Ego in the Workplace

Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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47 Responses

  1. Shazbot5 says:

    Sorry to hear that Mike. ait sounds like life has failed you, not the other way around. Don’t get them confused,

    Whenever I feel my sense of self-worth rocked, I remember my Epictetus. as well as I can.

    The whole Enchiridion is here and is a great read:

    These two passages that are comforting to me about my career failures are as follows:

    “1. Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

    The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.

    Aiming therefore at such great things, remember that you must not allow yourself to be carried, even with a slight tendency, towards the attainment of lesser things. Instead, you must entirely quit some things and for the present postpone the rest. But if you would both have these great things, along with power and riches, then you will not gain even the latter, because you aim at the former too: but you will absolutely fail of the former, by which alone happiness and freedom are achieved. ”

    “It is illogical to reason thus, ‘I am richer than you, therefore I am superior to you’, ‘I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am superior to you.’ It is more logical to reason, ‘I am richer than you, therefore my property is superior to yours’, ‘I am more eloquent than you, therefore my speech is superior to yours.’ You are something more than property or speech.”

    You are not your job. You acted well. Be prouder and more joyful than ever. And if you should lose money, while being a good person, remember thay you are teaching your children lessons of greater value than money or college tuition, that a good person tries their best and lives with not getting the property, acclaim, amd health that they deserve.Report

  2. zic says:

    After 13 years of simply tolerating my job, it’s time for a change.

    I endorse this.

    I’m married to a musician; he could have become a professional code monkey who plays music as a hobby; he was well on the way to that path. But he did both; because playing music meant too much, and I shouldered much of the burden of the home life to allow that. And then there was the point I wanted to leave the city. I wanted to be with people who appreciated that their auto mechanics were real people; while I valued the doctors and lawyers and professors in our neighborhood, there wasn’t a lot of ‘working with your hands’ folk around, and I missed that. So my sweetie took a job up north as a weather observer on Mt. Washington who just happened to have computer skills and play music. And I began writing. And then there was a chance to teach music at a local school, and I opened a coffee shop. Another chance to focus on music for a while, to design knitting things.

    We’ve not necessarily gotten richer in pay with each of theses steps, sometimes we’ve gone backward. But we’ve enriched our souls, always moving toward the things we want to be doing instead of the things we want to own.

    I recommend change. It’s the only constant.

    Good Luck, Mike. I’m grateful you aren’t alone, that you’re being successful at the one thing you knew you wanted — being a husband (and father). If I knew your wife, I’d tell her she’s got an eye for a good man.Report

  3. NewDealer says:

    I know all about existential anxiety from job stuff. I have been contracting for a bit now. The pay is good, I like the work but I would really like an official offer of an associate position with benefits, PTO, and chances for advancement/making partnership.

    I also think for a lot of fun jobs like art, book selling, or being a career archeologist where the trade off for the fun is money. Everyone has a fantasy version of what the life is like and what they reality of the life actually is.Report

  4. BlaiseP says:

    Sigh. Don’t love your job. It will never love you back.

    Here’s one way to think about what’s happened: consider why you were moved back into your old position. You were valuable enough to keep. I’ve seen guys (and girls) who wanted to climb the corporate ladder. Trouble is, the Japanese say, the higher the monkey climbs, the better you can see his ass.

    No position is so fraught with peril as middle management: they’re always the first to go in a downsizing. They might have been excellent workers at a lower rung on the ladder — but among middle management, sharp elbows become your only tools of the trade. Where once you had some camaraderie with your team, no such friendships are afforded middle managers. I’ve watched my friends climb those rungs. I’ve watched quite a few of them fall off, pushed most of the time.

    Don’t forget your own manager’s feeling in all this. Your manager is probably just as apprehensive as you are about this move. Lord knows what the team is thinking. They’ll need some reassurance, too. After all, it’s as you say, nobody likes change. Four years ago you left, seemingly happy about the move. Now you return, feeling discouraged. Just schedule some time with your manager, lay out your doubts and apprehensions. People are herd animals: what one feels, many feel. You are not alone in feeling squashed and out of sorts in this reorg. That’s a fact, Mike.

    And there’s this: most people get to write their own story when it comes to their own job descriptions. If you’re good at something, other people will know. Find what you’re good at and do more of it. Camus once said accepting the absurdity of everything in our lives is only one step. It’s a necessary experience. But it doesn’t have to be a dead end: it can arouse a fruitful revolt.

