Jan. 4th, 2017

tablesaw: Close crop on Brock Samson's I'm-gonna-kill-you face. (Brock Samson)
The office shut down for the last week of the year, and I spent almost all of it at home, sleeping far too late, and playing videogames. It was perfect.

There's been a lot of stress in the last month. We're buying a house, the national political landscape continues to shift, and there was friends and family to visit in and out of town. We tried to cut down on extra stresses (this was the first time in my life I didn't decorate a Christmas tree, and we abandoned plans to travel to Boston for the Mystery Hunt), but it was still tough.

In addition to all this, I've been stuck on some intractable problems at work, which had been decimating my "agile velocity" and generally demoralizing me. I knew I was getting burned out, but I knew the winter break was coming, so I held out.

Now that I'm on the other side of the break, I can tell how stressed I was and how direct the solution is.

I'd already noticed some changes, since transitioning from general office work to programming. One was that I have been doing a lot less puzzling since problem-solving became my job. Another is that I haven't had as much time for leisure during workday downtime. I never really felt like I *needed* a vacation, so I saved up time (non-salaried) and felt fine. Even at my last job—programming with friends on a team, taking long convivial lunches—I got to dispense with a lot more stress than I realized.

So I'm trying to hold on to the change I feel between now and two weeks ago to remember to take the sustained time off. Even if there's nowhere I need to travel to. Because, while I hope to end up in another workplace with more day-to-day destressing, I'm probably not going to want a less-demanding job any time soon.

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August 2017

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