Most of the time it's not what you know but who you know yet what you know always helps

I have reason to be a little more hopeful.  I've renewed some of my contacts and the possibilities are starting to show themselves and what they will entail.  More on this later as things evolve.... will keep the post updated

I'm also starting to feel depressed, angry and upset; I think it's starting to hit me that I was essentially fired and that it was done unprofessionally and in a very shitty way but, one way or another, it does not reflect on me 🙂

Talking to Tim also helps but it's this sad feeling will stay with for a while.... It always has stayed when a stage ends, specially when it ends abruptly like this one has.

However I've felt validated on several front by several different people who had no particular reason to offer the validation other than being honest about it. In doing so I wondered if I was doing the right thing or if I was creating unnecessary problems for myself down the road but it's not a matter of right or wrong, it's a matter of letting people know that whatever it is we shared was important enough to me to let them know that I won't be there anymore and their responses were very touching.

I have to move on... the more I dwell on what happened and how it happened the more I give power over to those who screwed me up. They may not have liked it any more than I did  yet the result is the same.... Because they decided that I wasn't who they wanted on their team I am out of a job

It's kinda funny in hindsight... I've experienced each of the three ways to leave a job: I've quit my job at San Jose State, I've been laid off from my job at CVC and I was fired from CSU, Chico (regardless of what Kathy or anyone else says, I was fired and that's how I'm taking it) and each on its own time and put together has taught me something about strength of character, about myself and about what qualities I aspire to develop as a leader and manager.

And here is something interesting, I can put myself on Kathy's shoes to a point. I can understand that there are times when the needs of the team far outweigh any one individual. I can also understand that change is not always welcome and that the best way to tell this kind of news to someone who has access to sensitive information is to do it suddenly and make sure that the person in question doesn't get the chance to damage any of the information that he has access to.

What I can't understand is the need for secrecy. If I had known 6 months or a year ago that more programming was necessary I would have adapted. I don't think I could ever write code as well as Scott, Thomas or Mark by any stretch of the imagination but if properly motivated and with enough time there is no reason why I can't learn to do it.

I can't understand why Kathy didn't change the position description to match what she saw as the real duties of the job. She saw and signed each one of my several position descriptions if she really thought that my position didn't match any of the duties she expected me to perform.  She didn't because, IMO, when I was hired I was expected to be Mr. WebCT and that's who they needed as they were getting ready to transition to VIsta; now the transition is all but over she wants someone who can do Perl, Java and Oracle for Breakfast and have production code before lunch.

There is another area. I have to come to terms with the fact that when Scott came aboard I became irrelevant... everyone looked to him for answers and that's ok, but they started ignoring me and, when he became a manager, there was even less I could do. I got slapped hard for "committing the university to a course of action" which I still don't know what it is.... There goes that secrecy shit again

Expectations and disappointments

As I am getting ready for Tuesday, long day and full of expected disappointments, I think it's time to reflect on a couple more things before letting the matter rest for a while.

  • What do I expect of those around me?
    • Are those expectations realistic?
    • Are those expectations fair?
  • Do I want to continue building my expectations of others the way I have been doing it so far?
  • Do I honestly want to continue working on education?
    • What do I have to fall back on if the answer is that I don't want to continue working on education?
    • Is that something that I can enjoy long term?

They are not easy questions to ask and, most definitely, are not going to be pleasant questions to answer or to have answered for me. Like I've said before expecting a certain answer doesn't make it any easier to swallow when you do get it and I think that tomorrow is going to be one of those days. 

I managed to get meetings that, hopefully, will address some of the questions I have but I can't shake that "careful what you wish for" feeling.  I have a feeling that I will get confirmation over what I've been told before about the intended nature of my job and the things that I won't be allowed to do because of it.

it's about 11:55 AM on 5/27 and I've been officially unemployed for a couple hours.

It caught me completely by surprise to say the least although it shouldn't have in light of recent conversations with Scott. The fact that Laura basically stopped talking to me and my problems with Ann. I was given one set of reasons which are flimsy at best and they invite a lot of scrutiny.... Scrutiny that I'm trying very hard not to dwell on because it means that I failed at some point and that what Bill Evans mentioned when I was hired came to pass even more drastically than I would have guessed

Best thing I can do for now is to regroup, go to TTIX, prepare for the GRE, finish my application essay and get a job for as long as necessary until I get to grad school.

The first day after Chico State.

