The High-Brass Leadshot Milkshake
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2001-07-20 08:03:05 (UTC)

It's been too hot...

It's been too hot...

I could use a high-brass leadshot milkshake. Of course,
they don't sell those around here, and I'd have to drive a
thousand or so miles in the oven I call a car to get one.
I'd be willing to do that--if only I wasn't so tired.

I've been tired all the time lately. See, I've got this
job at a company which recently filed chapter 11 bankruptcy.
This job was supposed to be a "gateway to my career" and
all, but it's exhausting me. I came on as a tech a little
over a year ago. After coming on, the staff shot down from 20
employees to 6. At first 3 mutinied to start their own dot.gone,
then, one quit when presented with a pay cut. The 5 technical
support representatives (including myself) where laid off, and the
CEO decided to outsource technical support to some call-center 8
states away. After that, a disaster I'd feel better not trying to
describe struck, and threatened to wipe out the entire client base.

My former boss called me asking me if I'd found a job yet.
I told him that I hadn't. I'd looked into every tech joint
in Shit-Town, and noone was hiring, so I'd gone down to the
trusty old Department of Social Services to apply to file a
claim for unemployment compensation. My boss told me that
he couldn't afford to pay me what I was making and asked me
to name a number. I did. He said he couldn't go that high.
$25,000 a year was too high. I was relieved. In a few days
I'd start to draw a small check, and I'd be free to spend
all my time racking up IT certifications if I could nickel
and dime it...

Then, he called me again, right before I was about to call
in to the voice-mail based application service to finalize
my claim, and said he'd pay me $10 an hour. He did it in
such a way that I realized he'd contest my claim if I
didn't take him up on it. Scared to death of having to
rejoin the resteraunt industry I resignedly agreed.

When I came back to work everything was on the verge of
falling apart. 3 more people had been laid off and the
rest quit. We were down to four employees for a while, and
there was no administration department left. I
volunteered, and was promoted, but "because of these
bankruptcy laws" I wasn't allowed a raise during the "stay
of execution" which protected him from his creditors.

I'm told I've made this great "leap" in my career--that it
normally takes about 3-4 years experience before someone
gets the opportunity to do the type of work I'm doing. The
problem is, it's more work than I can do. More needs to be
done now than needed to be done when there were 20 people
here, and it just isn't possible to get it all done. On
top of that, the "stay of execution" is over and I still
haven't gotten a raise.

"Why--" you might ask "do I worry about it so much?

"It's only a job." you might say.

Well, it boils down to this: This place has a tougher IT
job market than any place I've heard of (with the exception
of Kankakee IL--but that's a different story). Remember
reading about the ghost-towns of the old west? When all
the gold ran out and everybody split--leaving empty
buildings behind? It's sort of like that--except there was
never any gold here to begin with.

I've played with computers off and on my entire something-
like-a-but-not-quite-a life. After I graduated high-school
in the Spring of '95, I went to college to Major in Comp
Sci... I lasted about two years, before I couldn't handle
the emotional and fiscal poverty that accompanied the work-
full-time-while-in-school-full-time life anymore and
dropped out... I wandered around, trying a bunch of things
out--getting to know myself better, and figuring out what I
wanted to do with my life... Other stories best saved for
other entries... Reminiscence has become hazardous
lately. it keeps me up at night.

I realized that I wanted to write novels or paint huge
paintings of my satirical interpretations of reality or
pump out my own comics--I wanted to do something creative
for a living... But, computers were the practical thing to
do. They were going to be what provided me with the means
to do all these other things. So I put everything else on
the back burner. Artists need studios, writers need time
off to think. That means money. So computers were
my "means" to that money. My means ended up sinking me
$10,000 in the hole.

Now, it's July 2001. I wonder why I ever listened to
anybody's advice about careers. My "career" has cost me
the best girlfriend I've ever had, my social life, my sense
of adventure...

I still haven't made it out of the dead-end town I swore I
would. Southern Appalatia is one of the most bio-diverse
areas of North America. That seems to be the only redeeming
quality. It's funny, because for all the bio-diversity of
Southern Appalatia, I haven't been laid in a long time.

And I'm angry.

And I'm unashamed about being angry.

Because I fucked up and I'm feeling sorry for myself--I
listened to other people when I shouldn't have...

And it's too hot.

And I'm afraid I'm burning out.

I could really use a High-brass Leadshot Milkshake to cool
me down...