October 24, 2007

I would much rather oversleep

Sometimes, you wake up in the morning without your alarm, ready to go, and get your day started without that grating electronic screech telling you to get your lazy behind up and moving.

Today was not, strictly speaking, one of those days, and it reminds me of a similar morning I had in college.

My third year of undergrad I was an RA (actually for all of that year, the summer, and the first semester of the next, but anyway). Being an engineer, naturally I had 8am classes, because the department hated us. I'm sure they wouldn't have put it that way, but that was certainly the message they sent. Neither here nor there. Moving on.

One weekday morning, I woke up without my alarm, hopped out of bed and started my day. Grabbed my stuff and headed for the shower. In the hall, I passed one of my residents, said good morning, continued. The usual. I did notice, however, that there did not seem to be the usual activity I was used to seeing in the morning: people up and about, grumbling about the time, the sorts of things your average class-day morning are made of. I didn't think too much about it, lest I get distracted and end up with shampoo in my eyes, but it did occur to me. I made my way back to my room, at which point I looked clearly at the clock for the first time. the more perceptive children probably have an idea where this is headed...

It read: 3:15. As in a.m., ante meridiem, in the morning, a good 3 hours before I was supposed to get up; and there I was, not just up but already showered, and now more than a little annoyed. I hopped back into bed, determined to get back to sleep for at least a couple of hours before getting up for class. You ever try to go to sleep, like really try to sleep? It's hard. It's easily the least effective way to go about it, but I was pissed and had little choice. Fortunately, I did get there, got a little more shuteye before getting up. Again. Dammit.

Later that day, I saw that same resident again, and we talked about it. He agreed that seeing me obviously shower-bound at that time of morning (or night, really) was more than a little out of the ordinary; to which I replied: then just why the hell didn't you, I don't know, say something?

He just shrugged and said, "I just figured you thought you were dirty."

He just figured I thought I was dirty. And apparently had my cleansing inspiration at 3 in the morning. Um, sure.

This made sense, actually, coming from a guy who showered both when he got up and before bed, but I was less than pleased all the same. But I learned my lesson: look at the clock before you get out of bed.

I learned it. Or so I thought.

This morning was like that, although I did catch my error before actually getting into the shower. But I've been groggy all day and class tonight is not looking promising.

Is it just me, or does this happen to other people?

Just another day that I miss naptime.

October 8, 2007

Just say what?

Walking back from getting lunch today, I wandered past what became the current titleholder for Strangest Overheard Conversation Ever.

Man, into cell phone: "... no, the... the cocaine.... the cocaine was out on the back porch. The other stuff...." That was all I heard, and frankly more than I needed to.

Bear in mind that it was just past 1pm, in the area just around the Ballston Mall, and this man made no efforts to lower his voice or seek any particular privacy. In public, in plain sight. My question is, if you weren't interested in concealing the fact that you're talking about cocaine, then what on earth are you into that has to be cryptically described as, "The other stuff"? And what kind of idiot are you dealing with who's leaving cocaine out on the back porch? I mean seriously: what if it gets windy? Think, man, think! I don't even do coke and I know better than that.

This follows a couple of instances in the past couple of months where I've walked behind or past someone smoking pot, while making no effort to conceal the fact that they're smoking pot. One was on GW campus over the summer, some dude just strolling up the street, smoking a joint like it was a cigarette, without a care in the world (except maybe for some Doritos). The other was last week, just after lunch walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. You know, one of the busiest streets in DC? Some guy not even walking, just sitting next to the sidewalk toking up, half a block from one of those really nice hotels. Blew his cloud right in front of me.

Gone, apparently, are the days when the good, self-respecting druggie was behind closed doors, towel shoved into the crack, blowing through a toilet paper tube and dryer sheets. No need for incense, kids, don't worry about it. Get some fresh air with your smoke. It's DC, after all.

You can insert your own joke(s) here about Marion Barry, the DC Police and/or the crime rate and parking tickets. I'd do it for you, but I'm suddenly very hungry...

