Always Be Quitting

This is a post about honesty.  But it may not seem like it for a little bit.  Bear with me. There’s a famous scene from the movie Glengary Glen Ross where Alec Baldwin acts like a dick.  The take away is ABC: Always Be Closing.  Always try to get what you want, regardless of what the other person wants.  Always close the deal, as hard as you can.  Your success is predicated on getting the other guy to do what you want. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not really that sort of person.  I’ve got my share of success stories, but it’s not from forcing a close.  Sealing a deal.  But I also have my share of failure stories, and I wonder sometimes if I’d been a little more forceful, a little more ABC, if things would have turned out differently. Over the last couple years I’ve hopped from job to job.  Not because I like job hopping, but because I ended up in places that were bad for me, bad for my career, or just bad for my back.*  I think I’ve found a place now that I really like, so hopefully that part is over. Since I’ve quit three full-time jobs in the last couple years, I’ve had the opportunity to experience -with regularity- the period known as “two weeks notice.”  It’s odd that in American culture, “Right to work” or “At will employment” seems to be all the rage, but it’s still considered good if the worker gives notice.  The company can fire you for any reason at any time, but you should really notify...

Imagine Home

Warwick is a lovely town, but I miss home.  And that gets me to wondering, what is home?  I wonder about stuff like that because I don’t sleep a lot, and because I’m a nerd.  I think about everything. When I was younger, I was a homebody.  I sat in a chair and read books, and didn’t fantasize about going to Europe or Africa.  I didn’t dream about being a fireman or police officer, I wanted to work for Lego and play with blocks all day.  I certainly wasn’t a loner or a rogue, or any of that.  I was just… normal, I guess. There’s that Loverboy song, something about how everybody’s working for the weekend.  My 40 hour job for the last two years gets me thinking though.  Normal for an adult is to work, and save up for weekends, for vacation days.  And most people don’t even take them all.  Those vacation days build up, and are sometimes lost.  Life is what happens in between the job hours, and that’s normal. In the last year I’ve taken more than a month off of work to travel.  I’m not saying that like a bragging point, but as a realization.  There’s something that gets me on the road, seeing new places.  Something that compels me more than the rhythm of work, and the student loan bill.  My version of adult normal is couch surfing, sleeping in a tent, going to mountains and sea and desert.  But I still crave homecoming. I’m at my third job within the last year too.  As a programmer I guess I could go to...

What Happens in Warwick Stays in Warwick

I’m bad at vacations.  I’ve known this about myself for a long time.  But I’m not on vacation, it just seems like it. I’m far from home, friends, my hobbies and haunts, and my junk vehicles that need constant attention.  In fact, I no longer smell like gasoline, and somehow managed to get the grease out from under my finger nails.  It’s been that long since I’ve had to wrench on my truck. I flew here this weekend.  Each day I go to work, put in my time, learn a lot, and contribute a little more…  this is going to be a good job for me.  But then I go back to my home for the week, pleasant as it is, and don’t have anything to do.  If I were normal, or just smart, I’d relax, but I can’t seem to do that. Like a good tourist, I’ve gone to see things.  I’ve drank too much beer, eaten too many big meals.  I’ve been shopping, walked all over God’s green earth, read the book I brought along, and done some porch sitting.  But none of it is terribly satisfying.  I go to work the next day and do cool things with my new job, and then try to figure out what to do after work with time away from home. Normally at home I’d practice an instrument, cook, nest, or something.  I might find time for a hike, or a trip to the farmers market.  I might even have a social life, God forbid. I have this gift of time in a new and fun place, and I’m all...

In Which I Geek Out

Have you ever watched builders, and said to yourself, “Those guys are using TAPE MEASURES.  Hell yes, this is awesome.” Yeah?  Because that’s basically what my last couple days have been like.  Except the builders in question are software people.  And shit, every builder knows how to use a tape measure. Most people I know sort of glaze-over whenever you start talking about building software.  I think that sort of behavior is a bad habit.  A habit that’s completely understandable.  Because bad software builders want you to think that there’s magic.  There’s mystique.  Smoke.  Mirrors. Indescribable powers at work. Nope.  It’s just 2x4s, nails, and close measuring. If your house isn’t level, you don’t blame the homeowner.  If the doctor’s office caves in on itself, it wasn’t because the new tenants were stupid.  If the vet’s office burns to the ground in an electrical fire, it’s less likely that the volunteers didn’t know what they were doing than it was that the builders didn’t know their craft. I’ve worked in software, on an off, for most of my adult life.  But I’ve been swinging a hammer since I was around 4 or 5.  There are certain things that just are. And one of them is quality.  Not the Robert Persig sort of Quality, but the stuff you touch and trust.  Like the floor isn’t going to fall out from under you.  You don’t think about it.  Not the “I hope my car makes it to 200 Thousand miles” but the sort that says, “I’ve been walking on these legs since I was born, and I’ll walk on them till...

What’s Eating Warwick

I’m in Warwick, NY for my new job.  I’m eating my way through town, one restaurant at a time.  That is to say, I’m currently stuffed with Burrito Hombre. I have a couple observations about this situation I find myself in: first, there’s a lot of good food here; second, I’ll be here an entire week, so I don’t have to eat so freakin’ much.  It’s not a race.  I know some of my friends might be shocked to hear me say it, but I’m not the least big hungry right now. This week is my first week at a new job, and eventually I’ll be able to work from home.  I’m excited about working from home for numerous reasons, but one of them is that I can control my portions.  Because dangit, if it’s delicious and it’s in front of me, it’ll end up in my belly.  Like all that massive burrito. One of my other observations is that there are a lot of Italian restaurants here.  Don’t worry, I facepalmed myself as soon as I said it.  “There are a lot of Italian restaurants in NY.”  Yeah, thanks professor.  But seriously, there are. The village of Warwick is surprisingly quaint and pleasant.  Not in the touristy, plasticky, fake quaint way some places have.  It’s the original architecture from the turn of the century, and so much of the old town is intact.  I spoke to my inn-keeper about it (this place was built in 1902 or 1908, they can’t figure out exactly) and she recalls the decline in the 70s, but loves the revitalization that’s happened in...