Welcome to Tater After Dark

Welcome to Tater After Dark where I write now because I have time to do it without having to leave for work. Of course, I started so late now I’m rushing to finish before my wife gets home.  This post is not nearly as exciting as the title makes it sound. It’s basically some rambling thoughts about a few things.

  1. I posted on Facebook this weekend that my early New Year’s resolution was to stop joking about finding a new career and actually look for a new career. I started a little of this process today interviewing for a job at another system. As I move forward in to the new year, I will consider looking outside the library profession and possibly move on from the library world if I find the right situation. It would have to be the perfect situation as I would be giving up being less than 7 year to retirement. I just know that things need to change and I can’t just sit around and hope the changes will come. I have to try to make the change myself.
  2. I watched the last Rick Grimes episode of The Walking Dead last night. There are spoilers after this sentence, so stop reading if you haven’t watched. While I agree that the announcement of Rick Grimes movies cheapens the whole “last Rick Grimes episode” thing, I did like what they did and what it will be going forward. I l know people think it’s cool to not watch the show anymore, but I do still enjoy it. I think they found a good way to write Rick out of the show without killing him. I like the time jump and I like the idea of seeing Judith as a kid who has only ever known the zombie world. I think the show without Rick can be better and I look forward to seeing what they do with it.
  3. I was looking on Twitter today to see if there was any news about the Ravens firing John Harbaugh. They didn’t and I found a lot of people saying they didn’t think they should. I disagree. I know Harbaugh won a Super Bowl, but 4 sub par years in a row is too much, The team needs a change. Status quo isn’t getting it done. You don’t pay millions for mediocrity.
  4. Time change was yesterday. It’s now cold and dark. It’s also rainy. If it’s going to be cold and dark it might as well snow. Cold, dark and rainy sucks. I need to put up the Christmas tree to add some festivity to this cold, dark and rainy world. I’m sure it will go up the day after Thanksgiving like normal. I also want to go look at Christmas lights and really enjoy the season this year. It might be time for me to head back up to 34th street in Baltimore. I would also like to go to NYC for a day to enjoy the decorations there. I need festive.

I hope you have enjoyed Tater After Dark. Stay tuned tomorrow for some other random post and a random time of day.

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Exploring Career Options

I am contemplating my next step in life and exploring career options. Below are some careers where I think I might at least get a call back for an interview. It’s still iffy as I don’t seem to have marketable skills.

  1. The guy who scoops up roadkill – Bonuses: Outside work, multiple interesting lunch options, always a need for the position.
  2. Shoveling elephant poop at the zoo – Circus is no longer an option as they have retired the elephants. Too bad. I always wanted to run away with the circus. I might have if is wasn’t for all the damn clowns.
  3. Flagger Force – Outside work, but too much responsibility. Daydream too much and you might cause an accident. I’m not ready for that level of accountability.
  4. Spinning ad signs on the side of the road – Too clumsy and no rhythm. I would fail at this job.
  5. Putting flyers on people’s doors – Great for me as long as I’m not expected to talk to people. I’m all done talking to people. Bonuses – outside work, good exercise.
  6. Kept man – I’ve succeeded in the part where I find a woman who makes good money. I have failed at the part where I convince her to pay for everything while I live a leisurely life.
  7. Telemarketer – I’ve done this before and I didn’t suck at it, but see above about people.
  8. Professional cheetah walker – I have experience, but unless the zoo needs one it would require relocation to another continent.
  9. Professional blogger – If you are reading this, you likely know why this is not an option.
  10. Clown – I’m creepy and people don’t like me, so I’m almost there. This might be the winner.

My Week In Review

This is a different week in review than I normally do. Generally, my week in review focuses on what I read and watched over the week. You would think a week of constant rain would lead to an increase in reading and watching, but I can’t think of one thing of note I read or watched during that time besides the one book: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara.  It was an interesting book and a quick read(all day rain on Saturday helped with that) but was not written in a style that I love. The rest of the rainy days I read some more and watched TV, but nothing of note. We finished the latest season of Lucifer and watched multiple episodes of the recently canceled Code Black, but I think I watched more Parks and Red than anything else. It was a weird week as far as reading and watching goes.

My main takeaway from the week are the multiple signs that seem to be pointing toward change for me. I said in a recent post that one option after my daughter goes to college next month is to not make any major changes, but I’m starting to think that I will be leaning in the other direction. Of course, I will need others to help me in making that change. I need the right job to open up in the right place or the winning lottery numbers. I would prefer the lottery and sometimes it seems the odds of my winning the lottery is higher than the odds of me getting the perfect job(have I mentioned how much I suck in job interviews?) It might also mean that instead of an outward change what I need is an inward change. To learn to be at peace with my circumstances. That might be my only option. All I know is that all of the recent signs seem to be exit signs.

Then again, maybe all the rain just made me more depressed and all I need is time in the sun.

From a Savage to an Amazon?

