Tag Archives: job

Awkward Interactions

This week has not been a good one for me socially.  It seems like every interaction with someone is filled with misuderstanding or just bad vibes.  I’m sure it’s my problem or a self fuffilling prophecy, but it’s really put me on edge.  I’ve been having mini panic attacks whenever I have to interate with someone. Not even talk to them, just seeing them in the hallway makes we want to dive into the next room and pretend I’m a turtle.

alot of it has just been stupid stuff, like yesterday.  My boss called in a broken door lock and so a guy comes down soon after.  My boss left the room for some reason (I never know why), So I ask the guy “You here for the door?”  and I don’t know what he heard me say, but he said The one I just walked, through? I saw that.  Is <my boss> here, he’s expecting me.”  Wait, what? Usually they fixit guys don’t care who called it in, so I was preparing to explain about the door.  I txted my boss to let him know the door guys was here.  As you’ve probably figured out, that guy was not the door guy.   I was just left ina wave of confusiona nd just carried on about my day.

Anoth reason, the awkwardness is my problem, is I went to lunch with the Boy on Monday and I didn’t get the soup that comes with the meal.  i honestly don’t care, but I was just too terrified to assert myself. (The Boy got his soup, so I don’t understand why they thought it was normal for one person to not get soup, especially when asked, the person says “Yes, I want soup”.  whatever.

So the last awkward interaction was to day and really messed me up.  I had to interview someone and we interview in pairs.  I don’t really like interviewing, since I’m usually more nervous about what I’m saying/how I say it/ stumbling over my words.  well today was one of the worst examples of it.  The guy is still in college, so younger than me, but he barely acknowledged my existance.  He got along with the guy I was paired with.  The thing that really pissed me off was whenever I asked a question, he would respond to the the other guy.  WTF?  I’m right there.  On the times he managed to look in my direction he would make really short ye contact and then look at something 2 feet above my head.  i wanted to chock it up to nervousness or fear of women, but 2 women interviewed him next and didn’t see a problem.  It shouldn’t have bothered me that much, but I’ve been so down on myself lately, that someone who is looking for me to recommended him for  job couldn’t even give me basic human courtesy.

One more day of work and then I can check out for a while.  Only a 3 day week next week with the holiday, so hopefully I’ll be able tog et back into the right frame of mind.  this self doubt/loathing is getting old.

Should I go back to grad school?

This question has been at the forefront of my mind the past few weeks.  It’s something that I have thought about since I was in college, but I’m starting to feel like I’m running out of time before I have to make a decision.  It is a 4-8 year commitment, depending on how I do it.  So I’d be in my early to mid thirties when I graduate if I start now.  The reason I’m even debating is that it would change the employlment opportunties I would have.  I already have a masters and I could theortically get most jobs in my field, so I don’t really need it.  The problem is the work I want to do would lend itself to me getting a phd.  I’m just afraid that I will be stuck doing the things I do now at work.  I have almost no way of moving up the ladder at my current job without getting a phd.  But my responisbilies would change dramatically (more management as opposed to doing what the current phds say).

I’m arguing with myself over a number of decisions related to this, so I want to flush them out, one by one.  I’ve been trying to manage all this in my head and I’ve reached the point where I’m just going in circles and I want to just chuck everything out the window.

First Decision:  Do I try to get my phd?
NO: My masters gives me ample opportunity to work in corporate/product development, and I could be a leader if I tried, but I’m not confident enough in myself.  I’m trying to step up more at work, but there are alot of bright people there and I HATE smoozing, like some people to get ahead.  I haven’t figured out how to get the attention of my bosses.  My job is almost secondary compared to what we actually do.  I’m like the support staff for the projects we work on.  To be a real project lead, I should have majored in a related field.
I’m not sure I have the personality to be a successful phd.  It requires a level of confidence and creativietly that I don’t think I have.  I’ve spent my life doing what others have told me to do.  I have no experience being an actual leader.

YES: I can get promoted at my current job, although I may not be a good fit there.  I can get a job elsewhere, and with the phd, I would be more employable in what I want to do: research.  I’ve definitely decided that I don’t want to be in the purely corporate world.  I hate the stress, the mind numbing admin tasks and lack of control.  I’ll gladly work in the R&D department of the same company.  I don’t want to be a code monkey.

So assuming I said yes, to the phd (and if I have to debate this, maybe I should be saying no), there are a number of other questions that come up:

Do I use my current employer’s grad school plan or do it on my own?
Employer Pays: This would therotically be awesome.  I get 4 years off of work and they pay tutition and most of my salary.  But, it’s incrediablly competative and it’s unlikely I would get approval.  Given conversations with my boss, I doubt he’ll be supportive.  He’s alreadly expecting leadership type things from me and I haven’t quite delivered on them.  Until I actually prove I should be promoted, I don’t think he’ll give me the funding to get my phd, since I’ll pretty much have to be, once I have it.  Also, I’d have to prove the phd is in a field that would be useful to my employer.  The problem is my research interests do not really coincide with what they do.  It would be a tough sell.

I Pay:  I’d have to do some of the phd part time at least, since I still need a decent income, but I may have to quit my job once the thesis work picks up.  That terrifies me.  I like the steady source of income, and if I throw that away, I may be making a huge mistake.  On the other hand, this is the only job I’ve had after college.  Few people my age stay with the same empoyer for their entire career.  I have to take a risk at some point in my life.

So assuming I pay, then my options about where and what I study open greatly, along with the questions:

Do I stay in my location, or got to a university where the research is what I like (regardless of location)?:

Go anywhere:  I’ll get to do the research I want! Assuming I even get accepted.  I’ve never left home.  I lived at home while I went for my BA/MA. Hell I still live at home.  I don’t know how my family (read:mother) will handle me just picking up and moving.  She isn’t supportive of me getting my phd (she doesn’t think I need it for my field, and she’s sort of right).  Other than her I have no reason to stick around, but I can’t say I will want to live where the research is.  I can’t focus on just the research.  I need to worry about the rest of my life while I’m there.  complete isolation from everyone I know will be a tough adjustment.

