Alternating Dreams

I’ve always said that a clear sign that it is time to leave a job when you start dreaming about work. I’ve never actually left a job because I started dreaming about it. To do that, I would need someone else who is willing to hire me. Anywho, if I did follow that rule, it would definitely be time to leave. I had two dreams about work in the same night recently and they seemed to be alternate endings to the same story. I recently applied for a promotion at work. I have not yet been interviewed for said promotion, so they have not yet rejected me for said promotion. The dreams were two possible endings to this situation.

Dream 1 – I get an email telling me that they aren’t even going to interview me for the promotion. They know enough about me to know they do not think I would be good at the job. The dream ends with me going back to my office to pack all of my personal belongings so it will be easier for me to quit once I find any job that will take me. Not a great dream, but somewhat likely. I once did pack up all of my personal belongings even though I was not leaving because I felt disrespected and felt no need to pretend like I belonged.

Dream 2 – I get the job and a lot of people quit upon hearing the news. Not all bad news, though. While it sucks that the staff apparently quit to avoid working for me, it did help me to fill the empty spots with my favorite people. I always did dream of getting hired to open a brand new branch and hiring away all the best people to work for me. It sounds a lot better when it is a new branch and not, according to the dream, a branch that emptied out when they heard I would be the new boss.

The most likely scenario is neither dream, but closer to the first. I’m interviewed, rejected and feel like I’m somewhere where I am not welcome. I have a long history with that scenario.

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Changing Goals

More on the topic of goals today. I was asked yesterday about goals and specifically asked if a certain job was my goal. It would have served me in the short term to just say yes, that is my career goal. Did I do that? Of course not. My problem over the years is that I am apparently unable to play the game that needs to be played to get ahead. The thing to do there was to say yes, my career goal is to be X, please hire me to do X. And yes, that is a current career goal. I would like to do X. I would be good at X. I don’t think there should be any question that I would be good at X. But is that my end goal? I really don’t know. Maybe. Maybe I get hired to do X and I’m very happy doing X and I want to do X for the rest of my work life. But the thing is, goals change. Life changes.

Maybe my wife gets a new job and we have to move. Doesn’t matter what my career goal was, now my career goal is to find a decent job in the new location. Maybe I win the lottery. Nw my career goal is to quit in a way that will not alert people that I won the lottery. Maybe I’m so good at my job I’m offered the chance to move to a higher level job and it is something that excites me. Now my career goal has moved up the ladder. Maybe I get a notification that a job I didn’t even know existed is open and it is the perfect situation for me. It would be hard to have that goal if I didn’t even know it could be a goal.

So, I guess my goal is to stay aware of opportunities, take chances and go for those opportunities when they arise and to know which opportunity is the right one for me.

Tater’s Wednesday Morning Off Thoughts

Wednesday is the day I don’t start work until 1. That means I have time in the morning to do housework, run errands or, like this morning contemplate life while I’m waiting for the laundry to be ready to fold. The contemplations are not always fun. Today’s contemplations are brought to me by the increasingly clear signals that it may be time for me to move on. As I think about moving on, I think about some of the lessons I need to learn before I make a jump.

Look before you leap – I practiced this one recently when I opted against taking a new job. I won’t rehash the details as I’ve written about it already. In short, I took the time to consider the pros and cons of the job and decided that is was not the right move for me at the time. Change for change sake is not the right decision. Really investigate the jump before you take it.

The greener grass might be misleading – The grass might be greener on the other side, but that might just be due to a lot of bullshit. It’s easy to clean your house and threaten the kids to behave when company is coming. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking everything is great somewhere because of this. It’s similar to the social media effect. You think everyone’s life is better than yours because of the fake snapshot they post online. Before you consider jumping to a new place, look below the surface. Is it a healthy work environment? This might be hard to know for certain, but try to find out what you can.