It feels so weird to be up before 6 but have to constantly remind yourself that you don't have to go to work anymore. 

I've been busy starting to tie the loose ends that I wasn't allowed to tie yesterday. I had to let a few people know that I'm no longer employed at the university (and still have, I'm anywhere near done) and I still need to figure out what is it that I want to do work-wise

As I am typing this piece, after walking back from the fortress (if you have to ask you're not in Chico and you're not a gamer), Chris Brogan posted this piece on taking risks and the fact that taking risks is a good idea but in measured steps. I think that's where I failed... I allowed confrontation to become my only tool and that obviously backfired. Remember the questions I had asked earlier... 

  • Do I honestly want to continue working on education?
    I think so. As shitty as the experience was it reflects on management at CSU, Chico and not on the kind of job I want to do in education
    • What do I have to fall back on now that I don't have a job?
      Rattling bushes among friends to see if I can get something. Also debating if I want to spend the money on a professional resume or not
    • Is that something that I can enjoy long term?
      We'll just have to see, won't we?

    Listening:

    • Daryl Hall (Dreamtime)
    • Janet Jackson (Escapade)

    Reading:

    • Legacy of the force: Invincible

    Doing:

    • Job Hunting
    • Getting ready for TTIC

    Watching:

    • NCIS Reruns

    Gentler and Calmer Times

    Canción Para Mi Muerte
    Sui Generis (Adios Sui Generis - Disk 1)

    Hubo un tiempo en que fui hermoso
    Y fui libre de verdad
    Guardaba todos mis sueños
    En castillos de cristal.

    Poco a poco fui creciendo
    Y mis fábulas de amor
    Se fueron desvaneciendo
    Como pompas de jabón.

    Te encontrare una mañana
    Dentro de mi habitación
    Y prepararas la cama
    Para dos.

    Es larga la carretera
    Cuando uno mira atrás
    Vas cruzando las fronteras
    Sin darte cuenta quizás.

    Tómate del pasamano
    Porque antes de llegar
    Se aferraron mil ancianos
    Pero se fueron igual.

    Te encontrare una mañana
    Dentro de mi habitación
    Y prepararas la cama
    Para dos.

    Quisiera saber tu nombre,
    Tu lugar, tu dirección,
    Y si te han puesto teléfono
    También tu numeración.

    Te suplico que me avises
    Si me vienes a buscar
    No es porque te tenga miedo
    Solo me quiero arreglar.

    Te encontrare una mañana
    Dentro de mi habitación
    Y prepararas la cama
    Para dos.

    On reinventing yourself


    I've always fought against memories of the past. In doing so I've deprived myself of the chance to actually enjoy what they mean.

    What's the first thing you remember when listening to Guns 'N' Roses' Sweet Child of Mine? To me it's Slash and his guitar at the beginning of the song.

    I don't know about you but but music, Naginata and sometimes being a mean and nasty son of a bitch is so liberating.  Fuck the consequences and just go with it

    I've decided that this is the last time I talk to the person I've been having problems with and then let the chips fall as they may.

    Part of reinventing yourself is to keep yourself flexible and nimble. I heard news @work that put the June conference into perspective. Now it makes sense why I have to take vacation time to go and it defused that piece to the point where it's a non-issue. What brought my anger level up 'though is the fact that where I want to go professionally does not match where upper management wants me to go and no one has seen fit to tell me so.  I had to pry it out of my supervisor today and I know that he's as uncomfortable with this whole situation as I am but he really can't do much about it either. SO I have to decide if my peace of mind is worth calling attention to myself and the possible consequences of that action.


    I can't get this song from my head and haven't been able to for a while. The emphasis to me is in the chorus:

    We're fighting for the gods of war
    But what the hell we're fighting for
    We're fighting with the gods of war
    But I ain't gonna fight no more

    The first step is to take inventory of yourself, your priorities and your goals (both short and long term).

    The last few posts have talked a lot about priorities, goals and commitments. For more details see Sometimes I just wishPriorities, realizations and commitments, and Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish so now I think  it's time to do an inventory of who I really am and take another, more serious, look at where I want to be or perhaps who I don't want to be.

    I want to be someone whom people can trust, and not be afraid to approach; I want those around me to know that, if I see a reciprocal effort, I'll put 110% effort into our friendship. People who try to, in their words, "be nice" have a problem that I don't want to be a part of: in being  nice they deprive their friends of the opportunities to change and grow. I tend to be opinionated, sometimes too opinionated for my own good, but I'll always do my best to be open and honest with my friends.

