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wet hair, bright eyes
swing
amw
Last weekend i went to one of the best parties i have been to since i moved here. It was Mira's birthday, the same party that was happening the Sunday before i started my first day of work last year. I remember talking to the bouncer back then being bummed i could only come for a few hours. Katerholzig was packed and i had to leave the party right at the anfang, knowing i'd need to be up fresh and early Monday without a hangover. This year i took Monday and Tuesday off, and showed up around midnight Sunday. It was insanely cold and there was a ridiculous line of frostbitten ravers outside. They weren't letting anyone in and eventually closed the doors... but one of the bouncers walked the line just before closing and on seeing me there, ushered me in like a VIP. I felt like a bit of an ass, but on the other hand it's nice to be recognized as one of the regulars. Inside i met a full house of people i remember from old Kater, from Garbicz, from Renate, from the Bucht, all over the place. I bumped into so many expected and unexpected faces and danced to so much amazing music, i was over the moon. The line-up was 2 days back-to-back of all my favorite artists. I only left sometime after midnight the next day, after several naps, several small meals and a lot of alcohol. I slept all Tuesday, and coming into work Wednesday i was on cloud nine. My whole body was aching, but i felt so happy.

Of course it only took a few hours to fall back into the usual work frustrations. But still. Parties like that are why it doesn't matter.

I have to keep telling myself that, because work is really starting to piss me off. There are a lot of process problems in the company, largely to do with people building little empires and not working together to achieve our product goals. It got worse when they recently hired a new VP who has made no secret about how he thinks all the problems are because of product, and engineers should be free to do whatever they want because they can do no wrong. I cannot begin to explain how completely opposed to that philosophy i am. I have worked really hard over the last year to make my team different. In my team product management, user experience, back end, front end and QA really try to help each other out so we can deliver a great product. That all came to a head in the last two weeks when we pulled out all the stops to try to get a really awesome feature done in time for Christmas. I am bursting with pride at my guys' work. This Friday we were all going to collaborate to test the last pieces so we could contribute something truly great for next week's release.

...until we were shut down Friday morning when a couple of panicked colleagues in a different team called an all-stop "to minimize risk". My guys were so let down. But not as let down as i was. It's not that i didn't understand my colleagues - there have been several very large fuck-ups in the last couple weeks, and we only have one more release before Christmas so we can't afford another one. But all of those fuck-ups were because of other teams cutting corners and sacrificing quality, and in the end we - as a team who did things the right way - are the ones getting burned. And then the cherry on top, even though we didn't get the full feature in that we planned to, we have enough of a working product that it could go live anyway... but that was nixed too for performance reasons. Now with ops guys complaining about how much extra strain it would put on the servers... When they have known for over 6 months what this feature was going to be and when we planned to have it live. Now they are caught with their pants down because we actually did what we said we would. Yeah. And our fucking VP thinks he should be giving the engineers MORE freedom to play with toys while ignoring the product? Fuck off.

I was so angry i was icy cold to one of my team members who was having her last day before maternity leave. And i skipped out on my work Christmas party in spite of my guys specifically inviting me to come along. I was livid, and spent yesterday updating my LinkedIn and Xing profiles so i could look for a new job. In reality, i do like the company i work at in theory, and we do have some really interesting technical challenges... and i did feel like there was still room for me to help my guys grow. But that was when i thought i was going to be able to influence the other teams to take the same kind of product-focused direction we were, which is the exact opposite message coming from our new VP. Yeah, let's puff up the egos of these already-arrogant and overpaid programmer types and forget about the fact that the point of our company is to sell people real-world products that make them happy.

I am less pissed off today, and i have a couple of meetings with two higher-ups next week to further discuss my discontent. We'll see what happens. Obviously i'm not about to change jobs overnight, but i'm thinking about it. If i want to work in a company full of ivory tower programmers there are a dozen other companies in Berlin that pay more and have better perks.

I am debating whether to go out this afternoon. Obviously i kind of need the dance, even though "standard" Sundays are never as fulfilling as the parties where i don't need to worry about getting home early enough for work the next day. The thing is, a couple weeks ago i massively bruised my ankle doing something i don't remember, and spending almost a day on the dancefloor last weekend just busted it up even further. It'd probably be wise to spend another day resting in bed, even though tomorrow i'm back on my feet for a week. But, eh, i've been in bed since Friday night and i don't want to get the blues.

Speaking of the blues, i finally emailed my mom back after a couple months the other day. She is very concerned i am not taking medication. But, you know, over the last year i have felt saner and happier than i ever have before. I am beginning to think strongly that a lot of mental illness is tied to or triggered by environmental factors. For me, things that have always been trigger-y are my obligations outside of work (family, friends and partners) and my sense i ought to live up to some kind of ideal. Since i threw all that away, sure, it might look like my life is a little hollow and meaningless... but that is exactly how i feel the most free and zufrieden. I no longer feel like i owe anyone anything. I never have to be anywhere or do anything i don't want to. I don't own a bunch of bullshit that either pulls me into a whirlwind of wanting more bullshit or a torrent of regret and despair. I never feel like i'm missing anything or i should have done something, because each day i just bum around and do whatever simple or outrageous thing makes me happy. And fuck whoever else. I met H again the other day who i haven't seen or spoken to in months, and we bonded, but she expressed pity that my life was so lonely and one-note. Huh? Well, i guess. But you know, this minimalist and solitary lifestyle has left me far less miserable and regretful and manic than 15 years of trying to make people happy ever did. And i still love my friends and try to make strangers smile and dance like there is no tomorrow. Meds? Eh. Fuck it.
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If you're happy, you're happy. Nobody has the right to tell you that the way you are living your life is wrong. If you are not hurting anybody and you are genuinely happy, then...

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