Earn thousands of dollars stuffing envelopes at home.
After today, I'm convinced that's the kind of job I'm cut out for. I spent the day printing and assembling copies of the Big Project that I've finally completed. It's mindless, mechanical work, and it was the most stress-free day in weeks. I'm not really sure why, though.
It was satisfying to produce actual hard-copy output in the form that the Boss and the accountant want to see it. It's different from seeing it on the monitor. These six three-ring binders are tangible evidence of the real work I've been doing for the last few months. Sometimes I wonder if anyone believes that I really work all day. Sometimes I wonder myself, but now I have proof.
I was focused today, for once. I had one task to complete, and I kept at it until it was done. I was grateful to be mostly left alone, a rare circumstance which I attribute to the fact that the Boss was on the road and in meetings and out of cellular range and otherwise occupied.
And, let's face it, I didn't have to use much of my diminishing ability to concentrate. I guess it would be possible to get bored, doing this kind of unconscious activity all day long every day. But I found it mind-freeing. The few calls that did come in didn't bother me, because they were more of a diversion than a disruption.
This wouldn't have been nearly as much fun if I had been sorting and collating data someone else had sweated over for the last three months. And to be honest, this isn't really the reward I'm looking for. Just being able to look at and touch my work product doesn't do it for me. I'm expecting a little more, somewhere down the line.
I like doing this kind of project, however intense it gets every year. I enjoy taking raw data and creating a system that makes sense out of it. I was born way too soon to take advantage of this affinity, though. There was no such thing as programming or software development when I was in school, at least as far as I knew. Besides, I wasn't thinking of the future when I chose to major in English.
In a way, it would have been a concession to have gone into math or engineering, like nearly everyone I met my freshman year at UCSB. That was the thing to do in those days, and I was good at it. It came so easily to me that I chose another path entirely. I challenged myself to make something of my life with a degree in English. I got the degree, and here I am nearly thirty years later second-guessing. For all the good that does.
What I want most now, though, is time, and finishing this project will give me a little more of that. The freedom I have, working at home, is wasted if there's no time to do anything else but work. One thing my liberal arts education gave me is a variety of interests. I have a house full of books I haven't read and movies I haven't watched. Maybe I'll even get out once in a while now.