    I think that we all want to work on something we enjoy and can grow to love. The disagreements are more in the shape and nature of what that job is and the areas of responsibilities that it's associated with "the dream job". Some things are about the job itself and others  are more about what I want and the challenges I want to stretch me professionally.

    • I want flexibility;
    • I want room for growth: not be pigeonholed into one specific area but to be allowed to branch out as needed to get stuff done and not get bored to tears;

    Perhaps that's the key to reinventing yourself.... To keep enough versions of you around that each one of them can take whatever is coming your way.

    Am I really ready to do that? Am I willing to embrace the flexibility I need not to be afraid of whatever is coming?

    One of the things that I've never learned all the way through is that there is no gain without pain.... intellectually I can understand it but I don't think I've ever internalized it and the fear still stops me when it's time to move on. I've said it before that I couldn't understand why was it that I didn't trust my instincts when they told me it was time to move on. Being totally blunt

    I was watching, again, the series final for JAG: Fair Winds and Following Seas. The last scene when Bud flips the coin and everyone  keeps staring to see who is going to have to give up their life dreams to achieve happiness.

    As I've said before what do you have to give up in order to get what you really want.

    Being totally honest, I don't know if I could give up my job and be totally happy. I know I don't want crap like what happened today to repeat itself but I also know that  I'm not ever going to be happy without being able to exercise the atrophied skill sets.

    I've hardly done any training or presentations since I moved to Chico. 10 hours or so in 3 years hardly qualifies as keeping your skills sharp.  I'm afraid that my instructional design and development skills are going the same way.  If you don't use them or at least keep current with the literature I'll loose what little of those skills you have left.

    Back to what I want and don't want. So far these are the elements of what I'd want in an "ideal job." I realize that some of these things are not realistic and/or even possible but, hell, we're talking about an ideal so why not? 🙂

    • I want a place where I can actually practice training and instructional design even if it's as a secondary area of responsibility
    • I want a team, not a place where people feel empowered to dictate to other teammates. I've been as guilty about this as anyone and that's what I hate the most about the situation
    • I want a job where the rules are clear from day 1 with room for change, evolution and improvement where it's appropriate. It's not that I'm averse to change, it's just that I want to know when it's coming.
    • Related to the one above is wanting to at least get a voice on what direction my job is going. I know this is totally unrealistic, but it's one worth writing down even if it means that I'm never going to get a job that's 100% satisfactory
    • Communication, communication, communication. Things haven't been put on context and it shouldn't have to be my job to figure out what it is that I'm supposed to be doing.

    Listening:

    • Skid Row (Youth gone wild, 18 and life)
    • Linkin Park - iTunes selection
    • Rush - Roll the bones

    Reading:

    • Agile web development with Rails
    • Foundation's Edge

    Doing:

    • Learning to Program Rails
    • Trying to complete my final paper
    • Outlining my 2 summer writing projects

    Watching:

    • Reruns of JAG
    • NCIS
    • Stargate: The Ark of Truth

    5 Signs of a Stress Ridden Mind

    Posted by Shilpan Patel on April 30th, 2008 via The Change Blog

    stressed

    “No man is free who is not master of himself”
    Epictetus, Greek Philosopher

    There is a plethora of stress in our lives these days. Divorce, layoffs, threats of terrorism - these are just a few of the many things that can leave our mind, body and soul feeling anxious.

    Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be essential form of our emotional state for balanced growth in our life. A conscious form of stress motivates us, prepares us for things we have to face, and sometimes give us energy to take action when we need to. However, excessive stress can hinder our ability to set goals, focus on what we want to achieve and to live in harmony with our family.

    Akin to a form of cholesterol, stress can motivate us to achieve higher goals or stress can destroy all our dreams before we realize its dominance. Personally I’ve found that when I am cognizant about the form of stress, I take control of my personal growth by overcoming the power of detrimental stress.

    In an effort to control stress, I’ve found 5 signs that are apparent in a state of excessive stress:

    Sign # 1: You Procrastinate Constantly

    Procrastination forms from the denial of fighting the obvious power of stress in our life. Years ago, when I lost substantial investment in the stock market, instead of thinking forward and taking action to stop the carnage, I procrastinated by not confronting the reality. I was worsening my loss by lack of action, yet I was under intense stress that paralyzed my ability to think. I was procrastinating to the point that I was unable to do things that were essential in my life. For example, I was so nervous about going to my daughter’s school to talk to the teacher, I did not go — I missed the appointment. Stress was taking its toll on me as well as my family.

