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Shooting the breeze : Non Office-related chatter
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Sep 3rd 2015 edited

So why am I still experiencing low-grade anxiety attacks? There is so little downside. It's a no-brainer move. I should be thankful for the massive onslaught of good luck. And yet, panic.

Sep 3rd 2015

But I'm on a sinking ship, so to leave on my own terms is a rare gift.

I'm not sure I going to be able to do that. Good luck with the new opportunity.

Sep 4th 2015

My dad taught at BOCES for years.

I applaud you for taking control of your destiny. I usually wait until an action is forced upon me.

Sep 4th 2015

A very good friend of Mr. A and I is the Principal for a BOCES school in Western NY. That school does amazing things. I'm so glad they exist.

Sep 4th 2015 edited

So why am I still experiencing low-grade anxiety attacks?

For me, it's the vertigo associated with making big choices. It's sort-of an amplified version of what happens to me after I make any purchase over $1000. I always feel ill. It's just such a big choice.

Sep 4th 2015

So, because I am old and weak, I am going to cast my troubles out to the crowd (is crowd the right word?) here for advice.

As I said last page, I have a job offer for a small, but fairly cutting edge biotech company based near Oxford, England. The pay isn't quite as good as my current position and the cost of living is probably higher. My wife would have to give up her nice position telecommuting and find a new job in the U.K. and we would be moving away from my 90 year father, my brother and his family and both of our kids (ages 27 and 30 so not like they'd be wards of the state). On the other hand it would be in Europe with all the possibilities for travel we currently only enjoy on Anthony Bourdain shows and it would keep my skills current.

My current job is slowly circling the drain as the corporation that purchased comes to grips with the fact that they have no real idea of what our skills are. I could stay here, looking for other positions in Seattle or elsewhere in the U.S., but there are no guarantees I'd find something. I already turned down one offer in the S.F. Bay Area and I'm afraid I'm playing with fire turning down a second. Also, my soul is dying as I sit at my desk each with little to do and no confidence that they will ever find something that fits my position. Of course, getting paid good money for little effort is not the worst thing in the world and the stress of having to move in the next few months would be relieved. and, who knows, maybe a great job here in Seattle will pop up soon.

So, what say all who still visit here? Take the flyer, go to England or stick with the known for now while hoping for a less traumatic option? Or should I just put on my big boy pants and make this decision on my own, which leaves no one but myself to blame?

Sep 4th 2015 edited

This is a really complicated decision for you to make. And really, I would think it would depend on taking a good look at yourself and the things you value most.

Of course, getting paid good money for little effort is not the worst thing in the world

For instance, that statement. I learned something about myself at CorNOT while I worked there. It was soul-less. I wasn't valued or appreciated. I basically had a job that my boss felt like any idiot could do. I wasn't challenged or excited and to be honest, it did a lot of damage to my self-perception and work ethic. It took me a while to build up to believing in myself again enough to go back to school. Don't underestimate the damage that this kind of job can do to intelligent people.

And there are other things to think about in terms of your personal experience. Have you ever been away from your family for long periods of time? How do you yourself respond to big changes in environment? How about your wife? Right now, with the soul-less job, do you rely on your extra-curricular family and friend relationships to add that soul back into your life? What happens if you go to England and it's soul-less AND you don't have that network anymore?

I'm a huge fan of the good-old fashioned pros and cons list, while also trying to be as realistic as possible about your own foibles. It's important to know if you are that kind of flexible adaptable person with lots of optimism that bounces back from big changes quickly or if you are the kind of steady, rooted individual for whom a massive change may completely unmoor you and sink your ship. And when you make your pros and cons list, remember to include the things that you love about your current situation. It's easy to miss them when you are listing off the valuable things about staying because you've been there forever and you take them for granted.

Also, best-case scenario/worst case-scenario is also an awesome thing to ponder. I've often been terrified of making a choice until I realized that even if the worst possible thing happens, I'd still be okay.

I guess what I'm really saying is that you don't have to worry about being able to blame anyone else, because the decision (and it's outcome) is all really up to you. It depends on how well you know yourself and your wife. I think the value in growing older is that if you're smart (and obviously, I'm sure you are), you've probably done a lot of that work already and you do know.

Sep 4th 2015

Thanks Anque for your voice of reason. I have been assembling a pros and cons list, but my problem is that things keep shifting around in importance. Now it's crunch time

Have you ever been away from your family for long periods of time? How do you yourself respond to big changes in environment? How about your wife?

We have made six substantial moves since the first kid was born and several of them have involved me going on ahead to start work so that part isn't a huge concern.

