It's been just over two months at the new job. The newness of things is starting to wear off and I'm regaining equilibrium. Having a consistent livable paycheck and health insurance has a way of doing that. I have my own office in the back with the other data analyst. The office is huge by my standards and comes with a tall window, a big desk (which I turned into a standing desk), and a chair comfortable enough to fall asleep in.
Let me offer a typical day for curious folks:
My day starts roughly at 8:30am. I commute 50 minutes one-way so no one is shocked if I don't show up right on time. That's definitely an upside of an academic setting: as long as the work gets done and you show up to meetings, the exact hours you keep are largely irrelevant.
I start up my computer whenever I get in. I have a two monitor set-up which I've never had before. It's down right decadent! Check the email and then start working on whatever analysis or report I have pending. I can listen to music, so that's usually playing in the background.
Lunch rolls around some time between 11 and 2 - whenever I get hungry and need a break. I bring my lunch but everyone can run into town and get food. There's a good sushi joint, a Vietnamese restaurant, and really good Mexican food within a 15 minute drive. There's also a bunch of chains nearby if that works for me too. Food is important. Good food can do wonders for your morale.
Then it's back to analysis and reports. It's not exciting, usually. But that's my day. It ends at 5 and only comes home unless I want it too. Some time during the day, one of the bosses may randomly wander into my office and ask about a crazy huge project they're thinking about but doesn't have legs yet. None of these projects generally involves data analysis, so it's an interesting change of pace.
It leaves a lot of mental space for trying to decide on my next move and has the resources for additional classes if I want them. I'm considering going for a master's in statistics. It makes sense if I want to continue in the data analytics field and the credential could be useful if I want to strike out on my own. Master's in statistics sounds more like I know about data analysis than a Ph.D. in social science does, at least according to laypeople.
I haven't been as busy as they claimed I would be. This is mostly due to a dearth of projects and to an upcoming management change. The lack of projects is problematic from a revenue standpoint but they're working on it. All the grant cuts people have seen in the big academic funding sources are echoed in the cuts to community development grants. The management change is problematic because it means no new big projects are being green lighted until the new person comes in. Since I was brought on for the big projects, this seriously diminishes my workload. On the upside, this has given me time to get some cavities filled, pick a retirement plan, and build some liaisons with people in various other departments.
So that's what life is like at the moment. Bills are getting paid. Health issues are getting fixed. Life rolls on.