From The CRPG Addict
I got behind in entries and ended up having nothing to published today at noon, for which I apologize. I am of course still working on Dark Stone Ritual and Star Control II while investigating some interesting off-list options.
I thought I’d take today to let you know about an interesting change in my life. When I started this blog in 2010, I was employed full-time in a public sector position. I really enjoyed my work, and was good at it, and rose to a leadership position in some professional organizations that covered my area of expertise. I got lots of offers to consult and train in my field. My employer was very generous in giving me extra time off (without pay) so I could indulge in these opportunities, but eventually that got to be too much, and I ended up quitting my job so I could pursue consulting and training full-time.
Self-employment is an interesting lifestyle. It hasn’t worked out great for me. First, what no one tells you is that you need to charge about three times your previous hourly rate to “break even” on your full-time salary. (This part only applies to the U.S., of course, although I’m sure every country has its self-employment pitfalls.) This is partly because you’re now paying your own social security taxes and health insurance but mostly because there is no longer such a thing as an “off-day.” You have to be able to justify hours spent with actual product. You can’t have a bad day where you “phone it in” and get paid anyway. There are, needless to say, no sick days or vacation days. You’re free to take them, of course, but at a quantifiable cost.
The worst part about self-employment is that every hour becomes a work hour, or at least a potential work hour. I don’t think I’ve actually worked harder in the last 8 years than in the 17 years before that. But I have had more of a constant pressure of work. Days, nights, weekends, weekdays all blend into each other, and all could conceivably be spent on my computer doing what someone is willing to pay me to do. Only some inherent laziness and, of course, my CRPG addiction, has kept me from making triple what I actually did make during this time.
The biggest factor about my particular brand of self-employment has been travel. I talk about it occasionally on the blog, but not as much as I used to, because early on I got some criticism for revealing too much personal information. The hard facts are that between 2011 and 2018, the minimum number of nights per year I spent in hotel rooms was 204. In 2017, I was on the road for 257 nights out of 365. I’d like to say I got paid for all those days of travel, but unfortunately I chose to live in one of the worst possible areas of America for someone who travels a lot. You cannot leave Bangor, Maine (if you can even get a flight out of Bangor) early enough to get anywhere (except maybe New York) and still get work done that day. Nor can you get a return flight unless you leave in the morning. A 2.5-day workshop in California translates into an entire week on the road–longer if there are delays.
So what’s the change? I just signed a contract for a full-time job. Starting in the fall of 2019, I will be a full-time university professor. This will require another move, but one that Irene and I are both happy with.
I have no idea what to expect from my new circumstances in terms of free time. The university expects me to teach 4 classes a semester, which is not a lot. I’ve done adjunct teaching since 2001, and there were times I had 4 classes in addition to my other full-time work. But working full-time for a university comes with other duties that I’ve never had, and I have no idea how much time they take.
The university is off for 5 months a year, which sounds like I’ll have a lot of free time during those months, but they expect me to finish my PhD within three years. Plus, to be able to afford to take the job, I’ve had to keep several of my existing contracts (mostly those that don’t require a lot of travel). So it’s a toss-up, and I have no idea of all the consequences for my life.
On the whole, I’m really looking forward to my new life. I like teaching, and the students and faculty at this university seem great. I’m not looking forward to the dissertation. I’ll be glad to spend more time at home, but conversely I’ve really grown to prize my SkyMiles and Hilton Honors statuses, and giving those up is going to be painful. I don’t mind the thought of a daily commute, not with all the great audio stuff to stream these days.
This blog will continue, of course. The new job isn’t going to cure my CRPG addiction. And I have a feeling that a regular schedule help me better structure both my playing and blogging and my work on the book I announced a few months ago.
Thanks for listening, and regular CRPG coverage will resume soon!