Posted by Tim Stobbs on June 27, 2013
Tomorrow will mark the start of something I’ve never done before…I’m taking a month of vacation (yes, four whole weeks). Excited somehow fails to fully explain how much I’m looking forward to my time away from work. Also we are excited since we will be doing our trip to Newfoundland and back during this month.
So doesn’t it mean this blog will have no updates for a month…of course not. I’ve pre-written several posts and our usual guest posters will continue to write while I’m gone. I’m just letting you all know so if Idon’t get back to you on an email or comment…don’t worry. I’ll get back to you….at some point.
Have a great summer,
Posted by Tim Stobbs on June 21, 2013
Yesterday I literally got the easiest raise that has ever occurred to me. I merely applied for a few other positions in the company and I got an offer to stay put, but be reclassified to an engineer position with a 9% raise starting July 1. That’s the simple version of what occurred.
The long version of the story was I was getting unhappy at my job almost a year ago. It was becoming a bit too repetitive for me and I was starting to feel under valued. Yet at the start of the year we had a department reorganization and I got a new position, so I was sort of hoping things would get better. Nope, that didn’t happen, in fact things got worse for a while. If you have ever been reorganized you will likely understand the reason: confusion, uncertainty and more demands on you than time to do them.
Rather than bitch about it, I decided to do something. I dusted off my resume, cleaned it up and started shopping for other jobs within my current company (it has an excellent benefit package so I wanted to stay with it). Apparently I hit a few sore spots when I applied for a position that I was almost guaranteed to get an interview. So then there was some honest talks with my supervisor on what was looking for and what could potentially be done to keep me.
So a plan was put forward about potentially reclassifying my existing job to an engineering position. Frankly given the typically slowness in our company on issues like this, I didn’t put much faith in it occurring. Yet the bureaucracy can occasionally shock even me and the paperwork was done so fast I expected it to be almost smoking when the new job offer came off the printer.
Now I had an interesting problem if you took the the money issue off the table and adding a promise to modify my workload, could I be interested enough to stay put? I was giving the idea serious thought because you see my current position has two aces in the hole: 1) I have utterly great co-workers (intelligent, friendly and funny) and 2) the future workload is going to be very interesting. The currently workload sucks a bit, but the future projects in the next year or two is going to be perfect for me (really complex problems with multiple broad systematic issues and a mandate to overall them). Yes, I know that a lot of people would hate that kind of work, but system analysis and modification with the equivalent of a 15 dimensional problems is fun for me.
So I decided to accept the offer and stay put and to start my ‘new’ job…I’ve going on vacation for a month. So were you ever in a situation where you were ready to move on, but changed your mind? What helped you stay put or leave your job?
Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 17, 2013
At some point in my teen years I had a realization. So I took took that very annoying fellow around the back and shot him in the head. Then I kicked the corpse into a shallow grave and dusted off my hands and said “Good riddance to that.” I shot and killed ‘Normal Tim.’
You might be wondering why I’m casually writing about murder, but in this case I’m referring to part of my personality. Back in your teenage years you might recall that desperate desire to just fit in and be normal. I called that part of myself ‘Normal Tim’ and the bloody annoying prick was just driving me nuts so I had to get rid of him. Hence the summary execution and no funeral.
The realization that lead to this situation was: I was just never going to be normal so I had to stop trying to be normal. It was exhausting work for me and pointless in the end. I’m just too much of a natural non-conformist to play that game. Unlike everyone else around me I never stopped asking “why” like a two year old. Why do people pay so money for clothes with funny ‘logos’ on them? Why can’t someone hang out with both the geeks and cool kids? Why are we doing geometry proofs when someone has obviously already figured out this works? At the time I annoyed more than a few people with my questions and comments.
Now ironically I paid a fair bit of money to do that same thing. I attended a meeting last week where I was asked for my feedback afterward. I replied, “The meeting was a waste of time as process around the meeting has over taken any reason on why you have the meeting.” Then I proceeded to provides a few examples on what the meeting could be used for and oddly enough I saw nodding heads.
People are aware of bullshit around them, but often don’t bother to give themselves permission to see it. So I ask questions to common things like:
- Buy the biggest house you can afford. Why on earth would I do that? I don’t need that much space (even with two kids and a dog).
- Eating healthy costs more. Why? Um, are you shopping in the same stores I am? Cabbage is cheap, so are apples, potatoes and lots of other options like kale. Healthy doesn’t have to equal expensive, or do you not know what ‘in season’ means?
- With the kids you will need two cars. Why!?!? I barely drive the one I already have and my wife works from home. Did all the buses and cabs stop running in the city?
Then there is my personal favorite “But you can’t retire before 45!” Why? I’m not normal, so why shouldn’t my retirement plan assume I’m working until my sixties? Hello, I haven’t had a ‘normal’ life for most of my adult life.
I’m not saying life has always been easy after getting rid of ‘Normal Tim’, but overall I’m a lot happier just being myself rather than who people think I should be. So when do you give up on being ‘normal’?