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Week 30

Thirty weeks since I came home and found that Penny had been unable to keep our mutual promise - when we left the house, we agreed, "Don't die."
She wasn't really given a choice. I'm not either - I have no excuse to die now, although sometimes I wonder why I'm still around, and what living is supposed to be about.

So ... I'm having real identity issues. I've never been all that identified with my career. It's what I do, it's not who I am.
This means that to some extent, I have to fake enthusiasm for the work, in order to get the job in the first place, and in order to keep focussed on the job in the long term. Part of this is that I don't really tend to work on projects that thrill and excite me. Part of it is the role of the evaluation engineer. It's draining, focussing on the 'negative' aspect of finding flaws. I'm so far after the fact, especially now that evaluation and QA has been pushed into the realm of the contract hit-man, that I can't contribute in any meaningful way to the creation side of things. Yeah, I know that what I'm doing is valued, and that the guys I work with are very positive and grateful for problems being identified, and removed before they get to the customer.

My contract has been confirmed as ending August 31st. I haven't been contacted about whether I would like to become a permanent employee; I'm absolutely sure, given the narcolepsy (at least) and the fact that I am far from expert in the area of spectrum analyzers, that they would NOT want me for a permanent employee.
I do know about automating testing, and I do know how to update and maintain their tests, but I'm not convinced they have any interest in hiring me, in particular, for that purpose. Nor am I convinced, any more, that this is what I want to do with my life.

Frankly, if I don't get an extension to the contract, and don't get an offer of regular employment, I think I'll end up visiting my dad in Montana, in early September. After that, back to the job search, I guess. Contracting is tolerable for now.

I'm doing some things for church that should be more positive for all this - but they don't feel that way, particularly. Yeah, I'm going to be presenting the new software that we're considering, to the 'stakeholders' at church, but I'm not emotionally involved in it, at all. It's important that it get done.
I don't care one way or the other if they buy into this, if they have good questions, it doesn't matter to me. The outcome of all this is very important to the operations of the life of our community, in terms of making things a LOT easier, but things will not collapse if we don't buy it.

I think, frankly, that I'm having the same sense of unfocussed lack of purpose that I had when I started college, before I met Penny. And I'm adding ennui to that, I guess, and a bit of reluctance to do things because I'm tired of being reminded of what we did together.

This week has been pretty mixed in terms of emotional balance. I was really angry all day, unfocused. I'm tweaking my hours around so that I can run the morning tests, now that my co-worker and mentor in this product and how to test it has gone off to Marketing. (He's actually gone off to a wedding, this weekend, for his granddaughter, which is really neat, and for vacation... LOTS of people going on vacation... and the end of the month is the SW ER, GAH!)

Anyway. Official emotional pain-o-meter, sustained 3 with spikes to 8. I'm missing Penny fairly constantly. I'm missing talking, I'm missing touch, I'm missing the things we could do for each other just for the joy of doing them. She was the one who would find new things, she was the one whose infectious excitement and pleasure would inspire me to a new hobby or a new game or a new book. I learned to fix perfect sandwiches and decorate the plate for her; I'd just as soon eat out of the pan. I couldn't be bothered to read Trollope or to make sense of Sense and Sensibility, I wouldn't have thought to do cross-stitch. I might have learned to cook better, I suppose, but cooking with her made it worth the effort.

I'm re-reading Narnia. I found the replacement-set she got when her originals fell apart.

The guys in Stephen Ministry gave me the third book in the series of books on grieving, but I have managed to lose it somewhere. Should find and read it.

Anyway. This has now reached the free-associating stage, which is just this side of emo whinging, so I'm going to stop now.

Miss you, Penny.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 11th, 2006 05:47 am (UTC)
I still can't really imagine what you're going through.

But, I can offer a little bit of help on the career front. I'm working on becoming a career coach. If you want some help in that area of figuring out what you want to do or what you might enjoy doing, let me know.

Take care.
Aug. 11th, 2006 11:58 am (UTC)
My heart is with you, Steve.

The 3rd book that you mentioned... maybe it was lost because you weren't ready for it, and now you are seeking it because you're ready to receive it's information. You'll find it when you're meant to :)

Aug. 11th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
I've never been all that identified with my career. It's what I do, it's not who I am.

Well, be grateful. When your career becomes who you are, then you have no identity other than that. It's what happens to people like Michael Jackson. They don't understand that a photo of them in a magazine is just a photo. They think that's really them. (Not that I think you are anything like Michael Jackson in any way, shape or form.)

A career - a job - that you enjoy doing and that lets you spend time with people you like - I think that's about as good as it could get for most people. If you're doing something worthwhile and valuable, that's gravy.

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Aug. 11th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
I do have a nose of my own, yes.

The problem is more one of, 'What have I accomplished' ... something Penny would bemoan, and I could not always answer in a way that satisfied her. The training that working for wages is what proves the value of a person, and that the worth is greater for arduous and unpleasant labor for the benefit of others, as opposed to something that one enjoys, that training runs deep in her family and in mine.
Aug. 12th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
My family said it as "Any job is better than no job," and I largely believe that. Paying bills and holding a job is a good thing all on its own even if you aren't curing cancer or saving starving children, with the family stability that a steady income provides. And most work is not that fun or interesting, or vital, and it is nearly always for others' benefit.

But it certainly isn't the entire worth of a person, and keeping a job you loathe is not worth it. I do think that the working itself is what is virtuous, unless you are using it as self-martyrdom fuel. But if you are taking that route, then you are likely to portray yourself as the long-suffering employee in a terrible job for Mr. Scrooge, than is actually true.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )