The Work Thread

For the 3rd time in less than a month, my boss has told a number of people that I've agreed to take on a quite substantial task/role without actually having agreed with me on it. Actually this time it's not so big of a role - I copied a webpage and said, "Somebody's already done my work for me" and sent it as a reply to his request for a Twitter strategy, and then promptly sent him an email telling him that that's a really bad habit, and he better cut it out and find the time to sit down with me and agree upon what the contents of my job actually are.
Met with a retirement guy at my credit union while I was in Tampa. With my income and near term future largely stable I can again start planning for retirement. Being me, I decided to build a spreadsheet and with the anticipated growth in future 401k, IRA accounts, and other investments as well as my really low DC cost of living it looks like I may be able to think about buying a retirement home at age 44. If I select a beach location I can rent it out weekly and at 55 have it paid in full and I can take early retirement. I would need to work part time or have a small business (I'd like to invest in a little gym or bar) and retire fully at 65. This should allow for me to send the Kid to a decent college and enjoy a beachy, laid back retirement.
I dunno, maybe I read too much science fiction. Like, I assume super-longevity or anti-aging or mind uploading whatever will become available, but only available to those society deems worthy. Of course, they will use your bank account to determine worthiness.

Better start saving up if I want to live to see the heat death of the universe...
One of the perks of being an academic in Australia is much more generous superannuation than average. The national requirement for everyone is a 9% employer contribution. It was meant to ramp up to 12% over the next few years, but the likely incoming government is delaying that. Academics get 17% and I top that up even a bit further with pre-tax contributions. Upshot is that we should be reasonably comfortable in retirement, even though Suzie doesn't have a lot of super, but it does (as intended) make it harder for me to take breaks or move out of the sector.

Those extra years of study do pay off, eventually.
Starting a new job next week. I'll be working for the same company, with the same software, but now at a client site.

Going to be some culture shock, plus I'm going to have a badge again, and the site is much, much larger.

I will be shopping for excessively comfortable shoes, although possibly posting on the stocking thread, as the dress code prohibits bare legs. (is this still the '80s and I didn't notice?)
Been asked to take on a role coordinating a relationship between our School of Education and initially one school, eventually (actually quite quickly) 3-4.

There'll be a fair bit of work and small bit of kudos, and it'll be tougher to publish, so I'll be negotiating fairly hard in terms of other workload concessions to make it possible/not cut my own throat.

Still, it's an opportunity to grow a novel model of science and maths teacher education, which in itself could be an occasion for publishing stuff.

Still feels a lot more like taking one for the team than something I'm excited to take up, though.
quote:
Originally posted by Boogerhead:
I am resigned to the fact that I am not rich enough to afford retirement.

Work 'til death, motherfuckers.


You've worked fairly continuously for regular SS paying jobs right?

Despite all the hoopla there is little reason to curtail SS benefits, the issues with SS are mostly political. You might see an extension of the retirement age but a drop in demand from seniors whose benefits are to be cut will be viciously opposed by businesses.

Currently you can start taking benefits at 62 like my father did but the longer you hold off the larger the benefit becomes. Currently, were I to stop working and then at 62 ask for benefits it would about $1000 a month. So, make of that what you will. There is no crystal ball but there is no real reason other than wacky political bullshit that might reduce those benefits.
Internal bs this weekend. There are a lot of egos in our organization and we tend to be a slow moving and overly collaborative bunch in some ways.

That makes us stronger, because we are a big organization with decent funding and some political power but it means we can get outmaneuvered by smaller and nimbler groups.

I'm just frustrated that I'm at a point where I am ready to really ramp up out work and keep getting shut down.

On the upside, a software program they had bought before I came on board is up for renewal and I have developed a way to accomplish the same work it does for less (and better). I am hoping to use the saving to leverage a new work desktop. Something to can crunch a lot of data. Thankfully I seem to have dodged the SQL bullet and can now use powerpivot in excel which can work with millions of rows of data. I just want more power for mapping and a 27 in monitor so I can shift off the dual monitor rig I have now.
quote:
Originally posted by striv:
This!

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codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0"
height="480"
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/> /> /><embed pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"
type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
wmode="transparent"
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/>[/FLASH_VIDEO]

I'm starting up a new media company. All we produce is "I Quit" videos. Then somebody really quits and makes an I Quit video, and the internet turns inside out.
Yeah, I've had days like that. Months, once, but not for a long time now. Wasn't a government job though.



