Impetus for Change

For any constant readers who don't know, I've accepted a job offer and I'm moving on from Haemonetics. Moving on, once again, from Bisonweb. In order to do so, I've had to come to terms with how things ended at Gamesys, and basically, and as stupid as it sounds, had to forgive the notion of permanent employment and the failures I've suffered at its hands.

When things fell apart at Gamesys, I was angry, I was bitter, and I didn't want to be. I wanted to be strong, I wanted to be productive, and, if I couldn't have what I had at Gamesys, I wanted just a crap-ton of work to bury myself in.

Coincidentally, Haemonetics had a crap-ton of work that they needed to get done, and no luxury of time. Sounded good, so I signed up. Bisonweb rides again. It's funny how, three times, a contract at Bisonweb has rescued me from a bad employment situation. I probably should give some thought to that and acknowledge the role they've played in my career. Maybe that's a blog post for another day.

Anyway, it didn't take long for all that pent-up crap that I was feeling but not acknowledging about Gamesys to get into my head. I started going to a not good place. You know what? Fuck it. Call it what it is, Liam. I was in a full-blown state of anxiety for two months.

For those of you keeping score at home, this is what anxiety looks like for Liam: No sleep. Sleep is for people who can take care of their shit. You want to rest? Stop fucking up, idiot. Also, increased work hours. I'm not talking, like, an extra ten hours a week. I'm not talking about maybe picking up some extra time on the weekend or after the kids go to bed. I'm talking about 40 extra hours a week, that I didn't bill for, busting my ass because ... I dunno... because the big bad boogieman is going to get me if I slow down? Anxious Liam doesn't stop to take a look at what he's doing. It's too late for that. It's time to buckle down and put on the ol' hermit-hat and just get the job fucking done. I'm usually wide-eyed, looking in the direction of my laptop, and if you're talking to me, you're getting maybe a quarter of my attention. Not because I don't appreciate you or care what you have to say, but because I need to be on top of things.

Needless to say, last November and December, and more than a little into January (but I think I'd moved past it by February) were my own little Hell. It was a Hell of my own making, I accept. It was my unwillingness to stop, take a look at where I'd come since September when my job fell apart, fear of judgment, and the pride that says, "You can do it yourself. Just work a little harder." I didn't ask for help. I didn't speak out. And I didn't slow down. Eventually, I hit a breaking point and talked to my team lead. I forbade myself from working any overtime for a couple of months, and I got my life back on track. Boy, I bet I was a bundle of fucking joy to be around. I'm sure Kim could tell you.

All right, that part's done. It's said. No takesies-backsies. Anyway, I'll admit that things stagnated at Haemonetics. We've been waiting for new work to be approved for a couple of months, and I know that, despite the attitude in Edmonton, head office doesn't like using contractors. I didn't start a campaign to get a new job, but when my friend Robb asked about how I was doing, I was honest. I did all the stuff I talked about in the other blog post, forgave an abstract concept, and took the job.

And they all lived happily ever after, right?

Not so much.

There was a fair amount of anxiety that came with that decision. The new job has a whole bunch of new responsibilities, challenges, and growth that will be pushed on me. I'm equal to the task. But, you know, things. And the past. And anxiety telling me things that aren't true, sending my mind in circles, trying to solve problems I haven't been given yet.

I took control. I took a step back. You know how hard it was to make myself take that step back? Let's just say that, when I agreed to meet with the bosses at IntelliWave, I knew I was going to have to have this conversation with myself. That was December 7. I managed to push it off by just about a month before I finally managed to make it happen. The first step was the hardest. I took out a notebook. I took out a pen. It's galling to me to realize that up until that time, I hadn't sat down and written anything the whole time during the application process, or anything for a couple of weeks before that. That first conversation with myself didn't really go so smoothly. I chit-chatted a little bit. Not exactly about the weather, but, you know, things that weren't consequential to where I needed to get. Still, as I wrote in that entry, "For now, it feels good to just spray some ink onto the page." I knew I didn't have it in me then, but I knew what I needed to do, at least.

