August 15, 1997

Realized something that's somewhat harsh last night, about myself. I like being pushed to capacity. That fear I talked about, yesterday, on the field of soccer? It's also true about life. I fear failure. Fear it to the point where I always do what's necessary to succeed. I fear failure eventhough I don't fail. I believe I can do anything because everything I've ever tried, I've done; but I still fear. Everything from scoring the perfect 800 on Math because I was going to Caltech to getting four points on the Olympic fencer before she even got one on me to getting every project finished through fear of someone noticing that I was bored and didn't want to do what I was supposed to do anymore.

When I had to get a project done and someone was breathing down my neck and checking on me every day, I would be on it like a house on fire. When I have no fear, I relax and don't do shit.

Not always. Though with my shawls, which each took an average of three years to spin, design, and knit, may have been worked on so steadily because I was afraid I'd die before my designs got out of my head. A few things I do solely for the love of doing them, including writing and reading. Eating and cooking is driven dually.

But I kinda realized all this after talking to the Microsoft headhunter, and realizing that the kind of environment that Microsoft has always been rumored to have, including all kinds of horror stories, is probably the kind of environment where I'd be most productive. I might not be *happy* there, but I'd be incredibly productive. I do well in competitive situations, I am my most energetic when I want to tear someone's guts out. I am my sharpest when there's a hunger and blood on the field. I am rarely happy in those situations, but then is happiness the useful measure of worth? There are reasons I'm alpha dog in my pack.

But I need a pack. And I need to know that my pack is safe, and what frightens me most about Microsoft is their ranking system. Not because I'd ever end up near the end of the ranking, I'm sure enough, arrogant enough, if you like, experienced enough if you don't, to be sure that I have what it takes to be on top of any hill. What frightens me is what it would do to the dynamics of any pack I might adopt. It would turn them against each other, and I don't really know if I could ever trust that anyone would actually work together. Though the actual extent of that would depend highly on the people involved and on the extent of the rankings and their weights. Or, perhaps, on the emphasis the managers would have on the ranking depending on how well they could work with others.

It's a question I'll keep for the interview process. I nearly laughed when the recruiter warned me that Microsoft works at a high pressured pace, nearly asked him, "Do they call it drinking from a firehose?"

Maybe it's just all bravado on my part.

Also realized that I'm rarely, if ever, driven by technology. I don't pick up tools simply for the fun of picking up the tool and making it work. I seem to only pick up mechanics when I have to in order to express what it is that I want to express. Or pick up a technology only when I have something that I have to build from it. I get the overall knowledge quickly and easily, but the details I don't worry about until I have to. I rarely, if ever, build something a certain way only because I want to play with a certain tool or technology. The tech doesn't fascinate me, what fascinates me is the greater ability to create something useful.

Technologies always go out of date.

Well, Markleford wrote today. Whee. Right when I'd gotten pretty much resigned to the fact that he wasn't going to for a while. That's Mark for me.

Had fun this morning, and was thinking about an iced Americano with chocolate and orange syrup. Victor's has a Mandarine Mocha that's basically the same but with milk instead of water... but since most Asians are allergic to lactose, it seemed odd to me. Hmmm... Mandarine... hmmm... Americano... On the drive over to Victor's I announced to John that I was having 'An Asian American'! He fell over laughing.

Oh! Yeah! The weirdest thing. Poor Jay is having to fight chickenpox and was writing about how awful it was and pointed to a web site that was dedicated to chickenpox and I learned more than I really wanted to know about the disease and about shingles. Then, on the way home, John burst out into song like usual, when he's happy, that is, and of all the random things he could sing about, he started singing about chicken pox and shingles!!! It just completely and totally blew my brain.

"Give me back my brain!!"

I asked him why the heck he was singing about *that*? And he shrugged and said he had no idea, whatsoever. I'm now convinced that we're joined at the brain. There can be no other explanation.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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