Looking Ahead and Lessons Learned

Kyrie
Mr. Mister (Welcome to the real world)

The wind blows hard against this mountain side
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old it holds my memories
My baby burns again like flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie Eleison
Down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison
Through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison
Where I'm going will you follow
Kyrie Eleison
On a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

Oh...Oh...Oh
Oh...Oh...Oh
Oh...Oh...Oh
Oh...Oh...Oh

Kyrie Eleison
Down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison
Through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison
Where I'm going will you follow
Kyrie Eleison
On a highway in the light

(repeat chorus to end)


Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire

Reggie Leach, quote by Neal Peart in the Vapor Trails Tour book

I've always found the above quote refreshing and motivating. It is now also my calling... I can't let what happened here in Chico dictate the way I work and live my life. Over the past couple weeks I think I've gone through the entire gamut of emotions: anger, a deep and overriding sadness at no longer working with people whom I really enjoyed working with and at the end of an era, determination followed by passivity, impotence at having all the things I want be out of my control, short changed in this whole mess and how unprofessionally it was done.

At the end of the day I have to also come to terms with the fact that this was bound to happen, either they fired me or I would have quit sooner rather than later. The conditions in Chico's ATEC team were not supportive to long-term collaboration or team work, hell they were not supportive to even short term shit.... What did surprise me was the way in which it was done and the secrecy surrounding my being fired (even though the official phrase used was "your contract was not renewed" in essence, I was fired) other that Kathy, Dave, Scott and Laura and Monica who had to do the paperwork, no one else knew but they had to do it quickly so it could be announced at the staff meeting an hour later

All day
Staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night
Hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

Matchbox 20 - Unwell

I did my lessons learned elsewhere. I'm copying them here as a jump off point into further reflections (below in italics)

Admission/realization/learning experience #1: I stayed in Chico too long
Yes, this is the rehash of my kicking myself for not having trusted my instincts, not once but twice.  I went in to my meeting with Kathy with a sense of dread that was only confirmed with what happened.  Trust your instincts  for they have yet to let you down

It also helps to remember that when you first moved to Chico it was with the understanding that it wasn't going to be permanent. Even before I moved up here I had decided that I wanted my job at Chico to be a springboard to whatever came up next. Sure, things evolved in the time I've been here but it's still a matter of knowing that I wasn't going to stay here indefinitely, accepting that fact and being better prepared than I am now when the end inevitably came.

I could have reacted more gracefully than I did, although I think I did it as gracefully as I could given the circumstances. One of the first twits I sent was to Scott apologizing for what I perceived was being an ass. It definitely felt good to know I wasn't 🙂

Admission/realization/learning experience #2: I let others define who I was and what I did
Both in my personal world and in my professional life I've allowed others to define who I am and what I can and cannot do. While professionally it may be ok to let others define you (you may not have a choice in terms of where do the people who cut the pay checks want you to go) the least you can expect is to have an input about it, even if it goes against what you want.

This is what I was expecting and dreading when I asked for a meeting with Kathy, which turned into my last meeting as a CSU, Chico employee, but that's neither here nor there.

I've said it before, once Scott became a part of the team and later the leader of the team, I became irrelevant to the point where I stopped contributing ... nothing against the guy but it's not a feeling I'm used to and it should have been another flag indicating it was time to go.

I have to admit that there were times when I could have done more but I didn't; where I could have pursued what I thought I wanted but didn't because I was afraid. Never again.

