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The Painful Joys of Change

There are times when you skate through life, not necessarily happy, but in enough of a routine that you feel like things are good. You’ve got problems, but those problems are a general noise in your background, and you move forward, unaware of or unwilling to confront the issue that lie in front of you. Eventually, however, things become unworkable. You have to throw out old plans and start over. It is a disconcerting process, but it does have the fortunate side effect of reminding you of what you care about, and what you still want to do.

About two years ago, I came to the realization that there was no path forward in my job. I was not going to be promoted, and more importantly, I was not going to be doing the work I wanted to be doing. This was not a disaster. My job was not terrible. I was well-paid, and I liked my team members. I also had some nice perks, like the ability to work from home. I gave the problem some thought and decided I could live with it.

As time passed I realized that something was going to have to change. Change is hard though, and the status quo is easy, even when it is unpleasant. There were moments when I still enjoyed my job, but they were fading, and the dissatisfaction was growing. Meanwhile, the good things started to fade. The team, which had been great to work with, started to fall apart. I could write ten posts just on how this happened, but the point is that going nowhere on a good team is much better than going nowhere on a team that is disintegrating.

I also began to realize that, as appealing as working from home could be, after several years of it, working out of an office was sounding better and better. My hours were getting longer and longer, and I was leaving the house less and less while gaining more and more weight. it was no longer better to stay than to leave. Still, I tried. I tried discussing it with my team. I tried discussing it with my boss. I tried discussing it with his boss. I left very few stones unturned while trying to find a way to stay, because change is hard.

In the end though, it was inevitable. Once our lead programmer left the company at a dead run, I knew my days were numbered. I mined my LinkedIn connections. I shored up my portfolio. I rewrote my resume, and I applied for jobs. In the end, I got lucky. I found a place that was looking for someone to do exactly what I wanted to be doing. I gave up working from home to work with people in an office again, and it has been great so far.
Still, nothing ever goes painlessly. Leaving my old job was rough. I’d been there seven years and was personally invested in the work I had done there. I knew that much of what I had accomplished would be rolled back once I left, and that there were people who depended on me to do my job. I also knew the company would be in no hurry to replace me (they are under a near perpetual hiring freeze).

The good thing about all of this though, is that I did make a change and I am once again in a job that feels suited to me. Familiar patterns have been replaced by a learning curve. The adventure continues…

Goodbye Ric Ocasek

I was sad to hear of Ric Ocasek’s passing today. The Cars were a band that I spend a lot of time listening to at a couple points in my life. In my mind, they will eternally be mixed with Tom Petty, The Squeeze, and the lesser known David & David as the music I would listen to on my tape deck while driving around and thinking about life, an activity I associate with my late teens and early twenties. Sometimes in my late thirties and early forties, I rediscovered them and they had a second renaissance on my playlist. I was driving then too, although that was mainly my extended commutes from Tucson to Phoenix for work. It is interesting how tastes change over the years, but somehow come back. I sometimes hear newer bands that remind me of The Cars style (Fountains of Wayne comes to mind) and I always welcome it.

It is interesting how music gets tied up with specific times and feelings. The Cars by the very nature of their name, I associate with driving. They are, of course, tied to the eighties and the MTV era as well. Thanks to Ric Ocasek’s marriage to Paulina Porizkova, there’s also that feeling that the nerdy guy sometimes gets the beautiful girl (this was much less of a trope in the eighties than it is now). But all of that is just the feeling on top. In the end it is the music that counts, and there are so many great songs. You’re All I’ve Got Tonight and Since You’re Gone come immediately to mind, and Drive is the ballad that defines the band.

Drive

Since You’re Gone

You’re All I’ve Got Tonight

Want to Read Marshall Cooper?

Hi everyone. I decided to share my novella, Marshall Cooper, online. You can download the PDF through this link.

I am going to start a new work soon,going the same route of publishing it as I go here at Poewar until I reach an end point, then taking forever and a day to edit it into something. I really enjoyed that with Marshall, and it has been too long since I did anything interesting here, so I want to try it again. Thanks to those of you who still follow.

2018 Writing Prompts #61

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Write a list of songs you associate with change.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem about trying to please someone.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story that begins with a character on their knees.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about a work of art that means something special to you.

2018 Writing Prompts #60

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Write a list of injuries you have had.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem that includes the word “drip”.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story in which a character has a list of rules that they follow to live their life.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about your experiences with dancing.