Friday, February 23, 2007

Now what? Finale, rewritten.

Okay, so stating a bunch of events was a lousy post and didn't come close to saying anything important. What I really want to talk into the ether about is the uncertainties of starting a new job.

So, as we know, I accepted a new job on Monday and I'll be starting a week from Monday. The interview process was speedy, and left me with my head spinning.

Last weekend, all I could think or talk about (and indeed the few days before, too) was the job hunt. Called my folks, went out with S, nearly drove my boyfriend crazy with my obsessing. Comparing the two positions, and not sure really whether it would be a net gain or loss. Hiring somebody after a two hour interview is a little crazy, and so is taking a job on that basis - you really don't know what you're getting into, just what you're told, might not have a feel for the real ins and outs of the company. Maybe I had an inside edge, because I've seen the business end of things, and was able to get more or better information in my interview. Maybe not.

There are still lots of questions - there aren't a lot of rock star architects, but someday I will be one of them... but is this a step in the right direction? or was my decision hasty, to keep the hunting quick? what are the people like, can I bring in a toaster oven, how can I handle the clothing logistics of biking with a minimum amount of effort and extra gear carried but without being gross upon my arrival, will the work be engaging, or fun, will I get to leave the office to do cool stuff (I used a roto-zip to do exploratory surgery on a client's condo yesterday, after all), will I find the situation overall to be pleasant and condusive to the lifestyle I want? After all, it's really all about lifestyle, about the big picture.

So, yeah, I landed a new job at a very respectable small firm, and I hope it goes well.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Now what? Finale, relief.

Eight days ago, I spoke to a guy at a good firm that has an opening.

Seven days ago I sent my cover letter and resume. The tenses still don't all match, I'd forgotten to correct it. Oops.

Six days ago I returned an email and set up an interview.

Four days ago was the interview; they were enthusiastic about me and as a whole it went well. A bit of self-promotion: I'm talented, I work hard, I have a good attitude, and now I have a good amount of experience. In addition to that I can be polite, funny, relaxed, and generally charming in person, and totally sincere about the whole thing. (I inherited the sincere thing from my dad.)

Yesterday they made me an offer, and I accepted. The offer was no surprise. Recieving the phone call at work was. One of the partners was going out of town today and wanted to be sure we spoke. My boss was polite enough to see the writing on the wall and not ask about it.

Today I discussed it with my boss. He was unsurprised, and it'll work well for him. Things are shaky, and it's a lot more effort to bring in work for two than for one. No hard feelings. I'm relieved.

I'm starting at the new place March 5. Maybe I'll take some time off, or a couple half-days, and go enjoy myself doing ceramics, or something like that.

We now return to your regularly scheduled spurts of spiritual programming. Or, maybe not.

This morning silence hung in the air

This morning silence hung in the air
for long moments as I walked down the block
Layered over by the sound of my footsteps,
occasional skid on unseen ice
the sound of birds calling
And the wind exhaling gently through the city.

Running footsteps - someone for the train
Cars start passing again
Layers of the usual noises, and the moments end

It was for a minute as though I were the only human here
Amongst the newly-abandoned ruins of the city
With nothing to hear but sweet quiet
And the sounds of nature
But no, just a moment's calm
Permeating me still -
And still the birds call.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Because I can think of nothing else...

On with the career stuff.

So, this morning I'm working on construction drawings for a really wild house we're doing. It's pretty high end... and the client is a repeat and having us work on them now because we have, literally, nothing else to do around here. Which is nice of them. There's some work on the horizon, and my boss wants to keep me, but I'm not confident the workflow will stay high. (And I want to leave.)

Because I no longer care about this job, or about not getting into arguments with my boss, (oddly enough I like him a lot but now I also think the way we do our work is lousy, even though I understand why), I'm doing the drawings my way, putting on the information that I think will make our architectural intentions clear to the people building it. Working at my pace, which results in the best quality drawings as well as overall speed. And I actually feel pretty good about that.

What with my sudden realization that I really, really like detailing, I wonder if I'm turning into a techno-weenie. But I still love design. I'm just the kind of person that would have an idea for, say, a really cool sink, then learn how to fabricate it even though I've never done anything of the sort before, then go for it. My favorite projects have been the ones where I knew it so well I felt like I could put it together myself. That's a whole lot more likely at this other place.

