house, technical development, home clean-up, blogging, bathing, naps, reading for both pleasure and research, web surfing, cat petting, going to the movies (matinees only), etc.

Some of these need to be done every day, but it’s impossible to do all of them in a single day. So I need a weekly, or even a bi-weekly schedule of activities. I’m sure I won’t get it right the first time, but with the economy the way it is in SF, I’m sure I’ll have time to perfect things. In any case, look for my first schedule draft on Monday.

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