Stay Local:  Some of the best schools in the nation are where I live.  And it would be great to go to one of them, but my odds are acceptance are low, at least in my head.  My grades were good, not great, and I don’t have the 3 recommendations I need to apply.  However I did find two programs that have concentrations in what I want, and I could start part time with the coursework.

So I’m leaning towards staying local, if only for practicality reasons.  The two schools I found offer certificates that I can do after work, and can be applied to my phd coursework if I get accepted.  Even if I don’t apply to those schools, at least I’ll have more experience and maybe a few more recommendations if I do well.

Next question:  which school do I go to?

One private, one state.  I was accepted to the state school as an undergrad and was given the highest scholarship they offer, so I have few concerns about applying.  The private school rejected me as an undergrad, but I belive it was because I tried to transfer, and they typically don’t take transfers.
The issue with the local schools is the research.  They each have very small groups that focus in the area I want, but the work being done doesn’t really appeal to me.  I like the private school’s classes (at least the syllabus looks good).  I couldn’t get detailed info on the public school’s class content.  The phd candidate qualifiers are much easier at the public school and I would have all but 2 classes completed after the certificate.  I would be able to start on research right away, and I would be able to graduate fairly quickly.  The research is really what is stopping me.  It’s mostly robotics, which is tangential to what I want.  I think it’s cool, but I’m afraid my thesis will dictate what jobs I would be eligible for.  That may be a gross oversimplification, but it’s still a concern.  Therotically, I should be able to do most CS things.
The private school doesn’t have much (interesting to me) research, but it seems much more organized.  The private school has a better reputation than the public one.

So this is mostly where I’m at: doing it on my own/stay local/do the certificate part time/local school.

I keep osillating between the two schools and my head starts to spin trying to compare the two.  Then I keep going back up the decision tree and trying out other, less practical/feasible scenarios.  I should probably take a few days/a week off from thinking about it.  I sometimes forget the big picture of why I want to do it.

Consistency is not my thing

I hadn’t realized it’s been so long since I posted.  I’ve kind of checked out for the past few weeks.  Not wanting to talk to anyone, not wanting to interact really.  I’m glad february is over.  From my cat dying to  the week of food poisoning, it’s been a sucky month.

I’ve also been going thorugh my yearly “I’m bored with my life and I don’t know how to fix it without thinking of drastic measures” phase.  I want a new job even though the one I have is decent, pays well and I get a good amount of freedom.  Maybe too much.  I accomplushed almost nothing this month.  I spent a week in a daze just surfing the interent.  Then I was home for a week with food poisoning and today I just stayed home for no real reason.  Well, I thought it was going to snow storm, so the commute would have been awful/dangerous, but it ended up ok.  I didn’t even tell anyone I was going to work from home.  No one missed me.

I feel like a failure.  I’m 26 and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing.  I just want to quit, move to a beach and work just enough hours to make rent and food.  I have no motivation anymore.  I remember when I was first out of college and I was so amped to be working, and making money and at least feeling appreciated at work.  I don’t get those feelings anymore.  I’m just dead on the inside.

I have no hobbies, and everytime I get an idea for supplemental income, I work on it for a couple days and then just forget about it.  I don’t have the people skills/social graces to start my own business, which is what I think I want to do.  At least then I’ll have responsibility for myself.  But i don’t know any business that doesn’t involve some type of customer.  You never really work for yourself.  Your woking for other people’s money.

I have no sense of pleasure anymore either.  I remember working hard and then being able to reward myself with surfing the interet or food or buying things.  Now I don’t get that high from the reward anymore.  I don’t know if I’ve overindulged myself, taking rewards when I haven’t earned them or I just don’t want the reward anymore.

I want to just chuck it all.

Performance Evaluation

I had my annual performance evaluation at work today.  Always a source of stress because I always think everyone hate me, I’m lazy and they just can’t tell me to my face.  this is the one time I year I actually get to have a conversation with my bosses and that’s just not the right way to do things.  I get no feedback throughout the year, so I always go in terrified.  I got my form before the meeting, so I could see on record how I did (a “work report card” if you will).  Every year, the same boxes are checked, the same general goals, maybe one or two tweaks to prove I’m progressing.  And always, always, and overall assesment of “very good”.

Not this year 😦

I don’t know what happened, but this is the first time I’ve been marked as just “good”.  I know, it’s perfectly fine, and given what they told me, I shouldn’t be concerned, since alot of it is a numbers game (they can’t mark everyone as “very good”).  But I was still shocked.  Every other box was identical to the year before.  I really don’t understand.  I did more community service and less presentations (ok, none this year, I hate them), but I still don’t think I deserved a mark down.  Also, I only met with my assistant supervisor, not the head supervisor, like I do every year since I started.  Something is up and I don’t get it.  My mind is just racing trying to put some reasoning together.  I hate failure.

On another perspective, I’m actually not as upset as I thought I’d be.  I assumed I would go into panic attack mode as soon as I saw the “grade”.  It’s almost like I don’t really care.  I know I have a job tomorrow, and I was told in the meeting I was doing “very good” work (it actually said that on the form), so WTF?

I’m pissed, but I’m going to have to put it out of my mind.  I just have to do the work I’ve been doing.  I’ve been at the same place for 5 years and I never thought I would stay that long.  Every year I think I should start looking for something else.  The overall nature of the work is not something I have an interest in, but I don’t mind my part in it.  I know I just need to figure out what I really want to do.