Never again will I let fear stop me from doing what I think I need to do. Better to try and be wrong than to never try at all.... You do your job to the best of your abilities and worry only about your piece of the pie letting others worry about theirs and fight to keep you turf in order when other people intervene and try to direct you in your job when it is not their responsibility to do so.... In my experience that attitude always lead to damage control and mess cleaning but it has to be done that way, even if it means more work in the long run

Admission/realization/learning experience #3: I took a job even though I knew it wasn't a good fit for me
I knew going in that it was going to be a tough job. Bill told me when he offered me the position that it was a primarily technical job. I didn't have much choice at the time but I had a choice ever since I took the position.... Could have quit at any point. It's the dichotomies again: Comfort versus happiness; stability versus ambition

There is also an issue of trust involved in this. I chose to trust that the university would honor the position description as it was written rather than as the director saw it and therefore I didn't move laterally as I would have done if I had not believed that the position description was worth slightly more (or less) than the paper it was written on.

It's even more upsetting when I realize that I got burned for trusting again... that either Peter or Ann's position could have been mine had I been selfish and looked after myself and not worried about the consequences. Kathy in particular would have bitched and moaned regarding the lack of technical support but if I had placed myself first then it didn't really matter how others felt as long as I was happy and professionally motivated.

Shit already happened and I'm glad I'm not a part of it anymore... and before the cynical section of the gallery starts throwin' the "You only say that because you were fired..." argument, I'll point out that even though it did feel like that in the beginning it has turned into a period of deep reflection and questioning as to what do I want to do next (more on that later bit further down)

Admission/realization/learning experience #4: I hate the political game
I realize that politics are a necessary evil and that it's an essential part of every organization. I still hate the "P" word with a passion even when I realize that I can't really hide from it and be completely politically neutral but I should be able to define the level of political involvement I have in a job (see #2 above for why this is not practical or, dare I say, possible)

there are 2 ways in which you can play the political game. You can kiss ass all the way to the top, no matter how brown your nose gets or you can do the best job you can and let your abilities and the satisfaction of knowing you did the right thing for the right reasons. The question is: Can you work in an environment where you have to compromise your morals to accomplish what you need to? The answer almost doesn't need to be given as it's a matter of integrity and being a perfectionist and taking pride in your job.


I see life and it's passin' right before my eyes
And the past is the past don't regret it, time to realize
I need to walk on the wire just to catch my breath,
I don't know how or where but I'm goin' it's all that I have left

...

See a chance gotta take it wanna meet my fate
'Cause the last thing I ever wanted was to find out it's too late
No way out when you're in it deeper than the night
There's a light at the end of the tunnel and I see it burning bright

Marietta - Destination Unknown
Top Gun Soundtrack

Change is inevitable and the best thing to do is roll with it. I found this blog helpful: http://www.sun.com/solutions/smb/guest.jsp?blog=changeisgood

I've never liked change, true. But it's also true that the only constant in the world is that it never stays the same. Perhaps Jeff Pulver got it right in his blog:http://pulverblog.pulver.com/archives/008342.html and http://pulverblog.pulver.com/archives/008343.html. Perhaps it is time to give myself a kick in the pants and reboot myself, take myself seriously and figure out what is it that I really want to do.


 

In a little while
Uncle Kracker (No stranger to shame)

Here's to the good life or so they say
All those parties and games that all those people play
They tell me this is the place to be
All these beautiful people and nothin to see

Sometimes I feel like something is gone here
Something is wrong here, I don't belong here
Sometimes I feel like a stranger in town
And I've lost what I found, it'll all turn around

[chorus]
In a little while Ill be thinkin about you
In a little while Ill still be here without you
You never gave me a reason to doubt you
In a little while Ill be thinkin about you baby...Ill be thinkin about you baby

On the other side of a coin
There's a face there's a memory somewhere that I can't erase
And there's a place that I find someday
But sometimes I feel like its slippin away

Sometimes I feel like something is gone here
Something is wrong here, I don't belong here
Sometimes I feel like a stranger in town
And I've lost what I found, it'll all turn around

[repeat chorus]

Some things are lost some left behind
Some things are better left for someone else to find
Maybe in time I can finally see
I just wonder, wonder if you think about me

Sometimes I feel like something is gone here
Something is wrong here, I don't belong here
Sometimes I feel like a stranger in town
And I've lost what I found, it'll all turn around

[repeat chorus]