The news reported this morning that Amazon is offering the opportunity for people to start their own business delivering Amazon packages. It’s possible to start with only a $10,000 investment. When I was looking it up just now, I saw that there is also the Amazon Flex option to be a “gig” driver, more like an Uber type set-up. I was just saying recently how much I miss having a job where I’m outside and on the move all day.

One of my first jobs out of college was working for the Cincinnati Post delivering papers to street racks and stores. It was a summer job before I started grad school. I arrived in the morning, picked up my morning edition, drove around the city delivering them, ate lunch and then picked up and delivered the afternoon edition. Instead of driving to each rack, I would park on a block, grab all the papers for that area, and run to each rack or store to deliver them.  I was in very good physical shape that summer. My day ended when I delivered my last paper, so the faster I worked, the more free time I had. I had no benefits, vacation or holiday time, so it wasn’t the best job, but I really did like being on the go all day. Whenever I leave the branch for a meeting and I’m driving mid-day, I miss being out in my car alone all day. So, when I see jobs like the above, I’m always tempted to make the big jump from professional librarian to delivery guy. I would probably find soon enough that this type of job is not great for an old guy like me, but the temptation is still there.  I also think the job seems attractive because your interaction with other people is limited. That sounds really nice.

I’m not going to quit my job and become an Amazon guy. I will continue on as a Savage assistant manager, but for a day I will long for days alone in my car listening to the radio. It was a simpler time.

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.

Is It Time to Jump?

I recently read For Every One by Jason Reynolds. It was very good and one of the messages of the book was to make the jump, whatever that might be. It even included the message that even if you are 50(I’m close) jump anyway.  I would love to be able to take his advice. I feel like there is a jump I need to take, but there are a few issues with this:

  1. Jump where? – It might be a midlife crisis. It might be stress over a few specific things that could be over soon. It might be any number of things, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel less and less like I am where I should be in my life. The problem? I have no idea what a jump for me would be. Is it as simple as taking the time to find a new hobby or to try to write something more substantial than a blog post? Is it a little more involved and means thinking about a job change? Is it even more extreme and I look to changing careers? A scary thought at the age of 50, especially with some of the other reasons I will list below.
  2. College – In August, I will have two kids in college. One of them will be just starting and the other will be in the final semester of undergrad and then on to grad school. Two kids in college is not a time to make a jump. Two kids in college is time to be happy you have a good, steady job for the next 4-8 years.
  3. Retirement – I am almost 23 years in to my job and that means  I am just about 7 years away from the 30 years of service I need to retire. It seems pretty dumb to think about making a major life change this close to retirement. That would rule out the extreme of a total career change.
  4. Others – Making a jump is easy if you are the only one involved. Making a jump that would affect the life of others is not as easy. Even something as simple as a hobby or writing will affect those around me. It would mean more time away from home or alone in a room. A job change might mean a longer commute and a change in salary. All easier if jumping alone.  I would not be jumping alone.
  5. Fear of the unknown – I will admit that this is also a big one. I’ve been with the same employer for 23 years. The thought of going somewhere new is scary. The thought of going to a new career is even scarier.  Even if all of the above was not an issue, I would still hesitate to jump. I’m just not the jumping sort.

So, after all of this, I will likely not make a major jump. I might try the simple thing of trying to write when I am going to be home alone anyway. That will just mean sitting in a room away from the distraction of the TV and making an effort. It likely won’t go anywhere, but at least I will know that for sure. I likely will never have the courage to make the bigger jump and will instead focus on finding some peace with where I am. But, you should consider jumping if the desire is there.

The Retiring Type

I took the day off on Tuesday.  It was in the middle of what would have been my 7 day stretch at work. I’m old, tired and a little burned out and couldn’t deal with the thought of 7 days of work with no break. So, I did what I needed and took a break. This is unusual for me. I rarely just take a day off. I take vacations. I take time off at Christmas to spend time with family in Kentucky. I just don’t take time off otherwise. I rarely even call in sick. This time, though, I finally listened to my gut and took the day.

The problem with taking the day, though, is that it gave me a taste of what retirement will be. I had a day with no where I had to be. I went out in the morning to get gas and breakfast. I did a load of laundry. I did dishes. I watched DVR’ed TV shows. I went to the local library to return some books and for my daughter to browse. We watched a movie. It was a good day. Unfortunately, no one will pay me to stay at home, watch TV and post mediocre blog posts, so I have 7 years before this can be my normal life.

People think I’m weird for wanting to retire so early. They think I will be too young to retire when my actual retirement date arrives. I think I would rather retire when I am still young enough to enjoy it. I also feel like it is easier to retire when your identity is not completely ties in to your career. I generally like my job, but I don’t really feel like the essence of me is tied in to being a librarian. I could be a substitute teacher(and work only when I want to) and be just as content as I am now(am I ever content?) I would be happy to be home cleaning bathrooms and other housework all day.

I think it is more a “I don’t want anyone else to control my time” thing. I want to do something I enjoy without someone watching over me. I want to start and end when I want. I want to be in control of my own time. Since the odds of finding a job like that is low, I look ahead to retirement. Until that happens, I will need to learn to take a few more days for myself.