Lessons Learned in the Workplace


Mike Dwyer

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

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Best of luck, Mike. Unfortunately, I don’t know that I have much to offer in the way of help or advice, but know that you have my support and well wishes. Godspeed, brother.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    Mike, it’s so good to hear from you, hear how things are going. I wish they were better, but what you report is good enough. For now.

    First off, tell your wife that your friends (at least this one friend) on the internet thing she’s rock-bottom awesome. I agree, people who don’t have good marriages don’t know what they’re missing. Someone’s got your back, and you’ve go theirs. We had a thread yesterday where love as the foundation of marriage got a lot of hashing. But it’s not love, or romantic love; it’s trust and love together. And it’s worth working toward. It takes time and commitment and effort.

    I’m so relieved to hear your looking at your options. My sweetie’s doing much the same, though he doesn’t have the big company to search within.

    And +1 on the therapist, and recognizing that this is a gift to your wife. Also a good resource on how you present yourself.

    It’s just my suspicion, but my guess is your biggest hurdle will be letting go of humility and talking yourself up enough to stand out in the crowd the way you should stand out. This is a good time to take some deep seated pride in accomplishments and skills.

    Please keep us posted. And history jobs. Change can be a very good thing. A rebirth. I wish it so for you.Report

  3. Avatar David Ryan says:

    “Have you been successful at shifting careers..?”

    This is from a post I have been able to wrap up satisfactorily:

    Googling this morning I see that Nate Thayer is not a young man; which makes me both more and less sympathetic to his outburst. When I was about 15 I had a front-row seat to seeing my father’s professional life get thrown a curve-ball. Sean, epoxy-mixer extra-ordinaire on the MON TIKI build was working for me for about 25% of what he had been making as a machine tool laser specialist until the economy took a nose-dive; he had been out of work for nearly two years when he answered my ad. And of of course my own life has been enabled and then disrupted by the digital revolution. Kids, mortgages, health insurance, a little grace; these things seem like very distant concerns when you’re 25. But they are quite real at 45, and when someone upsets your plans for meeting your responsibilities as father, spouse, citizen, it can be upsetting, or frightening, or both.”

    When I made films I defined success this way: A film was successful if it made enough to make another one, and left everyone involved eager to do it again. When we set out to take INTEMPERANCE south I said I’d call the trip a success if we got to the Caribbean with no one badly hurt, and everyone willing to do it again.

    Have I been successful at shifting careers? Not yet. But more and more “success” mostly looks like living to fight another day. Or at least living long enough to take about the party of 15 bachelorettes that called about going for a party cruise this June!

    Hang tough, Mike. I see lots of green shoots. Before you know it they (whoever they are) will be begging to have you back!Report

  4. Avatar Plinko says:

    I like my work – when I see our stuff on people’s children it fills me with pride.

    I hate the balance of pay to stress. There’s the long commute as a kicker. If I had it all to do over again I would pledge never to live so far from a job again. A long commute is a drain and it costs you a lot more physically and emotionally than financially.

    I probably need to get back in the hunt again, but it’s scary when you’ve had the same employer for 10 years. People I know tell me there are plenty of jobs out there – for folks that have jobs and skills.
    Lots of people are still afraid to try and change jobs though, from what I see. Good for you to be resolved on it.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:


    RL > VL (Real Life Virtual Life)

    Make no apologies. I’ve been there, as I’m sure many have, and it does suck. Only thing worse is doing it alone. The only quibble I’d have is “What I already knew but needed a reminder of is that the ‘new’ economy is heartless.” This heartlessness isn’t new.

    Good luck and remember to keep on thinking of the things that you do have. You’re still better off than a whole lotta folks.Report

  6. Avatar Kim says:

    Shifting careers can be hard. But take a page from the open source programmers. Your best armor against “I was out of the field for 10 years” is, “Here’s what I’ve been doing to get back in shape.” Your writing, your research is your portfolio.

    And you’ve got an excellent forum here to proof your work.

    A woman who just left her abusive husband and hasn’t been working for 10 years? Well, for six of ’em she was raising kids. So, her goal is to show what skills she’s developed, and how they’ll be useful in the new company.Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    Do what you’d like to do. If someone’ll pay you to do that then great! If not then get a job you don’t hate and try to keep your commute short.Report

  8. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    Mr. Dwyer, I am sorry to hear about your job anxiety, and wish you the best of luck in finding a better job and career path.

    FWIW, I suddenly lost my job a couple of months ago (short answer: a large gift/donation was promised, then refused when time came for payment. The gift was the same pledge every year – about 60% of the operating budget. Over half of the staff was let go, including me.)

    You’re exactly right with this:

    Dealing with job anxiety sucks. I mean, takes-over-your-every-waking-thought sucks.

    If you’ve had job anxiety in the past, you vaguely remember what it felt like (unpleasant!). But, at least for me, you don’t really recall the feeling until you feel it again, and it’s much more intense than you remember. And, the current economy is just different. Really DIFFERENT (TEOTWAWKI- different!).

    I truly wish you the best and hope you find something that is better for you, Mr. Dwyer. And soon.

    From my view, I think you’re doing almost all of the right things. The only advice I offer is Patience.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


    Thanks for the kind words. I know I am lucky. I’m still employed (for the same pay) and my new coworkers are actually better in some ways than my old ones. The blessing of my current situation is that I can be patient in exploring new opportunities and not have that sense of urgency that would have come with being unemployed. While things are frustrating am excited about the future.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Yes, it’s much less stressful to be exploring new job opportunities when you’re employed than it is when you wake up every morning hearing the voice of the computer from Gauntlet saying, “Mike needs food…. badly!”Report

  10. Avatar Will H. says:

    I’ve shifted careers a few times, and it’s always been about looking for where the money is.

    The part I hate most about my current occupation is the travel. It’s not travel overnight, or even for a week; but months on end away from home. And I like my home more and more the older I get.
    Also, the field is very certification-driven, and it seems like they’ve been inventing a lot of new certifications for ordinary tasks over the last few years. Of course, employers look for those. It has the effect of reducing my marketable skills until I go to some seminar.

    But I do really enjoy the work. I like what I do, and I’m good at it.

    Knowing when to bail has been what’s kept me moving up.
    Contacts from work have always been the most valuable.Report