This might belong in the couch-rides thread, just putting things in perspective. I've done little besides work and sleep for a few weeks now. Things have slowed down at times, during which I've slept and/or rested-up for whatever comes next. Things will slow down in the winter too, so I'm saving up some money while I can. The hurry-up-and-wait cycle of this one place also allows some time to pause and reflect, more often time spent forming a game plan for the hurry-up bits later.

Came up with the title, Worker Berserker Dance, in reference to those hurry-up bits, btw.

At another place, a co-worker doesn't seem to realize that cameras and alarm systems actually record things, like what he's doing or not doing, as well as his arm/disarm times. Apparently, there are nights when he's only been there for a half-hour. He gets paid for five hours a night. The client is not impressed with this. Neither am I, nor am I too concerned about someone else's work, only the quality of my own work. Nor am I too concerned [now] about the notes he's left, asking me to do this or that little task for him, because he `didn't have time'. ;-P I've replied, once, politely but firmly, and the notes stopped.

Mind you, I'm all for teamwork, but that only happens when everyone contributes something. What he's proposing is more of a parasitic relationship, and I have no interest in having one of those with anyone.

And then there's the former roommate, at the other job. I've seen very little of him lately, and am grateful for that [hey, I did say I've tried to keep liking you. Didn't say I'd succeeded. You already know why]. Last night I only saw him out the corner of my eye, finished at midnight, finished my lunch, said goodnight to Security and went home. It was a pretty good night, imv.

My own work has actually gone pretty well, too. People appreciate it and I enjoy it, but, you know... Too Much of a Good Thing. The peripheral shit also gets on my nerves a little; not too much, but a little; background noise.

I've seen very little of the Czech lady lately, and that's been stressful. I've missed her, but she has her own concerns right now, big ones, not the kind you resolve all at once, and there's not much I can do about those. I've offered to help with some things, give her a little free time to deal with the others, but she never wants any help when things get rough; just wants to be Left Alone to do it herself. [shrug] I guess the frustration keeps her motivated. A helpful, supportive friend might even seem counterproductive, dead weight to her; a little mercy could totally fuck things up when she's trying to be all fierce and stuff.

And she's talked about maybe having to move away, to the place she owns, and still has to pay the mortgage on. The live-in caretaker is getting too old to tend to the place himself, no urgent health issues, just ordinary wear-and-tear [on his own body, and presumably the house as well]. Finding a job there that pays enough might get tricky for her. Or maybe he'll explore some home-care options. Or maybe she'll find a tenant who'd like a break on the rent, in exchange for maintenance work on the house. Maybe, maybe, maybe. We'll see.

And she's been getting overtime. The money helps, but... Too Much of a Good Thing.

So I've watched her health deteriorate while she charges headlong into her own stress-fueled berserker dance. I know she loves a challenge, just hope she won't love it to death... And I'd noticed her unwelcoming reaction to being touched lately. At all. Ever. So I stopped doing that.

Still, rejection is rejection, and on top of everything else, it hurt. We had an argument, over nothing. We reconciled. Suddenly, it was like nothing happened, except I knew it did. Disturbingly sudden, but I've forgiven her temper other times, and she knew I was under some stress myself. Maybe just reciprocating. Hoping for a nice dinner together this week.

Sorry, that part probably does belong in the couch-rides thread.



Current part-time jobs, all three of them, also go with uniforms. I've rarely worn my own shirts out in public. The constant context-switching, riding from one place to another, sometimes with the wrong shirt on, heading to a change-room to make myself look more appropriate for the place I'm in now, reminds me of a song. Totally different subject matter, but there are parallels.

	"I've got three passports
	 Couple of visas
	 Don't even know my real name

	 High on a hillside
	 The trucks are loading
	 Everything's ready to roll
	 I sleep in the daytime
	 Work in the nighttime
	 I might not ever get home

	 This ain't no party
	 This ain't no disco
	 This ain't no fooling around
	 No time for dancing
	 Or lovey-dovey
	 I ain't got time for that now

	 [...]
	 We dress like students
	 We dress like housewives
	 Or wear a suit and a tie
	 I've changed my hairstyle
	 So many times now
	 I don't know *what* I look like!

	 You make me shiver
	 I feel so tender
	 We make a pretty good team
	 Don't get exhausted
	 I'll do some driving
	 You ought to get you some sleep..."

		-- Talking Heads, `Life During Wartime'


...Except working your ass off *is* a dance, if you do it right.

Anyway, yeah, identity is plastic, contextual. You are what you do all day. I'm feeling a bit warped right now -- but that's relatively normal for me, and you already knew that.



Cheers,

Patrick.
I put in for a new position at Brookings. I have the experience and skills they are looking for, the position is really perfect for me, but I don't know anyone there.

