A Major Change

For those of you who may not be in the know: I have changed jobs. You can read that again if you like. After five years, two months, and one week, my time of working at Morgan Printing has come to a whimpering end. My last day was friday of last week.

The question now is why; I couldn’t take that place anymore. When I started back in 2002, there was enough work to keep 7 people in my department very, very busy. Five years later, we’re scraping for work with a staff of 3. It was clear that the business was not growing. I would have very little work to do, but by day’s end I was exhausted from trying to keep busy and not look like I was slacking. When that is your full-time job, it’s time to go.

After a six-year hiatus from the tech field, I decided that it was my time to get back into it. I had several standing invitations for jobs, so I didn’t worry too much about looking. A friend pointed me towards a job listing and over one weekend I rebuilt my resume, wrote a cover letter, got some references, and applied to the job. By week’s end, I had talked to a contract agent, had an interview with the company, and gotten selected for the position. That friday, I submitted my two-week notice.

Yesterday, I started my new job as a technical contractor at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). It’s a one year contract; AMD has the option to bring me on board permanently at the end of the contract (or any time if they really like me). I am doing what is called Power Analysis; due to recent EPA legislation, low power consumption in computers is a major selling point. It’s my job to assist the performance lab in determining how much power AMD’s processors consume under various loads. And that’s probably most of what I’m allowed to say under the non-disclosure agreement I signed.

It’s not a fun job, it’s not a glamorous job, it’s not a repetitious job. But once I learn what the hell I’m doing, once I get a sense for what is expected of me, once I see how it all fits together, then maybe I’ll be able to stretch out and start enjoying it all. Yesterday blew my damned mind; I was a deer in the headlights, a babe in the woods. So much info to take in. So much to figure out. By day’s end, I had a raging headache and a glassy-eyed stare that didn’t want to go away. I went home, took my mind off the day by cooking dinner and watching TV. I passed out before midnight.

This morning, I slept well but all that was destroyed by my first thought of my new job; the headache returned and has stayed with me most of the day. Couldn’t eat my breakfast. Didn’t have much for lunch. The stress of having to adapt and adjust for the first time in 5 years is a lot to bear. By the end of the day, I had spent some time under the wing of my coworkers; I was starting to figure things out, starting to talk, starting to see the light. I’ll quote something one of my managers said to me: “The first two weeks is like trying to take a sip of water from a roaring firehose.” I agree. I’ll get used to it some time soon; I better, because I left my old life behind. Now it’s drink or drown.

Enigmatic Histories

On an Enigma listening kick tonight. Michael Cretu’s fledgling project has left an indelible mark on my adult life; each of the six albums is etched permanently into the soundtrack to my life. I listen and I’m swept backwards into times far-receded and fading into idyllic pastels of halcyon days.

  1. MCMXC A.D. – my sister was given a copy of this by an uncle; it punctuates first the summer of 1990 and later the spring of 1992 when I was able to borrow it from a friend at college. I dedicate this album to my sister, to Ryan who loaned it to me, all my other friends at the time, and to Melissa, the girl closest to me who dug it most.
  2. The Cross of Changes – I got into this album heavily in the summer of 1995, several years after its release. I borrowed it for a long time from my friend Steven down the hall. It punctuates that summer, the lightness and heaviness of everything, the passion of my first love. It’s dedicated to my first love, Donna, and to our friend Liz who talked me through the rough parts.
  3. Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi! – I discovered this album while driving a delivery van during my early months in Greensboro; I thought it was a new Yes album at first; glad to be wrong. Picked it up and didn’t put it down for weeks; it carried me through my tribulations there, kept me warm on the chilling nights of late autumn. First album where the romantic ties are slim; it hit me more on an interpersonal level. Dedicated to Stephen and Misty, Paul, Pam, and Joelle, my only friends-with-history at the time.
  4. The Screen Behind the Mirror – arriving to me in the heady buzz of the early tech boom of 2000 in quiet Texarkana, it gave me impetus to keep pushing for escape into the world at large. I was living at home at the time and working at a hotel, so anything to make me get away from it was a welcome relief. Strongest memory is cranking this album at top volume with an empty house while getting dressed for one of my rare nights off. Dedicated to Josh, Jon, Laura, Liz, mom, and Sandra.
  5. Voyageur – I discovered this album while hearing the title song playing before a movie. It was Cretu’s first departure from the slightly-worn chant formula that made his project famous, and cemented his place in the league of extraordinary electronic musicians. Of note is the song “In the Shadow, In the Light” which gives voice to my loves long-lost. Dedicated to Amy, my highschool crush to whom I drove to see for the first time in 13 years at a weekend festival near Houston.
  6. A Posteriori – Possibly Cretu’s final album as Enigma, this album has a stark poignancy as either the end of something good or the transformation into something better. I was in a hard time emotionally last year when this came out, and I came to appreciate the smoothness, sensitivity, passion, and light that the album offered me, carrying me through another rough time into redemption. I dedicate this album to MaRanda, to whom I sent a copy, in whom I respect, from whom I’ve gained a new interpretation of love.

The emotional heaviness brought on by these albums causes me to reflect on my past; some people have no use for history, but it is my poison, tonic, elixir and medicine. I require a soundtrack for my life, and I gladly take its doses to give me perspective on my present.