Today most people are headed back into work and i have to start applying for jobs in earnest. I am nearly broke and need a job as soon as possible. I could just blitz the software engineer classifieds and given i have a work permit, a degree and 8 years experience i have no doubt i could net some interviews. But i just don't want to. I hate coming home feeling so mentally drained each day, i hate letting problems consume me and haunt my evenings and weekends, i hate staring at a screen all day, and to a certain extent i hate the people i work with. I haven't really gone into the latter too much before because it's a bit of a sweeping statement, but this is my journal so let's take out the broad brush for a moment.
Nerds are fucking annoying people to be around. They see the world as constructed of a very narrow set of rules they build up in their heads and will argue their view is right till they're blue in the face. There's no middle-ground, no stepping back to live and let live - when it comes to an intellectual disagreement they have to win. Sound familiar? Yes, i can be a terrific nerd too. But in an industry where meetings and peer reviews are a daily occurrence, it makes for a lot of heated arguments over things that really shouldn't be that big of a deal. For me being in the industry is a downward spiral - i really don't like the nerdy aspects of my personality and would like to let the rest of me come forward a little more, but because i'm surrounded by people who operate that way 24/7 i keep falling back into that mode as a sort of defense mechanism.
I don't even know if i should start on the über-nerds who are completely socially inept outside of their little world of open source or video games or science fiction or whatever their "thing" is. These are the people who toss out obscure quotes in response to normal questions and smirk at their in-jokes, apparently oblivious to what constitutes effective workplace communication. Water cooler chat can get particularly inappropriate. In some companies the whole software engineering department lives in that wacky über-nerd land and it puts people like me very much on the fringe. I understand their references because i've been exposed to that culture all my adult life, but i don't think they're funny, or clever, or relevant. It's like an upside-down high school where if you're NOT the quirky weirdo you're the odd one out.
One thing that scares me a lot about going back to university - especially to a Masters program - is that i'll end up surrounded by as many nerds as i would if i remained in software development. I don't fit in to that culture and it brings out some of my worst traits. The Masters programs i'm interested in are real ivory tower academic subjects - philosophy, political science, theology, ancient history, literature etc - and not exactly known for hatching social butterflies. At community college the vibe is completely different - there is a very broad cross-section of people who are all there simply to learn, not to prove to everyone else how smart they are. I think i am drawn to the down-to-earth programs at community college more because of the people and real-life utility than because the subjects particularly interest me per se. It's something i really need to be honest with myself about and figure out.
Of course the struggle in me right now is do i fall back on what i know or do i hold out for something different? It's a question of faith, really. Do i trust that someone out there will read my cover letter and not toss my application out as soon as they see that i am completely mis- or over-qualified? Having faith in being able to change careers surely isn't that different from having faith in being able to find any job in this economy after 10 months out of work. I have it - i do - i just don't know if anyone else does. I guess it doesn't matter.