Procrastination aside, it’s hard to write here because there is so much to say, and it seems wrong to spew out post after post, as many as a few per day. On the other hand, that does help me order my thoughts, which is crucial to rebooting life and career. At the same time, as always for me, it’s hard to write if I am not feeling inspired, or “in the zone.” No number of topics on a mental list can overcome the don’t feel like it mood. Some writer I am! This drives my ex crazy, that I need not to be interrupted, and need to Zone to do certain work. Writing, particularly, she sees as something that’s just moments and seconds of work and words, strung together between interruptions, no inspiration or contiguous thought required. The truth is probably somewhere between.
Earlier today, I wrote a somewhat delayed recommendation for a friend and former colleague. I have written recommendations for people before, and been a reference prospective employers could call. Such is the onus of having been a supervisor or senior team member. This one is not on LinkedIn, where my recommendations have been, so she’d missed out on that. She avoids an online presence, and doesn’t own a computer. This recommendation was for a graduate program. She’s one of the many refugees pushed from the tech field even before the economy crashed entirely. I haven’t talked with her about it, but I presume this is her next career move from settling for work in a book store. Which fits, but was not the level or type of work she had earned her way into previously. Deja vu and me all over again.
That bit of writing, surprisingly long, flowed well, got me thinking, and tickled at my keyboard fingers. It made her sound so impressive, I thought I ought to be able to get any job I wanted, if only I could describe myself so well. It even made me sound good by extension. Certainly it brought me back to some of the day to day considerations of my stint as Technical Development Lead in Visual Basic Support. That, in turn, made me think again about the entire resume concept, what and how it should say, and then about the longer form this place hopes to be, or incorporate. It made me think about key accomplishments and skills, and of my idea to write what I especially liked about each job. Or position, if I wanted to break it down by different roles at a given employer. So that made for posts and posts worth of maybe I ought to write…
Thinking about posts I ought to write, and my very scenario today, being home with residually sick kids, reminded me I wanted to write about money, about what I am seeking, the impact of people and circumstances on what you can or should do, and how far that need impede you. My current experiences with work provide another angle, as do prospective changes to my personal circumstances. All there, black and white, plain as mud, ready to be written.
What do I want, anyway? That has changed over the years. Years and circumstances have asymptotically shrunken any aspirations and dreams I might once have had. What do I need, anyway? In a way, ditto, but in reverse. Monetarily, anyway. It certainly takes less to satisfy me than it once did. In my youth I learned the benefits of hiring older people. Now I see it from the other side, and feel both chagrin and confirmation.
(Case in point. I had to stop writing to get my daughter off the bus, about 90 minutes ago. Haven’t been able to get back to this, have no idea where I left off or what I was leading to next, and probably won’t have more than a few minutes to continue now. Much as I like having de facto custody of the kids, and easy as it is for me to distract myself unaided, sometimes I crave being alone, or in a work environment more of the time.)
That was easy. Without even reading all of that, I realize I meant to jump off of the thought of not owning a computer or having regular internet access. The friend I recommended is intelligent, talented, articulate, all that stuff, but was not a native of computers the way some of us are. In the entire time we worked together, and, more importantly, all the years since, she did not own a working computer or the relevant software to maintain or update skills in the absence of an employer. I always thought that was nuts. Once she was out of work at her last programming job, crashing hard against what might have been a foreshadowing of the later employment abyss, every day was another day away from skilled. Not that it’s always possible to be convincing when all you’ve been doing is self-honing, but at least it’s something.
I allowed myself to go fallow even as I remained in business. Money didn’t go toward software, hardware, training, or whatnot. It went toward how else am I going to pay all these newfound bills. Time didn’t go toward learning much new or updated, compared to what I might have. It went toward I’m bored with this, do I even like this anymore, honey you change this diaper and is supper ready yet. Late adopter for a geek, I slipped even later, or never.
Once I was out? Forget it. Had decent computer power and could have learned or improved on tools I had available or could emulate, but I lost my way and my time. The more I slipped, the more confidence I lost. And the uncertainty! That was deadly, when I gave up entirely on self-employment and tried for jobs. I was a generalist. I had no specific passion. People wanted a focus. People wanted passion about one thing or another. Not getting even the lowliest yet still in the realm of tech jobs deflated me entirely. Why bother?
I can blame life for stomping my enthusiasm, yet I ought have been able to find enthusiasm in the face of anything. And if not tech, then for something else, new or old. Closest thing to enthusiasm I had was for writing, and that flagged in the face of resistance, lack of space, no Zone, and an assumption it was a waste compared to seeking Real Work.
Is this really so different from simply having no computer around?
Then again, if you aren’t sure you care about pursuing or learning X, motivation won’t be easy to build. And I am still unsure.
Ultimately, there is one key need: Feeding the family. You know, and all of what is summed up by the phrase. If the famly is secure and I am on my own, it becomes more a matter of supporting myself, minimally. From there it’s gravy, and it’s easy to forget that. The problem is, between me and the ex, we have yet to get to the “from there…” phase.
I’ve lost all track of where I was going with this, but then, it’s titled “Musings” for a reason.
How do you decide what you want to do or will focus on and feign sufficient enthusiasm for to gain employment in it? For me, that has to be part of rebooting.