My current boss is great but after a year it is time for me to move up or move on I feel. He knows folks at Brookings, but I'm hesitant to ask him for a connection.
Next week should be quieter; I've seen the schedule. Not *silent*, but quieter, time to catch up on a few extracurriculars, at least [and sleep, of course].

Move up or on, yeah. Maybe I should fire off a few resumes, and replace one of my part-time jobs with something else. Just can't think of a least-favourite, offhand. :-\



Oh well,

Patrick.
I finally had my first normal day of work at JSC today. I will have to wait a while yet to actually get all my IT and security privileges, but we're getting there. At least I can set foot on the property again!

There better not be another temper tantrum like this come Jan/Feb "14. It's ridiculous.
Guys, I have this interview this afternoon, but looking up the company, it seems to be in the marketing business.

This bothersome thing is that a fuck load of companies that I might work for are basically in marketing. Think about it: Google, Facebook, etc, all primarily making their bank around ads.

So... I don't fucking know... I had this naive idea when I was younger of technology (software/computers in particular) as a panacea, but it's really just usually used for some stupid shit like this.

I'm... worried maybe I'm actually exhibiting some sort of immaturity... like, maybe my annoyance at ubiquity of marketing is a sort of naive youthful idealism that I need to fucking get over, so I can get to work in the field I trained for.

I just don't fucking know Frown

I feel so fucking pathetic. So fucking angry with myself.
tl;dr
You will have to compromise, but don't lose sight of your goal.


You will have to compromise, at least for a little while.
Get some experience working for the Man.
Then you can afford to do more interesting/positive stuff.

This is how I did it:

- Worked 3 years for an IT services company:
All sorts of contracts doing boring corporate intranet stuff for pharmaceutical companies and banks.

- Based on that experience, I could get a much better job working for a smaller company making financial analysis tools.

- This new job is leaving me enough free time to work on side projects (the last of which is an 'ethical mobile app company' whose logo was designed by our very own Mez. Launching soon.).

The whole progression is infuriating and depressing.
It takes ages, but it makes sense: unless you're born extremely wealthy (and/or lucky), nobody is going to pay you to program your own cool stuff straight out of school.

Took me until 37 to figure out what I want to do. At one point I'd given up and decided to become an English teacher. Because (1) literature is my first love, and (2) Joseph Campbell mentioned that being an English professor gave him room to do other things.
So my advice is, if you don't know then choose the lesser of all evils.

Slightly odd. Request for expressions of interest in relation to a particular role was sent around today.

Thing is, that role was already included on a workload spreadsheet for me that was sent out a few days ago.

I assume that expressing no interest in it isn't really an option... even though I'm really not that interested.
I got to explore some of the other buildings at JSC today when off with a couple co-workers to get some quick training on the Hand Held LIDAR (HHL) that will be used for the last time with the upcoming flight of the Cygnus vehicle to the ISS.

We also got to take a quick look at some of the big simulators for the ISS systems, as well as the high bay where Apollo and Shuttle sims once resided. It was great to get out and see a little different territory and put another certification sign-off in the rear-view mirror.
10 weeks as an Amazon.co.uk picker

Walking 10-15 miles each shift to keep you Internet shoppers happy; 40+ miles per week, after 4 x 10hr shifts @ minimum wage.

Crap money, long hours, nights regular, but I'm happy being amongst decent working class colleagues - no rat racers here. Oh, and great cardio workouts
Cool!

I'm keeping an eye on the new company building two blocks away. It's been built from the ground up over the last four years and supposed to be finished in January. It was built specifically for research and I hope that when the different departments move in, there may be a need for additional support people like me. Sort of exciting. And the thought of leaving my four jerks behind for a decent spot is wonderful.
The last one went hard. The client was uncooperative and we had to "put him at ease". We weren't counting on the heart condition. Nearly lost him.

Transport was late, and security let a civilian through the perimeter. Fortunately, for him, the civilian was an unreliable witness, we can still surf on deniability.

The host security was surprisingly good, not what we were expecting. But few injuries were suffered on either team, so there's that. In fact, no terminations. But some on both teams'll be looking for new assignments.

Next up sounds interesting. They're talking about using "special equipment". I hope it's not the same as the Peruvian thing. From my perspective llamas don't count as "special equipment". And the ponies in Ireland were more of a distraction than help.
I am starting to notice that there are a significant number of spherical people at work. Is this the expected weight distribution for the age demographic? (Caucasian, male, baby boomer) Or is there some environmental factor I need to worry about?

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