Jumping is scary, but staying put might be worse – I’ve been with the same employer for 24 years. The thought of leaving is scary. The thought of giving up the comfort and security of being a long time employee could easily keep me from considering making a move, What’s scarier, though, is the thought of watching everyone around you move up and move on while you remain stagnant. Sometimes, the only way to move up is to move out.

It doesn’t hurt to look – Even if you are happy where you are right now, it never hurts to look to see what’s out there. You might miss out on the perfect job for you by not even knowing it’s an option. It doesn’t hurt to look, apply and even interview. You don’t have to take the job if you decide it isn’t the right fit, but how will you know if you don’t try?

You don’t owe anything to anyone – Do what’s best for you and your family. That is all that matters. You don’t owe anyone else anything but ample notice that you are leaving. That’s all.

All that being said, even when it likely becomes clear to me in the next few months that it is my time to jump, it will be hard for me to actually do it.

The One Where Tater Makes a Decision

If you are a regular reader of this blog, I’m sorry, but also, you know that I wrote recently about some “not resolutions” for this year. One of those involved making a change in my day-to-day life. In this post, I will talk about why my first major decision of 2019 was to opt not to make a major change in my day to day life.

I have talked before about how I feel that God has spoken to me in various ways, sometimes with a song. Early this month I had a very strong feeling that I was being told that this is the year that everything changes. I’m going to think positive and assume that these would be positive changes and that this is not just wishful thinking on my part. Last week, I was in Florida with my family. Thursday, we took a day off from the parks and relaxed at the resort. Thursday morning, I went to the tennis courts with my son. Standing on the courts in my summer clothes in January with no stress in my life, I felt more at peace with life than I have in a long time. After tennis, we spent the rest of the day relaxing at the pool. It was during this time, that I received the call that interrupted the peace. It was a call from a place where I had interviewed before Christmas. It was a job offer. A very generous job offer.

At first glance, it seemed like this is what I wanted. It was a chance to make a change in my daily life. It was a chance to make a change in my daily life and make more money. It would definitely make this the year that everything changed. It was hard to focus on talking to the HR person about everything while on vacation so I asked if I could be back in touch after I returned. I had a few more days to decide if this is what I really wanted. I tried to focus more on enjoying my time with my family than dwelling on the offer, but it would sneak into my head whenever I had a chance to relax. Eventually, it would be decision time.

Ultimately, it came down to this question: Is the short-term gain of more money and removing myself from a bad situation more important than my long-term goal of retiring when I hit my 30 years(6 more years). Also in the long term thinking – is it worth resetting where I stand with vacation hours, probably doubling(or more) my commute and going to the one place in the state where I know no one? Eventually, I had to admit that blowing up my long term plan for a short term gain would not be smart and I opted to stay put for now. There are some opportunities for change coming that would not mess up my long term goals and would not result in major changes in location. If those don’t pan out, there are plenty of places I could go that would keep my long term goals intact. I just need to be patient and not make a rash decision.

I can get back to that feeling of peace sooner rather than later if I can be patient and wait for the right place to jump.

The Simple Life

I am reading the book Walden on Wheels for my book club. It is a memoir by a guy who details his time trying to live simply to pay off his student loans. He works in Alaska at a camp here he gets free room and board, he works as a park ranger, he hitchhikes home and when he goes to grad school he lives in his van. As I read this book(and listen while sitting in rush hour traffic) I think two things: 1. This guy is a dick and 2. The simple life doesn’t sound so bad.

While I have no desire to be this guy

I wouldn’t mind making some changes. I’ve written here before about how much I dislike the suburbs. The suburbs is the opposite of the simple life. The suburbs means a bigger house with room for lot s of stuff. The suburbs means a yard you have to keep manicured so your neighbors don’t hate you. The suburbs means the need to drive everywhere you go. I’m here until my kids graduate and get their own places. Once they are settled I will work on convincing my wife to consider a condo in the city. I’m not sure how successful I will be, but I would love a life of no lawn and the availability of public transit.

