A cat by any other name




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Meow to me

I feel like I'm on a roller coaster. One moment I'm restless, fidgeting, unable to sit still, too full of energy and wanting desperately for something, anything to happen. The next moment it is as if I have run into a solid wall of exhaustion and I can barely think, let alone focus on anything. It flip-flops back and forth these days and I'm never quite sure when I'll be wired, or when I'll be tired. The only constant is that I feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel except there is no way to get off this darn thing. My tightrope is stretched far too tight and I've never been all that good at balancing on one foot.

The house is postponed. It was supposed to start this week, and our builder has everything waiting. He had the foundation guy all lined up, the lumber orders all set, but now he and I are basically sitting on our hands waiting for the engineer to get back to us. Something about a beam that apparently no one makes anymore. I should probably know more, but I'm not exactly sure that I would care too much right now, not with everything else going on. All I know is that he can't start building and so we have to keep waiting and waiting. I hate waiting.

Work has reached a crisis level as well, but that and the house are not the main reasons why I am teetering on the edge of decision lately. I have made no secret of the fact that I want out of consulting, desperately, passionately want. The hours are killing me. It makes no difference that I enjoy the work and I like this project. All I know is that I've been itching to leave. This time last year I was actively working on switching to another department within my company when they dangled this project in front of me. I worked on the demo for this customer, and it's within driving distance. I was weak. I snapped up the bait.

Another carrot is dangling before me now. There is the possibility of advancement, of leaving this position I hold, of finally getting a job where I'd have a real office much closer to home. There'd be travel, but it'd be minimal, maybe one or two days per week, and only to corporate offices, not flitting around the country or the globe on a moments' notice like now. And it would be, in a way, an extension of what I've begun in this project.

Of course it comes at the worst possible time and I really don't think I have a chance in hell of getting it because there are others out there who are far more qualified, but I've been encouraged by a number of people in my company - managers who insist that I would be good at this position and that I would be a fool not to at least try.

I agonized over a resume these past few days. How do I stretch my varied experiences into something resembling what the woman said they were looking for - how to wordsmith and wiggle and make myself sound far better than perhaps I honestly think I am. I was never cut out to be a salesperson, and yet here I am, trying to sell myself. It has been years since I wrote a resume. I barely remember how.

To add a wrinkle to the whole situation, my replacement laptop - the one for which I need yet another replacement now - will not only not connect to any network, but will also not allow me to access my email. In all my wildest worst case scenarios, the woman to whom my resume was sent will blithely ignore my small PS at the bottom of the letter indicating that my email access was nil and void, and send replies back to that account, then dismiss me because I cannot respond. If I think rationally, I realize that that isn't likely the case - that she probably is taking time to read through all the resumes she has received, that she might have even dismissed mine outright and perhaps I'll never hear another word, but that's small comfort when I haven't any way to actually verify whether this is true or not.

The ironic thing is that I'm still trying to figure out if I really want this position that I'm applying for. I would never have considered myself management material, yet here I am managing one of the biggest implementations for my company's software and doing not a half-bad job at it either. Of course, I never would have imagined myself working with computers, period, since my degree (much good it has done me) was in Nutrition. I had lofty dreams at one time of becoming a professor, of teaching in a university and publishing research articles, of writing freelance for public companies. I floundered in graduate school once I realized - too early in the game - that I didn't really want what I thought I had wanted and yet still felt as if I was stuck. When the chance to take that radical shift in careers came up, I was at a point in my life where I felt I had no other option but to take it. Leaving graduate school turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made, but it could just have easily been a disaster.

My fear is that I'm looking at this new position in the same light; merely as a means to an end. I'd be a manager, having proven my worth in that position in a number of ways, although none in quite the same sense as this job would entail. But is the job appealing to me because of actuality, or simply, once again, as a way out? I am not harboring any hope of getting it. There was a part of me that thought perhaps I shouldn't even mention the job here, because I fully expect that weeks later, I shall be posting an entry about how I didn't get it. But sometimes there is this need to get it all out - to not just vent to someone in voice, but vent in writing, to somehow make it all clearer what I'm trying to work through, and so perhaps writing about all of this is simply more cathartic for me.

The main thing about this job is that I have to try. Those who've been encouraging me are right - I'd be a fool not to, no matter how slim the chances. So I'm spinning madly, standing before two doors, waiting to see if one will open, not quite sure what is behind it, only knowing that whatever it is, it might be better than what I've got now, it might be exactly what I'm looking for.

And then again. It might not.