May 25th, 2010

krazy koati

It takes time to love and open minds to love and who's got time on their hands

I do wonder if I could be happy staying around here indefinitely. But I also wonder, practically, whether it's possible to be around long enough to reach the ten-year mark where one gets a third week of annual vacation.

The company's got (by its nature) a limited potential market, yet what I do hear from the computer room people and the secretaries is that quite a few of the clients are unhappy, to the point that they --- and these are people who've been around as long as thirty years --- haven't heard such dissatisfaction before. The weak internal communications and the flaky nature of the software services the company provides are made tolerable, in the good years, by the need for the services and that the company's generous with make-goods. But these are not good times, and every customer we have is strained near the breaking point. I have a feeling that the breaking point is coming, and that the one thing I indisputably get out of this job --- stability --- may not last the fiscal year.

I haven't found a new academic post; possibly I could find a new programming job particularly with a resume that now looks as if I've been doing serious work; but what I really feel is that I need an independent source of income, ideally one that doesn't tie me too tightly to any particular location. I've had one freelance job doing web ... stuff ... that turned out very well; I made about a half month's income but I know I didn't put a half-month's hours into it. And my thesis advisor wants me to meet someone he's working with, for a possible consulting contract, next month. That's a slender basis to start an independent career on, particularly facing car payments and student loans, but if my doubts about the company --- and my doubts about my place in the company --- hold up it's surely better that I get that started now rather than later.

Trivia: The first voyages of the English East India Company were organized as separate ventures, with separate stockholders, whereas those of the Dutch East India Company shared a common subscriber base. Source: The Company: A Short History Of A Revolutionary Idea, John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge. (Somewhere around here I have a source that says competing English East India Company ventures would occasionally descend into open gunfire with each other, and I think I know which source that is, but there's no me finding it in time.)

Currently Reading: Faust In Copenhagen: A Struggle For The Soul of Physics, Gino Segrè. Well, it's about one of the then-annual meetings without agenda in which the leading quantum physicists of the day (and all time) talked it out, so there's a struggle there, but it's more metaphorical than even the title would suggest. It was an interesting struggle but not a titanic one, it feels.