Still, today feels like the start of a very interesting new experiment, if nothing else.
@SarcasticCarrie may have put it best on Twitter:
@wandsci happy graduation day. Bon chance.
— SarcastiCarrie (@SarcastiCarrie) May 16, 2014
My articles of incorporation also became valid this week, and my new corporation now legally exists. I still have some set up to do, but I am sitting next to a big stack of documents about my new corporation, which arrived in the mail today.
My celebratory mood is dampened by the fires raging in the north of my county, though. I live far from the fires, so the personal impact has been limited to trouble with my asthma and burning eyes from the degraded air quality, and an unexpected day off yesterday, when all San Diego schools were closed. I have many friends and colleagues who live in the areas affected by the fires. Colleagues and friends have had children evacuated from schools. One colleague had the fire burn to within meters of her house. She and her family were evacuated and tracking the course of the fire as it advanced towards their home. Their house was saved because firefighters made a stand to save the subdivision.
People at work who are new to the area are a bit shocked by the images on their TV news, and are asking lots of questions trying to understand the risks associated with their new homes. I remember that feeling. The first wildfire I remember is the 1996 Harmony Grove fire, and I was struck by the speed and unpredictability of the fire. I wrote my first emergency plan that year. People who have lived here longer are a bit surprised by how few houses have been lost, to say nothing of the fact that so far there seems to be only one fatality from the nine (nine!) fires that have been burning in our area in the last few days. We have strong memories of prior firestorms that took much larger tolls, in both lives and property, and are on edge, worried that we may yet see a repeat of those earlier events. I think we as a region are better prepared (reverse 911 systems, better regional coordination, better laws about brush clearance, and better awareness about the importance of creating defensible space around your house if you live near open space are all things that come to mind). I'm sure we've also gotten lucky.
So I'm not feeling like celebrating. Still, I've taken a big leap into the unknown this week, and I do feel like acknowledging that. I've told a few people that it was a leap of equal parts faith and frustration, and it really does feel in some ways like I've stepped off a cliff. The image in my mind is from the third Indiana Jones movie, when Indiana has to step off a cliff into what seems to be thin air.
So far, my bridge has materialized as I need it.
Here are some recent links that I've found inspiring and/or instructive in my big leap:
Amy Hoy has a site with lots of information about bootstrapping a new business. I really liked this week's post about what she calls oxygen mask entrepreneurship, and keeping a firm focus on what really matters in life.
Cal Newport wrote about the importance of intensity in work, which is something I think about a lot. Would I rather work intensely for four hours and then do whatever I want for four hours, or work at a less intense level for eight hours? I suspect the answer for me is different on different days, and different for different types of work- and I think that is OK. I also think that different people will have different preferences in this regard, and I think that is OK, too. I do not think there is one "right" way to work.
Laura Vanderkam had an interesting post about her work hours, and how they are longer than those of many of the women whose time logs she's analyzing for her mosaic project. One of the aspects of the experiment I'm starting that I'm most curious about is how this change in my work structure will play out in my time usage. I'll be tracking time to bill customers, and I've decided to go ahead and track all work hours, partly to help me see what things I do have the best return on time invested, but also because I am just so curious about how my time usage will change. The hardest part of this may turn out to be deciding what is work in my new arrangement. Is Tungsten Hippo work? What about this blog? I have several projects in mind that may or may not pan out as something that I can sell. Are those work? I think I will probably just track both work and work-like projects, and sort it all out later.
I may or may not blog about what my time logs show me. I am very interested in the subject of time usage, but I find it increasingly frustrating to discuss. One of the things I've noticed when I (or anyone) write about time usage and/or work hours is that some people seem genuinely convinced that the details of their work and/or home life are so different from the details of the work or home life being discussed that any insights or ideas discussed will be impossible to apply to their situation. Sure, I can keep my career on track in a 40 hour work week, but they never could I used to argue with those people, but I've decided it is a fool's errand. Nothing but an exact match to their circumstances will convince them, and who knows? Maybe they are right. But because they won't engage in the possibility that they could change their lives, they don't make good people with whom to explore the limits of my ideas. The discussion becomes a waste of everyone's time. We seem, as a culture, to have a strong need to believe in the 80 hour work week, and my little blog isn't going to change that. I'd rather focus on my own life, and figuring out how I can make sure I use my time on all of the things that matter to me. I find that reading about other peoples approach to work and time usage often gives me new ideas I can adapt to my own situation, though, so I'll certainly keep reading on the subject, whether or not I write about it.
I don't have any funny things to end with, but I have two quotes I came across this week and really liked:
"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them and pretty soon you have a dozen." - John Steinbeck (found in cute form on Pinterest, of course)
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." - John Lennon (found on Tumblr, you can track the history for yourself)
Happy weekend, everyone!
Late breaking addition- I do have something funny for you after all. I give you Cats Considering Capital.