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What It Is (Personal)

When I’m not hopping around as a jackalope online, I’m this chubby black dude who has a day job at a tech company. That much you know. I’m going to talk a little bit about what’s going on with me personally here, but I’ll try to be vague enough that there’s not so much overlap between my fuzzy self and my chubby self. For so many different reasons, I’d like to keep those two buckets separate for now.

Last month, we found out that my company was bought from the venture capital firm that had been funding us up until that point. The official line was that it would allow us to progress on our vision without having to worry about money so much — up until then, it was a bit of a struggle to make sure we had enough to do what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it. Basically, we’re in a fast-moving segment of the marketplace, and there’s a real advantage of rolling out workable technology as quickly as possible while also making sure we refined what’s already there so everything works smoothly. You know the saying “If you want something, pick two of the three: fast, cheap, good”? We were trying to do the impossible.

Anyway, there was a footnote of the buy-out meeting that there was another company that might have technology that would complement ours, and we could work together to create something really special. That was all in the planning stages, but they would have more information for us when it became available.

In the meantime, it looked like my position would be phased out after six years in an unrelated reworking of my department. So, in order to progress, I would need to dive into a more technical position. A plan was drawn up to document how to do all the things I was responsible for, divide my responsibilities among the rest of the department, and become one of the crew. I’d get a provisional title for six months, and after that they’d see where I was and bump me up to a full-fledged member of the society. So I was working towards that.

Then I was told that because of the situation with a potential merger, I wouldn’t be able to move into that provisional position and would stay where I was. I should still plan to hand off my responsibilities and train for the more technical position, but on my own.

This week, I was thrown into a pretty intensive boot camp to learn the technical specifics of my software. This caught me by surprise. I’m actually excited to be thrust into this world that I never thought I could handle because of…well, self-image and anxiety issues, and while the learning has been difficult it’s also been rewarding in its own way.

Long story short, there’s a lot of change happening at the day job, which means that something has to give. I was gearing up to do a lot with a Patreon for serial stories that was set to launch this month, but I think it’s better that I set that aside and focus on being the best technical worker bee that I can be. It also means that I’ll need to pull back my admittedly ambitious writing schedule so stuff will be coming out a bit more slowly. That’s fine — it allows me more time to really dig in to something and make it good. Just because I’m just starting my million-word apprenticeship as a writer doesn’t mean I can’t consider those words more carefully.

For a while, I’ll just need to slow down; focus on the quality of the working process and not the quantity. I just wanted to give you folks a heads up that might mean fewer journal entries for a little while and fewer Fiction Fridays but hopefully better ones.

See you folks on the other side!

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2015 in Self-Reflection

 

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The State of the Rabbit – April 2013

I’m not very good at those April Fools’ Day pranks that tend to make the rounds on the blogosphere today, so I encourage you to imagine that I did something appropriately awesome and/or crazy and you’re amused or annoyed by it. I’m sure that whatever you could come up with would be better than what I would actually do, so that way everyone wins and I can move on to my more earnest topics!

March was an interesting and harried month for me. I remember working hard a lot for the last four weeks, but I’m not entirely sure I have a lot to show for it. Most of my attention was focused on the Pathfinder game I run around twice a month (more on that later this week), and I think the work was worth it. I’ve hit upon a few veins of story that I’m really excited about, and I get to open up the world in ways I think my players will appreciate. The problem is that while your audience definitely appreciates the work you’re putting in, by nature it’s going to be very small. The adventures of your group of friends tends not to translate too well when you’re telling it to people who aren’t invested.

Maybe that would be a good challenge for myself as a storyteller, talking about my game in a way that hooks people, but that will need to be set aside for another day.

I’ve made progress on writing short stories, though not nearly as much as I’d like. I’m nearly done with “Tight Fit” for Rask, and after that I’d like to jump right in to the next ‘commission-style’ short story for another friend, Elrabin. I think I’d rather take a week or two to edit/rewrite ‘chapter two’ of the fluff story that I was supposed to burst right out of the gate with, just to have that done.

I would make excuses for not reaching my goals (again) last month, but to be honest there simply aren’t any. I didn’t prioritize writing in the way that I should have in order to get myself where I wanted to be and while there are a number of reasons for that it’s still the way it is. Even though things were a little crazy last month, there were still a number of times where I could have been writing and chose to do something else instead; I’m going to have to take a long, hard look in the mirror to determine why that is.

While I’m doing that, though, I’ll keep trying to push on — though with a little less ambition than before. I know what I want to do, and I’ll focus on doing it as quickly and well as I can. We’ll see where I am at the end of April, how many times I’ll decide not to write when I really was able to, and then we’ll go from there.