What happens if you go to England and it's soul-less

This, or the variation where the job is a crap-show (bad boss, incompetent management, vicious co-workers) is one of my major concerns. Counterbalanced only by:

Don't underestimate the damage that this kind of job can do to intelligent people.

Right now, with this safety valve, I have been able to ride along without too much psychic damage. If I turn it down, the burden of explaining to myself why I'm doing this becomes much harder.

do you rely on your extra-curricular family and friend relationships to add that soul back into your life?

Not to a huge extent, but the idea of moving away from my dad and the boys is really giving me anxiety. My father has had some health issues in the past few years and at 90 anything can happen and I won't be close enough to get back in time. And while the boys are basically living independently, it''s nice to be able to see how they are doing and provide a little help now and then. And, as a sidenote for all you parents of younger children, please start saving right now for your children's college education if you think that is something they will pursue. We are screwing a generation of kids right now with the incredible levels of debt required to get through college. We had some savings, but our kids still took out loans and it makes their lives much harder than I ever had it.

Anyway, thanks again for the thoughtful response. This goes back to the Facebook discussion a few days back, but this place is a lovely refuge in the turbulent sea that is the internet/social media.

Sep 9th 2015

I think distance from family would be the biggest factor for me, particularly having lost my dad a while back. I understand your hesitance there. Still, working in England could be a pretty cool thing. I've never even worked in NYC despite living within commuting distance all my life.

Even though I could get laid off at any time at my soon-to-be-former job, I felt safe there. Maybe that's irrational, and maybe it's a product of surviving so many layoffs that I feel bulletproof. It's not mindless, but it's not very rewarding work. I've only ever enjoyed writing and reporting. It's hard to give a shit about anything else. All that said, I've had a hard time letting go, which is what I'm about to do. So many people tell me it's unrealistic to expect to love your job, but you only live once. I'm not sure how, but I've got to get back to where I'm doing work that's creative and takes some talent as well as hard work and skill. I'm sick of faking it, however successfully. I wish I could manage a small weekly newspaper, but I also want to stay off food stamps. So, paradox.

Sep 9th 2015

Well, in the end I just couldn't make the leap. In addition to leaving family behind, the loss of half of my wife's income, even if she could have found a job there, was too much for us. That money is funding our retirement to a significant degree right now and we just couldn't see going without that. For now I'll have to grind it out where I am in the hope that another position within the U.S. comes around.

All that said, I've had a hard time letting go, which is what I'm about to do. So many people tell me it's unrealistic to expect to love your job, but you only live once.

Well, good luck with it. You had bigger balls than I.

Sep 9th 2015

It's probably what I'd have done, DC. I also have small balls.

Sep 9th 2015 edited

I go back and forth on how long I think my company will be around. The industry is dying and the product unrecognizable at times. But whether it'll go on for months or years is beyond my ability to guess. So it's really just a matter of knowing I've beaten the odds for 8 to 10 years and my luck has to run out eventually. So, not really a matter of balls. I'm just so anxious about this new job. The commute is longer and it was already too long. And I don't know much about the field. They must think I can hack it, but who knows? I guess if it doesn't work out it's no worse than if I stayed where I was and got laid off. And at least it forced me out of a bad situation. I'm still at an age where I can withstand losing my job and searching for a new one. In 10 years, it would be far more devastating.

Now let's talk about Jinx's tiny balls. Are we talking marbles or BBs?

Sep 9th 2015

I also have small balls.

HAHA!

Sep 9th 2015

In 10 years, it would be far more devastating.

This is my problem right now. If I end up laid off, finding another position might be really tough due to old. I have to make the transition before that happens. Fortunately, layoffs don't seem likely right now, but these days it's hard to predict.

Are we talking marbles or BBs?

Mine are raisins: small, shriveled and soft.

Sep 9th 2015

But sweet like candy, amiright?

Sep 9th 2015

More like moth balls.

Sep 10th 2015

The industry is dying

This is depressing to me and I'm not even in the industry. It's kind of like the 60000 people that worked at Kodak in my town...as the digital age advanced, they were all just in shock and denial at what was happening, through no fault of their own. They were still making great stuff, but no one wanted it anymore. Now there are about 1500 people left, and who knows what they are working on. Not film.

I hear old media guys talking about the glory days when cities would have 4 or 5 newspapers. Now, even the local small town rags are mass produced by some factory who put out the same newspaper to 30 different towns, with different "local" articles written by a high school intern, based on the spelling and grammar.

I'm still at an age where I can withstand losing my job and searching for a new one.

Don't give yourself false hope. You're old.

Now let's talk about Jinx's tiny balls.

But I can still take all of you.

