Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stupid Job

So, I complain about my job quite a bit. It's mainly because I don't really value what I do, that being working in a partially service based position within the software industry. Specifically, I develop internal tools and processes for keeping large scale, multi-component, multi-site, software product builds working. This is done within the scope of a huge company and for a huge, very mature, conventional product set. Sound interesting? Yea, chicks really dig it.

Despite the relative job dissatisfaction, I long ago made the simple realization that I've got it just about as good as it gets. My reasoning for that is simple; I am paid reasonably well, it is relatively close to home (though they moved last year from 1.75 miles away to ~15 miles away), I know my job well, it doesn't have huge commitments beyond the "normal high tech 9.5hr work day" and I realize that the grass is never greener on the other side of the fence. What this translates to is me staying where I am and sucking it up, realizing that each day, week and month that goes by is another paycheck that hits the bank. I also grew up pretty modestly and in all reality never realistically dreamed that the potential was there for where I am. Nope, we're not rich by modern standards by any stretch of the imagination and we are not overly extravagant either, but we are also not overly extended, or really extended at all for that matter, and we don't want for anything. Sure, there are times when I think that I'd like something crazy like a spiffy Corvette ZR1 or a second vacation home but not so much that I'm willing to sell my soul to the man for it.

I know, that sounds really pitiful but I'm a realist and have seen the alternatives. I could have a really sucky job, like working in a large scale machine shop doing piece work in ultra hazardous work conditions, which I did one summer in college. I could be out in the fields slinging hay bales which I did many summers as a kid. I could be working 100 hours a week for a crappy startup which I did for exactly 7 weeks until I literally left a note on my boss' desk and walked out the door at 11PM one Sunday evening. I could take my passion and convert it into a business and have it become all consuming, to the point where the passion is lost.

The bottom line is this, it's a job and it is work, otherwise you wouldn't get paid for it. The biggest trick to pull off is the balancing act between work and life. I think in my case, that is about as good as it gets. Work affords me the luxury of doing the things that I am passionate about and that I choose to do. This has been working just great for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, as stable as things had been ... did I mention that I'm all about stability and not a big fan of change? Anyhow, the stability has shifted. First there was the campus consolidation to the god forsaken, unreachable depths of nowhere, also known as Littleton. This sucked as it meant my 1.75 mile commute, which was the primary reason I took the job in the first place, changed to a 15 mile commute. OK, so I work from home at least twice a week and bought a motorcycle that gets 75 mpg to combat this. Yes, I could ride my bike but the direct route is horrible and an extended 20 mile plus with a laptop, a half gallon of coffee and lunch and planning for a ~6:30AM arrival so I can leave that place at 4PM to get home and ride my bike isn't really practical. Last week they decided to consolidate teams and in doing so, my boss, a man who literally has chosen to give the better part of his life for the job, found himself redundant. He was the lucky one. Our group now reports in through, of all places, Mexico. The new manager is here this week and is doing 1x1 meeting with everyone. I've opted to purchase a ton of tickets for the layoff lottery and am still hoping.

How do I get out of this whole thing of not being fully satisfied with work you may ask yourself? I don't know. Another day, another 75 cents or so after taxes. I went and redid the resume and opened it up to the public, which is the normal first course when I get to feeling like that. That typically results in a ton of response for stuff that really don't want to do anyhow. I've considered asking my buddy if he needs help for the construction business he started up solo this spring and have also toyed with taking some time off and doing some part time work at the bike shop or something, just for fun.

The reality is that I'm likely here until dismissed because that is what is comfortable and again, every day I spend here gets me a day closer to retiring from this whole field, a goal which I don't foresee as being all that far off in the future. Will see. Maybe I'll get laid off this week or maybe something new will catch my fancy. Bottom line is that regardless how bad this may at times seem, put it in perspective, at least I'm not cleaning the combustion soot out of the tubes of a really big industrial boiler or insulating the steam pipes above the dryer (think large scale here) in a glorified paper mill over the 4th of July holiday plant shutdowns, jobs I gladly did a little over 20 years ago. Yes, both were really, really hot and really dirty and both sucked ass. I won't even go into the summer I spent cleaning used paper mill equipment that was being reconditioned for use at the plant. Of course, as bad as that was it wasn't nearly as bad as the crap that the riggers went through. Man could those guys drink though. A story for another day.

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