    So revolt fruitfully, Mike. Revolt in context.Report

    • carr1on in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I’m a middle level technology exec in one of the “too big to fail” global finance companies. We’ve been downsizing for 5 years straight. Every time I’ve been able to see the downsizing coming and make the right internal moves, not just for me but also my teams, where the impact was minimal. Minimal, but not zero: I’ve still had to let a lot of good people go.

      My mantra to my people is “be seen as the the solution to the problem”. I know it sounds simplistic, but it instills the mindset I want them to have, and I think it’s served us well throughout all the difficult times.

      It’s hard not to get depressed or just wore down with this constant downsizing and offshoring. I too think of what my original career goals were as a young man, and as we say in Texas: this ain’t it! I still haven’t figured out what the answer is…Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Here’s one way to think about what’s happened: consider why you were moved back into your old position. You were valuable enough to keep.

    Blaise said this above and I’d like to reiterate it.

    My workplace went through a crappy situation a few months back where we had to pare down a handful of teams, got rid of a handful of people, and said goodbye to a handful of good friends. (Hell, I was one of those people who was thanked for my service and was told that management wished me well in my future endeavors… until I was told that, wait a minute, we’re moving you over here, to do some other stuff, on this other team.)

    The people we said goodbye to were all great people who I had worked long hours with… but if I knew that my company was going to get rid of 10 people, I’d probably be able to guess the 10 and, well, the 10 I was thinking of and the 10 they got rid of overlapped for 8 folks. I think that it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear that everybody, in any company, could make a guess at which team members would be on any given “rightsizing” list if it ever came to that.

    And, to bring us back around: that wasn’t you.

    Things will turn around, as things do, and you’re still on the team.Report

  6. Anne says:

    Dear Mike, please don’t feel bad about not pursuing your dream of archaeology. Sometimes, we are interested, even talented, at something, but there is only so much need for that particular work, so the people with the burning passion do beat us out for the few jobs there are. I was always good at art, but I found the frustrations overwhelming, discovered that expository writing gives me the same pleasure with much less pain, and that–gasp–work as a zoning lawyer, of all things, is what I am passionate about and feel very creative in.
    I don’t know if it will make you feel any better, but my father is an archaeologist. He, also, wanted to be an archaeologist for as long as he could remember. Here’s what he did: mastered Latin, Ancient Greek, French, and German in high school, so that he could study original texts as well as the secondary literature right from the start in college; selected his college (Amherst) for the chance to study with one particular man (passing up a full scholarship to Harvard, because, at 17, he noted that their classics department was riven with faculty politics that hindered the graduate careers of the students there); graduated first in his college class; earned two masters’ degrees and his PhD at Penn and Princeton by the time he was 25; raised all of the money, through grants and donations, to fund his digs; learned modern Greek; learned to speak Italian with native proficiency, both in fluent speaking and scholarly, written Italian; over the course of his life, published 28 books and hundreds of articles (in English, French, German, and Italian); mastered classical numismatics (including service as President of the International Center for Numismatic Studies, in Naples), field archaeology (Archaeological Institute of America Gold Medal), art history (wrote a leading textbook on ancient Greek art), and south-Italian prehistory (recognized as one of the 20th century’s foremost experts). As Crocodile Dundee would say, “THAT’s an archaeologist!”
    My point is not to make you puke. It’s to say: sometimes the dream isn’t enough. Don’t regret it. Glamorous fields are full of driven, super-ambitious, hugely-talented people. You sound as if you have made a rich, happy, life.Report

  7. Rufus F. says:

    “I interned first and was then hired as a field archaeologist. I loved the work we did, but the pay was peanuts. Any hope of making a life for myself would mean graduate school and several years of paying my dues.”

    There’s a thing with these sorts of professions where they’re best suited for people who are either not looking to make a normal life, single for life, or with very flexible and giving families. I suppose I’m in a similar boat to yours, being a few months before graduating with a PhD and having roughly this much >< interest in academia left. Which is all a way of saying that Captain Ryan might have plenty of help from the two of us in the future!Report

  8. krogerfoot says:

    There is a lot of wisdom in this post and comments which I can’t hope to add to. As others have pointed out, every word you’ve written indicates that you are robustly equipped, in temperament, insight, and familial blessing, to make this setback the first step in a more satisfying and richer life. I wish you luck and look forward to reading about your progress.Report

  9. Mike Dwyer says:

    I am definitely starting to mend but getting into the new position will help tremendously. Unknown will become known. I also met the folks I will be reporting to over there and they seem very nice. Even better, the group manager told me he doesn’t really want to be in that group either and so he and I can make the best of it together.

