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April 11, 2003
a year ago
two year ago
three years ago
four years ago

Job Chaos

Decided not to 'back-fill' the last couple of days because it's all been a path to today anyway. My thoughts, actions, and confusions have all stemmed from trying my hardest to really decide which way I should go with the job. Sunday's message about respecting myself got a lot of this really started.

Wednesday I talked with Ajay, the new boss and one of John's co-workers. He mostly spoke as if it was just going to happen. It kind of frightened me, in one sense, but also thrilled me in another. They wanted me to help any way I could.

I then did something that I wouldn't have thought of but for John's recommendation. I made an appointment with the head of HR, Judi, and spoke with her for half an hour. I went in having no idea what I would say. I mean... she's not directly involved in any of this. But I ended up using the whole half hour and half wishing that I had a little more time. Judi's a people person and understands, really, the importance of relationships within the workplace and how to deal with them and what's a reasonable method of dealing with them.

It was funny to sit down and talk with her about feeling like I would be letting my present co-workers down if I moved on and have her ask me, "Well, good about them, but what about you?" Honestly, it's the question I was asking myself on Sunday when I was feeling sad and guilty about a conversation that I had with my present boss' boss on Friday. What about me? To have someone outside of me and not John ask me that question made a huge difference. Then, when I spoke about feeling guilty about leaving, Judi laughed!! She actually laughed and said that she'd never heard those words out of any male mouth in her office that it's always the females that say that. But she reassured me that by giving Jayashree the huge amount of notice that I was giving her that there was absolutely no reason for me to feel guilty about doing this. I wasn't going to just drop them.

Whew.

I spoke with Ajay again that evening, when John and I had dinner with him. We'd also had lunch with him, at a surprisingly empty Wahoo's Tacos. I guess all the other restaurants in the area were finally distributing the lunch crowds more evenly, and it was reasonable there. But we went home for the afternoon, worked away, and then went to The Royal Bengal for dinner with Ajay. He liked the food there, thought it entirely authentic, and we got thali's or assortments. A double vegetarian and a single non-vegetarian with lamb. Mmm... lamb.

Jet ate popadoms with SPICY tamarind sauce. He would eat a whole chunk of it slathered with the really spicy stuff, then pant frantically until he found his juice. He'd drink some juice, and then break off another crisp bit of papadum and do it all over again. He ate at least two big pieces of the stuff, and then demolished a whole plate of rice and yogurt. Hungry boy. This was especially notable because he was very distracted by the tank of fish behind him.

While we were able to talk (John was riding herd on an exploring Jet), Ajay said that it was a can't lose proposition to move over. That there was nothing his group had to lose to find someone that could do any of the things that they needed, and it was a no lose situation for me because nearly anything I did would help them out and give more value to all of their software development customers. Then he hit me with a, "And if it doesn't work out there are dozens of organizations within Xilinx that would want you." Wow.

It's something I would have thought JOHN would say, but no one else. Especially not a guy that had only met me twice and written to me a little bit. It felt 'false' at first, but in the way that all compliments feel false to me. I had to think about it pretty hard.

Thursday was thinking day. I did work all day, had fun with Jet in the afternoon, we went outside. I was going to plant some tomato plants in a new seed system that I had, but the moment Jet went outside, into the 70+ degree weather, he said, "WALK!" and started walking. So I followed. We went down the street, explored things, threw rocks, picked flowers, and saw rabbits running through our neighbors' yards. We marveled at the trucks that sped by, and bounced around when the school bus arrived, and Jet marveled at the big kids that came off the bus. He wore his Australian made cowl cap, with the neck protection quite proudly.

When we got back, he helped me mix dirt with water and then pack the wet stuff into my seed starting trays. He did most of the work himself, while I helped him pack a little and made sure he had plenty of dirt. I also read the instructions on the packs, did all the building and construction necessary to get them together, and when Jet was done, I planted the seeds. Jet wandered off after getting his hands washed from the watering can, and he drove his car around with engine sounds, while I finished cleaning up the porch and getting it all set.

I went in and discovered, to my horror, that we were already fifteen minutes late for getting to the Rec. Center from what John told me. So I got everything into the car, and then grabbed Jet only to find that he was massively poopy. Instead of panicking, I just calmly went through all the things I had to do to clean him up and get him to the car. We'd arrive when we arrived. John would survive.

He did, too. We had a great workout. I overdid it a bit with the weights, so my arms are still mildly sore. But I got to think about the whole problem, and talk over some aspects of it with John, who was very carefully neutral about the whole thing. Almost frustratingly so. But he was doing his best to not make it so that I would go to this job for 'his sake' but for mine and mine alone.

That's very hard to do with me. I'm so often motivated by other people's needs. I found that the only thing that I really needed from John was a statement that he thought that I could do the job. Which was what everyone else was interviewing me to find out.

Friday morning, I had my last 'interview' with James, who actually was the first person to ask me all the questions that I thought really needed to be asked. It was very nice to just go through the interviewing paces, and know that I was doing well with them. It always feels good to do that.

Then I screwed up my courage and talked with my boss about moving on. I told her that I'd stay through my vacation in July, and that that would be a natural break. It's also several months to tie up the loose ends of what I'm doing, help out someone else in beginning the process for the next specification and release, and getting everyone used to the idea that I was going to go and they'd better use me as a resource NOW if they were going to.

The amusing thing was that on Friday, in the midst of a hall meeting, I was actually asked a question about the old code that I could answer, a basic design question of how the old thing had gone. It was very interesting to be able to answer it, double-check the result and have it be a useful exercise. This for the first time in probably the last two years.

Maybe it's just that I'm at work more often now than I have been for two years. Getting involved again is nice. John's willing to take Jet on Fridays as well as Tuesdays, since I have him on Monday's and Thursdays. It's a fair enough trade on the most part, as I'm home in the afternoons on those two days to give John his extra hour a day. Still, it's nice to have some time to chase people down that I don't have regularly scheduled meetings with. I miss that.

Today, when I got home, Jet was asleep, so I was able to do some stuff, including a meeting in the afternoon. Then I took Jet, nursed him, and played with him. When John was done around 5, he made hamburgers while I worked a little more to clean up a bunch of stuff that I'd been neglecting all day. He and Jet went outside to play as well as to make dinner. Hamburgers were good. We ended up watching Dad's video from when they were here, and Jet was fascinated by seeing himself, as he usually is. That was cool.

I feel... unburdened. Not joyous or happy or whatever... it's not going to be 'real', I think, until I move over, or until I start absorbing data from the new job stuff. I have way too much to do over here, still, to really think of this job as 'over' yet; but I've now made the promise to myself and to others. Promises to keep.

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