Finally, I got on my ass and sat in front of that notebook until words came out. And I wrote, and I wrote. I wrote about what went wrong at Gamesys, I wrote about where I had failed, where I had not failed, and what lessons I would take from that experience. Finally, I wrote down some intentions that I am going to take with me to IntelliWave, to start the next stage of my career, with a company I am ready to believe in. I think this will help me get a good jump-start on my new job, and I am happy to say that, with this analysis, the anxiety is gone, replaced with an almost giddy anticipation. I get to work with my friend Robb again, with tools and process I can help choose. Let's get to work!

Originally, the intentions I wrote about were going to be the thrust of this blog post, but I realized I needed to get the rest of it out, the bits about the anxiety, both at the end of 2015 and at the end of 2016. I do intend to write about the intentions, their genesis, and what it can mean, but I've exhausted my reserve of words today, and I'm sure you've got... oh... something to do besides reading more of this.

Something New

Yesterday, I talked about my desire to do my evening development while Lily goes to sleep and the steps I took to make that happen. Today, my new laptop showed up. Actually, we almost missed the delivery. Kim was heading out to run some errands and visit with some friends at the park. As she was leaving the subdivision, she saw the UPS truck turn in.

I wasn’t there, so I can only guess what happened. Kim gave me the basics but I doubt I’ll ever get the whole truth out of her.

Kim loaded the CD labeled “Chase Music” into the drive and the music started playing just as she completed the tire-screeching, smoke-emitting 180 burnout. She stomped on the accelerator, narrowly avoiding the old lady walking her small dogs. She hit the driveway going 70 and slammed on the brakes halfway up, stopping an inch away from the UPS truck. She unbuckled and leapt out the window, rolling to make Nick proud as she hit the ground. She sprinted up to the delivery man, bleeding from a roll-dismount that ended at the base of a pine.

The bewildered UPS driver handed her the package and a digital signature pad. She accepted the items, signed her approval, and handed it back. The UPS man didn’t waste any time in maneuvering his truck past the van. He would have asked Kim to move but, y’know, yeah.

So, putting that story behind me, my computer arrived today. I have wonderful pictures that I’ll show you. You’ll have to keep in mind that I’m no Peter Luu when it comes to pictures, showcasing my stuff, or deal-hunting.

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I wish I'd gotten a roll of this THINK tape with the computer. I could have put it to such good use.

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A first glimpse at what lies inside

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Laptop, free of its plastic fetters

Note the pencil-eraser pointing stick that nobody else uses anymore.

Note the pencil-eraser pointing stick that nobody else uses anymore.

You will notice that the layout for the keyboard does not contain any stupid-shaped enter keys or half-shift buttons. Sadly lacking in a proper layout for Ins, Del, Home, End, Pg Up, and Pg Dn, though.

You will notice that the layout for the keyboard does not contain any stupid-shaped enter keys or half-shift buttons. Sadly lacking in a proper layout for Ins, Del, Home, End, Pg Up, and Pg Dn, though.

I Love the Night Life

Since I was probably in grade 5, I’ve been a night person. Summer vacations, where my bedtime was largely unmonitored by my mom, who had a day job, saw me stretching bedtime again and again, until, by the end of summer, I would have to stay up all night and all the next day, just to try and wrench myself back into a proper day/night schedule for school.

Fast-forward to now and I see the same tendencies in Lily. I sit in her room at night so that I can be with her while she’s going to sleep. Both so that I can make sure she actually stays in bed and goes to sleep and because I know the near-crippling sense of isolation I felt when I went to bed almost every night, from, as I said, grade 5 onward. I want her to know that she’s not alone, I want her to feel secure enough to go to sleep, knowing that someone is there who loves her and that people who love her will be there when she gets up. Because that was the main source of my anxiety when I was a kid.

Hell, that’s my main source of anxiety now. I won’t go into issues of self-worth or fear of abandonment but they are there. And they only have the chance to manifest themselves when I’m alone. So, the times when Kim goes away with the kids, I don’t sleep so well. I shy away from going to bed and when I finally do go to bed, I twist the sheets around in half-sleep for a couple of hours before I get back up and start the day.

