Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hello There! Writings from the Road.

What a crazy road it's been these past few months. Of course, there were the holidays and those always have a way of throwing a wrench into the gears of life. But in addition to the normal rigamaroo (No, I don't think that's an actual word... though perhaps some horrible bastardization of one.) I also had the concurrent life-changing transition to a new job.

That's right! For those of you who have been following my exploits, I no longer work at home. The agonizing bliss is finally over and I, too, raise the banner of the morning commute and fight in the front lines at the battle of the back roads at each trumpeting call of the alarm clock in the wee hours of the morning. While getting a new job can explain my distraction from this blog as of late to a certain to degree, I have also been using my time to study for the Security + certification test, which I passed with a score of 880/900 this last Friday.

Why stop working from home? Isn't that like a dream come true? Yes and no, really. I mean, it was nice getting up and going right to work without worrying about spending 25 minutes or so waiting in traffic. But the other side of the coin were the hours spent unbilled because I simply couldn't leave work at work. It lived with me and there was no escape. For me, that was a very bad thing, as I don't like to leave things unfinished.

There were other things as well, things that changed more and more the longer I worked in that position. Expectations from management continued to grow without providing any sort of buy in, no value added for the extra effort that was demanded from me. This last year there was no mention of a raise, my second anniversary with the company came and went without so much as a word, no appraisal, nothing. As the Team Mentor and Trainer, I continually faced training new members of the team that were not good fits for the position - hiring mismatches. Not to say they weren't technical professionals, just that for a job requiring selective skills and levels of expertise, the people that were hired most often couldn't meet demands. Instead of making good on the promises to bring me into the hiring process, I was left in the dark until the new hires arrived in my training queue.

It wasn't just a matter of training these guys. This was all on top of my regular duties, often while carrying my own production load. Understand, now, these people weren't at my house with me. So throw in the complications of training someone new on technical and professional methods and procedures without the benefit of true one-on-one interaction. So, now we see some of the demands placed not only on me, as a trainer, but also on these new hires. They weren't just expected to be up and running almost instantaneously, they were expected to learn the ins and the outs while working out of their own remote office - watching through remote connection software and talking on the phone. But if they stumbled, and most of them did, it always came back to, "Did you train them how to____?" Yes, of course I did.

I hope you can excuse my ranting. Suffice to say, the last year or so has been rough, really rough. Admittedly, I allowed it to impact my writing to a very large degree. Does that mean that I'll instantly be able to dive right in and pound out novel after novel? Of course not. Now there is the stress of learning the ins and outs of a new job myself, and doing so in a manner that allows me to be a highly successful member of a new team. But on the same token, does it give me an excuse to abandon my writing altogether until I can once again feel comfortable? Hell no. Life is rough, but if you really want to do something, you've got to stop just talking about it and get it done.


Jim Murdoch said...

I can relate to all of what you’re saying and let’s hope the change works out well. In both of my last jobs I did a lot of work from home. Neither firm paid overtime and so took advantage of the fact that, like you, I would neither leave a job undone nor only do a half-arsed job. So I got a reputation as one who always got the job done and did a good job to boot. Expectations were high but my own expectations were even higher. Talk about making a rod for my own back.

So, I wish you well. I know you want to impress and secure this new position but try and only shine as brightly as they think you can because once they know what you’re capable of (and, more importantly, willing to do) they’ll milk you dry, they won’t be able to help themselves. And so, apart from that word of warning, I wish you well. Let’s hope this place is the exception and not the norm.

Creative Writing Topics said...

Congratulations on passing the Security+ exam, and especially on your new job.