I have a real job now
So, as I’ve said, I have a real job again. People say that sometimes - “I have a real job.” Everyone means something different by that. I mean the kind of job where someone tells you what to do. The kind of job where you have a boss. In my case, the boss is Tim Miller at Jethro. I was a client before, since Jethro has been managing this blog for quite awhile now. I liked Tim then, and I still like him. He’s a straight-talker, which I think is perhaps more common among Aussies. So there’s no muddling around, trying to figure out what a person really means. I love that.
But it is strange getting used to having a boss again.
The last time I had a job like this was 1990 when I worked briefly at a home for emotionally disturbed girls. Since then I have been my own boss. When you are the only minister in a small church, it’s not like anyone is your boss. Who is going to tell you how to preach? Especially with a new and rather unique church, you are sort of the expert. With a church like Covenant, the pastor is more like an entrepreneur with his or her own business. At the same time I ran my own web design and hosting business. I did that from 1996 to 2006. That was hard. I was a one-man-show, so I ran the server as well. As anyone who has ever had their livelihood tied directly to a web server will tell you, that’s some serious pressure. I carried that around, 24-7, for a decade. Vacations were the worst. I felt more anxiety because we were out of town. Once I had to rebuild about 10 websites from the mountains of Colorado with a crappy dial-up connection. Totally ruined our precious little one-week vacation.
So now I’m getting back in touch with a dynamic that most people experience off and on in life. The stress of getting up-to-speed at a new job. Damn, this is hard. I mean, I want to do a good job. I take a lot of pride in whatever work I do. So I’ve been scrambling the last month or so trying to figure out how Tim does things. Any new job has challenges, and those are increased by the number of new systems a person is required to learn. In this case, there are a number of complicating factors:
1. Jethro works just about exclusively in Drupal. And while RLP has been a Drupal site for years now, I’m having to learn how to install and configure Drupal, maintain it, handle security upgrades, and work with themes to a limited extent.
2. Jethro is a Windows company. And Jethro uses Office 2007. Not just Word and Excel, but complex Microsoft communications systems for remote work. Let me tell you, the Mac version of Office is just a shadow of the real thing. It’s fine for people who need to write a letter or do some minor work, but there is a reason Microsoft Office is the software of choice for complex businesses. So I had to install Vista on my Mac, which I run with Boot Camp. I’ve been out of Windows for 18 months, and Vista is very different. So I’m getting use to a new operating system. It’s so aggravating to have some little keystroke or mouse move that you normally don’t think about becoming something you have to think about again.
3. Office 2007 is a MAJOR change from 2003, which I had before. So even working with a Word document can be a challenge for me. In part because Tim really USES his software. He’s the type who figures out all the shortcuts and cool stuff. So maybe I used Word before, but now I have to use it the way Tim uses it. In other words, I never really used Word before.
4. New organizational system. Tim is uber-organized. I admire that so much in people. But mostly I like it when uber-organized people are organizing my life for me in some way. It’s a little harder when even documenting work involves remembering login info and other complex things.
My head has been spinning for a month.
But I’m catching on. And in spite of the fact that it feels like slow going, I think this is a pretty tough kind of job that requires a rather rare set of skills. Tim has been very patient. He’s spent hours walking me through things.
My one concern is that my sabbatical is going to zip by and I won’t have gotten as much writing done as I had hoped. That’s going to be depressing. But really, what can you do? Life draws you in certain directions. I needed a job, and Tim offered me one. So I took it.
Well, enough of that. Tomorrow I post my next Covenant story, and then on Friday I’ll tell you about my second Sunday worshipping with the Quakers.