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After having 90 minutes to soak in, this Craig Hughes thing is every
more spookily relevant and absolutely true. My company is having one
of those Friday afternoon beer bashes at 4 PM, so I’ll leave at 3:50
PM. I just plain don’t feel like sitting around looking at people like
I’m happy to be here. God help me, and God help Craig.

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Here is a very interesting piece about why
are my life and career not what I want
by Craig Hughes of SpamAssassin fame. Jesus, this
was tough reading. While the specifics differ (my company wasn’t
acquired and I didn’t found it with requisite cash influx and my wife
isn’t pregnant) the issues he raises, the lying in bed on the verge of
tears because the way things are differs so dramatically from the way
you want them to be, that’s me right now. I highly recommend reading this
piece for anyone whose current situation is not their desired
one. Excerpt:

I need to stop trying to heat many pots i the hope that one might
start boiling, and instead just turn the heat off and live with the
lukewarm. But I can’t bring myself to do that. My mind is rebelling
against itself, I understand what the easy path would be, but cannot
bring myself to follow it. I find myself wondering if this is how
most people think of their jobs, have most people resigned themselves
to this shit? Is that why I’m having so much trouble being able to
actually get anything done, because everyone else I’m dealing with has
already given up trying? What percentage of the world’s workforce
behaves this way? Is this an economically healthy thing? I can
understand cerebrally that some measure of institutional conservatism
is vital to avoid chaos, but surely things can be conservative without
being so oppressively unchangeable.

I’ve been trying to play it kind of cool with my workplace discontent
in public places like this, but I believe it has reached the point
where it is undisguisable. I just resent having to spend my days in a
way that is so patently useless. The main reason why it is useless is
because my particular workplace absolutely always lives in a state of
emergency. Some customer has an issue, everyone drop everything. We
have decided that the sales engineers are going to get a release
tomorrow, everyone drop everything. Someone asked for a feature, get
it in tomorrow’s release. The notion of a roadmap, of things we know
we are going to do but not yet is a foreign concept. More than all
this, though, is the feeling that all my input is being redirected
straight to /dev/null. Presumably they hired me because I know what
I’m doing, yet every time someone asks my opinion they ignore what I
have to say. I see things go wrong every day that I suggested ways to
prevent. This is what Craig was talking about – do I fight that with
all the energy I have or throw my hands in the air and say “Oh well,
perhaps y’all ought to start listening to me.” A year ago, it was more
the former and now it is pretty much always the latter. I don’t like
giving up, but on the other hand I don’t want to use up my personal
energy and raise my blood pressure for them anymore. A few months ago
when giving blood at the Red Cross, I had a pressure 30 points above
my previously highest recorded one. I’m not willing to blow a gasket
for this place, so as much as I hate it I choose to withdraw the very
thing that makes me a good employee because my employers are being
such poor stewards of that resource. How sad for them.

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The yard sale isn’t until tomorrow and yet I’ve already made over $50,
just selling books out of my trunk to coworkers. This means that I’ve
already broken even on the fees I paid to ABE to never actually sell a
book. I need to just cancel that account posthaste to make sure I
don’t rack up any more charges. Screw that, I’ll be done with all this
by tomorrow one way or another. My poor little Honda Civic will be
glad to not shlep these 500 pounds of books any farther than necessary.

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My friend Mark Bourne had an op-ed piece about what
not to do while protesting the war
printed in the Oregonian
yesterday. Apparently this was read in its entirety on the Rush
Limbaugh show yesterday, with full attribution and all. I’d be curious
to know what the commentary was, being that the piece is all about how
protesting the war in childish disruptive ways plays into the hands of
the right and their massive PR offensive. It is good reading, and
Mark
is a great guy.