A simpler life also means the possibility of lessening the need for a job you don’t love to make the money you need to live life in the DC suburbs. The condo in the city won’t be any cheaper, but I hope to be retired by then and can save money by having no need for money for more than a couple of Metro rides a week. I was at Panera today and again longed to be the person who could enjoy sitting there sipping my coffee with no office to get to. I could deal with the suburbs if I could somehow make a living writing or doing some other job I could do from my laptop at Panera. I would take the simple life of living in the suburbs with no need to deal with rush hour traffic and no need to leave the house and deal with difficult people.

So, while I have no desire to live in a van down by the river, I do desire the ability to live a life less dependent on a traditional career.

A Collection of Short Tater Thoughts

I have no topic for a long form post today. The following are random short thought that will hopefully pop in my head while I am writing.

Hello Guvna: The Governor of Maryland will be at my old branch today. A delegation from his office will be at my current branch today. The Governor will not join them. I’m sure that I am missing out on my shot by not getting face time with Governor Hogan. I’m sure he would hire me on the spot.

Driving: I could write about this every day. My latest traffic complaint is that yesterday I was driving on a highway with 55 MPH speed limit. I will admit that I was speeding(70 in a 55) and still someone comes up behind me a rides my bumper because they wanted to go even faster. That is just a guarantee that I will start to drive much slower. Yes, I’m that driver.

Reading Slump: I don’t hate the book I’m reading, but I don’t really feel the need to read it when I have free time. I guess I should take a break from it and read something else to see if reading in general is the problem or if it is the book. It’s hard for me to take a break from a book if I plan to finish it.  I’m good with quitting a book I hate, but I find it hard to take a break or quit a book that is just mediocre.

Goals: I’ve written here several times about not knowing what I want to be when I grow up Our new CEO plans to meet with each of us to ask what we do, but also what we want to do in our job. I guess I need to figure that out soon so I have an answer. I’m not sure “retire” is the answer she wants. Maybe I will tell her I want her job.

Blogging: I will end with more blog talk. I am going to set a goal to be more organized with my blog. Right now, I just get my laptop and write whatever pops in my head that morning. I rarely plan ahead. This is fine for what I want as far as the writing goes, but it leads to long stretches of not posting because my mind is blank. I want to start doing more planning on what I will write. I want to be better about writing down topics and rants as they pop in my head. I have no idea what will work for me, but I hope it will at least lead to fewer long breaks from posting. Any suggestions appreciated.

 

Postus Interruptus

I was a few sentences in to a post this morning about feeling residual anxiety from a dream last night and how that is rare for me. I was already struggling to get the wording the way I wanted when there was a knock at the door. As I mentioned earlier in Destruction Day, are master bath is being renovated. The knock at the door was the person who is doing the renovation ready to start the day.  I am not going to attempt to restart the interrupted post(It wasn’t that great anyway) so instead I will just post some stray observations from my conference I attended last week:

I was spoiled that last two years at conference with multiple people from my system attending. I didn’t have to worry about eating alone or trying to join a random pub quiz team. This year went back to the old ways of me being one of only two non-admin employees at the conference. I did go to dinner once with people from work, but I had more times when I was eating alone. Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about pub quiz. Two people from work showed up(including our new CEO) and I found people I played with last year.

I always struggle with mingling and networking at conferences. I’m really bad at it and, if given a choice, will eat alone if no friends are there and spend time alone in my room. This year, I made an attempt to spend more time actually talking to people instead. I’m not sure if those people appreciated me talking to them, but I feel good about my attempts to be a normal person.

I finally won a raffle in the vendor area after 20 some years of attending the conference. Multiple bottles of wine were won and then my ticket was drawn when they were giving away three childrens books. Even when I win, I am a loser.

Every time I leave the conference I feel like I’m ready to make a leap and do something new with my career. I never do. Even though I was better at talking to people this year I will not use it to try to move ahead in my career. I will continue to work for the same place in the same job until I retire. I do try to take back what I learn and use it in my job, so the conference does make me better at my job. I will never be the person who has the ability to use networking opportunities for career advancement.  So, sorry coworkers, you are stuck with me.