you know, when i tell people that i work at home and have pretty flexible hours, i get a lot of envious reactions. in fact, in just the past couple of months, i've had multiple people ask to talk to me about how they, too, can sign on for this kind of career. everyone has his or her own reason, but many of them have kids with whom they want to be home, at least after school, or they like to sleep late or wake early and work whenever they want.
it's nice. don't get me wrong. i've never been someone who's been able to work regular, set hours in an office 40 hours a week. never. some days i just can't work, or i can't work as many hours as i might like, due to the frequency of my migraine attacks. and, frankly, i like the flexibility of being able to run errands when the stores are emptiest and lines are shorter. i like being able to have lunch with my friends, sometimes even on short notice. i like being able to put in a really long day on a project to get as much done as i can, but i get restless sitting at a desk (though i can sit for essentially a whole day in my living room working on the same thing, so go figure). i can't concentrate with people around, walking by and chatting in the halls or stopping by to visit. i can't focus on one project in an office, but at home, i can work for 16 or 18 hours straight.
yes. that's normal. here's what august has looked like, which is a pretty typical month.
friday the 1st, i worked 12.5 hours (almost half on one document, about a third on a second, and the rest split among three others).
the following monday, i worked 13 hours on one document, 2.5 hours on another, and two hours on three others, or 17.5 hours.
tuesday the 5th, i worked just 7.5 hours, most on one document and the rest split among three others.
wednesday the 6th, i worked 10 hours, almost all one one document. (yes, this one document is the same one that has occupied the majority of the preceding days.)
thursday the 7th, i finished editing the big document in another 9.5 hours, worked 2.5 hours on a second document, then spent another three hours formatting the first one--15 hours.
friday the 8th, i worked 15.5 hours, mostly formatting a document for another editor who went on vacation.
that's the end of my week, right? so that's 78 hours that week.
but wait! there's more! like ginsu knives. saturday the 9th, i spent 16 hours on six different documents.
i took that sunday off (!). monday the 11th, i took it easy: just 6.5 hours, mostly on that one big document (it's off in proofreading now, all 600-some pages of it, if you're curious). tuesday the 12th: 11 hours, mostly reediting a document undergoing its third round of rewrites. pray for that one to get published soon; if i never read anything about renewable energy again, it'll be too soon. (sorry, planet.) (ironic edit: just got word this instant that the urgency has passed on this one for the moment, since the intended audience will be consumed by party conventions and congressional debate for a couple of weeks.)
wednesday the 13th, nine hours, mostly proofreading--a welcome, welcome break from the editing.
thursday the 14th, 12 hours, about a third on the renewable-energy report and the rest spread across four other documents.
friday the 15th was just a regular old eight-hour day. most on that first big report (interesting, on ways to alleviate l.a. traffic congestion, in the short term).
did i work that saturday? well, just 3.5 hours. so that week was much lighter, at just 62.5 hours. and sunday i worked another 7.5 hours. we'll count that toward this week.
so far this week, i worked 17.5 hours on monday, 15.5 hours on tuesday, and 2.5 so far today. that's already 43 hours, and it's not even 10am on wednesday.
i have no idea what that all averages out to per day, let alone per workday, but it sure looks like a lot.
now, today i've finished all the current work on current edits except one. i'm expecting another one (yes, on energy--bleh) back from proofreading via fedex today, and i have a report waiting for me to finish editing, one i started weeks ago but that's been on hold by the author and his folks since then. naturally, it came off hold and back into my queue on monday.
and coming back to me any time--i never know when and never know how much work will be involved when it does--are things in authors', proofreaders', and proof checkers' hands. there's a couple dozen books and reports that fall into that category.
but i'm going to take advantage of a little breathing room and knit for a little while today. as you might imagine, i don't get much time to knit when my schedule is like this, which is most of the time. and i have gifties that need to be knitted (and others that need to be bought--why do both of my nephews and both of my brothers have birthdays all within a week of each other, right around labor day? how rude). and laundry to do, for that matter. thank goodness for smartboy, who continues to do most of the household errands and chores--i don't know what i'd do without him. eat a lot less (or a lot worse) and have no pets. and no house. (i don't get paid by the hour like i did as a contractor.)
so that's what it's like to do what i do for a living. at least, that's what it's like for me. i can't say i know what it's like for everyone, though i do know that my fellow editor here in the pittsburgh office works this way, too. i love what i do--i couldn't put those kinds of hours in unless i did--and i feel lucky about that.
update: that renewable-energy report that i just said turned out not to be a rush? yeah. just came back from author review. fuckityfuckfuckfuck. well, bethie, your daughter may not get her little pressie any time soon. blame congress. and the greenhouse gases. don't forget the greenhouse gases.