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Satisfaction January 14, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Personal.
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I’ve been in my new job for about two weeks now (give or take bank holidays and a few days worked over Xmas). Overall, it’s going pretty well – though it certainly hasn’t been easy.

It hasn’t been easy at all really, and a much busier start than I imagined. True, I had been there already over the summer, so they kind of expected me to just slot right in. But it’s quite a contrast being thrown in the deep end, compared with the three weeks of slooow training in my last job.

The news editor is away on holiday and with the acting news editor working from South Africa, a lot of responsibility has fallen to me. Xmas/new year was certainly the ‘quiet time’, but when 3/4 of the staff is away, the quiet time is anything but slow. I kind of expected to just be told what to edit and when by, but it with the absentees I’m deciding what to edit and when by. Thankfully my more experienced colleague in South Africa takes care of a lot of the commissioning. But a lot of stuff has to be done in the London office and it’s often been down to me to make the brutal edits.

It has all been a bit of a shock – or at least it would have been had I had the time to be shocked. Being a news website, deadlines are daily with publication immediate and feedback (a.k.a. backlash) instant. I turn up for work at 9am – depending on the God-awful London Underground trains – and pretty much go flat out for the next nine hours, with 10-30mins for lunch if I’m lucky. I work till 6:30 most nights, in an effort to clean out my inbox and decide what we might have to run next – thus avoiding a mad panic first thing in the morning.

And I absolutely love it – though I try to avoid saying that as much as possible. Things change and I don’t want to jinx my contentment!

Strange isn’t it? I always thought I would enjoy a straight nine to five, with plenty of time off to do your own thing and minimal responsibility so no-one really cares where you are or what you’re doing. But the last few months have really shown me how much of a difference job satisfaction can make to your life.

I used to dread coming into work, be bored by 11am, treasure my one hour lunch-break ‘oasis’ and count down the hours of boredom before I could finally be released. When I did go home it was with a tension in my shoulders, guilt at not having focused enough during the day and fear of my precious free-time ticking away the moment I stepped out of the office.

Despite the longer hours and thorough exhaustion every weeknight, I leave work light on my feet, happy that the day has just flown and satisfied that I have done a good job and confident that (most of) what I’ve done comes completely naturally to me. Only the Oxford Street crowds dampen my high spirits.

I hope this good feeling lasts. The news editor returns next week and I think I’ll be happier keeping some responsibility, but without the need for long hours and a bit more of a lunch break. I’m well aware that things change and a certain amount of routine sets in after several months. But I’m also confident that my confidence will increase as I get used to explaining more complex science and become familiar with the nuances of world politics. The fast pace should also keep me on my toes.

Incidentally, this post keeps up my new years resolutions. Unfortunately, the longer work hours make the Japanese resolution a lot harder to keep to. I’m completely exhausted most nights, so I might reduce the target to a more feasible five hours rather than seven. I did put in four hours today to meet that target.

And on a side note, I went ice skating on Tuesday with friends from my previous job – and I was surprisingly okay. Sure, I looked like an extra Marx brother half the time and sometimes found myself unintentionally going backwards. But I didn’t fall over once and actually managed to build up some speed during the session. Skating still kills my feet, but I’m pleased I have improved on something in my old age.

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