October 3, 2007

Not technically, but I like the way it sounds

For the next week and a half, I will be a burden on society, a blight on the American professional landscape, a hanger-on, a dragging weight on the progress of the national economy, contributing nothing of substance to the GDP, to the greater good, or to anything other than, perhaps, the viewership of daytime television, Sportscenter, and the Cartoon Network.

I will be, in a word, unemployed. Or, more accurately, I am unemployed right now.

That's the shorter, much more interesting version. The truth is longer and has, like most truths, far less flash. But it'll do.

I got a new job. Monday was my last day with the firm where I have worked for the past six years, and I start the new one in mid-October. While I had been planning to job-search when I was finished with school, and had every intention of polishing up the resume to support that effort, life stepped in a little early and made all of that unnecessary. It went kind of like this:

When I first started at my most recent job, J was also working there. Very solid engineer, strong business sense, overall good guy. He went with me on my Egypt trip, and we got to know each other fairly well (at least, as well as one can in the office). We would even kick around after hours shaking our heads at some decisions management was making, and wondering how it was that the right thing seemed so clear to us and yet eluded many people with far more responsibility, experience, and salaries than we had. But I digress. After a couple of years, J left the company to pursue his own thing. He was going to start his own company, and set off to seek his fortune, as it were. I pretty much lost touch with him shortly after that.

Fast-forward about three years, to a month or so ago. I get back in touch with him on another matter, and we catch up on what's been going on since he left. Turns out that rather than start his own firm from scratch (as was his original plan), he got the chance to start his own division within an existing company instead. And was, oh by the way, in talks to take that firm over once the owner decides to retire in the next couple of years. So at the end of that story, he asks what I'm up to and how things are going at my end. He knows most of the players, having done some consulting work for us since his departure, so he gets a lot of the shorthand. Long story short (ha), I get this offer about two weeks ago. A good one. With some pretty serious growth potential, and a clarity of career path which is more or less foreign with the current company. All that plus the fact that with a new, swiftly-growing firm there are plenty of things they haven't decided how to do yet, from a corporate policy perspective, and the chance to be involved with that appeals to my about-to-be-an-MBA brain quite a bit. The commute's about the same (Crystal City instead of DC), better health coverage, that sort of thing. And of course, more money. And did I mention I'm friends with the Big Boss? That doesn't hurt, either.

You can imagine how long I had to spend thinking about it.

The irony is that it's another federal contractor, and that's the one area I didn't expect to get involved with in a post-MBA career move. I had planned on going and looking into consulting, etc, with private-sector clients, and even had a small list of companies to go chasing. Instead, I got a job similar to what I'm doing, albeit a serious upgrade, and never had to update a resume or even really interview. It's something that I wouldn't necessarily have gone looking for, but I'm certainly glad it found me.

Six years is a long time to spend in one job, and truth be told the company has been pretty good to me overall during my time there. It's a big office, filled with a diverse group of smart, fun people, and that's something that's very difficult to find. While it is hard in it's own way to leave, it's the best move and I'm looking forward to the next step.

But in the meantime, I get to be a bum. Well, okay, not really. Since I'm not collecting unemployment or anything, I'm not technically a burden on society. And I won't be watching a whole lot of TV, what with the whole grad school thing going on. But being a bum sounds a whole lot better, doesn't it? The upside, though, is that I should be able to get on top of my classwork in such a way that makes the end of the semester a whole lot easier. I kind of wish that the move happened in August, between semesters, but you won't hear me complain. Much.

There seems to be a lot of this job-changing thing going around lately, I'm noticing. And that's just the people actually making changes; there are a number of other bloggers in the area either seriously considering changes or having changes looming in the not-too-distant future. In what I would describe as a relatively small community of local bloggers, that's an awfully high percentage. I don't know if it means anything, but I think it's significant.

Heck, it's almost enough people to co-host a HH. Well, almost...
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