Normally, this isn’t a problem. Lately, though, I’ve started working from home in the evenings to help out a project… and also my bank account, if I’m being honest. But the problem is that evenings are taken up with bedtime, which leaves me with a choice, especially on rough nights like tonight, where sleep didn’t overtake Lily until 10:30. Do I stay up and do work, knowing it will take me until after midnight to get the things that I agreed to finished, or do I go to bed and sleep, getting up early where I’ll try to get things done before I go to my day job?

Both decisions have things to recommend them. If I stay up, then I am maybe a bit groggy in the morning but there’s a clear separation between the one job and the other job. On the other hand, if I go to sleep tonight and do the work tomorrow morning, it gives me a chance to rest and be at my best when I tackle the work. Unfortunately, both things have drawbacks as well.

If I do the work tonight, I risk what often happens to me. I get keyed up and don’t calm down for another hour or two after finishing. That leaves me with the undesirable prospect of going to work with 4, maybe 5 hours of sleep. I’m certainly not at my best in that scenario. On the other hand, if I go to bed now, I risk sleeping in and not being able to complete the tasks I’ve agreed to work on before going to my other job.

Fortunately, I’ve taken steps to mitigate these problems in the future.

Right now, I’m working on my Mac Mini, a desktop computer that’s stationed in the loft. It’s a fairly good computer. It’s underpowered and that leaves me sitting here, staring at a beach ball while its brain catches up with my fingers but it does a job that is sufficient.

When I started working from home, though, I ordered a laptop that is performant enough to be my dev machine. It blows the hell out of the Mac Mini — or any other computer I’ve ever owned, for that matter, and it can come with me into Lily’s room so I can do work while she goes to bed. She gets to sleep in the company of someone she loves and I get to not wait until she’s asleep to do my work. We both win.

That computer is supposed to be here tomorrow, and is likely to be the subject of tomorrow’s blog post. Which leaves me, still, with the unfortunate choice to be made.

Sleeping on the Job

Sleep when you’re dead. Come on. Come out. So what if you’re tired? It’s just for a little while. I know you have to work in the morning. but you can make it up on the weekend.
These tried and true sayings have been thrown around since the dawn of time to make people do things and stay up later than they meant to. So it should come as no surprise that I succumbed to their siren call on more than one occasion.
Around Christmas time, when I was working at the bleach factory, my university friends were all out of school with nothing on the agenda but celebration. Another semester was done and they were left with too much time on their hands. And the cascade of out-of-town students meant that some of them had nobody else to celebrate with than those of us who were not beholden to some finals schedule to determine our availability.
So I found myself dragged out on weeknights, to the occasional bar, to the more frequent coffee session or movie. And I was tired. All the time.
One night, after a movie, my car died at Rob’s house (see, it did happen a lot) and I didn’t finish dropping off various friends until three or four in the morning. So, it made perfect sense to me to stay up and go to work rather than sleep a couple of hours and wake up crusty and unhappy. I made myself stay awake with various tactics uncovered in the deepest jungles of South America. Either that or I played hockey on the Sega Genesis.
Whatever the motivation, I was able to stay awake long enough to have a shower and get in the car for work.
I worked that day, unhappy, tired, and unmotivated, but the bleach didn’t stop coming because I wasn’t feeling it.
I did notice that things were a little weird. I would blank out and panic that I was behind on my bottles because I was not on top of things, only to realize that I wasn’t behind at all. Or a pallet would be closer to finished than I expected. It didn’t make sense to me, but I made it through that day without any major incidents. (Or minor, I think.)
It wasn’t until later that I realised that I’d fallen asleep on the job. But that I had kept working. The truth is, a person could almost do all of that job by reflex. It isn’t much more than muscle memory to check bottles for leaks, throw six of them into a box and push it through the tape machine, then when there were three boxes, to go throw them onto the pallet. So it is feasible that I did fall asleep and work through it. I was certainly tired enough to do it.
I’m not entirely convinced that that’s the reality and sixteen years is too long for me to pretend I can one hundred per cent guarantee that’s what happened but it makes sense and is a better story than that I’m blocking some essential truth of that day out.
After that, I did try to make a point of getting enough sleep for the next day of work. I wish I could tell you that I got a solid at least 6 hours, but hey, you can sleep when you’re dead. Or at least, you can make it up on the weekend.