One of the reasons my mind has been taken away from writing is lingering health issues that are just wearing me out. There’s something wrong with my digestive tract — I’m not eliminating the way I should be, and that’s causing a complication or two that’s painful and awkward to deal with. I’ve been trying to self-manage for most of the month but I’ve finally thrown in the towel on that. I’ll be seeing a doctor today, a few weeks later than I should be, to see what’s wrong and what can be done about it. In addition to that I’ll take a couple of tests to see whether or not I have a gluten sensitivity and once that’s out of the way I’ll be moving my diet a little closer to the Whole 30 model I learned in February. A lot less grains for breakfast, more fresh produce for lunch, that sort of thing. I’m really hoping that the doctor’s visit and the dietary change will yield big improvements, because to be honest I’m ready to not be dealing with constant discomfort at this point.

The health issues have degraded my ability to cope with just about everything; I’m not quite as quick as I could be with work, and that’s a big deal because this would be a great opportunity for me to step up and rock the house right when my department needed me. We’re staring down the barrel of a fairly busy spring with not quite enough resources to manage things — that’s a pretty common problem in corporate America, I’m sure, but it’s my first time dealing with issues of quite this magnitude. I’m ready to step up. I WANT to step up. But my body is making it hard to do so.

To be honest, I’m not sure what this month is going to be like. A lot of that depends on what the doctor has to say and how quickly my digestive issues diminish. Optimistically, I’d like it to be the month where I finally kick it into gear, take strides to write regularly and get back on track in the office. But I know that may not be likely. Fortunately, this rabbit knows that slow and steady wins the race, and I’ll just have to take it that way until I’m ready to move a little faster.

 
 

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Simplifying the Work

Last week was an overwhelming one. The carpool I had shared with a friend had just ended when he took a new position at work, so I was back to travelling to my job by Caltrain. I hadn’t expected it to be a big adjustment, but it turns out it was. The fact that the trains were late going home for the first three days certainly didn’t help.

Work is beginning to pick up towards the holidays as well. I work in an industry where holiday communications are very important for our customers, so anything that goes wrong is expected to be handled with a bit more urgency than usual. As “air-traffic control” for my support department, that means dealing with people who want results as soon as possible all day. It’s…challenging, to say the least. These two small changes were enough to tax my mental energy and willpower almost completely.

I went through a brief period last week berating myself for not being able to handle the changes that had come, but that really gets you nowhere. How you feel is how you feel, and talking down to yourself for emotions that arise makes it that much more difficult for you to deal with them. Now that I’ve had a reasonably relaxed weekend, I’m sitting here thinking about what I can do to better cope with the stresses that will be coming in the future and still remain productive.

The answer is to simplify. Do one thing at a time as best I can, move on to the next, take a break when I need to. That’s an easy thing to plan, but it’s very difficult to put into practice. We live in a world that wants us to multi-task as much as possible. Our attention is often being pulled in many different directions at once. Even when there’s an emergency, say, that demands our complete focus, there are a number of things queueing up right behind it.

Despite that I’ll be trying to focus on doing one thing at a time this week. Hopefully, this means I’ll be able to be a lot more efficient and productive than I have been before. I’ll put all of my attention into reading when that’s what I decide to do. When I write, I’ll work on one project through its completion before moving on to something else. When I’m working, I’ll devote a period of time to focusing on that, and plan my breaks so that I don’t burn out in the middle of the afternoon.

Right now I’m working on a short story that’s essentially supernatural erotica. It’s for a friend, so I’m not sure I’ll actually show it anywhere when it’s done, but my goal this week is to finish it. It had been requested for last Christmas, so this story is far, far overdue. But my perfectionism has gotten the better of me, and I’ve never been happy with the story that I’m writing. It’s time to simply be content with the way the story has come and work on improving it through other drafts.

I’m reading Mad Ship by Robin Hobb at the moment, and it’s quite good. Hobb’s able to bounce back and forth between multiple perspectives to create a complete world, and you end up sympathizing with or hating each person you come across. Even as the story deepens and the many characters’ purposes come into conflict with one another, you end up rooting for whoever you’re reading about. The villain of the first book in the series has this tremendous exchange with a rather meek boy in one scene, and it just knocked my socks off. This guy has done things that places him firmly in the antagonist column, but I find myself liking him an awful lot just the same.

At any rate, supernatural erotica and Mad Ship are what’s on my plate this week. What’s on yours?

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Reading, Self-Reflection, Writing

 

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