Tomorrow's interview is for a fulltime position for a firm that is known for restoration work but also does some government work, which assures an ongoing workload. As much as I like doing houses, I actually prefer the level of quality of drawings that commercial work requires. No matter where I go next... three years, minimum. This'll be the third March in a row where I switch jobs. Winter gets to me, but I have legitimate reasons too... winter just makes them more obnoxious and perhaps motivating.

Since Trev brought it up... people in other industries, what's it like? I'd enjoy learning - write a post and leave me a link!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, as we all know. Mine was memorable because we went out for dinner for the first time in a month or so, and just sat and talked. We've both been busy, but it's funny how it's possible to spend a lot of time having fun with with somebody, without having much in the way of conversation.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Now what? Part II

Thanks, all, for your encouragement. On with my rambling. Andrew, you'd be surprised ... I know what I want, but since that's not out there, what will work for me?

Residential is fun, but most clients won't pay enough to make it challenging, and it's tough to get clients who want good design. Most of the projects don't provide much opportunity, especially on a 25'x125' lot, and suburban clients tend to not be interested. If I want "my" projects, they have to be pretty small projects. The problem with doing small projects, residential or not, is that you've got to bring in a LOT of them to stay afloat (about 2 a month in our 2-person firm), or charge a lot. I can handle poor job security (which I have) if I'm getting paid handsomely (which I'm not - that requires clients willing to pay higher fees). However, the residential market is likely tanking right now. In the last year, I've definitely seen the inside track on what it takes to run a firm... I've learned a lot, but maybe I'd like to head for higher ground.

High rise has the technical challenge but not much in design, so that's out. Mid-sized projects can be challenging from a technical and design standpoint (or not). But, oh, what sort of midsize projects? That's pretty open. Nor is it the most important.

That's just the work. Office environment - casual. Office size - small, but competent. Process? I'd like to be given a couple weeks' work and left alone, expected to ask questions and review progress as need be. Location - anyplace I can get to in under half an hour, and preferably someplace I can acceptably bike to and from in the summer. Right now I get paid for 8 hours and I'm out of the house for 8.5ish. It's not likely that I'll keep that.

I've got three years of experience, which gives me a lot of options. The possible time crunch makes it tough, though, and I resent that job hunting will take time away from doing ceramics, which I really love.

Saturday morning I updated my resume. I did a crummy job and didn't use all the same tenses for my past experience. But it's a start; I'll mark that up and get a nice result.

I've got an interview for PT work on Tuesday, which could keep me afloat until new FT work comes along. And a friend has a couple of potential job leads.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

But, now what?

Most of you probably know I'm an architect. Few of you know that I am one of two people in my firm and that I'm a contract employee. Well, work's been slow for long enough that my boss suggested I start looking around - because if more doesn't come in, he can't afford to keep paying me. Saw this coming a couple of weeks ago.

I'm at a point in my career where I'm very employable, so I'll be able to find work. It would be nice if it was enjoyable work. The big question for the moment is, do I stay at the current place part-time and work for somebody else part-time? Or do I go for a full-time job with, oh, paid vacation, sick days, health insurance, and better base pay?

So it's time once again to update my resume and start interviewing. At least I know what I like and what I want out of a new job. The question is, where will I find it?

This has been an update from Julie's Real Life.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cleaning is good for something!

Found this quote on a notecard today:

Beauty is simply reality itself, perceived in a special way that gives it a resplendent value of its own. Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, 33.

Cleaning is good for something!

Found this quote on a notecard today:

Beauty is simply reality itself, perceived in a special way that gives it a resplendent value of its own. Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, 33.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

And then I remembered...

...why I'm not on the chinchilla forums anymore.

If you were around for Five Things you might recall that chinchilla breeding is one of my hobbies. As with any other hobby, there are online forums dedicated to these things. I needed to contact a friend through one of them, and made the mistake of reading a few conversations. The negativity is sickening. Not that it's different than any other forum. Same group of alpha people, same spray, same bashing, same talking down, same shit, different topic. (Religious people are fantastic at condemning people they don't agree with. Who knew there was a religion called Chinchilla?) Good to be away from that.

The furries are fun, even though I've got a lot going on. Now if only I could get the cages to clean themselves!

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'm going to put together some paperwork so I can have yet another adventure in the zoning department tomorrow. It's certainly more fun than being upset over what I can more easily ignore.