"So what?" some of you may be asking.
For the past year plus, I've been contracting. Contracting to me was always a rat race: it was always about trying to get in as much face time as possible, because if I didn't put in the face time, then maybe next month my job would be outsourced to India, and I'd be in a tough spot. Or maybe they'd just tell me they didn't need me as much. Or whatever.
So for the past year, I've been working on always being accessible. This means that I wasted more hours than I can count on sitting around, checking my inbox to see if I had gotten mail, watching IRC, etc. This means that I really never put the computer down, or if I did, it was while keeping my cell phone connected via SSH, or something like that. There was very seldom more than a few hours where I just stopped being online.
Since I finished up with Platial, and have been working a regular schedule for MetaCarta, I've stopped pulling out the computer all the time. Last night, I didn't open the computer from the time I got home until I got up the next morning. Tonight, I left it away until after Jess went to sleep around midnight. monday night, I left it alone for most of the night.
It's weird to be able to just leave the computer alone for an entire evening and not be afriad that I'm going to lose my job over it. Whether it was a psychosomatic fear or not, it was still a fear, and not having it anymore is such a relief. The other day, I was thinking back to my days at wedü and remembering that on weekends, I would not check my work email *at all*. that was such a weird concept for me after a year of contracting, but I think I can see how I'm likely to get back into it.
I'm sure as the novelty wears off, I'll find that I'm still spending time on the computer doing my own things, rather than work things, but for now, I'm just taking evenings off from the computer. Video games, TV, movies, etc. are all fine, but the computer is not something I need to spend all my time staring at. I can just catch up in the morning. It's okay. And I like that.
It does mean I'm on the instant messaging systems less now: I'm on at work, but usually can't talk, and I'm on in the morning or late nights, but usually people are asleep. But really, I don't have any problem with that. I'm hoping it will lead to me spending more time making plans to actually get out of the house and stop staring at a computer, which can only be good for me.
I love having a day job again.