My Summer Job

I had originally hoped to spend about 6 weeks of the summer traveling to various parts of the country: SF, New Orleans, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, Maine, Boston, and Vermont. Then I took a good long look at my finances and realized this probably was not going to happen. Then I got word of a research fellowship offered by the department and realized that since I have valid research interests in NY, DC, and at UC Davis, that if got the fellowship I could, indeed, do the majority of my travels as planned.

Alas, I did not receive the fellowship.

So it looks like I will be taking a quick jaunt to MD for a long weekend, as well as spending about 10 days in the New England area and that’ll have to do me for for the summer and so I won’t be seeing an exceedingly lovely group of women who all happen to live the in SF area and that, above all, makes me sad.

Still, lemons from lemonade, right?

Which brings me to my job for the summer: me.

I have enough saved to eke out a frugal summer without getting an actual job. I have my producing gig for PodCastle which will bring in a small amount each month (about 2 weeks worth of grocery shopping), and I’ll be looking to pick up some public speaking tutoring gigs, and I may keep an eye out for short term gigs here and there, but my actual job is going to be becoming more of the me I’d like to be. I have three main areas of responsibility: health, writing, and programming.

Health (6:30am – 8:00am)

I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of September (that’s 2.5 lbs per month, which is reasonable). But more than that, I want to accustom myself to exercising regularly to the point where it’s simply something I do, not something I force myself to do. My current exercise plan includes the 100 pushups program, the 200 sit-ups program (though I’m technically doing crunches, not sit-ups), on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Also on those days I am doing at least 30 minutes of cardio split between my step machine and my rower. However I plan to increase that time to 50 minutes over the next 6 weeks.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I’m pursuing the Couch to 5K program if it’s not raining. If the weather doesn’t permit a run, then I will substitute the stepper/rower combination on those mornings.

In addition, Monday – Saturday I will be taking a walk for at least 30 minutes (again, if it’s constantly raining, then I can substitute with the stepper/rower combination). That can happen any time in the afternoon or evening.

(There is a diet component to this project: eating way more fruits and vegetables, as well as being much more conscious of portion sizes at dinner time and when eating out, but that will be ongoing and constant, and deserves its own post about the specific challenges and goals involved. Also, in order for me to guarantee that I’ll be getting up in the morning for this first part of my job, I need to get enough sleep, so I’ll be striving to get to bed, with lights off, by 11 pm at the latest on Sundays through Fridays.)

Writing (9:00am – 1:00pm)

Monday through Friday, following my exercise routine, I will shower and have breakfast, then write. My daily word goal is going to be 1000 words (for fiction) or 6 pages (for scripts). When I have reached those goals, I will then turn to other writing work: revisions to previously written drafts, submitting short stories, writing blog posts, writing/editing academic work, etc.

Programming (2pm – 4pm)

I have, for a while now, wanted to learn how to program in Cocoa so that I could write some programs for the Mac and the iOS platforms. With department chair suggesting I look at using computer programming as a possible second language, I have even more incentive. I know at least 2 simply but potentially interesting programs I’d like to write, but if I’m going to be serious about learning this, I need to devote at least 2 hours a day to really working through various training materials (books, websites, etc.) and working on samples and examples of code. This will be hard to do on my own, but it is possible, at least to get some of the basics down.But the only way to do this is to be diligent. Thus, Monday through Friday, I will be learning the basics of how to program.

Now, there may be times when I need to out for appointments of one sort or another, but I will be trying to make those for late afternoons. If they disrupt my programming sessions, then I will make up the time in the evening. However, starting tomorrow, to the best of my ability, nothing will disrupt my morning routines of exercise and writing.

Other Areas of Responsibility

Those are my primary responsibilities in the job of me, but I have others. During the week, late afternoons and evenings will be a combination of reading, practicing guitar and composing music. I will also be doing slow but constant studying for my qualifying exams. I may also try to get into a more regular habit of analog mail correspondence with my far flung friends (not promising on that front just yet).


Other than morning exercise and an additional walk on Saturday, I haven’t scheduled much for the weekends and am going to try to use those to get out of the house a bit: maybe go to museums, meet people for brunch, possibly take a weekend trip or two if I can afford to, watch some movies, work on podcasts, read, and clean house.


I will be in New England for 10ish days at the end of June into early July and that will change my schedule quite drastically. I will keep the pushups and sit-ups going as I can do that no matter where I am, and I’ll do my damnedest to keep up with the Couch to 5K program. However, I probably will let the rest of it go since I’ll be visiting people and socializing and it’d be a drag to try and maintain a strict schedule on this “vacation.” I’ll be moving in early July – so that’ll be another day I don’t observe my regular schedule, Other than that, however, this is going to be my job schedule from tomorrow until the start of school in late August. At that point I’ll have to come up with a new schedule for myself that takes teaching and taking classes, as well as doing my 12 hours/week in the marketing office, into account. Mostly likely, I will have to cut back on my word count and some of my programming time, but I hope to have established exercise and writing and studying programming as habits that will remain as part of my life even during the semester.

So that’s my summer job. While I’m not responsible to anyone but myself to make this all happen, I hope that by framing these practices as my job will give me some motivation during those times I want to delay or skip something. Or when I have to make a choice between going out drinking on a Wednesday versus taking a rain-check and letting people know that I can only really socialize on weekends. (Challenge to myself: make sure that I do socialize on the weekends instead of holing up in my apartment.)

On this day..