80-Pound Bake

I’ve never been good at admitting incompetence. I like to imagine that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything. I just have to try hard enough.
There are two exceptions to this rule, apparently.
The first is calculus. Calculus and I are old enemies. Granted, it was co-ordinate geometry before I went to University. Geometry with its calculations that came, seemingly, out of nowhere. Quadratic equations where guessing was as good as going through the steps for me. University cleared that all up for me, and I fell in love with geometry, where an angle could be bisected with a compass and a straight edge. There was something seriously Sherlock Holmesian about the detection that went on in that class. Calculus, though, despite my half-hearted efforts, eluded me, and continues to elude me, to this day.
It’s a good thing that Calc was not required to graduate from Lethbridge in Computer Science, because it was not something I could either do or even bring myself to try at the end.
The other thing I could not do, even though I put every effort — good efforts, too — into, and that was to successfully navigate a bake at Tim Horton Donuts.
I know, it’s not the sort of thing that most people have tried, and even if they have, failing at something like that isn’t a thing that would stick in most people’s craw. But it did mine. I failed at it and, while I had the good grace to quit before they punched my ticket, I can take a hint and I knew that if I didn’t pick up my socks they were going to kick me to the proverbial curb.
I don’t know what it was about baking that so stymied me. I could do the individual steps for each type of donut. I had that stuff down. The donuts I made were good — way better than the pre-fab stuff they shove down your gullet nowadays — but it just took me longer. And not a little bit longer. We’re talking four to five hours longer than your average baker.
The one positive about working there was the girls. It was nice, after working a bunch of jobs in the industrial sector, to work at a place where girls were. It was also nice to have people to talk to when I was at the end of a long shift. I did get a date out of it, but I don’t know if Sandy was more uncomfortable or if I was. We went out and played pool, which she was happy to do, but I think I probably had more fun on that date than she did. She kept talking about her ex-boyfriend and the things they got up to. I don’t know if it was supposed to intrigue me, but it was a massive turnoff. We didn’t go out again after that.
Another girl, Sherry, was an interesting one. She was five to ten years older than I was, and I remembered her from a temp-job I’d had a couple years before, taking inventory at a clothing store. Sherry and I had some interesting conversations. She gave me a hard time, I gave it right back. Some weeks after the last time I saw her, another baker, Cathy, told me that Sherry had been avoiding me because she was interested but in a relationship with another man and didn’t want to jeopardize that. I could understand that.
A funny story goes along with Cathy. Unlike me, she was a serious baker. She took the occasional shift at Tim Horton Donuts when she had the time, usually on the weekends, but she had a full-time job at the local grocery.
The grocery was on strike, complaining about wages or hours or something. I was young, stupid, and I wanted to cross the line. So I did. And Cathy was in the line. I heard it from her, let me tell you. I made some stupid one-liner about how I was breaking up the union by buying some batteries or something equally lame.
My own tenure at the Donut shop, as I said, didn’t last. I’m not happy at a job unless I can hold my own, and as I said, at Tim Horton Donuts, I was definitely over-matched.

