Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Confusion, Crisis, and Disillusionment: A Preface, Part 1

This is the first post of what will be many on my current personal state of being and thinking. For the past several years now I have been experiencing a myriad of different things which have greatly affected me. From my core beliefs to the way I view other people and myself, to my general perspective of life and my ability to reason, I have been and continue to be changed. It's worth noting that some of what I'm experiencing are probably the effects of a quarter life crisis, which I accept. I'll hastily point out that while I am clearly experiencing some symptoms, there are some that I am unquestionably devoid of. These include boredom with social interactions and a desire to have children, with which anyone who knows me would quickly agree.

On a final preceding note I'll say that posts such as these may prove to be boring to most people. However I believe that there will be a handful that find it interesting, either because they are conducting sociological research on my age group or because the find they can relate. At any rate, here we go!

While I'd say I have been experiencing this seemingly endless metamorphic state for much longer, I'll start my ramblings with November 2005. At that time I had been working for a small software company in St. Augustine, FL for about 5 years. I started working there when I was 19 and worked on through my time at university, at which I was studying computer science. I enjoyed it at first as I was new to the industry and had many opportunities to learn many different things, including how (small) business functions, conducting marketing research, and many things related to technology. Most of what I learned had to do with software development, as that was the focus of my studies and my position in the company. However after 3 or so years, I began to stagnate. I attribute this to the stagnation of the company, which made several efforts to grow, and while successful on some very small levels, failed to ever really ascend to the next level. Aside from the fact that this indicated a clear (and comparatively low) ceiling on what I could achieve financially, it also clarified the immediate lack of intellectual opportunity. It's not that there were never tasks of moderate difficulty, there were, but there was nothing that would challenge me to a point at which I would evolve to a higher level of intellect. To me this was not acceptable, and the search for new work proceeded.

In November 2005 I was offered an exciting position at a start up which formed to provide a new breed of technological solutions to the voting world, in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Even though the company was a start up (which mean less pay), I was absolutely ecstatic to take it because of the industry, challenges, and locations it offered. The company was an American child company of a parent based in England, and some of the development team was defecting. My first task was to go to England for a 2-week training session with the developers, and it was absolutely amazing. The work was enjoyable, my colleagues were both intelligent and progressive in their fields, and the challenges were altogether scintillating - I couldn't have been more excited.

Fast forward to April 2006. While I was very please with my new job, there was one insurmountable problem: the company was afloat by capital invested solely from the parent company, and the parent company was tanking. Yeah. When things turn for the worse, what must one do to survive? Whatever one must do, and in the case of the parent company that meant abandoning the child. So in April 2006 I found myself officially unemployed by downsizing.

Fortunately I had just started doing some contract work with a good friend, so it wasn't the absolute end of the world. In fact at first I wasn't really fazed at all. Having been led to believe the company would bounce back in a month or so, I rather liked the idea of a little down time and some freelance. As it happened, the down time became true unemployment, and the freelance wasn't as plentiful as needed. Things began seeming more clouded for me. I was disappointed and frustrated at having lost a position that I had found so exciting, and while freelancing provided some income, it didn't satiate my need for intellectual growth. However it was during this notably awkward time in my life that my friend and I incubated and brought into fruition another project. This was truly fulfilling, even if on different levels. However by design it wouldn't pay the bills, and so shortly after the launch I once again began my search in the "real world" for a "real job."

I'll end this post here as it's becoming almost indigestible :-).