The first full week of the year kicked off an avalanche of work at my job. Projects that should have been started in September were finally begun and it's now a mad dash to get everything done before March 1st. I've been working seven days a week, with many of those days lasting as long as 12 or 15 hours. I'm not being "forced" to work this much, although I would probably find myself out of a job in a hurry if I wasn't stepping up to the plate and taking on extra work.
The truth is that if I had sat around and waited for duties that fit my job description of "Technical Writer" since my transfer out of Customer Service, then I would have been hard pressed to have enough work for even a part-time position. Mind you, there are plenty of things that need to be "documented", but this would involve other people giving me information and that would take their time away from far more urgent duties. Documentation can always wait, that is, until the only person that knows how to do something is no longer around. But as long as that person is still available, there are just too many other competing priorities which leaves me with very little to do in my official capacity.
However, I am not the kind of person who is happy sitting around with nothing to do so I managed to stay busy by scrounging around for projects and tasks. This was not easily done at a company where projects aren't announced to the company as a whole and I would only hear about them on the grapevine, but I was able to find plenty of work to do thanks to a lot of groundwork on my part. In fact, I actually invented several of them which meant I had to "sell" it to management. I was, for all intents and purposes, a freelancer, albeit one with with a boss and a steady salary.
And so there I was towards the end of last year, still scrounging around for work and still waiting for my manager to give me more official duties when all of a sudden things got turned upside down. I'm not going to go into details, but end result was that my manager resigned and a recently employed consultant ended up in charge of the department. This consultant had already told me that there was going to be no room for me in the newly restructured Information Technology department so the fact that he was now my manager meant that I was under even more pressure to make a place for myself.
I suppose that sounds like a somewhat reasonable explanation for the workload I'm currently experiencing, but it's not the whole story. I could always say no, take a layoff and find another job. And the company could easily replace me with a fresh-faced college student for much of what I'm currently doing (although they would have to pay them a higher salary and probably take a big hit on work ethics.) Instead, I'm doing this because I love the challenge and it gives me the opportunity to update my IT skill set in an actual production environment. And if that means working my ass off for a couple of month, then so be it.
That said, I'm still going to whine on occasion about what I know is ultimately a personal choice because at the end of a 15 hour day, sometimes it just feels damn good to whine and complain. And if I do, there's no need to tell me that it's all my own fault; I'm already perfectly aware of that.