A One-Legged Man in a Kicking Contest

Misconceptions have a habit of dropping dead to the ground when confronted by the cold reality of the truth.
I’d just finished a job at Canadian Tire, having taken a moral stand and started at Venger Electrostatic Paint Company. Jason, a neighbour from down the road, and another neigbour from a neigbourhood a couple of blocks away worked there. My first trip with Venger was to West Edmonton mall where we painted a couple of doorways and the poles for the vending machines for those carts you can rent. Unless I’m way off base, they’re still there and they haven’t been painted since that day.
There were some colourful characters there. A couple of younger guys who were very hard-working and who spent every ounce of energy that was not spent directly on prepping surfaces for paint giving each other grief. I mean every second of the day, any silence not filled with the sounds of their verbal sparring was spent in shocked recovery or respectful silence because what someone had said was just that amazing.
I’m sure they thought they were destined for a comedy troupe or a spot on a sitcom. But it was diverting enough and made the hours pass.
The misconception I’d spoken of before walked through the door sometime into my second week, when I was prepping a Safeway display counter for a liberal coating of salmon. Or was it coral? I’m not sure but something in a conservative pink.
Hlynn (yes that was his name) was a painter who’d spent the last two weeks in Saskatchewan, painting office fixtures for some company who was Venger’s second-biggest client.
The reason Hlynn was such an enigma, such a colossal paradox was not because he was a mormon. As a person, he was a nice guy. Very up-front and outgoing. He never tried to preach to us. I think that any of that he’d had in him had been removed over the years he’d worked for Venger. That was weird enough in and of itself. Venger did not lend itself to the savouriest of characters and for a guy like Hlynn to last there more than a couple of months, he would have had to be stronger in his faith and his convictions than most people I know.
I had been working with a painter named Brad. He was a ridiculous perfectionist when it came to painting. I mean, it makes sense. If you don’t do it right, you get to go back on the company’s dime and fix it. So he didn’t leave a site until he was sure how it would look. Not just while he was working. Not just when he was done, but how it would look when the paint had dried and completed its flashing process.
For those of you ignorant of painting, flashing is the process where paint pulls back a bit as it dries. If the coverage isn’t proper, the edges of the paint can pull back over a couple of coats and look uneven. Nothing is more frustrating for a crew getting paid seven dollars an hour than to be given shit because the painter didn’t account for flashing and all the work that had been done had to be redone. We were paid regardless but the attitudes of the bosses became much less positive when we returned from a trip to another province where we had to redo all that we had done before.
Brad had been through that more than once, and, as was said, he would not leave a site until he was sure that we wouldn’t be called back.
Being on a crew with Hlynn was completely different. He wanted to get the job done and he wanted to get back home. I guess maybe he wasn’t as comfortable around the Venger people as he made out to be. Or maybe he just really liked his wife. I suppose that is a reasonable thing. But he would do his coats of paint and we would leave. It was nice to get out when I thought the job would be done, but we did get a lot of call backs. The bosses didn’t seem to ride Hlynn as hard about that as they did the other painters. I couldn’t figure out if it was because of his religion, because one of them was his family, or something like that.
It wasn’t until one of my last couple days that the truth came to light. It made everything so obvious. His ambivalence toward the quality of the final product. The bosses’ understanding. His seeming ineptitude.
And when I found out the truth, a thing I had always understood to be true was shattered.
One could indeed be a painter if he was colour-blind. He just couldn’t be a good painter.

