Thursday, July 12, 2007

early risers

In a set of meme responses, Flavia wonders: "Why do people seem to believe that those who get up early are more virtuous and more efficient than those who get up late?"

As one of those people who get up early [really, really early], I would just like to say that I do not think I'm more virtuous or more efficient than someone who gets up late. Not at all. I know I'm far more efficient with this schedule than any other schedule, but that's the end of my thoughts on the subject. I had a friend once who lived by this motto: "You do what you do." He was a flamboyantly gay meth addict artist coffeeshop owner, so such a motto referenced a whole lot more "do" for him than it did for me...but it still works.

My early-rising stems from never really being a good sleeper (ask my parents!). I figured why the heck not just get up if I couldn't sleep. During my elementary school years, I spent large chunks of time living with one grandmother or another. The one grandmother was a notorious early riser (in the 4am range) so she could go to early Mass. When I lived with her, the early rising worked out because she'd have breakfast all ready for me before I went off to school. School was a leisurely half-mile walk through downtown and I had plenty of time to get there [and yes, because I'm a geek, I did just go googlemap my route].

In college, I almost always had classes first thing in the morning. Since I shoved eight semesters of classes into approximately five semesters, my schedule was jam-packed and thus had to start at the earliest times. Getting up was never really an issue.

What really started my early-rising-as-lifestyle-choice was when I worked at Sun Microsystems in the mid-90s. That job was the first time I really had an on-the-freeways commute with the gajillions of people in Silicon Valley during bubble time. After a week or so of a hellish commute, I decided that 8-5 wasn't going to work for me and switched to 6-3. The new timeframe worked not only for me but for the people I worked with, who at the time were in either Ireland or Asia. I was the Document Localization Writer/Manager for a certain set of OS docs, and I had to coordinate with the folks in Asia and Ireland quite a bit via phone; 6-3 catches both timezones a lot better than 8-5 does.

I've kept up the early rising/early working deal since then, and currently at my job we have specific things that have to be done for a client at 5am three times per week. Throw in other 5am things that have to be done on other days or sometimes the same day, and some things that have to be done at 2am, and what you have is a boss who is happy to have someone who naturally gets up early. And no, these are not tasks I could automate, unfortunately, for several boring reasons that have nothing to do with us. So I get up early. Like 4:30am early. I often get all my work done for the day by noonish, and end up sitting around for five more hours waiting for someone to dump work on us at the last minute because they can't plan [sorry, peeve].

I don't think I'm better than anyone just because I like being done with my work and like to take a nap in the afternoons. In fact, I think I'm pretty lame because I typically fall asleep before most young children do, and if I do sleep in and get up at 8 or 9 or whatever, I'm screwed up for the rest of the day and don't get anything done.

So, you do what you do. BUT! If I'm in your department, you can always count on me to teach the 7:30am classes that you don't want to teach, so...bonus for everyone!