    This post was not intended to be a plea for sympathy, but as usual my friends here have kind words. I’m very lucky to be part of this community.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      The League is lucky to have you as part of this community. You contribute far more than your share to the Stone Soup we’re making here and I am not alone in this opinion.

      FWIW I didn’t read it as a plea for sympathy. A word of caution, though: don’t sleep under the coconut tree or you will get beaned. One reorg is often followed by another. Stay on the qui vive. The only perspective which matters in a corporation is perceived value for money. I strongly suspect your previous department was downsized on that basis: not because it wasn’t adding value but because it couldn’t demonstrate it effectively. Keep that in mind in your new endeavour: if you’re the guy who can show a bottom-line benefit for the team’s time and effort, you’ll be solid gold to your manager.Report

      • James H. in reply to BlaiseP says:

        not because it wasn’t adding value but because it couldn’t demonstrate it effectively

        A perpetual problem, eh? Businesses that tolerate unproductive units because while they can’t demonstrate the units’ value they assume there must be some will do poorly. Businesses that don’t tolerate productive units because they can’t demonstrate the units’ value and therefore assume there is none will also do poorly. Damned difficult to make good decisions when you lack the crucial information. I suppose at that point you have to rely on intuition, and while I’m sure there are people with great intuition on such things, my experience is that they’re rare, among management as well as among the general population.

        Good luck, Mike, not just with the new job, but with the search as well.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to James H. says:

          That’s a good point. My old group provides ancillary support to the core of our business and as a result is constantly having to justify its existence (very typical of knowledge workers). The new group is the core of our company and can literally never go away. That’s a plus.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to James H. says:

          I once did a gig for Sears Roebuck, back when it was still run by intelligent people and not complete morons. Consider a tie for sale. There are two hierarchies for that tie. It’s hanging in a menswear department, part of a store which is part of a region. It is also a product line, bought with all the other ties from a variety of vendors, rolling up into a part of soft goods, distinct from the Craftsman tools and the camping gear.

          Every quarter, in those days, the department manager would be squeezed for predictions for the next quarter. At the end of that quarter, sales would be matched to predictions. If sales exceeded predictions, that manager was rewarded with a mix of more money, more personnel, more floor space — and the opposite for sales failing to meet predictions.

          If, however, the department manager had accurately predicted a downturn in sales, Sears kept an eye on this guy. Here was someone who would tell them the hard-nosed truth. They would be extensively debriefed. Even if the department was closed outright, such people were retained. Sun Tzu:

          Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity; Balancing of chances to Calculation; and Victory to Balancing of chances. Report

          • James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP says:

            If sales exceeded predictions, that manager was rewarded with a mix of more money, more personnel, more floor space

            I see strange incentive there. 😉

            If, however, the department manager had accurately predicted a downturn in sales, Sears kept an eye on this guy. Here was someone who would tell them the hard-nosed truth.

            That’s smart. I’m reminded of a former college VP, who one year argued against an assumption of X number of incoming freshman when setting the following year’s budget, and argued for an assumption of something less than X. He turned out to be right, and his insistence kept the school from going well over budget. They didn’t keep him around but for a few more years, though. He was a buzzkill, telling other folks, including the president, no, when they really wanted to hear yes. He ultimately left before they could fire him.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley says:

              Well, it was a little more complex than merely sales exceeding predictions. There’s a finite amount of floor space in a store. What my system produced was a revenue map of every store. It would run for four hours, once a quarter.

              Another wrinkle to that story. Sears also had twelve non-revenue departments: corporate law, PR, that sort of thing. I went to my manager and said “Give me twelve Accenture monkeys, one for each such department. Let corporate figure out how to assess those departments, I’m waist deep in coding projected/actual for revenue.” So she did. I seldom saw much of them thereafter: they were down at the other end of the building. I do know corporate law got a few appendages caught in the wringer, all sorts of interesting expenses came to light, trips to Bermuda and such.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP says:

                That makes sense, and I can imagine a few other details that could, maybe were, included. Obviously always under-predicting sales would be easily spotted.

