I go to work at 8am each morning, same as before, but now it is different. Now I can be a bit lazier in the morning - taking extra time to get dressed; talking myself into getting on that treadmill and exercising; giving the cats the attention they demand. Now it only takes me fifteen minutes to drive to work instead of nearly an hour, and there is no traffic, no stress, and the only wait is in the line at the Starbucks where I've gone nearly every morning since the project ended to get my latte and cinnamon chip scone.
Instead of leaving at 5 or 6 or sometimes even later in the evening because someone decided to schedule a meeting or a conference call or needed some report by tomorrow first thing, and getting home as the sun is setting, I leave work at 4pm sharp. I wear shorts and cute little tops to work, and kick off my shoes and lounge at my desk, barefoot.
I tune my computer in to random 80's radio stations in other states and play it quietly, or else I listen to downloaded seminars and pre-recorded webcasts. I aimlessly surf through the convoluted pages of the Big Fish's training sites, searching for something - anything - that I can sign up for and learn and do. Eager as I was get this time on the bench; now I am starting to wonder just how I can possibly fill the days ahead. There simply aren't enough online sessions offered over the next six weeks to keep me occupied, and onsite training is often difficult to come by - the consequence of 25 consultants rolling off what was supposed to be my company's largest project for this piece of software, and all of us searching hopefully for classes to take.
I have little nibbles from here; emails from there hinting possible escape routes from consulting. I try not to get too hopeful - these sort of things have been presented to me before, only to be snatched away just when I was starting to dream they'd be true - but it is hard not to wish when what I want so badly seems to hang there, just barely out of my reach.
There have been a few scattered emails from others on the project - employees of the customer for whom we were working as well as other consultants. A number of the independent contractors crowded around us on Tuesday of last week as we all packed up our things and deleted any personal files and uninstalled instant message programs from the PC's we'd been assigned. They asked nervously if I'd act as a reference for them, and I was only too glad to pass out contact information. With few exceptions, the group of developers we worked with over these past eighteen months were marvelous, and if giving them a good reference for another position is the least I can do to thank them, then so be it.
The office at which I will be lurking these next six weeks is quiet. My office roommate is only here two days a week, and while I love chatting and laughing with her while she's here, I'm also relishing in the quiet.
With everything else that is going on right now, I'm grateful to have my job subside into something as stress-less and easy as simply getting to *learn* things. And for now, at least, I am doing my best to avoid thinking about what will happen when those six weeks are over and I am faced with a return to the hectic life I only recently was able to escape.