So, I’ve had a lot to think about, in the past 12 hours… The interview I had yesterday has become one of those slightly bitter pills that will probably turn out to be good medicine, but isn’t very comfortable going down. I’ll take the pill. I’ll swallow my pride. And I’ll use the experience for what it’s worth.
In all honesty, I started out this interview process not really expecting much to come of it. I was off to a good start, but I still wasn’t sure about whether I wanted the position. It’s at a company that’s over 60 miles from home, and at first I rejected the idea because of the commute, but the recruiter I talked to and the hiring manager I talked to both said I could do a lot of remote work, so I wouldn’t have to do that commute everyday. I had my reservations, but I decided I could probably make it work.
Then I talked to a friend of mine who had worked there, years ago, and they really loved it there – they regretted having to leave (because of the money). They said it would be great if I could work there, and I took their word for it. I started to get excited — invested. I was starting to get pretty enthused.
Then the interview… and now the expectations I had in place have to be adjusted… and I am back to thinking about what I am really looking for, what I really want to do, and I’m realizing again that I let my opinion be swayed by others — first the recruiter, then my friend. I stopped listening to myself — the reservations about the commute, as well as my reservations about the company not paying well, not to mention the really long hours I hear they require of people. (The hiring manager said, “Well, this is technology, so…” meaning — I assume — that there will be plenty of long days around release times.
So, I’m back to square one — square two or three, actually — more firm than ever about what I am looking for, and not nearly as willing to settle for less. I am also keenly aware that I really need to keep up with this industry I’m in. And it may make sense for me to take on long-term contracts for a while so that I can do a variety of interesting things with a variety of interesting people. Every time I get into a permanent job situation, after a few years the situation sours, and I get really fed up with people and their self-defeating patterns. I get fed up with office politics and people not pulling their weight. I get fed up with bosses who don’t know what the hell they (or others) are doing. And I feel trapped in their webs of posturing and politicking, without a viable exit. Contracting, on the other hand, helps me breathe. Whatever stupidity is happening around me, I know it’s not going to last forever. And it gives me a chance to try different things in different places, which is the way to keep sharp in this economy.
It really needs to be about the work.
And I’m realizing that it needs to be about pretty advanced work, too.
The thing about the test yesterday, was that it was pretty easy. Maybe too easy. Maybe it was so easy that I overly complicated it — and that’s where I screwed up. I think that maybe I have been selling myself short and not going for advanced enough situations. I have been thinking about myself in a certain way — doing one sort of work — when maybe the place where I really need to be is in more abstract work — the behind-the-scenes work, where logic interacts with machines, and a specific sequence of commands produces a specific result.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ve been selling myself short, and looking in the wrong places for what makes sense for me. Maybe I’ve been setting my sights too low, not going wide and deep enough. Maybe I’ve allowed myself to be “sold” on the ideas of others, when I should really be working towards my own unique, specific vision of where I want to go and what I want to do.
I think that could very well be the case. I think I’ve gotten caught up in my eagerness to just get out of my current job situation, and it’s blinded me to the other skills I have that are more complicated, more advanced, more abstract.
Looking back on my past job history, I can see a lot of instances where I sold myself short — even though everyone around me was telling me that I could do more. I have held myself back, that’s for certain. And for no good reason, other than fear and anxiety. I just didn’t want to chance it — to take a shot and then look like a fool, thinking it would be the end of me.
Well, I pretty much looked like a fool yesterday, and it didn’t kill me. So maybe it’s a good thing that I had that experience. It’s happened to me pretty seldom — because I’ve always avoided high-stakes situations where I might not look good. And I’ve missed out on a lot as a result. Now I’ve had this really bitter experience, but I’m still here. So maybe I can start pushing the envelope to see what else I’m capable of, knowing that making a fool of myself isn’t going to destroy me.
Well, anyway, I have less than a week till I go on vacation for 10 whole days. It’s the longest I’ll have OFF work, that I’ve had in three years. Every now and then, it’s good to go on vacation. It’ll give me time to think, time to catch up with myself, time to recalibrate and get my strength back. I have a very busy six days ahead of me. Non-stop, actually. Till all hours of the night.
So, I guess it’s time to get going. Onward.