                As to assessment, man, as a college prof that has been on my mind a lot lately. The US Dep’t of Education is trying to crack down on diploma mills, because their “graduates” and drop-outs have a huge default rate on student loan, costing US taxpayers large numbers of greenbacks. We’re not one of those schools, but everyone’s getting caught up in the net of stricter standards, which in general is a damn good idea, but nobody really knows how to do it yet. And from another angle we have the state Department of Ed demanding more and more paperwork in relation to our teacher ed programs. It’s the same thing that happened to the medical field–so much documentation that you’re doing everything right that you don’t have time to do everything right anymore.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley says:

                Define any problem well enough and you’ve also defined its solution. The education industry, and it really is an industry, has never put together any meaningful standards for its product. Therefore, external standards are being forced down upon it.

                Got a documentation problem? Once again, education should have long since addressed its lack of accountability. It’s still running on a model from the 19th century. Costs are out of control, students arrive in college woefully unprepared to write a paper because there’s no integration with prior process. With rare exceptions, faculty advisers don’t even appear in the equation until a major is chosen.

                If the wretched Phoenix Universities charge a zillion dollars per credit hour for dud courses and Khan University charges nothing for great courses, the regular old colleges just plod along, attempting to educate the stack of cordwood foisted off on them by Admissions.

                Python’s Meaning of Life begins with that bit about the Crimson Permanent Assurance Company. Want better metrics on education? Who better to ask than the professors? Surely, after all this time in grade, you’ve learned to spot the duds. There was a day when colleges were far more independent, when professors actually hung out shingles, “professing” to be teachers worth paying. But that takes us back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Somewhere along the line, higher education was saddled with the burden of turning out Product and not People.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I am so in agreement with so much of what you’ve written here, especially in how laggard we’ve been in developing standards and being unaccountable. But of course unaccountable people enjoy that privilege and will cling to it desperately.

                I first started thinking about that in grad school, when the Oregon legislature was considering cutting funding for their public universities even further than they already had. Everyone was outraged, and I couldn’t believe how many of my fellow grad students simply said “the public has a duty to support us.” They honestly couldn’t grasp it when I said it was our duty to prove to them that we were worth supporting. That we were worth supporting was so intuitively obvious to them that the need to demonstrate it to others was seen not as our failure, but the failure of those others to understand.

                But where it gets difficult is that while we profs have traditionally been able to define standards for success in our particular courses, what we are being asked to do now–assess departments and programs–is subtly different. For example, in being asked to evaluate student performance in our department, we are not asked nor permitted to simply figure out each students’ average grade across our courses, and see if we’re turning out enough As and Bs. (Presumably that would show we’re successfully educating them, but of course it could also mean we were inflating grades, which we’d have a hell of an incentive to do if X% of students averaging A or B was the standard.) But nobody can give us a clear idea of what to do, because we don’t quite know just what it is we’re supposed to measure–the problem is not yet clearly enough defined–so we don’t know how to measure.

                Literally, the first time I was asked to assess, I asked the Dean who told me to do it what model I was supposed to use. He said, oh, there are some examples on our website. There were two, one for a writing project in a literature course, and one for a project in a visual arts course. Neither had any relevance to assessing American Government (and, no, I wasn’t really supposed to just use the final exam). And the “academic” literature on this puts Sturgeon’s law to shame–it’s at least 98% shit. It’s all idiosyncratic, “I did this and it was great,” or “Here’s an idea I thought of, and because I thought of it and think it looks great, it is THE right way,” or–and this bothers me most–“There is no one way to do this, there are vast hugeous numbers of good methods of assessment, so we can’t really give you any guidance, but we’re going to yammer on anyway.” We have not yet advanced to the stage of anything remotely resembling rigorous study of assessment methods.

                So we get a vast number of pseudo-efforts, so things can be documented (i.e., put in a binder on a shelf, and the documentation box on the check list can be checked off–all pro forma, no substance). For example, the community college for which I do online courses has chosen a set of test questions that come in addition to the final exam as their assessment. It’s sole value is that it provides a common metric across different teachers. But of course I can predict performance on it from my final grades with almost 1:1 certainty. But the questions were cobbled together by committee, so each person could throw in their pet questions. There’s one question in particular, asking what Mr. X’s theory of the media is–I have looked in 5 different commonly used texts, and none of them mentions Mr. X’s theory. That, in a nutshell, is the state of assessment in American higher education today.

