The Job Experience, Tech Support: Year #4, Part 1

And More Life Changes


Half way through Year 4, I’d completed my major day-to day life-change goals.  I’d moved, saving a bunch of money on rent.  I was eating better and exercising.

Then something interesting happened.  I started to actually want to do things for myself again.

In college, I had a wide array of interests and hobbies.  After gaining full time employment, I worked, I went out, and I played video games to decompress.  Other than gaming, my outside interests disappeared.

Now they were coming back.  It suddenly felt urgent to satisfy my creative needs, which were completely neglected by SoftwareCompany.  So I signed up for drawing and writing classes at San Francisco’s City College.  It barely cost anything, and it was awesome to get back to doing things I loved.  As an added bonus, I met a few new friends.

At the same time, I finally dumped a particularly destructive friend who was negatively impacting my life.  It takes a lot of energy to ditch clingy crazy-making people, and I found I finally had the strength to do what needed to be done.

In every case above, I attribute the ability to enact changes directly to unplugging from the bar and alcohol scene.  The booze was clouding my vision and making me weak.

When the fog cleared, I was able to construct a real life for myself outside of work, instead of the cardboard cutout fakery that had been there before.  It was a tremendously good trade.

You may be wondering at this point how I had the time to start doing all of these things.  After all, in years one through three of my professional life, I was so overburdened by work that I felt that I had to be cranking at all times.

The answer ended up being surprisingly easy.  It involved recognizing that I had power over the job, and not the other way around.

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8 Responses to The Job Experience, Tech Support: Year #4, Part 1

  1. Dwayne Hoover says:

    Oh man, you totally owned Mr. Data!!! I am loving this series 🙂

    • livingafi says:

      Hi Dwayne
      I will say that at the time, it didn’t feel like I owned him (Mr. Data) — In fact, going into that meeting I was pretty sure I was going to get fired on the spot. I wasn’t even super happy when I realized that things worked out — what I felt was much closer to simple relief. I’m very glad you’re getting a kick out of these posts.

  2. Wow, that was only year 4! I guess I was lucky to have significant variety in my projects for the first 4 years, I felt like I was just hanging on by my fingernails while I learned what the heck I was getting paid to be an expert at. Getting a PE license my 5th year helped coalesce my self confidence and I did something similar to what you describe the following year, after one of the most miserable years of my life. Middle finger lightsaber, I could definitely use one of those, mine was more of a slow steady wimpering until my manager finally confronted me and I felt like I had nothing to lose (except a job I could barely drag myself to). Looking forward to Year 5!

    • livingafi says:

      Hi EV
      Yep, only Year 4 and it’s still not over. I had to split it into parts because it’s so unbelievably long. I know what you mean about hanging on by your fingernails — that’s how I felt year 1 and 2 for sure, before I started making real improvements in skill levels and efficiency. It takes time. Glad you corrected your own Year 3 issue. When work is THAT bad, it colors every aspect of your existence and feels like there’s no escape. And of course there IS an escape but when things are going that poorly you’re usually blind to the solution.

  3. I generally agree with you on the alcohol. I keep trying to find a balance but I’m not sure there is one. Whatever it is, I’ve definitely been consuming too much the past couple weeks.

    My version of the job experience would be terribly boring reading, but this is entertaining and enlightening, so keep it up 🙂 I imagine it’s cathartic for you as well.

    • livingafi says:

      re: Vitamin A. I’ve come to the conclusion that some people can find balance and some people can’t. Personally I’m not so good at it and my life runs better when I stay away. But GC, listen, I’d love to read job experience posts from you or anyone else. I find this stuff incredibly interesting — even when it’s not. Such large chunks of the human experience are invested in jobs, even kind of boring ones, and I feel there’s always value in learning what life is like for other people. BTW, just finished up Year 4 and pub’d it.

  4. Bank says:

    I quit a job in year 4 of my career, walking away from more money than I had ever expected to make in my life because I couldn’t get along with a new manager (immediate cause) and because the amoral nature of my position became impossible to square with my values (underlying cause). It makes a great story now, but at the time I thought I was going to throw up from the stress and cry from the relief.

    Really loving this blog. I have spent far too much of my workday following your progress. Keep up the great work.

  5. StockBeard says:

    Woohoo! I’m reading this series like I’m watching some sort of very cool TV show, totally awesome that you stuck it to Mr. Data 🙂

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