On Burnout…

Never push loyal people to the point where they don’t give a damn.

Peter Drucker, 1909 – 2005

Thinking back, there were signs of a somewhat lessening interest in Pearson in particular and in Computer Science in general somewhere around about October, 2017. That was right about the time that one of the greatest champions of the team announced his departure.

People move on.

That year, after a business trip to Austin for KubeCon in early December, I was feeling quite burned out. We were planning another trip to Noida to transition a team in February, 2018, but I’d settled that after Christmas (of 2017), it’ll be time to start seeking in earnest opportunities elsewhere.

And The Universe said, “Oh, you have plans, do you? Here, try some gravity…” And the fall and TBI happened.

Strike one.

In the coming months, while struggling with rewiring my brain and body, the entirety of the team who’d pioneered the evolution within the company from the long-standing Mode 1 hardware model into a Mode 2 infrastructure model — which, by design, would slash spend dramatically across from the company — would disperse.

And The Universe said, “Ah, while you’re in the prolonged recovery, here’s some innocuous bacteria…” Then the infection.

Strike two.

Clearly, I’d end up being more dependent upon modern healthcare and needed to relocate to larger city. Moses Lake wasn’t nearly as connected to technologies as I’d have hoped. So, we’d planned on moving to Spokane — not only because it was a large city, but also because it wasn’t nearly as expensive as the Seattle metro area was.

And The Universe said, “Oh, you’re still coming up with ideas, are you? How about this…” Then the layoff and all of its psychological stressors.

Strike three.

My confidence in Computer Science at that moment was not only shaken… it was shattered. I doubted everything related to computer-anything. Programming, development, design, experimentation — I stopped caring about everything: the pursuit of work, life, self.

I would spend the next several months seeking desperately a reason to continue — a reason to do. What I needed most was sense of purpose.

Alright, Universe… what else you got?

Locusts? Ha!

Pandemic? Please.

Earthquakes? Hey, we all get a bit wobbly with age.

Riots? Amateurs.

Wildfires? Bah!

So, bring it on.

The Son of Gerber Incident

How in the world did I manage to break the tip of the #0 (#2?) flathead screwdriver on my multitool?

I do have a rather very vague memory of damaging it. I also know that it was perhaps a few years ago.

Was it around the time of my TBI? Just a few days before? Separating the sequence of events around that time is a bit of a jumble.

I can only assume that I thought at the time, “Oh, that’s annoying… could’ve been worse… I’ll fix it/order a replacement”.

Also, no, I would not have damaged it by using the screwdriver as a pry-bar. A screwdriver is a screwdriver and I know that hardened steel will break, not bend.

So, that’s two MP400s that I’ve damaged in 33 years.

**sigh**

Yep, I’ll keep this one. No need to throw it out. It’d be a good reason to break out the bastard file and see about shaving it down.

Adjusting the Sails

See also, The Toolbox Fallacy.

I find that I often speak in metaphors. It’s not intentional, necessarily. Sometimes metaphor or a reference to a scene in a movie or a verse in a song or a story conveys meaning far better than a ten thousand words of my own.

Sometimes, just one borrowed line conveys appropriate meaning:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Not Theodore Roosevelt

As another had remarked, it summarizes and strips away every excuse you have for not doing something.

So, why did I begin this with Adjusting the Sails?

I’ve found that when the wind isn’t going the direction I’d expected, hoped, or planned. It’s time to adjust the sails to weather the continuous metaphorical storms.

I’m adjusting my sails quite significantly and changing my course. I need a sense of meaning… a sense of purpose.

With shaken and shattered confidence in my career field, it’s time to pursue an alternate career.