October 28, 2006
A brief shoutout to Waldo
The whole house is sick, I'm still stuck between two jobs (long story), and I get the sinking feeling that I'm not one of the "cool kids" that gets invited to anything, but I did want to throw something out here during this political season:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance (1841)
Just something to think about when you go to your polling booth or mail in your ballot (like I do.)
Back to the cold already in progress.
October 18, 2006
Things I hate at this moment
- Comment spammers. I'm getting about 5 a day now, even with all the filters. Luckily, they're dropping straight into moderation.
- Seven year old cars. Because, you know, at seven years it's time for the Big Expensive Repair. Arrgh. Christmas may have just been cancelled due to the 626's cooling system problems.
- Dempublican politics. I'm really tired of the endless ads telling me that Mr. Nasally Voiced Insurance Company Hatchet Man is all about Changing The DC Climate, knowing full well he's Just Another Party Puppet. Meanwhile, Ms. Soulless, Dead-Eyed Internet Thousandaire Who Can't Look At The Camera isn't any better, having apparently accomplished the following three things the last six years: Nothing, Nada, and Squat. But I'm voting for her because Hatchet Man's entire political agenda is Changing The DC Climate, Screw Everyone Else's Climate, and Give The Insurance Companies Whatever They Want. I don't want to see how he handles not being able to lay off his constituents anymore.
- Doing two jobs at work. Or, being stuck in the no man's land between the old job and the new job. They require completely different skill sets, and I'm expected to do both. And now, I have four bosses, not three. And the promotion is suddenly on a slow frieight instead of the fast track (due to the 54,000 other things that need doing).
- Just generally being "between." Between renting and buying. Between debt-free and overextended. Between raising an infant and raising a child. Between order and chaos. Between happiness and crushing depression.
- And speaking of depression, the spectre of the Black Dog. This is the year I'll probably discover whether I share my family's trait towards long, crushing depressions. 34 seems like the year everyone who has suffered has figured out whether the Black Dog is going to show up or urinate on someone else. Right now, I'm OK, but having the Check Engine light, aka the Drive To The Dealership And Hand Them Your Wallet light, go on this morning doesn't give me feelings of confidence.
October 06, 2006
So, let's talk about my job. For once.
I've had this schizo job for five-plus years. Half web developer, half administrative lackey. One minute, it's coding. The next minute, it's copying. Or printing. Wait, put this up on the web. Now edit this document. And you have a campus committee meeting at 11, but first please fix the database and make 15 copies.
By April, I'd had enough. I decided that by the end of 2006, I wanted out of my job and working someplace else. The web was my passion. It's what I understand. And I wanted to work somewhere that people understood what my skills and gifts were and said, "Hey, here's a full-time web management job. Run with it."
So, I had this plan. I was going to write up a proposal detailing how I should be free of the administrative crap and should be paid accordingly. I knew it would never fly in my office, but at least I could hold it up, say "Hey, I tried," and tender my resignation with grace and dignity (and the hope that MSFT had a blue card with my name on it... or at least an orange card).
I needed some data, though. Data was the only way to prove that I needed a promotion. I needed to get a sense of what the other schools had in terms of web support. So, I sent out this survey and asked some of other schools in the university what sort of staffing they gave the web. One school's IT director called me. We chatted about what they were doing. I told what we had done in five years.
"YOU DID WHAT? YOU HAVE A ONLINE CALENDAR? A FACULTY BIO PAGE ENGINE? RSS FEEDS? PODCASTS? OMGWTF??? WE ONLY DREAM OF THAT!!"
(I should note here that this other school is laden with cash and employees. It's not like they couldn't do this stuff themselves. It's just they're not.)
OK, whatever. Except that that IT director talks to one of my cow orkers, who talks to my bosses' boss....
And suddenly I'm employee of the year.
But I'm unhappy. I hate the recognition. I'm bored. But I need to press on with the master escape plan.
So, I talk to more schools. Start building out this document. A co-worker tells me I need a one-page summary on the front. Another one strips out some useless language. A third tells me how to strengthen the case.
And now, I have The Proposal. Six pages worth of why I deserve A Real Job and More Money. Guaranteed to float like a lead balloon.
The word from the money people is that I shouldn't expect this to work. Fine. I go on some interviews. I make dream plans of quitting on my birthday in September sine die. Just walking out would feel good. It would be a sense that I'd done all I could and my schizo existence is someone else's problem.
And then one of the money people decides to take it to the top. Tells me to revise it a bit. OK. Won't make a difference. Back to checking Monster for new postings.
But, then, something odd happens.
The head of the organization thinks my six pages of why I deserve A Real Job and More Money is brilliant. Well written. Spot on. And clears some money out of the budget.
That's not the way it's supposed to work. Oh well, the board will veto it. I mean, why should they give me money when they have their own web people.
And then, the board says it's the greatest thing ever, applauds the move, and rubber stamps it.
I've been promoted. I don't have a new title yet, I don't know how much of a pay bump I'm getting, but I have been promoted to A Real Job with More Money. Someone else will be handling the administrative chaos. I can go about a full day of being a web person for an 800 student graduate school. There are more loose ends than a sweater in a combine, but they're rapidly being sewn up.
I'm stunned. This wasn't supposed to work. I had my cardboard boxes picked out. But, now, I'm suddenly... in charge. And not making a damn photocopy for anyone but me.
Sic gloria transit mundi.