D4D

Raising Rants to the Level of the Professional

Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Signs of Life

Now that work-based sanity appears to have made a return, things are coming back to a more even keel – both life-wise and fiscally.

For me, the first major sign of this came this weekend, which went thusly…

On the Saturday, I went to meet up with friends in Nottingham. When I left home, it was a decent day, so I didn’t bother checking if I had a jacket/coat with me. (You can see where this is going already, can’t you?)

By the time I was halfway up the M1, it was absolutely slashing down, waterlogged roads the lot. “Bugger”, thought I, “but at least I’ve a jacket or coat in the boot”.

Once I got to Nottingham, it was still pissing down, but I parked up, and opened the boot. Jacket, there was none. Coat, there was none. Fuck it, thought I.

Due to being (as always) pathologically early, I still had the chance to go and buy a new jacket, so I did.

And that was the sign of being OK again. It wasn’t a worry, I knew I had the available money. I could afford this extra unexpected expense, and it didn’t mean I was concerned about what’d happen at the end of the month, what would be needed to counteract this item.

It’s still annoying, because if there’s something I really didn’t need, it’s another bloody jacket. I don’t even wear them most of the time. But needs must when the devil drives, or when the clouds open. It’s one of those things, a bit annoying, but better to have a day of not being soaking wet and enjoying things far less as a result.

But it was positive for showing the process of recovery after the shitty job…

A Long Five Years

While I was looking back through D4D™ and what happened when, I found the category for the “Five Year Plan”, which started in – um – 2006, to go from 35 to 40.  And now I’m 43 and still using it.

Oops.

So anyway, it’s going to stay as a tag/category, but the goalposts are changing a bit. (Well, they’ve already changed, as I’ve been using it for three years past the original target) It’s going to take me through another two years now, to 45.

I’ve a nagging feeling I’ve written about extending the timeline before, but I can’t find it right now.Hey ho.

Along the way of that plan though, lots has changed. When it started, life was heading in a particular direction, and since then everything has altered pretty radically. Indeed, I don’t think there’s a single part of the original plans or intentions that has stood the test of time, or remains in place.

There’s still a lot of things I want to do, and things I’m working towards. There’ve been some savage roadhumps along the way, at least one of which doesn’t actually complete until the end of 2015. However, I do feel it’s generally going in a positive direction, and we’ll see where things end up.

Looking Back

While looking back at historical D4D™ stuff for other birthday-related reasons, I realised that this month it’s eight years since I moved to Norfolk with Herself.

How time flies, eh?

Of course, in that time I’ve lived in

  • 2 places in Norfolk
  • 3 in Suffolk
  • 1 in Bedfordshire

Six places in eight years. Some things never change – but apparently my living situation isn’t one of them.

Stasis

This year has – as I’ve written before – been a bit weird. In some ways it’s all been very changeable and flexible, but in others it’s felt very static and fixed.

I think a lot of that has to do with where I’m living, and the fact that I haven’t moved in nearly three years. For me, that’s a long time. Additionally, I know that I’ll be in the same place now (unless there’s some major changes I can’t yet foresee) until at least this time next year.

Three and a half years in the same place will actually be the longest I’ve been in any one house since I first moved away from home (which is pretty much a quarter-century now) – by then it’ll even have exceeded the Norfolk place, which was the previous record-holder.

It would be more of a concern for me if I hadn’t also been changing jobs – I usually find I’m either stable (or at least stable by my standards) in work, or in location, but rarely both at the same time.  During the bankruptcy period was the closest I came to being stable at both, although that was because everything else in life was up in the air, so the stability of location and job was A Good Plan.

On a more practical level, moving right now would’ve been more problematic than I’d like. Because of the work-based changes and issues, funding a move would’ve been a challenge. It makes sense to stay put. I think that might be some of the issue, to be honest – that it feels more like I can’t move, which isn’t a good place to be.

Now though, I don’t know. Even with the changes of work – and they have been many – I feel a bit rooted, a bit static. I’m sure I’ll address it and fix it- or at least find a way to reduce the play of that in my head- but for now it’s just a bit odd, a bit of that old scratch at the back of my head that it’s time to be moving on.

This time next year though, things may well be different…

Slightly Quiet – the Recovery

Carrying on from the last couple of posts – Reasons and Repercussions – I’m hoping that I’m now on the road back. (If nothing else, the fact I’ve done these three posts should say that I’m on the way!)

This last few months has been tough, there’s no denying it. There’ve been a number of facets to that toughness, but I’m generally optimistic that they’re all on the way back to something approaching sanity.

Financially it’s definitely been tough, and I’m back to pretty much square one again. This month will (hopefully) be the last of that level of toughness, now I’m back to working on contract instead of permanent roles. The last few months have cost me dearly, going into what savings I had amassed, based on promises that salary deficits would be fixed and so on – which never happened.

