Just a quick update: we’ve finally hired a new employee at the office and he’s jumped right into the position. A lot of the simpler stuff has been shifted to him, which has cleared much of my slate and allowed me to concentrate on sorting out all the things that have been neglected, ignored, or just half-assed for the eight months we were shorthanded.

And oh, gods, is there a lot of stuff that we half-assed, so we’re going to be a while untangling it all and getting out from under it. But the good news is that we’re much more likely to be able to get ahead of the curve than we were even a couple of weeks ago. The other good news is that adding to our workforce has been an impetus to adopt new policies and practices that we’ve needed for a while, but have been too big a hassle to put into place.

It’s been very nice, being able to pick a single task and just focus on it — for months I’ve just been lurching from one time-critical assignment to the next, trying to get a dozen things done at the same time. As an example, this morning I was able to disassemble a notebook, replace a defective CPU fan, reassemble the notebook, and run diagnostics… all without being interrupted. It sounds kind of stupid, I know, but after more than half a year of trying to do three jobs at once, being able to work through a set task from start to finish without feeling like I’m being rushed is such a relief. And being rushed, feeling like I’ve got to get it all done right now, is very stressful for me.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to work without that kind of pressure. I like being able to work at my own pace, always have. And “my own pace” isn’t actually that bad a pace; historically, I’m more productive under those circumstances than I am when I have to meet tight and rigid deadlines. Let me do it myself on my own terms, like an adult, and I’ll dig right in.

This is why I’d always hated working in a call centre environment: There is very little more infantilizing to a intelligent worker than being in a call centre; you’re essentially treated like you can’t be trusted to manage your own time. Everything is controlled and monitored and judged, right down to the very second. You aren’t allowed to use your judgement, balance your workflow, or generally act as the reasonably-trained adult employee you actually are. I’d been told, sometimes by co-workers, sometimes by employers that “This is how it is” or “that’s what the job requires” and my basic response to that has always been: “If you treat your employees like freeloading teenagers, guess how they’ll act?”

Thankfully, despite all the stress of the last few months, my current job has never been that way. The Boss trusts us and treats us like valued teammates, which is, of course, how you should treat your employees. It fosters pride in your work and professionalism… of course, it’s that same pride in my work and professionalism which has caused me to run myself ragged over the past half-year.

But now we’re not so desperately shorthanded with the addition of a competent new employee who takes his job seriously and who should be a good fit, personality-wise. This is taking a huge amount of pressure off of me… a lot which I didn’t really realize I was carrying until it went away.