So how’s my work life here in Bulgaria?
I have as much work as I can handle and am actually turning down jobs and picking and choosing my projects. Quite a contrast with my very lean spring!
The time zone difference with my clients hasn’t been an issue so far.
One client normally has an 8AM PST deadline, which is 6PM here, and when he can, he moves it to 12PM, or 10PM here. With him, I used to try to get the work in the evening or night before the 8AM deadline, but now, I tend to get it in sometime in the wee hours of the morning and he has it first thing. This is because I tend to get the work around 8AM his time the previous day, which is the end of the day my time, so I work on the file the next day.
Another client has an 11PM EST deadline, which is 6AM here. I get very small jobs from her and they tend to be easy, but since I’ve been here, most of her files have been tough and I’v struggled to get the file done by bedtime the day before they are due. I’ve negotiated a three-hour extension to 2AM her time, or 9AM here. That means that if I’m heading past dinner time and still haven’t finished her file, I can go to bed, get up and walk the dogs, have coffee, and still have time to make my deadline. But I haven’t exercised that option yet.
My third main client is a bit trickier. I haven’t received any flack from them, but I wonder if that will change. How deadlines work with them is that I sign work out of a “library” and then I have 48 hours to return it. So the time zone shouldn’t matter. However, you’re not supposed to sign out work early in the day PST unless you plan to do it by the end of the day. With the 10-hour difference, I sign out work and then do it first thing in the morning my time, uploading it in the wee hours of the morning their time. I’m still normally well ahead of my deadlines, though, which I think counts for something. I’m producing good work (as per the feedback I get) and they know I’m here, so I don’t think there will be an issues.
Strangely enough, everyone has been sending me crappy files since I got here. It’s just a coincidence, I know that for a fact, but I’ve ended up with much longer working days than I expected and have had many days where I’ve typed to 9PM or later. Today was one such day, but that was because I had to go to Yablanitsa and that ate up almost four hours of my day. I really hope things settle down so that I can finish by five or six, walk the dogs, have a beer while I make dinner, and then decompress a bit. Finishing this late means I’m going to bed late and then I have to be up around seven to have time to walk the dogs and so I’m not getting enough sleep. It’s turning into an unhealthy cycle that I really need to nip in the bud. It’s funny that super long days used to be the norm for me, but I’ve been doing very well at working more reasonable hours for the last year or so. I’m at the point where even if I don’t take a full day off in a week, not getting my evenings off feels very wrong.
None of this work pays particularly well, but with my expenses being so low here, I’m not too worried. I’d be in trouble in Canada, but I’m happy with this type of work versus the income it produces while in a country with an affordable cost of living.
The internet has been working great. There have been a couple of short outages, but nothing to be concerned about. I am spending so much less time waiting for pages to load and files to download that I am noticing that I have extra time in my day. Really! When I am somewhere that I can get wifi in bed, I tend to save reading some sites until then and I find that I get through my reading list here much more quickly. Picture sites like Buzzfeed come up right away, for example. My internet in Mexico was better by a long shot than what I had in Canada, but it still wasn’t fast, and I certainly couldn’t stream with them. It’s nice to be able to catch up on late night TV (Fallon, Kimmel, O’Brien, SNL, etc.) by watching clips on YouTube when I’m too tired to read.
I’ve come up with a surprisingly comfortable way to work, but it’s not super efficient. I’m simply sitting in the comfy IKEA chair and typing on my lap. I really miss being able to use a real mouse and it’s a pain to get up and have to move my equipment (hard drives, hub) out of the way but, otherwise, this is actually working out. It does mean that I don’t have the transition from work space to play space, however, to watch a movie or read a book or whatever before I go to bed. Still, it’s good to know that a setup like this works.
I’ve also managed to make the bed more comfortable by making a nest of bedding and pillows, so I’m not sore the way I was my first winter in Mexico, even with all that walking I’m doing. My calves were hurting quite a bit (cramping) yesterday when I got to the top of the mountain, but that’s really it. Even my bad knee seems to be handling all these hills (and even the humidity) with aplomb. I can tell I’m getting stronger and have more stamina than I did when I arrived two weeks ago. The walk home today was tough only because of the heat and I still took the dogs on a proper walk (what I shared yesterday) before I came in to a very simple supper of a salami and jam sandwiches (not together!).
So all is good on the work side of things. If I can only just figure out a non-bipedal method of getting around here, I will be able to gain a little more work-life balance!