Queer Introductions

The pipe yard where I’d broken Steve’s nose, the first day, the foreman was explaining to me about how intimidating the forklifts can be and how they take a little getting used to. I was okay with them, though, and didn’t see why they would be a big deal.
Eventually, I was placed on a crew with Steve, he of the broken nose, and we set about storing collarless pipe. Collarless pipe is raw pipe that isn’t ready for the rigs yet. It doesn’t have collars or threads at either end so it can’t be joined to another joint of pipe until it’s been threaded and assembled.
The joints of pipe were bundled together using metal straps. Kind of like the straps that are used to hold together newspapers before they’re delivered, but metal. We had to use bolt cutters to break the strapping so the forklift could carry the pipe to the rack and we could store it.
While we worked, Steve talked. He was one of those people who loved to talk. And he was obsessed with Pulp Fiction. But every once in awhile, he would look over at another crew who were working on loading a truck a couple of rows over.
“You see that blond guy over there?” He pointed to the crew.
“Yeah?”
“That’s Brad. It’s not a secret or anything but I just wanted to tell you. He’s a little touchy about it, but I wanted you to know so there’s no awkwardness. He’s gay.”
It wasn’t anything that caused me any kind of grief or stress. It was the first gay guy I’d ever met and it was interesting, but not something I cared overly about. But Steve, and his crew’s forklift operator Glenn, kept going back to it. I started thinking there was really something wrong. I didn’t want to cause a fuss but it was definitely making me uncomfortable.
That afternoon, I worked with Brad. They moved me around quite a bit, wanting to get me experience in all kinds of work. I was definitely uncomfortable because Glenn and Steve had made it such a big deal.
Eventually, Brad and I started talking. He was a fan of 70s rock, which I was too. We ended up trading a bunch of music back and forth, where I’d dub the stuff he lent to me, and I’m sure he did the same thing with the stuff I sent his way.
But it didn’t feel uncomfortable on Brad’s crew. He didn’t seem to be nearly as maladjusted as Steve and Glenn had made him out to be. He was friendly but not too friendly. He didn’t seem to be touchy about any subjects at all, but there was that one subject.
Finally, I didn’t even have to be the one to bring it up.
“I don’t know how you feel about homosexuality, Liam,” he said sometime halfway through the afternoon.
This was the moment. I didn’t know how it was going to go. If he was as touchy as they said, maybe he was opening up because… I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions. That was all. I would wait until he said something one way or the other and respond to what he said rather than what I was afraid he was going to say.
“I don’t have any problem with homosexuality,” I replied, meaning it.
“Well,” he said, then he paused. It seemed like he was trying to avoid giving bad news.
“That’s a good thing. You know Glenn and Steve?” For those of you reading along who have an inkling where this is going, no, I didn’t.
“They’re gay. And they’re gay for each other.”
I want to say that I was cool about it, that I played a trick on all three of them that got them back or something. I want to say that I squigged them out by making out with Brad or something like that. Maybe tell Steve and Glenn that Brad and I were a couple now. But I didn’t. I laughed and told him that they’d said the same thing about him. I guess that was some kind of initiation. I fit in there pretty well after that. I thought it was the best crew of guys that a guy could hope for. Joking around, getting work done. And I guess I still feel mostly the same way. It was hard at my first job, mostly because I only worked there for a month, but also because I didn’t fit in. I didn’t want to fit in and I don’t think they wanted me to fit in either.
Now, seventeen years later, I can see the gaps in camaraderie, the times when I felt left out at the pipe yard, when I didn’t fit in, but that’s with the benefit of several years of experience on crews, development teams, and people moving in the same direction. For an eighteen year old who mostly didn’t fit in, it was a great place to be.

Steve’s Broken Nose

Steve was one of two Steves at Miller. The one thing was, though, that he was a little annoying. He automatically was the authority on whatever he was talking about. He immersed himself in whatever subject interested him. Obsessed about it until he was spouting quotes left and right from whatever source interested him. It was usually Pulp Fiction, the Quentin Tarantino movie.
He and I got along okay. In fact, I got along pretty well with everyone there, off and on. Except the two Darrens. But that’s a story for another time.
As I was saying, Steve and I got along pretty well most of the time. He had a tendency to completely ignore whoever it was that wasn’t on the crew with him, but when I was on his crew, we had some good times. Like the time that I broke his nose.
I hadn’t meant to. He was interested in boxing. And as I said, that automatically made him the authority in the yard about the subject. He always wanted to spar. I knew it was against the rules. He knew it was against the rules. But he wanted to. And he was one of those personalities that could sweep you up so that you found yourself doing whatever it was that he wanted.
We were alone up in the lunch room. I don’t remember why, probably something to do with a late after a priority load. He finally broke me down. We put up our hands and pretended to box. Except it wasn’t so much pretending. He punched for my head and I ducked. Right at the same time that he ducked. I guess he was doing some kind of fake or something, but his nose collided with my hardhat and that was all she wrote for Steve’s nose-cherry.
“I think it’s broke, Gumper.” He had a clever nickname for everyone and he called me the Gumper because I told him my name on the first day and it made him think of the movie Forrest Gump. He was right, it was broken. But how could we let people know without costing either or both of our jobs?
It showed up in the next company newsletter. He’d bent over to pick up a 2×4 at the same time as I lifted it up and broke his nose. Funny how it made us look like the Keystone Kops. It was embarrassing enough for the two of us for it to be believable and it had the positive side-effect of not getting us fired. Hijinks all around!

The Other Shoe

Life is good. I want, I can honestly say, for nothing. I have a wonderful wife, three great kids, a fulfilling career that is challenging but that I do well at. I live in a wonderful rural setting that provides an ideal location to raise my children and enough room to accommodate us.