Socially it’s been absolute piss. I’ve hardly seen anyone – some of that is related to the financial stuff, some of it down more to depressions, to not wanting to go out, as well as to feeling a bit trapped by a number of things.

Workwise – well, we covered that in other posts. Safe to say, it’s not been fun, and it’s affected me pretty negatively.

Creatively, it’s been a bit of a dead zone. The only positive is that the amount of time spent on the road while commuting gave me the opportunity to think a bit about some writing ideas, although I didn’t have the time or inclination to actually get them done. Still, with any luck that’ll be part of the next phase.

Really, the only real positive of the last few months has been health-wise – I’ve managed to lose two stone in weight, and been walking far more than I was. And again, that’s something I’ll continue making the effort on, I think, as well as (now I’ve got some more time to myself and my life) getting back to the gym a bit more.

This last few months have left me feeling pretty flat and wiped-out. I’m hoping that now it’s a bit more settled and sorted, things will head in a more positive direction for a while.

Slightly Quiet – the Repercussions

As I wrote yesterday, some of the stuff of the last few months has affected me in a number of ways, none of which I’m all that great at explaining at the time.

The work and jobs I’ve been doing this year haven’t left me in a good place, and I’ve found that (as on other occasions) it affects me more than I’m actually happy about.

I value myself to some degree by the work I do – and I like doing good work. Being part of a grinding factory of make-work bullshit isn’t my thing, and that was the kickstarter this time, a three-month contract with a company in Cambridge that was almost local-government in its use of people and make-work self-justifying crap that signifies the environs I really hate working in.

The work I did there was negligible – it wasn’t even relevant – which never helps. The next one was just bad, totally demoralised staff and an obsession with everything being “Agile” and a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP), which appears to be techie-code for “Yeah fuck it, that’ll do”.

The idea of MVP is a good one in a startup business, or one that’s launching. It means that you do the basics, get it ready and get it out, then continue improving, adding functionality, listening to customer demands and the like.  However, when you’re in a business whose product has been available for a while, MVP means basic “do what the customer requested”, but without any thought for knock-on effects, or even how that functionality affects or integrates with existing code and setup.

From there, the next role was more challenging, but owned by an asshat. Lots still ongoing on that one, but at least it’s over.

But when all’s said and done, it all affects me – and more than it should. More than I admit, probably even to myself.  It leaves me demotivated, and not wanting to work on my own projects – whether web/tech-based, or just writing.  You’d think – and logic would dictate – that when I’m down about my paid-work being shit, I’d want to rectify that with producing decent stuff outside of work. But it doesn’t work like that – if I’m not happy with what I’m doing, I don’t want to do more of it.

With the excessive work hours at the last place as well, I didn’t really have time. I felt like I was existing only to commute, work, and sleep. Never a good place to be.

About the only positives to come out of it all have been that I’ve learned ever more about things I really don’t want to do, more warning signs about working with/for douchebags, and some more writing ideas when I get back into the mood for it.

Changes (Once Again)

At the end of September, I quit my job with nothing to go to. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks – and it’s hard to believe it’s only been a couple of weeks. Anyway.

I mentioned it earlier this month, but haven’t said a great deal in the meantime.

When I handed in my notice, it was with immediate effect. The company in question – well, it hadn’t been fun. Being underpaid by 20% didn’t enamour them to me – and that’s a situation that’s still outstanding – but despite that, they still assumed I would continue to work all hours in order to bring their badly-timed and shitly-specced projects in on time. Indeed, I say ‘assumed’, but it was actually expectations – with real shock when I would have a life outside of work, and wouldn’t be available to keep their arses out of the flames yet again.  The additional fact of not having a contract provided the seal on things.

I did get a contract in the end – one day before I left, and certainly well after the 8-week limit.  Happily, it was breached and invalid immediately, because they’d written the original offer salary on it, which hasn’t been paid at all in the three-and-a-bit months I was there. Oops.

I left with immediate effect, and with nothing to go to.  Not necessarily my wisest move, and not necessarily one I’d choose to make again. I had a bit of confidence from my previous history with interviews and contracts, but all the same that confidence could’ve been a real kicker if I wasn’t careful.

As it is, that hundred-percent interview success rate is now gone – although not by much.

I had two unsuccessful face-to-face interviews – which didn’t disappoint me. For the first, the commute would’ve been at least 90 minutes each way. Great for the whole “unemployed for two days”, less great for energy, sanity, or having a life.  For the second, it was based in London, and the evidence afterwards is that it wouldn’t have been right – I would’ve been offered it, but the company in question U-turned their plans post-interview, so the role I interviewed for didn’t even exist.

Other than that, I had three phone interviews, including the one I accepted. Of the other two, I’ve since been offered one, and got to face-to-face interview on the other.

I haven’t worked out the actual success ratio, and don’t really need to. All that matters is that it took me two weeks from leaving one place to starting another.  And that’s no bad thing at all.

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