bitching and coping

21 Sep

I’m really dependent on the little things I get to do these days to get me through life, because main-line “stuff I gotta do to meet the base needs at the bottom of Maslow’s Pyramid” just isn’t working for me.

It’s the end of the fiscal year, which used to be a pain in the ass when I was in contracts; it’s even more of a pain in the ass when I’m trying to get a couple of orders in place so my little part of the organization can keep the lights on and continue to provide the services we supposedly do.

Rightfully, after some investigation earlier this year found that large swaths of my organization couldn’t find its ass with two hand and a flashlight (and if, by chance, the left hand found it, it wouldn’t tell the right, in the interest of maintaining informational and political advantage over its’ peers)*, all the stuff involved in the acquisition arena has fallen under tremendous scrutiny. My personal stuff isn’t so bad (I mean, I actually include requirements in my requirements documents), but everything is going through a large, ever-changing gauntlet of reviews. I have been assured that my stuff is “good to go” four or five times now, only to be told that there’s some new piece of documentation I have to sign, or some new bullshit review with a “clever” name yanked out of some MBA textbook I have to sit through, or something else. My team, who don’t know if they’ll be working come October first, are justifiably nervous. I haven’t even told them that it looks like their order (which I could process in fifteen minutes were I sitting over in purchasing) just got moved to another person’s workload in as many weeks based on the emails I read last evening.

Even though the meeting schedule’s been really light this week, I’ve been leaving the office very frustrated, angry, and/or despondent each evening, entertaining fantasies about updating the resume and re-establishing contacts with my professional network to see what’s out there, but honestly, given the current state of my industry (I’m not even going to link to a story here -just frikkin’ pick one), I don’t think there’s much.

I’m at the point where I’ve kind of decided to give it one more year, see how much better I can leave this place than I found it in that time, then move on, unless things change. That’ll be tough enough, as while I have a certain amount of authority, any decisions I do make end up being walked back because of the previously described “right hand/left hand” issue, or some other thing. Of course, given the rumors, my particular organization might not even be a going concern by the time the middle-distance future gets here. Good thing I have enough seniority that should that happen, a place will be found for me…somewhere.

To combat these feelings of argh dammit, Workwise, I’ve been lining up more courses to shore up my professional certifications (getting some education helped my sense of purpose many years ago the last time I seriously had these kind of feelings) over the next couple of months, which should at least put me in a decent position should I decide to jump or get pushed.

Otherwise, I’ve been keeping up the fitness stuff – riding bikes, joining a once-a-week group dance class with the spouse and children, and adding some cheap upper-body work (100 or so push-ups split across several sets throughout the day) to see about tightening things up now that the fat’s largely gone. This helps. Of course, I did eleven miles last night I don’t even remember; I was on total auto-pilot the whole way. It doesn’t always clear the head, but sore muscles at least feel like progress.

Also, I’ve been working on some remote collaborative songwriting with my bandmates – K had a neat little song idea we played with at Dragon*Con behind the table a bit that I’ve been working on fleshing out – I’ve spent quite a bit of time recording demos/scratch tracks of what I’m hearing, which I send to her, and she tells me it’s not quite right, but I think we may have finally kind of found the happy medium around 8pm last night after sending a bunch of quick phone voice recorder files back and forth. The result is going to be more syncopated (less heavy metal than my working take – no worries, I’ll save that for something else, because the pieces are still cool), and more lo-fi (which was always our intention – the drum loops I found weren’t helping serve that need – I found myself dreaming about the best way to record my cajon last night). I think we’re coming up with some good art here, though I’m seriously finding out that while I’m a pretty decent technical bass player these days (finally), I don’t have enough theory to support terribly complex songwriting or improvisation on my own (yet)**. The stuff S and K sent me last night made perfect sense once I worked through it, though I don’t have the synaptic connections built to come up with it on my own. While this occasionally feeds my feelings of inadequacy, I’m learning a hell of a lot thanks to some open and supportive collaborators….

…a totally different, welcome experience when compared to my professional life.


* – I came up with this analogy in conversation last night – I’m kind of proud of it, even if it’s derivative.

** – Sorry D.J., as much as I like your song, I’m “the second best bass player in my own (other) damned band” – you simply have a better innate understanding of our shared instrument than I do. That said, I only seriously picked up the bass about five years ago, so I’m only two and a half decades behind where I am on guitar. I think that’s fair.


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