I hear, in the movies, in books, and in the media, about people who have nothing to lose. Maybe that’s why it all feels poised on the brink.

I wrapped up a job search last week, securing a position with Telus for the next six months. I was confident of my ability to find a job – I’d interviewed for two other jobs that I’m pretty sure that I could have gotten if I’d had the time to wait for their offers. But the idea of doing without set a bit of a panic in me.

In the summer, when we were trying to land this house, when our house wasn’t selling and there were some questions about our ability to prove that we could pay the mortgage, the same feeling was in me. Everything felt poised for failure. And it felt like if that didn’t work out, everything would fall apart.

I have so much. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m not ashamed to say that I like my life. So I have a lot to lose.

I know in my head that things aren’t going to just disappear. I have a family and no matter what happens, I know that my wife and children will be by my side. No matter what I go through, I will have a home with my family and that they will still need me and I will be there for them.

I guess that’s part of Mom’s passing that I never did deal with. The idea that someone I love, someone of great significance to me was taken and there was nothing I could do about it. Since that happened, it’s like I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop and every time something could go wrong, I’m fighting against this rising concern that the same thing is going to happen again.

I’m not going to say that it’s a full-out anxiety attack every time – or any time for that matter – but it is there and I can’t pretend it’s not. When it came with the house, I had pep-talks with myself that no matter what happened, where we ended up, we’d be there together. When it happened with the job, particularly when I was told that there was no chance of being extended at POSP, there were always the little wins that kept me from being too concerned.

Now that I know that this is a thing about me, I can anticipate it and work through it before it becomes a big problem. That and maybe I can figure out what’s causing it and deal with that.

Thanks for the listen.

Liam

Bisonweb Update

The thought was, when I became a contractor, that I would sign with Haemonetics and spend two or three years with them, working on the DoD project and eventually moving on in 2011 or 2012. That didn’t happen. Instead, I found myself scrambling for another job when the contract and the project were both cut short in March 2009. Since then, I’ve had a long-term contract (again with Haemonetics — this time working on the commercial project instead of the DoD side) but other than that one, my contracts have all been relatively short, from the 8-week contract at Accenture to a couple of 6-month contracts (one of which extended out to 8 or 9 months).

What I’m looking at after my current contract are three prospective opportunities.

Opportunity #1 is six months with no appreciable change in salary. I interviewed with that company today after testing for them last week. They’ve assured my recruitment agent that I’m their #1 candidate and that they feel I would be a great fit for the company and the project. This contract starts March 1.

Opportunity #2 is a one-year contract with a possibility of two more years after that. There is, again, no appreciable change in salary. I interviewed with them last Thursday and, if it was offered, I think that this is the position that I would take. Two problems exist for this, though: They are taking their time to decide and the position doesn’t open until April 1. Which leads us to:

Opportunity #3 is an extremely short-term contract. Originally, it had been slated as a 4-month contract but, as I talked to the hiring manager, I told him that the long-term contract I hoped for started on April 1 and we discussed the possibility of a 1-month contract with some fill-in duty after hours in the time after. This interview went about as well as I could have hoped and we both came away feeling really good about the situation. There are two problems with this, though: The hiring manager doesn’t have the authority to change the agreement like that and I can’t take this position if I don’t get opportunity #2 as well.

So, I’ve been offered opportunity #1. Numbers-wise, I would rather have opportunity #2 (and #3 thrown in there as well). Thing is, the folks at opportunity #1 talked a really good game. I like the sound of what they’re doing, it sounds like the team is really good, they’re really making a push to go agile (which has the buy-in of management and everything) and it’s the bird in hand. I’ve communicated to my agent at opportunity #2 and let him know the situation. I explained that I need to make a decision by the end of the day tomorrow. If I don’t hear back from him, I have to take opportunity #1. The thing is, that’s not a bad scenario. I want to have a long-term contract again but the combination of team and work from #1, not to mention that I’ve always preferred the hire-fast mentality, means that, while it wouldn’t be my first choice, it’s a pretty good choice to get to make.