                As a policy kind of guy, who believes in real assessment/evaluation of public policies, I firmly believe in meaningful assessment, and want to do it for my department whether or not it’s required externally. Some things are fairly easy–since we created our career seminar class we’ve had more students getting involved in internships and pursuing career options beyond “I guess I’ll go to law school.” I honestly don’t need precise numbers on that because we have few enough students I can name the ones who did something interesting prior to this class, and I have a hard time remembering the complete list of those who have done something interesting after the course.

                But assessing the effectiveness of my department’s program? In a meaningful, non-superficial sense? I’m still working on that, and there’s not much guidance out there. The basic problem is that a lot of the things we value–like introspective thinking, problem-solving ability, and ability to draw in threads from different disciplines, are not easily measurable.

                So what we do is measure their effectiveness on their capstone project, but then we’re not really always measuring people who are all the way through our program, because it’s taught in the fall, and students can take it in their junior year (we need lots of flexibility for students so we can push them to fit in some study abroad). At best it only measures how well research methods prepared them for an independent research project, which is worth measuring, but hardly assesses the overall program.

                OK, I hope that didn’t sound like I was arguing with you. I wasn’t; just venting my own frustrations with the process. I wish to hell academia had started grappling with this at least 2 or 3 decades earlier, but that kind of delay is what you get with the kind of privilege we had.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley says:

                No, we’re not arguing at all. If anything, we’re commiserating on the wretched state of affairs. Give me some time to fisk this longish comment and I’ll write another in parallel.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley says:

                I have some ideas on how to approach your assessment problem. It’s a sound approach I’ve used in a surprising variety of applications.

                Begin with Artifacts. You produce them by the metric buttload. So do your students. They don’t even have to be categorised, just gather them all. Apply a Date/Time Generated, a grade, a student ID, a course ID and a professor ID on each artifact.

                Data first. You don’t have to know what form that data takes. The less you know, the better. The data will start to sort itself out, once you’ve collected it. The only ordering you want to apply is to put related Artifacts in the same folder: an assignment and the papers you got back in response. Form follows function: the syllabus generally reveals how that should be organised.

                Apply a Word Cloud tool to what you’ve collected. This will quickly reveal conceptual aspects to your heap o’ data. Resist the urge to categorise your data at this point.

                Now start sorting your data just based on artifacts you generated. Which concepts are actually being covered? What responses are you getting from your students? Obviously if you’re not getting the responses you’re looking for, what leads you to that conclusion? Again, brute force lexical analysis against the wording of given assignment and the papers you get back in response can be matched against the grades you actually gave out. Bet my last dollar some words and phrases appear in good papers which don’t appear in bad papers.

                But you are not a perfect professor. Some students will do well in courses taught by others. Personality mismatch. Happens all the time. Not your fault of necessity but it’s a fact of life. You know who these people are and they’re probably getting poor grades in your courses. There’s a feedback loop in there, however justified you are in giving them a bad grade. You’re not being unfair. For one reason or another, they aren’t learning from you. In the military, personality mismatches are dealt with via transfers to another unit. In like manner, some perfectly adequate professors don’t do well in a given situation, teaching a particular course. I’ll bet there’s one course you just hate teaching — and it shows.

                Machine learning is a process of backpropagation and optimisation. Effective teaching is a feedback loop, looking for desired outputs.

                Though to a man armed with a hammer, all the world’s problems look like nails, this AI business I’ve been in for all these years has taught me to cut through yards of bullshit. I don’t have to be a professor of political history to make an assessment of your process and methodology. I can take the best paper written for one of your assignments and compare it to the worst one.Report

              • Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

                *snort* yeah, Blaise is right. I knew a guy in college who would fail half his courses, and spend the rest of the time getting straight As.
                (ahem. trolling the teachers didn’t help).Report

              • James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Some good thoughts there, Blaise. Of course we usually give away our data by handing assignments back to students, but that’s fixable by making them hand in two copies, or turn it in online, or giving them back a photocopy, etc. I’m going to mull this over, though, and think about how we might move forward with it.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley says:

