I really shouldn’t be complaining because I’m very fortunate that I’ve gotten to travel much, especially as a new hire, but I spend so much time on airplanes. I’m over it. And it especially doesn’t help that I’m completely on the other side of the country so it took a very long flight to get here (and THREE flights on the way home). But on the bright side, I get a four day weekend because Thursday counts as a travel day and Friday is holiday.
Plus, you know, I got to travel. And I met a whole bunch of new people (mostly managers) whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. And I met a coworker I talk to regularly but had never seen in person. And I got to see a friend from college. And of course, I still get free food while I’m traveling. So there are certainly perks.
I just wish I didn’t have to fly. And that it weren’t so disruptive to my life (I miss my cats, and I hate having to skip aerial for several days in a row). And if I could potentially get a little more than a week and a half notice before I had to go somewhere that would be great too.
Well, that might be expressing a bit too much enthusiasm. I had to fly all the way across the country for a two day long meeting, missed several things at home that I was really excited about, including a homemade pasta cooking class and an aerial class (don’t worry – I made that one up), and felt really guilty about leaving my cats alone for four days. But all of that aside, this was a pretty exciting trip.
I’ve known that office politics exist for a while now. I indirectly encountered them in my internships, learned about them in a few of my classes, and was acutely aware of them in my college job as I was working in the middle of an organizational restructuring which left my boss reporting up to two different managers… who hated each other. But there’s something very different about being aware of office politics and actually watching them in action.
Enter the large majority of my job responsibilities over the past month and a half.
For a while, I was complaining that I was frequently bored at work and had nothing to do. And while that is, unfortunately, still often true, I do have a pretty huge deadline for a project I’ve been putting a ton of time into looming on Tuesday. Things are mostly done, and I’m not too worried, but looming deadlines on group projects mean a lot of meetings, and this project is definitely not an exception.
The good news is I really like meetings because they a) give me an opportunity to get to know other people, b) pretty much always help me learn something new, and c) are generally where I get opportunities to volunteer for work and then am less bored because I have things to do.
The bad news is the people I’ve been in these meetings with are in a variety of time zones, which means a lot of late meetings for people like me for are in EST.
Something very exciting is happening right now. If I hadn’t already said what in the title I might try to create suspense, but since I’ve pretty much ruined that opportunity I’m just going to go ahead and skip right to the meat of it:
There’s one thing I’ve noticed about my coworkers: they have meetings. A lot of them. Like, spend almost their entire day in them a lot of meetings. While I also have some meetings, I don’t have anywhere near as many; I consider it a great day if I have three. And there’s always at least one day a week where I have none.
Aside from the fact that I enjoy meetings because they’re usually a good chance to learn something new and because they’re a great way to break up my day, there’s a pretty big consequence to my relatively empty schedule and that’s free time. A lot of it. Like 35 hours a week of it, compared to my average coworker’s *maybe* ten, but probably closer to seven.
While there are certainly some perks to the free time – I’ve been able to do a lot of research to catch myself up to everyone else, I have the time to actually get my work done because I’m not in meetings all day, I have the ability to stay on top of my email, etc. – there’s also a really huge downside. Namely, I spend the majority of my week having nothing to do.