Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cube Life

First of all I must say that I wasn’t expecting the outpouring of encouragement about the cat situation. I wrote that rant just to get it out of my head. I was beginning to obsess about it; the old knotty feeling in my stomach was coming back. It seemed like giving my problem to the blogosphere helped in the past and once again it didn’t disappoint. Thank you for putting yourself in my shoes for a few minutes giving me your impressions. You all really mean a lot to me.

Now moving on. It was three and a half weeks ago that I wrote this and I think it is worth revisiting the topic. The main issue I want to address is: Have things changed? The honest answer is sort of. Despite Dean’s pleas of “please don’t worry about it until you get home!” I am feeling a little more sure of myself and a little less lost.

I think I’ve done a better job of fitting in than I was a few weeks ago. I’m more or less officially in the Friday lunch crowd. Seeing as though my income is nearly 100% disposable at this point I find great pleasure in the expensive restaurants we go to! I occasionally walk with the walking crowd in the afternoons. And I’ve finally exposed myself as the liberal cat-lover I am. (Side note: In academia pretty much all physicists are democrats. Not so in industry. Apparently things change when you hit the $100k/year mark. But I will not be swayed!) Most importantly, these days I see my role in this company more clearly.

Over the course of group meetings and conversations I’ve become acutely aware that there is a Ph.D. student scheduled to graduate at the same time as me and the group I’m in badly wants him to join. It is unlikely they would want us both to join the group and if they did, I would certainly be in this guy’s shadow. His dissertation is on the exact topic I’m working on now. It’s almost as if he was groomed to work for this group and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. When I learned of this, I was surprisingly relieved. That ruled out scenarios 1 and 3 on my list. And scenario 2 in which I speculated that finding a different job in the Minnesota branch of the company was unlikely may not even be correct. I have sat in on meetings with experimental groups who look like they are doing interesting stuff. Of course the groups working at the California branch are doing the most interesting work but that’s not surprising in the least. However California is absolutely not an option for us. Sorry, Cali friends but it’s just way too far from home. My biggest geographical constraint right now is we must be east of (or on) the Mississippi River.

So anyway, working for this company in this location may not be out of the question after all. I’ve had a very frank discussion about this with Dr. Hari, who thinks it would be a good idea to network with these other groups as long as it isn’t at the expense of my productivity. Since it is becoming more of an understanding that this is just a summer arrangement, I don’t anticipate anyone feeling used or deceived. (Dr. Hari, the king of puns, made it well known in this conversation that he doesn’t see me pursuing a career in modeling- not that I’m not pretty enough. Thanks.) Working here in an experimental role is definitely attractive right now.

Whether or not Dean and I want to move back here is totally up in the air and will be a very weighty decision. It is so easy to be seduced by Minnesota in the summer- the lakes, the endless daylight, the Twins. But we mustn’t forget the desolation and darkness that is winter. However, these past weeks have opened my eyes to the importance of being near family and loved ones. I never appreciated being able to just stop by my mom’s for a beer and the game, or vegging out with stepsis. I’ve arrived at the fact that I could be very happy 9-5 if I could have all those things. As you all know, it’s the climate we struggle with immensely. But who knows- landing a cushy corporate job even at the experimental level isn’t a trivial matter. There may be no decision at all.

The important thing today and tomorrow is that I’m content. Contentness makes the days go fast and makes me miss Deano just a tiny bit less.


greensunflower said...

I am glad things are going better! One day at a time is the best policy and it looks like that is what you are using!!

I didnt weight in on your kitty situation, because being a purebread, papered, way too expensive dog owner, I know nothing of these issues. But wanted to say, go with your gut, do what is right in your eyes and let the rest of the world iron itself out.

MyUtopia said...

Woohoo, glad things are getting better.

Runner Girl FL said...

I knew you would find your feet eventually. I figured it was going a little better when I started getting fun e-mails from you during the day.

Scott said...

I just got used to everyone being a democrat, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the company I work for now is almost all turned around from that. There is something to be said about that 100K barrier, and I think for the most part you are right, although the CEO of my last company was a hardcore Dem, and even brought political issues up in company meetings.

It sure sounds like things are going well for you. We are thinking about moving to Houston for the very same reasons you are thinking about your move. We have the same hesitation, but because it's so damn hot there during the summer.

Everything sounds so exciting for you. The future is uncertain and yet clearly so hopeful.

Roll in it, Nat.

magnetbabe said...

Those are all such simple mantras, but actually living them has been tough the last several weeks. I think I'm finding a stride.

And I haven't even hit the halfway mark. Who knows how good it'll get?

A big part was the change in projects. I went from straight programming to doing some simulations. That's more the pace I'm used to- push some buttons and wait for it to spit out a bunch of data.

I'll be very curious to follow your decision making process and see where you arrive- both mentally and geographically. I really wish the heat, not the cold was the problem. I'm envious.

lefty_grrrl said...

I could never live that far north, or too far south. I can't handle long-term temperature extremes.

Here in St. Louis, right on the Mississippi River, we have a full complement of seasons. It's quite nice. And during the winter, which can be cold and snowy, we always seem to get these random 70-degree and sunny days. It's always nice.

Wait, what were we talking about?

e.b. said...

Aww I am glad things are settling down - being involved in the lunch group is big, it sounds cheesy but it really does make a difference to be a part of the group. As for the bigger decisions - you guys will come to the right decision. Before you know it you will be back home with the Hubby too (oh and ENJOY the nicer temps!)

fermicat said...

Sounds like the picture is starting to get a little clearer. I'm glad to hear that work is more enjoyable now. It's important to find people at work to do things with, even if it is only the lunch thing.

This is unrelated to your post (other than being a work thing), but I just got my tickets and hotel reservations for a conference in Minneapolis. Small world, eh? It will be my first time there, aside from changing planes at MSP. I'm glad this conference is in July and not January!!

magnetbabe said...

You also have your family there. Too bad mine is crazy enough to live up here.
So if we moved to St. Louis, would I have to become a Cardinals fan? More importantly, would I be ostracized for being a Twins fan?

It's like 75 with no humidity right now. And you're right Friday lunch is good. I was reluctant to go at first but then I thought what the heck. Turns out to be a lot of fun, but unfortunately they're not into Friday lunch cocktails like the grad students back home!

Enjoy your time here! Remind me before you come and I'll give you some restaurant suggestions. I hope you have good weather. Best case scenario it'll be like today- warm, breezy no humidity. Worst case- it'll be just like home. :D

Toni Anderson said...

Moving away from home is a difficult thing to do, but it doesn't have to be permanent.

I'm reading PJ Tracy's books right now, based in your neck of the woods. If anything would drive me from Manitoba it would be the cold and the bugs. :P I'm a wimp but I've lasted three winters so far. I do miss my family though!