I finished my first full week of work on Friday, though, I actually started the previous Wednesday – I wanted a short week to ease myself in to the work week – for a total of eight full working days under my belt. [I wrote this post on Saturday, but have been having trouble with the Internet since then.]
And I’m still walking around in a near-giddy haze, scarcely able to believe my luck at having landed in this position, in this particular county.
Where do I even begin? Let’s start with the fact that, every single aspect– and there are many aspects – of their investigation requires (in many cases, far) less work than I’ve needed to do in previous states. In addition to there being fewer minimum requirements, they also have fewer investigations. Far fewer, overall and individually. In fact, the vast majority of their workers get assigned in a month what we received in a kind of busy week in Texas. AND, beyond that, the intensity / complexity / severity of the circumstances is just a (often, much) lower level overall. (At least, that’s how it appears based on what I’ve seen so far. I think this county’s demographics, particularly in regards to socioeconomic status, play a significant role.)
My coworkers and supervisors also allllll take lunch every day (sometimes, long lunches), pretty much always leave at 5 and past 6 is rare, hardly use their cell phones, rarely work overtime that isn’t 100% voluntary, and get paid well. The most that I’ve ever been paid to do this job. Oh, AND, I don’t know why they told me that I absolutely needed a car because they have county cars! So I’m not even running up the miles and down the value of my new car. Amazing!
Aaaaaaaand, the general vibe in the office is very reflective of the city in general: it’s chill. I don’t love using that word, but it’s the best way to describe it. They don’t make a huge deal about things that are not huge deals. They genuinely make every attempt possible to not remove children, and to use the least invasive options (while still maintaining child safety, of course). I’ve been jokingly calling it “CPS Lite,” but it may be “CPS Rite.” We’ll see. In addition, the upper management appears to genuinely listen to their staff and take a vested interest in staff retention and morale. (One of the major issues that I took with the upper management in my last state was their consistent refusal to acknowledge the foundational role those things played in the agency’s overall performance.)
Point being, I don’t foresee any difficulty maintaining the work-life balance that I now recognize as being vital to my overall health, happiness, and fulfillment in both my work and personal life. I always knew that I needed that balance in theory, but now I understand it as a matter of practice, and this will be the ideal setting to put those things into practice.
And I am practicing. I’ve always enjoyed being awake before most of the world, so I’ve been getting up early and strolling the quiet streets of the neighborhood and the Harbor, listening to the waves crash and the boats rock. I’ve been stretching and practicing some Sam-Harris-inspired meditation. D usually gets up by then, and we have breakfast together and I get to hang out with my buddy. During lunch, I go home, make myself lunch, listen to podcasts / music / read / walk, just completely forget about work for an hour. And then, at 5, I have the whole evening to do with as I please. There has been a lot of cooking, but I’ll save those details for another post.
TL;DR: I love my new job, and I still love my life, and I suspect that I will have plenty of time to enjoy both.
In other news…
Looking for a remotely reasonably-priced apartment in Santa Cruz is almost as disheartening as doing so in Manhattan. BUT, I am inching closer to sealing the deal, and expect to be in our new place by 6/1. I’ll reserve details for when things are finalized. I’m excited to have a semi-permanent place, and I’m even kind of looking forward to “nesting” for the first time in my life.
Let’s leave it there for now. I’m hoping to be back mid-week [or, tomorrow] with some updates about what I’ve been consuming – in food, in books, and in media – but really I’ll probably just end up consumed by the relentless apartment search. We’ll see.