Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Working First Impressions

Random Observation/Comment #235: Working makes me feel old. I sit in front of a computer 8-9 hours during the day, and then I go out at night to eat extravagant meals, drink expensive hooch, and network with random people that follow similar routines.  What? I never said feeling old was all bad…

It’s extremely hard to beat (that’s what she said) my previous chapter involving: my backpacking-trip through Europe, studying artificial intelligence in Japan and Germany, and exploring the full liberal arts side of life.  Even though it’s not even going to be close to the same type of excitement and wonder, I enter this next phase of my life with an open-mind and a collection of ties.  I don’t expect to “beat” my previous year in terms of fun or awesomeness, but I think I will appreciate the change of pace and lifestyle in its own unique ways (or I’m just trying to be overly optimistic).  At least life continues to be an interesting journey filled with things to overanalyze and crazy people to meet.

My year-long practice of introducing myself to other travelers was quite helpful in a financial environment (which makes me all-the-more convincing when I tell my parents that I had actually learned something “real-life useful” in my travels).  Networking is part of life, and I’m glad I’ve learned how to listen intently and express my opinion in a fluent conversation.  Although work-topics don’t come close to the interesting stories involving hostels or picking up girls, there are some overlaps of discussions that relate goals and interests.  I feel a bit restricted with my particular vocabulary and phrasing, but I’m still myself.  (Plus, the HR events have kept me happy with open bars and free food.)

Overall, the idea of work had been given a really bad reputation in my mind.  I had always avoided committing to it because I’m such a free spirit badass.  Metaphorically speaking, I’m terrible at staying within the lines when I color (where the lines represent those normal ways of thinking and the coloring is… my currently sleep-deprived thought-process that can’t think of where I was going with this sentence).  When I thought of work, I thought of an orange Umpa Lumpa hitting a peg with a large mallet every 5 seconds, or a monkey typing on a typewriter wearing a suit and smoking a cigar – My idea of work was slightly skewed.  I didn’t see any orange midgets or monkeys (well, literal ones, anyway), and I learned that the scariness wasn’t giant-clown-scary, but more like hairless-cats-scary.  Really, the only bad thing is the lack of a nap and a large reliance on coffee – everything else I’ve found a solution for.

In general, projects are interesting if you can find ways to innovate within your scope and people are extremely helpful and out-going when imparting advice that has nothing to do with the task at hand.  I think I’ve become somewhat of a complaint department – who knew “How’s life?” would go on to a 20-minute rant about smelly dog farts.

Luckily, I am the master of cheer and fun.   I leave the desk every 40 minutes for 5 minutes to rest my eyes and my wrists, and just walk around the floor to chat with people.  I attend the meetings of every club possible to learn more about the philanthropic events I can join.  I avoid eating at my desk alone at all costs and try to make new friends or keep my face familiar to more people on a daily basis.  I can hardly call any of these solutions “fun,” but I’m always surprised at what people have to say when you get past the initial business shell.  Everyone just seems like they’re dying to let out a scream of stress – why not push the button for them?

~See Lemons Start Worky

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Who Hit the Pause Button?

In Circles.

Random Observation/Comment #234: In the Working World, weekday nights are filled with meaningless absorption of viral video content (i.e. primetime TV shows) and weekends become my time to release and work on some hobbies (i.e. writing, startup companies, and photography).  It may sound like a lovely routine, but surprisingly, I’m getting exhausted.  After a year of learning what I love to do with my free time, I just don’t seem to have any of it after I started working.  I think I’m just spreading myself too thin while trying to get the most out of life.

This is the longest I haven’t written in my blog since I started writing about a year-and-a-half ago in Japan.  This doesn’t mean I’m not happy – on the contrary, I am quite content with how things are going at work. I just wish I had more me-time.  What it does mean, though, is that I’m busy.

The total 3-hour commute everyday doesn’t help – I just spend that time catching up on sleep and playing “Words with Friends” on my iPhone (I’m so freakin’ good – please challenge me).  Maybe if I got an Android phone, I could write more and organize my Google-life better.

… I’m sorry, iPhone, I didn’t mean it. I’m just frustrated that I haven’t given myself the time to listen to language audio-books or used my train time to finish my book (although, I’m not sure how much motivation I have to write it anymore).  I could probably use the iPhone to write blog entries or chapters on the commute and just email them to myself, but unfortunately, I feel so attached to the feel of my old laptop – it’s like the inspiration distributes to my 10 fingers, and my thumbs can’t seem to funnel all of it for typing on the iPhone.  Old habits die hard, but maybe I’ll find a work-around – I guess I always find a work-around.

Anyway, I probably just want an android phone to keep me busy learning a new gadget, which wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep life interesting. I know plenty of people (myself included) who live on finding the next cool gadget in order to distract themselves from the daily grind.  Not that work is difficult; the routine is just – well, a grind, compared to the life I had before.

Ah, the good ole days – cereal at lunchtime for breakfast in pajammy-jams while watching hulu and stalking status updates on facebook.  A nice hour nap-time at 3PM was routine, and it was always followed by getting lost in random tech news tab-overflows.  Sigh.  Now all I get is cereal for breakfast at breakfast time and then coffee twice a day to keep me from sleeping at my desk.  It’s a change that I expected, and I’m proud I stepped up to the plate on my productivity scale, but it seems that the things I’m being productive in are actually not things that I would do if I had my own time.  I’m doing things that I don’t feel are growing me as a person in a very efficient manner, which to me means that I’m just doing stuff with a rushed deadline.  It’s so sad, yet I think I’ve just joined a much larger club by entering the Working World.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain – and not because it’s against company policy (which I don’t think it is) – but because all the important things are still there: Health, Happiness, Hobbies, and Community (I couldn’t think of an H-word for it).  Mweh, it’s not so bad.

~See Lemons Push Play