11 December 2008

Le ras-le-bol

At the end of October, while wondering why I was at work, I wrote something of a manifesto to implore myself to figure out whether to start looking for a new job. The one I have now is boring me and wasting my time, and I wanted to know for sure whether or not things could be improved.

Some six weeks later, I am convinced that things are actually worse now than they were. Two supplementary tasks have crossed my desk since October - one wanting an Excel spreadsheet, one wanting a couple of reports added to an Access database - and even after several weeks of campaigning, neither of them can even begin. My contact for the latter task is at least trying, despite a total lack of working software or useful data. By contrast, my contacts for the former are no longer just jerking me around and have started blaming me for the delays. I had a meeting yesterday morning with yet another manager, in order to sort out the mess, but we shall see what comes of it.

Were that not bad enough, I have returned to Adelaide, after two days in Melbourne, to a computer that is now a mere inch from useless. We have moved to a new Windows domain and installed Office 2007, the net result of which "upgrades" being nothing but grief. It's taken me two weeks to get access to all my old emails, and everything is slow, slow slow. I suppose that I could be typing this blog entry on it while I'm still at the office (provided Notepad still works), but I've bringing my Mac to work most days and I'd rather use that for personal things while I've got it here.

There's been another reason I've been bringing the Mac to work recently. I started a new version of my curriculum vitae about two weeks ago, and I think it's now complete. No, I haven't exactly decided it's time to start looking for a new job, but I'm quite prepared to do so if these two supplementary tasks don't work out. My software engineering skills can still pay the bills, but if I am to leave, I'd rather get out of the defence industry if at all possible - it'd be nice to be working for the good guys for a change.

Obviously, this might end up putting me in quite a bind. Firstly, the state of the economy hasn't exactly stabilised, and I imagine that I'd find a number of jobs that can't be offered because the money to recruit a new employee simply isn't coming. Secondly, if the job that suits me is in an industry other than defence, it will mean leaving Adelaide in all likelihood, which, despite Adelaide's shortcomings, would be a heartbreaking experience. Thirdly, my skills and experience as a computer programmer are hardly applicable to my new-found passions for film-making and environmentalism. Sure, there's obvious scope for a project that can link all three, but I'm not confident that such an opportunity would arise very often - unless I take an entrepreneurial plunge myself, a nerve-wracking thought to say the least.

It's holding up the process of finding a girlfriend as well. I have met a few people who I'm tempted to ask out and who I think might be open to it if I do. That said, if my clearest career prospects involve being unemployed and leaving Adelaide, I can't really offer them my stability in my own life; in fact, I'm not always good company at the moment. I want to get back into the game again, but I can't help but wonder how long I could string someone along without hurting them. All of these things take time: a lot could happen in the next few months, and a major upheaval of my livelihood is certainly a strong possibility.

In the meantime, I can still look forward to a few pleasant certainties in my life. I went out last week with some old work colleagues for nachos and Sangria. The Crocs were here last night - although the less said about that, the better - and the office Christmas party is tonight. My family is staying with me over Christmas and New Year. I've caught up with a few long lost friends on Facebook. Plus, I've still got a bedroom to renovate, a Christmas tree to put up, and a few presents to wrap (and at least one to make).

These are the things to which I'm looking forward right now. Something has to keep me going at work, when the work itself has so little left to offer.