Seriously, I feel like I usually just let things happen to me rather than taking charge of my life. Hey, it's worked out pretty well...I have a nice wife and kid, a nice job, my wife's business is doing great. But...my wife asked ME out, I got this job only after being laid off when I should have read the signs, etc. So I always admire guys who take charge and chart their own course.

Sep 10th 2015

Don't give yourself false hope. You're old.

I never thought of it that way. Thanks!

Seriously, I feel like I usually just let things happen to me rather than taking charge of my life.

This will be only my third "real" job since college, not counting part-time and retail gigs that paid the bills. I've landed a few job offers over the years but mostly by chance and I never accepted any. This, at least on paper, was an offer I couldn't refuse. But even this was nothing I went looking for. I survived 15 years in a crumbling field in large part by luck. I'll need to take charge at some point, I feel, because I need to get closer to home. It sounds crazy to say that's my big priority because plenty of people have long commutes. But it leaves me too damn tired, costs too much and keeps me from my family too much. It's also really dangerous. I bet we've had a highway fatal every other day on average. Telecommuting, anyone?

Sep 12th 2015

Late to the party here, but I think your wife's job and her feelings about going to Britain would have been a major issue. I'm hardwired to look at it from a wife's POV, however,

There's also the issue that the Brits are positively miserly with their tomato sauce (ketchup) and the food's bland.

That said, I would probably not have been able to resist the experience of living in another country for awhile. But I'm older and I have reached the WTF stage. This from somebody with no balls at all.

Sep 15th 2015

Tomorrow's my last day, and I'm thinking back to the summer and fall of 2006. I was on an independent assignment that put me in libraries and cafes many afternoons, and I'd spend hours here. You'd post a comment and 10 new comments would appear before you hit send. It was busier than my Facebook feed is today. And funnier. And less insane.

Probably not the best use of my time, but I'm fine with my choices.

Sep 15th 2015

But did NA ever have a post like "You won't believe what happens when he turns around"? No, I didn't think so.

Sep 15th 2015

Sure we did. At first I thought Toosie was crazy, but when I saw the results? I was running for the kitchen.

Sep 15th 2015

Also, no one on NA ever invited me to play Candy Crush, so win-win...win.

Sep 22nd 2015 edited

Hey, remember that time 3 1/2 years ago when I freaked out over a career change? Well here we go again. I'm not sure what it says about me the way history repeats itself, but it's uncanny.

Sep 22nd 2015

Is this freakout due to leaving the old job or about the new one? (Congratulations on that by the way.)

Sep 23rd 2015

I miss the old job, but leaving was the right move. Knowing I could have hung on for the long term gnaws at me, but knowing I just as easily could have been laid off before Christmas helps. I'm not freaking out anymore, to be honest. Change brings that on, but I'm focused on keeping my head straight. That said, I've decided I'm still in transition. I had to get out from where I was, but this isn't where I intend to land long term. It's become my part-time job to ensure that isn't. The big difference from three years ago is that the commute is unsustainable for me. And to be honest, I don't feel all that much more secure, and a publicly run bureaucracy doesn't strike me as all that much more sane than what I worked within before.

How's your situation? Settling in for the long term? Still looking? Finding ways to drink beer at lunch without anyone knowing?

Sep 23rd 2015

Ah okay. I was afraid you showed up to the new job and discovered it was a front for Scientology or something. Long commutes are the worst. After 7 years of 20 miles each way, I vowed nothing over 5 miles when we moved here. Always a good move to keep looking. I always respond to recruiters, even when I am feeling good about a job (not all that often) just to keep lines open. Good luck.

I don't think long term will work out, but I am just grinding along here while seeing what is available out there. I did score a sweet minifridge for my office last week so mid-day drinking is much more achievable.

Sep 23rd 2015

After 7 years of 20 miles each way, I vowed nothing over 5 miles when we moved here.

From 2004-2012, I drove 20-22 miles each way. In 2012, it went to 38-40. In 2013, it went to 52. Now it's 56-57. If there's a backup, it can take 90 minutes or more to get there. I feel funny whining about a long commute, but this is ridiculous.

Sep 23rd 2015

I did score a sweet minifridge for my office last week

I've never had a fridge before. Shakes poker chips out of my sleeve.

Now it's 56-57. If there's a backup, it can take 90 minutes or more to get there. I feel funny whining about a long commute, but this is ridiculous.

Whine all you want. That is ridiculous.

Sep 23rd 2015

Thanks. For what it's worth, I bitched when it was 20 miles. Still, my kids are little. I don't want to spend 2-3 hours a day driving while my wife and her mom are scrambling to get to Little League, taekwondo, etc. I get it, the economy sucks, I'm grateful I have a job and all that. But you really have to question what you're sacrificing.

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