Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More on That Job

It is SO HELPFUL to have the company of my invisible friends inside the computer. Thank you. The suggestions helped, and also made me laugh, especially Phantom's which is a trick I definitely use sometimes-- in fact, the spectre of the Freelance Job is probably responsible for more of my productivity in the rest of my life than anything else. Frequent rewards are good, too. I got a bit done yesterday, and will be talking on the phone with my boss today and then doing a bit more.

But ah, if only I could print the whole thing out and look at it! Or just buckle down and get it finished! I feel compelled to explain that this is a complex, year-long project, with many different aspects and plates to keep spinning, each dependent on one or more previous aspects and each with its own deadline, and involves coordinating disparate people (and sometimes groups of people) and also reporting to multiple people and entities, and scheduling meetings, and sometimes not knowing how much I'm supposed to be doing on my own and what I need my boss's okay for and what I can just decide independently, and sometimes something I thought was no biggie will in fact be an Issue that not only do I need my boss's okay for, but she has to take up to her bosses, who dither and make us all wait while meanwhile people are waiting on my okay and wondering when they'll be able to get going with the next piece.

Hmm. When I put it that way, it's no wonder I get scared and procrastinate.

The thing is, this is my second year doing this job (which is probably better described as "contract" than "freelance," now that I think of it), and last year felt perfectly justified in calling my boss every few weeks and saying "okay, what do I do now?", but since I've DONE it once already I feel like I should be able to just get down to it this time around, and yet I find myself paralyzed. Sometimes, like Rachel, I do procrastinate because I'm bored, but in this case--and this is what happens to me more often when it's work-related and not, say, housework--I procrastinate because I'm uncertain and scared and feel like I should know what I'm doing and yet I somehow don't.

It's a lot like what Baggage is writing about in this post: despite myself, I have the sense that someone else out there would really know how to do this job, while I'm just muddling along. Intellectually, I know that not only did I get hired, which means that as far as the Powers that Be are concerned I'm the best person to do it, but my boss specifically asked me to do it again this year and (despite what I felt like were all my mess-ups last year) that I did a really good job. But I can imagine what someone who was actually doing a good job would be doing, and it's a lot different from what I've been doing: they'd have charts and printed lists and sacrosanct weekly chunks of time set aside for this project, and would be unafraid and be constantly working backwards from the final deadline and keeping people in the loop and organizing meetings and phone conferences and, and, and...

I am not doing all that, or at least not in the manner of the Ideal Person. But I did somehow manage (with a lot of help) to get the project out the door in time for the final deadline last year, and it seemed to work okay, so I guess I can do it this year. And it's probably okay to keep asking my boss for help and feedback. It's different every year, after all.

Okay! Onward!


Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

The Ideal is the enemy of the real. Didn't someone famous say that? It makes a good motto, in any event.

11:15 AM  
Blogger susan said...

Yes, it is okay to ask for feedback--that's part of what bosses are for, and I"m sure your requests for feedback are informed ones.

Myself, though, I'm frequently sure that today is the day I will be exposed as the Fraud That I Am. So I get the neurosis. In fact, I'm struggling with it tonight as I get ready for a symposium back at my grad school.

4:18 PM  
Blogger S. said...

"I procrastinate because I'm uncertain and scared and feel like I should know what I'm doing and yet I somehow don't."

This is how I feel all the time, plus pretty certain that my boss is gonna catch me and fire me, only I don't have a boss, just the prospect of plain old free-market failure. (Also known as bankruptcy.)

8:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home