I had no particular goal in Hamburg - it was simply a convenient overnighter before taking a cheap flight back to Vienna. As usual i just struck out from my hotel on foot and meandered randomly around town. In the late afternoon i came across a pub, where i sat down for a beer and some food. It was already pulling at my heartstrings because it felt a lot like my local in Toronto, but once the table of nerds sat down next to me for after-work drinks it was all over.
At least one of the nerds wasn't German, so they were speaking English amongst themselves. In a foreign country that always pricks up your ears, and that combined with them talking about something i do as my career had me eavesdropping like a News Corp journalist. Every little conversation point twisted the knife a little more. I fucked myself so, so badly at my previous job. These guys were having the usual after-work drinks, but instead of being viciously negative and bitter they just debated the merits of technology X vs technology Y, joked about "kickoff" meetings and soccer, lamented one of the developers not being able to make it out... Every quip and comment a reminder of what it means to work a job that is NOT completely and utterly soul-destroying, and to be around people who at least feign an interest in what they're being paid to do. I'm no ubernerd, but hearing these guys casually chat about technologies that we were still lightyears from even considering in my previous job was just crushing. Moving to Canada really pushed my career back 5 years, and the thing that most worries me is that this black hole of suck that was my previous job has damaged my chances for ever finding anything cool in the future.
The place still fucking haunts me. When i was in Vienna last time around i got an email from an ex-colleague that threw me completely off. I was so appalled at the way the management treated him after he got back from vacation it just brought back all the anger and frustration i should've left behind 2 months ago. He emailed this week to tell me he'd finally quit, but the ongoing gossip of all the other stupid, fucked up things going on there continues to break me up. And i know i shouldn't give a shit, but somehow i do. There are still a couple of people left there who are worth something, and it hurts to see them throwing their careers away the same way i did.
God i'm getting so stressed i need to go outside and have the last smoke i was saving for tomorrow morning.
* * *
So anyway, the moment i got back to dad's i was on LinkedIn updating my profile, updating my résumé to A4 sized paper, the works. I also posted a recommendation for the remaining people i care about who haven't left yet. Then i went on to start a mini job search, and have already identified two jobs i could apply for - one of which i almost certainly will tomorrow. This is partly after talking to U in Bremen, who was extremely persuasive about how wonderful it is to live in Berlin, but also that getting a job would be the number one thing i could do to really enjoy it. He's right - my savings are now halfway gone; admittedly largely due to the expense of traveling in America, but they won't last much longer if i keep traveling between cities and staying in hotels. I wish i could do it forever, but i really can't, and i don't want to drop down to couchsurfing or staying in hostels just to stretch things out. As much as the thought of settling down and looking for work horrifies me, i know it has to happen.
My current plan is start applying now, then head to Berlin and get a month-long vacation rental for October. If i only find one or two jobs a week that gives me about 10 chances to score an interview before i need to rethink my finances more seriously. It's not great odds when there are thousands of other European programmers who want to live the Berlin lifestyle, but if i don't get started it'll never happen. Fuck everything. The dismay over my last job is oozing back and i'm second-guessing my skills because i've spent so long NOT working in an environment that nurtured them. God, it's killing me. It's killing me. And if or when i do find something, i won't even have my best friend to go out for beers with after that first day or first week :-( I didn't feel alone or anxious when i was rambling, but stopping... Stopping is terrifying me.