Friday, December 31, 2010

Culture: Employed Lifestyle

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Today is not only the last day of calendar 2010, but the last day of my working for my employer of the last two months.

Regular readers of this blog may not even have been aware of the fact that I was working again. I made no announcement on this forum. Careful re-reading of the last two months of entries will reveal only a few very oblique references to e-commerce, but also a lack of references to being unemployed, which were never especially common here in the first place.

It wasn't that I wasn't proud of what I was doing, that I wasn't enjoying the customer service position, or that I was anticipating that I would be switching jobs so rapidly, which wasn't at all obvious to me until well into December. Instead, I had long structured many aspects of my life such that returning to a regular 9-to-5 job, as this one was, would have minimal impact on my activities. Sure, I wouldn't be going railfanning in winter daylight hours, or listening to daytime radio live, but little else needed to change. This blog had for many months generally been written in the late evening intentionally so that my routine would not need to change when I became employed. Sure enough, I started a job, and the impact on my blogging was nearly imperceptible.

One thing that I learned in the past two months is that, indeed, I could have a very comfortable lifestyle in Toronto working a 9-to-5 job. A look at this blog will see that I attended not only events at the CBC (a very short walk from where I was working) but also evening community events around the city. My social life, such as it is, was not suffering as a result of the position. My weekend activities had no need to change whatsoever.

I had long suspected that commuting by subway to downtown, which took me only about 45 minutes each direction, would be far more sustainable than my previous mostly-bus commute into the suburbs, which could take 80 minutes on a bad day. Even when the subway was disrupted, as happened at least three times I remember in the past two months, it never took me much more than an hour to complete the commute. During the winter, especially, it was quite nice to be mostly underground.

Fundamentally, the job that I held for my first two years in Toronto always felt unsustainable, even in the beginning. The hours and the commute were always draining; I slept in significantly on Saturday by necessity. For the last two months, I've instead been getting up earlier on Saturday for volunteer work than on weekdays. There's no way I could have done that before.

I could have kept going in my recent job for a long time; I could easily imagine staying with that employer for years. However, when one is aggressively pursued by an employer in a potentially-growing industry, it's pretty hard to ignore and turn down an attractive offer.

My cushy, predictable lifestyle is over, at least for the foreseeable future. I will now be in field service, with unpredictable travel. I have no idea what this will mean for the publishing schedule of this blog. Yet, I am satisfied that I have demonstrated that blogging can be part of a sustainable lifestyle. It's not inconceivable that I might miss that.

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