(this is why the vacation (that I'm currently on, explanation coming) was originally canceled. they grudgingly let me give two weeks, but there was no way I could take a week off just starting like that. they did offer to comp me the ticket, though. so my second plan was to use a southwest award ticket I have and just be in the midwest for the weekend (it's wil's birthday, you know). this too becomes relevant further into the story.)
so my last two weeks at EDT were crazy. two trips to phoenix, one trip of everyone else to burbank. many meetings, much last-minute work. 14 days of chinese fire drill. in the middle of which I got food poisoning the way only I can get it, and spent days running a fever and doing the other things you do when you get food poisoning. it's hard to leave an organization you've spent two years investing in... everything there is mine. but when you've been busting your ass at the same salary for that long and your annual review starts with "I'm not sure what your expectations are regarding money, but there isn't any for raises right now"—well, it's time to start thinking about moving on.
anyway, the 15th came... I ended up staying at jeff's another day because I had a relapse that friday and wasn't really in any condition to travel. so I spent a few hours saturday waiting to get out on standby and finally made it back to LA.
one of the things everyone I talked with during my interview made a big deal about was the crazy hours... it's a trading house, so they work east coast time to match the markets. no big deal, I was actually looking forward to being done at 3 o'clock every day. monday rolls around, and I'm up at 4. take my time getting ready, at the office by like 5:45. spent the morning poking around, trying to get a feel for things... catching a kind of weird vibe I hadn't noticed at the interview. it's not nearly as busy as I expected. whatever, have a meeting with my new manager and a coworker and kinda put together a long list of things to be thinking about. nothing out of hand, but a pretty long list. eventually the markets close, and me and coworker go to lunch around 2. it was when we got back that things starting to make a sucking noise. telling your brand new employee that he can't ever go out to lunch is not amongst the ways to win friends and influence people. nor was asking for things that kept me there until 5:30 (and my coworker even longer). it took me about an hour to get home... so I was staring at 90 minutes of my own time before I had to hit the sack in order to get the obligatory eight hours of sleep. I spent most of that time curled up in a ball on the couch, wondering what the hell I'd gotten myself into.
it was really hard to get up the next morning and go back to that office. the vibe was even more sour than the previous day, and then I find out they want me to go to new york to finish up some equipment installations. now usually I'd never complain about a trip anywhere, and I could give a fuck about advance warning... except they knew I'd already canceled my vacation for them, and this trip to new york would have required me to cancel the super-abridged weekend version, too.
that was the last straw. I made a few phone calls to some freelance clients I'd been working with, and after the markets closed I told my manager I wasn't coming back.
working long hours is one thing... I mean, I've been doing it forever. but I expect some flexibility. this place was completely rigid, and I was basically committing to having absolutely no free time during the week whatsoever. I've lived in california for a little over two years, and all I've done the whole time I've been there is work my ass off, and it's got to stop. I've lived a few hundred yards from the beach since the first of july, and can count the number of times I've been to the beach on my fingers. I was leaving a job that expanded to fill all available hours and winding down all my freelance clients for what was supposed to be a nice, regulated gig. but like a TV dinner, the finished product ended up not looking like the picture on the box.
[re-reading this entry, I find that I cannot put into words on how many level that place is life-sucking. if it sounds like I'm being a petty little shit, well, just trust me, if you have a spine, you'd have walked out, too.]
I had a long discussion with one of my clients a couple of months ago about how when you're trying to start your own business, the inclination is pretty much to keep doing your regular job until the new biz gets ramped up... and how it never happens, that you have to make that leap into being in business for yourself full time before it will ever work. I agree, and this is the part where I'm taking my chance. I've developed a good relationship with a handful of clients, and I'm going to grow those and get to work finding new ones to go along with them. it's definitely on the scary side, but I know I can make it work. I've been saying forever that given the amount of work we've gotten without even trying, I could keep busy no worries if I was actually was. so now it's go time.
so yeah, that's what I've been up to the last few weeks... I spent wednesday and thursday courting clients and tying things up, and then left on my original set of tickets friday. been in martytown since, heading to raleigh (in accordance with the prophecy) on tuesday and hanging out there through the 31st. and this has taken too long, time to go watch more extreme bmx action on the television.