Where I don't care what others think


September 26th, 2011 Posted in Life, Work

I won’t talk about the fact that it never seems to rain out here.  Two weeks ago it drizzled for maybe 10 minutes, by the time I realized what was happening and got outside it had already stopped.  Today it was very cloudy (which reminded me of RPI a bit), and I think I heard a rumble of thunder off in the distance… but no actual rain or real weather happened.  I guess the sunny weather is great if you like being outside and stuff, but it all seems just a bit too perfect and controlled for my liking; almost like the Truman Show… except they had rain.

No more talk of rain for now though.  I spent most of this weekend thinking to myself about motivation and the purpose of life or something like that.  I don’t really like thinking about the purpose of life at all, but it was “one of those weekends” where I didn’t have anything pressing to do and I found myself wandering in my own thoughts a bit too far.  Among other conclusions I’ve reached, I think that everyone would be best served by deciding their own purpose for their life, but you need to be careful not to try and define that as an explanation for your existence or something really even connected to being alive.  Again, I’m wandering down the wrong path here.  Let’s course correct.

I’m having very broad trouble with motivation these days, characterized by staying up watching “classic” movies until 1-2am, sleeping the day away, and spending too much time surfing the internet (aka reddit).  These are all good in moderation, but I really had no good reason to watch The Transporter 3.  It ends the same way as the first two.  It occurred to me that college, and studying at university in general, serves as a really good underlying motivation for doing things… grades help too.  No one goes to college for the sake of going to college, meaning you don’t go there as your end goal.  You want to experience academics or social life or something else… and then when you’re done with that experience after a few years you build on that and move on to life.  College, and the broader educational field beforehand, offer a very very clear feedback system.  If you do well you get an A, if you don’t do well you get an F.  You’re often evaluated on a weekly basis, which I think is a great control for motivation.  If you receive quantitatively poor feedback, aka a poor grade, you know that you need to work either harder or better (or both) for next time.  You can also count on that next time being around to try.

In le workplace I haven’t found that to be the case very much.  Once a week I sit down with my manager and she reminds me that I’m doing a good job and should keep doing what I’m doing.  As much as it’s nice to hear that I’m doing a good job and stuff, that’s not the most motivating way to supply me with a status update.  To me, keep doing what you’re doing, implies that I shouldn’t seek to improve or optimize whatever it is that I’m currently doing and that I should keep performing the tasks as I have been.  Every once in a while we chat (or I think) about improving / optimizing things and there are some small scale things I can do here or there… little patches and tweaks perhaps, but the broader improvements I’d be interested in making require me to stop doing what I’m doing and probably require an OK from someone N rungs up the ladder from me.

On my outside-of-work projects I find myself similarly positioned.  I know that it’s not a question of writing the code of rmaking something that technically functions quite well, I don’t have the skill or competencies to make it look decent or worthwhile to interact with.  If there were plenty of interface-neutral problems to solve I’d be all over them, but unfortunately lots of my exciting ideas are heavy in the fields that I’m less experienced in.  I guess I could turn this around and say that I should use this as an opportunity to learn / practice some of this…. maybe I will…. ok I’ll be honest I probably won’t.

I will try to be as vague and obtuse as possible for this next part.  If you’re usually off-put by my complex analogies I suggest you wait until you’re… well maybe you just shouldn’t.  Dedicating you full brainpower to it may not be a good investment of your time.

As much as I had hoped the day that I desired to never come would come it seems that it’s surprise arrival has caught me a bit off guard.  I’ve been constantly reassured that what I long ago convinced myself was most likely to occur was the least likely outcome and I made the mistake of buying into that illusionist mindset.  Perhaps this all falls back on some fundamental desire to have a fortune of my youth be something more than a terribly short term solution to mask a long term problem.  I was too easily conned given my lack of knowledge of exponential functions at the time.  I won’t blame myself for being so easily deceived though, I was what, younger than a (years) bakers dozen  at the time.  Perhaps I haven’t come that far after all.

Good night moon.

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