Working Nine to Five

(Actually my contracted hours are eight to five…sigh.)

As the year draws to a close, I’ve reflected a lot on what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve seen and done, and which goals have inevitably fallen by the wayside. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that 2014 was dominated by one thing: work.

The famous red swingline

The famous red swingline

Unfortunately I mean that specifically, as in my full-time employment with a global consulting firm, not some year-long virtue of effort. It is a well remunerated but chronically hectic environment, full of last-minute demands, late-night overseas calls, and the usual interpersonal stress inherent in any profession.

All year I told myself, “as soon as X happens, I’ll slow down.” I.e., “As soon as I hit 12 weeks and make my pregnancy public, I’ll start reducing my workload.” “As soon as I get back from holiday, I’ll tell them I’m reducing my project capacity.” “As soon as my bonus is decided, I’m taking my foot off the gas.” “As soon as the bonus hits my bank account, I’m handing over these three assignments.” Well, it’s now the end of December, my bonus has been paid, my pregnancy has passed 29 weeks, and I’m still spinning all the plates that have been in the air since January.

On Wednesday last week, one of the PAs didn’t turn up for work. Our receptionist tried to find her but her phones were switched off, she didn’t reply to e-mail, and even her emergency contact person’s number went straight to voicemail. Eventually someone wandered over to her desk and found her work laptop, cell phone, entry pass and door fob in a neat pile in her top drawer. We haven’t heard from her since.

Now, I’m not quite to the point where I’m ready to abscond without notice, but it did make me think about really, truly, finally slowing down at work and getting to work on my other work, the work I’m so much more proud of – romance writing. I fell way short of my annual word count goal this year, I’ve all but stopped promoting my releases, and those two series-completing books I planned to finish before the baby is due in March? Not so much!

My life will change a lot when I begin my maternity leave on February 13th. Not only will there be a whole new human in my house shortly thereafter, but we’re very lucky that our personal circumstances mean I won’t have to return to work if I decide not to. I have grand ambitions of re-dedicating myself to my writing, throwing myself into the community, becoming a beta reader and maybe even offering freelance editing. I’m so fortunate to have gotten published in the first place, and I don’t want to throw that away because I can’t commit to keeping my fingers on the keyboard and just getting the words down.

So that’s what I’m working on – slowing down, settling in, dedicating myself daily anew. Roll on 2015!