My tenure at Hostway has come to an end. Long live Hostway.
I put in my two weeks notice, then walked away a free man yesterday afternoon. It was a long, tangled, messy 4 years, 5 months, 3 weeks. I learned a lot while there, but the biggest lesson of them all is that I do not want to do public-facing technical support ever again. There are too many parts in motion at all times; there are too many façades to keep up; there are too many unfunded and untenable expectations to uphold to get through the job with any shred of self-respect. I found I couldn’t exceed because the constant and random barrage of imperative demands kept me out of focus.
I also learned about networking, how server farms and monitoring systems work, how to file tickets, how to make things talk to each other, and how to deal with remote teams. Which is the set of traits that landed me my next gig.
On Monday, I will start as a contractor for a research team at Samsung. I’m not fully clear on the particulars of the job, but it will be very much like what I did in the product development labs at AMD: benchmarking & power measurement. My new job will also entail the care and feeding of a collection of testing platforms, rescuing any devices that lock up, making sure remote engineers can reach the platforms, working on automation and reporting software, etc.
It will be an uphill climb. But if it means I don’t have to deal with downed servers, failed hard drives, and pissed-off customers, then I’ll be as happy as a clam.
Putting in my two-week notice got me feeling like:
Really, it’s been a bumpy four years, five months at my current job. I had been looking for a while, and an opportunity jumped into my lap and grabbed me by the collar. So after a rollercoaster few weeks with subtle acts of subterfuge and hookie, and after a few last-minute snags due to the holiday, the last stop was pulled out this afternoon and I dropped my notice on my managers who played it off as if they had suspected it all along and saw it coming.
Kinda obvious, really.
The future is going to be heavy with study and learning how to take sips from a raging firehose. The work will be hard for a while. But I’ll be doing it elsewhere. I won’t say where just yet, but I will be back in a product development lab, so that’s nice.
I consider my four years in IT customer support as my time wandering in the wilderness. It’s like I was ejected from the dojo, walked the earth to gain some wisdom, and now I’ve returned home to work with Sensei again. Home to where my only customers are internal. Home to where I don’t have to blow hot air and say, “our engineering staff (me, on shift) is currently investigating your issue and we’ll have more information as it develops. Thank you for your patience.”
Ugh. So glad to be done with that. Product labs don’t give two shits or a good god damn about customer reviews or net promoter scores or phone metrics. They answer to the development cycle. They live and die on the quality of the dataset. They move at a less immediate pace, allowing more thought and creativity and headspace in what needs to be done to get the results and validate the design.
So countdown two weeks: format and reinstall. Wish me luck.
At the end of an Austin ice storm. Couped up at home all day, working through VPN, bored to tears. Streets were slick and icy earlier, but the stiff dry wind has made all the ice disappear. Now it’s just bitter cold.
Couped up inside. I need some wind to evaporate the ice keeping me stuck. I’d like a full thaw, some warmth, some heat, those would be nice. Anything to loosen my stasis is welcome.
Walk on by, walk on through, walk to your own and don’t look back, for here I am.
It’s clear to me that my employer does not respect boundaries.
I got a missed call and a missed text from my manager, who sits in another city, saying that he wanted me to call him for our weekly 1:1 meeting, which is usually scheduled for Thursdays. I am on vacation this week and he knows it. You can bet your ass that I’m not going to respond.
He’s jabbing his finger into my lunch tray, asking me if I was going to eat that. I’m taking the time off (as upper management says we’re supposed to do) to “recharge” and “refresh” and “enjoy life”. With this company’s middle management, though, there is no such respect. Just the constant, nagging reminder that my employer demands more and more and more from me and will not be happy enough to leave me alone for 9 days straight.
I feel like my job has killed off all of my creative drive.
Not sure if it’s the job, or if it’s just middle-aged doldrums, or if it’s just physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. Haven’t made music in 3 years, maybe 4. Don’t write anymore. Don’t draw. Don’t even carry my paper journal, and that’s a shame, really. A damnable shame. It’s like my internal life is on mute, muffled under pillows to suffocate and die. Can’t possibly be healthy.
I know I want to write and create. I know I have the time after hours to do so, but where is the motion? Where is the push over the hump? Where’s the Muse to help me overcome the inertia of standing still when all I really want to do after work is rest, think about something else (or nothing at all), and try to recover? I mean, do I really have anything to say that anybody really wants to hear?
So the obvious cure is to write, and draw, and play, and be, like, not dead inside, right? Is that how it works? Can I force it? I dunno. But when I figure out the answer to my impending irrelevance, I’ll let you know, OK?