                Start veryvery small, with a single assignment. If you’d like, I could help you put together a tool for this process.Report

            • North in reply to James Hanley says:

              That’s academia for you. I remember walking through the admin building at my university in Canadia with a friend who worked there and she disdainfully and off handedly mentioned they had an entire floor of offices where the people who were pets of both/either politicians and the universities top administrators sat and did nothing all day. And people wonder why education costs so much.Report

  10. LWA says:

    It is true enough that work shouldn’t be the single focus in our life, and that a career can’t replace a family.
    But still-

    Work- in and of itself, regardless of the monetary compensation- is sacred, I believe.
    Work as opposed to idleness, is what we live to do. Creating things, building things, the satisfaction of seeing a tangible output of our mind and body.

    Work is what sustains our sense of self, and feeds our ability to function in every other aspect of what we do as husbands, fathers, and citizens.

    Yet in an complex global economy like ours, our ability to produce work is beyond our control- no matter what all the airport-bookstore paperback self help manuals tell us, we have very little if any ability to control the levers and tidal forces that dictate whether we have a job tomorrow or not.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to LWA says:

      LWA – you are corect. We take pride in our ability to provide for our families. I hate to quote mediocre country music songs but Montgomery Gentry may have said it best:

      “You don’t need to make a million
      Just be thankful to be workin’
      If you’re doing what you’re able
      And putting food there on the table
      And providing for the family that you love
      That’s something to be proud of

      And if all you ever really do is the best you can
      Well, you did it man”

    • North in reply to LWA says:

      I dunno. I suspect that if people had their needs covered by wealth or some other way they are fully capable of engaging themselves in enough “work” to be very happy without having real jobs. I’d sure like to take a shot at failing at being idly rich.Report

      • Brandon in reply to North says:

        Some time back, I had a very long (more than a year) spell of voluntary (for the first several months, then gradually less and less so until my half-assed job search finally yielded results) unemployment. I had great plans for all the awesome things I was going to do. In fact, I pretty much wasted it. In retrospect, I would have been considerably better off just continuing to work.

        Now, there are people who would have made better use of the time, I don’t deny that. But I don’t think such people are all that common, either.Report

  11. Nob Akimoto says:

    I always find it impressive when people are willing to bare these sorts of thoughts in public, and so my hat goes off to you.

    I wish I had something profound or useful to say outside of that. I know I’m certainly struggling a bit between the gap of ideals/dreams and the present reality I’m finding myself in. But we’re all lucky to have an intellectual environment where these things can be discussed and shared in a useful way.Report

  12. Chris Kimsey says:

    I have been a field archaeologist for the last seven years (and a two year stint in grad school). I can certainly say that the life is hard, but I think I may be ruined for civilized life by my days working and living outside. It is a great life if you don’t care about money, and don’t have kids. I have a wonderful wife who is kind enough to let me roam some. However I am taking a job closer to home that will entail working in an office. I am doing it so I can advance my career and spend more time with my wife. I am concerned for the transition though. How will I learn to control my farting and cussing and drinking? No more desert vistas or surveying up mountains. No more digging around in the rubbish heaps of history. Oh well guess it is time to grow up.Report

  13. Shelley says:

    Beware changing jobs. In this economy, no one wants us. Don’t let any cheery “articles” tell you otherwise.Report

  14. JustRuss says:

    I find myself in a similar position. Not that I really have a first love, but this job definitely ain’t it. But it pays the bills, bennies are first-rate, and I really have no reason to complain.

    I can read the writing on the wall, and change is acomin’, and I need to reinvent myself again if I want to be here in two years, and I just don’t feel like I have have it in me this time. But I don’t like the alternatives either.

    I’ve been getting more involved in the community and while it hasn’t yet paid off in a new job, broadening my horizons and circle of friends has definitely improved my happiness. Best of luck to you.Report

  15. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    13 years?! Holy Crap! Longest I’ve ever worked for one organization is 10 years, & I changed jobs 3 times, plus a short stint working outside the org.

    Heck, at my current employer, I’m busy moving positions after being with them only 18 months.

    I guess I get bored eas… Ohhhhhhh, Shiny!Report

  16. GG says:

    Players can easily revive at a checkpoint within fractal maps when the total social gathering has run out of combat. GG