    “There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind. - Buddha (563 BC-483 BC) Founder of Buddhism.

    Sign #2: Your Life Seems Chaotic

    This is an apparent sign of stress and despair. If you see bills piling up on your desk with some not even opened to avoid fear of added stress, you’ve succumbed to the power of stress. I, with the fear of lack of money to pay bills, avoided opening mails that even had checks written to me. It was simply a surrender to the thoughts of defeat that stress had reined over my head.

    Sign #3: Mindless Eating

    Have you ever noticed yourself reaching for food or forgetting tcookieso eat meals when you are under intense stress? I tend to skip meals under intense stress, and when I do eat I lack focus on the food in front of me. This behavior stems from the fact that stress inhibits all the thought faculties of the brain and acts aggressively against any thoughts of courage or fight to dispel the power of stress. Food alters emotions. Cookies really make me feel better while I am stress ridden. It’s estimated that over 150 million people are on the diet now and most of these adults are repeaters who have tried almost everything. This is a stunning revelation that underlines pervasive power of stress in our culture.

    Sign # 4: Aloofness

    When feelings of sinking into a black hole take possession of your mind, it’s stress that has spelled havoc on your mind. When I lost a significant amount in my investment before, I felt feeble and aloof. It seemed that I was on an island with no hope to swim across the ocean to revive my life. I constantly chastised myself for being in the circumstances that I was in.

    Sign # 5: You’re Aggressive Rather than Assertive

    Aggressive behavior often arises as self defense from perceived attacks by others, but these attacks usually never eventuate. When our mind is stress ridden, we think that everyone intends to inflict emotional harm on us. I remember getting angry for paltry reasons that I could not expound in my own mind. Instead of being assertive, I was aggressive. Stress had taken over my mind, body and soul.

    * * *

    Here comes good news. All of what I went through was a creature of my own thoughts. In reality, I had only lost an investment. But by allowing stress to rein over my thoughts, I had enabled stress to control my thinking and obviously my life. I realized that I had to change my thoughts and habits to defeat this monster. I began by engaging my mind with things that dispelled the stress and ultimately instilled a sense of confidence about my future.

    I found that ignore is bliss when it comes to stress. Take action and to your surprise, circumstances will change. The following are some steps I took to regain my confidence and ultimately to rid myself of the stress that had taken control of my mind.

    Step # 1: Clutter Management

    First, I took the time to go through my desk, mail, magazines, drawers, garage, basement - basically everywhere I had accumulated clutter. By eliminating this clutter, I reinforced thoughts of affirmation such as: “The more I eliminate clutter from my life, I relieve stress and create calmness for the positive thoughts.”silent place

    Step # 2: Mindfulness

    I began to meditate and, by doing so, I began to live more in the present moment.

    Step # 3: Write in a Journal

    I began writing a daily journal. By doing this, I confronted my thoughts of despair.

    Step # 4: Doing What I Enjoyed

    I volunteered to work for Habitat for Humanity. The work not only brought new friends but it also made me feel proud about myself. My self-esteem rose from ashes and began acting as my strength rather than acting against me.

    Step # 5: Yoga

    Yoga allowed me to focus on my inner strength. I decided to do yoga daily to relax my body as well as mind.

    * * *

    These are just few of many positive actions I took to turn around life that was once ruled by stress. Never underestimate the power of stress to ruin your life. If you feel that you are getting in its grip, remember, you have power to come out victorious. So get up and get going.

    Have you struggled with stress in
    your life? Please share your methods for overcoming stress in the comments below.

    Everything happens for a reason

     

    These hard times
    Matchbox 20

    morning falls like rain
    into the city life
    there goes another night

    lose my breath in waves
    knowing that every crash
    is bleeding the hourglass
    and taking the stride

    from all our lives

    everyone keeps talking
    they promise you everything
    they don't mean anything
    we may lose our focus
    there's just too many words
    we're never meant to learn

    and we don't feel so
    alive

    say goodbye
    these days are gone
    and we can't keep holding on
    when all we need
    is some relief
    from these hard times

    move your hands in circles
    keeping me hypnotized
    the power behind your eyes
    move around your bedroom
    cursing the naked sky
    you should be here tonight

    but you stay alone
    and cry

    there's something missing
    you never feel it but you
    you're gonna feel it when it's gone
    when it's gone