I suppose there's no harm in mentioning that I have again transitioned employers. Thankfully, I am not prohibited from discussing the terms of such termination this time.
I was fired by voicemail. In actuality, it was pretty funny. Never really been fired before, and certainly not by voicemail. I guess it doesn't really bother me, because I didn't really like the job anyways. Struck me as one of those half-hatched 1998 companies. In fact, I continually joked with coworkers that I was working for The Underpants Gnomes. Wage good, quality of job pretty good, but business model and company morale both scored pretty high (or is it low?) on the "wtf" meter.
So since some people are actually reading this, I'll give the details of the so called valve. I mentioned some time ago that a move to Hawaii was possibly imminent. And a move which would result in my working on what is really one of the coolest telescopes on the planet (love it) with Solaris (love it) and of course, living in Hawaii (love it). I realized, as I contemplated the position, that I would probably be paid a little bit less. And we wouldn't be able to eat at places such as the excellent Ruth's Chris Steak House (there isn't one on the big island). We would be leading a seriously subdued life. And it would probably be for several years. But what we would be trading for all that decadence and consumerism would be passion. To be passionate again about one's career. Fuck yeah, man! Work on the Subaru! Watch stars! That's what the really cool shit in life is. Not writing "Metrics and Monitoring Systems." Not writing database migration procedures. Fuck all that.
So I did it. We went to Mauna Kea. We stayed in Hilo. It was cool. It was way cool. The work didn't seem like it was anything I couldn't do, just your standard Solaris shop, running on Solaris and Fujitsu hardware. The tricky part for $job[-1] is that this seemed to occur at roughly the same time as I was in the hospital with food poisoning. As it turns out, they really were happening at the same time. I was in the hospital in Virginia one day, and at Urgent Care in Hilo the next day (or a day or two later, whatever). The point was, I was deathly ill, and the only thing that kept me alive during that period was lots of MS Contin, Prednisone, and Phenergan. Sick lot of drugs, that. At any rate, there's this whole 5-hour time difference between Hawaii and Virginia, and the hotel had no internet access, so my keeping in touch with anyone back home was pretty impaired. They didn't like this, and while I did try to keep in touch, after about a week of my being "just gone and presumably sick", I think they decided to fire me (or perhaps they saw flickr and/or advogato where certain mentions of Hawaii were made).
At any rate, it's all past now. I get to find a new job. This time, one that I like, instead of just the first one to come along and put and offer under my nose. It may be the job in Hilo, in which case, I get to move, too. That's always an experience.
So the valve, folks, really amounts to just a sort of cathartic flush of the old job down some employment toilet, and the hunt again for a job with passion. That smiling geek from a few weeks back was smiling because he knew he was going to Hilo. He knew he was going to see the Subaru and the Kecks, and that there was a spark there, somewhere, in what seemed like a pretty droll career.
Lesson learned? When in doubt, flush.
note: It is kind of a shame that I don't get to work with some of the coworkers from the last job, I had gotten to like some of them. Mo and Shawn in particular. Sorry, guys.
31 January, 2005
15 January, 2005
So I just finished reading Singularity Sky (I confess I am most certainly an extropian), and decided to take a gander at the Wikipedia's coverage of Charles Stross. It turned out to be mostly useful, and as complete as can be until I finish some of his other works.
Somewhat disturbingly, I wandered across this in Mr. Stross' blog. It tells a familiar story of a person being fired for blog existance/content. Again, I'm contractually prohibited from discussing my relationship with AOL post-termination, so I won't mention any specifics that I might find familiar, and you will find said entries on advogato either edited or deleted.
It is sad that we continue to see this. If I were my current employer, and I were reading this weblog, I would wonder to myself, "gosh gee, why has alex posted these two drink recipes titled safety valve to his weblog?" Alas, I think it will become apparent in the next few days what needs to be done; the means necessary to overcome. What it takes to restore passion in a career. What is worth fighting for.
It's not position. It's not CTO. It's not HNIC. It's not owning root and all the install servers and the inventory and the keys to the datacenter. I wish that were it.
I'd say more, but instead I'll quote Mr. Stross:
As with most journals where the author thinks they have a sympathetic audience, an unsympathetic audience can find copious quantities of ammunition.Root gets old.
09 January, 2005
Safety valve, approach one:
- 3 oz lime juice
- 2 oz grapefruit juice
- 2 oz falernum
- 2 oz simple syrup
- 5 oz captain morgan's private stock
- 4 oz bacardi 151
- 4 oz myers legend (or myers dark) rum
- 4 oz appleton estate rum
- 4 oz flor de cana grand reserve rum
- 3 oz maraschino liquer (cherry Pucker works fine)
- 8 dashes pernod
- 4 dashes angostura bitters
- 12 dashes grenadine
Store in 36-ounce (1L) container in freezer overnight. Pour over crushed (1 cm^3) ice into a pint glass nightly after work, followed by another if necessary. Do not exceed two doses in a single evening. Storing in the freezer is essential to maintain consistency. A thicker consistency is much more pleasant. Depending upon amount of ice used (more is better), recipe provides 4-7 doses (eg, enough for a week).
It is important that consumption occur in the company of loved one(s), and that discussion of work, nor performance of work occur.
07 January, 2005
05 January, 2005
Back during my defense work days, we got to the point where I was having three hammerheads (two shots of espresso in a cup of coffee) a day, drinking too much at night, taking a mild steroid to overcome the hangovers, and various opioids for the migraines and back pain that comes from doing work in datacenters (great environment for machines, not so good for people).
I made the decision that it wasn't healthy. I was getting sick a lot.
I'm getting back to that point again. Not quite there, but I'm not sleeping well, and the infighting and backbiting at work seems to be coming to a head. Even before leaving AOL, the stress was building up due to the team being short-staffed, and some "complex relationship problems" with my boss.
When I spoke to my doctor about getting into that rut again, he told me that I had to get out of the industry. That he has a lot of patients who come see him for 3 months supply of Ambien, Xanax, antidepressants every 3 months. It destroys them. Programmers, sysadmins, IT managers, everyone.
Why does our field do this to us?
I'm working on my solution. I'll keep you posted.