Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What Do You Do?

It's not that I mean to complain about my new job, mind you. It's just that grousing makes for much more humorous commentary than expressing contentment does.

Still, there really isn't enough to do, to the point where I can work myself up to slight spasms of anxiety through wondering why, exactly, was I hired? I spend a lot of time doing nothing. I'm ready, willing (oh so very!), and able; but the work doesn't seem to be there. What work there is does not seem to have a lot of purpose in the grand scheme of things (i.e., outside our division section).

Maybe I just need a more existential attitude.

Actually going to work is loads of fun, or at least it beats the hell out of staying home. We spend a lot of time on break. A lot. I'm good with this, because I have really cool coworkers, almost all of whom are very funny, many of whom are unusually intelligent, and one of whom regularly serenades me with earth-shattering burps. And when I can't go on break with coworkers, there's doodling. Or listening to Stereolab. Or using scotch tape to catch those annoying little tiny black flies that infest my plants. Or reading up online about the weather, because NOAA is one of the only external web sites permitted for employees at my workplace to browse. Let me tell you, the weather is fucking riveting after you've been reading highway construction plans for a few hours.

Not to complain, mind you.

But actually, it works out well overall because when people ask me what I do, I have a cool-sounding answer. It doesn't sound bad to say I analyze roadway data for maintenance in the database; it sounds even better if I skip the explanation and say that I'm a "Systems Analyst." Never mind that pretty much everyone where I work is a "systems analyst," including people who have to call the IT department for help figuring out how to use a web browser.

I don't have to sell anything or lie to anybody. I have friends. I live in Travis Heights with awesome neighbors, walk on the hike-and-bike every day, and even have something sort of resembling a social life. It works. This is good.


At May 17, 2006 9:05 PM, Anonymous B.R. said...

Greetings from your favorite serenader. I have to say there was something about this post that I connected with. I often find myself having a strikingly similar attitude about my job and my life in general these days. Granted, I do have much more to do than you and my work involves making maps and designing book covers which I really love. Still, I'm not exactly bogged down most of the time. Agencies such as ours move in slow motion compared to the rest of the world, or at least the rest of America. At first it was a bit shocking but now I'm starting to appreciate it.

My roommate works for a private company. Sure he makes twice what I make, but he also works 60-70 hours a week, is always stressed out, has moutains of work, and has ten different bosses who are always threatening to fire the whole bunch if they don't start "putting the company first." His office is also surrounded by a vast, treeless, concrete landscape crawling with endless lines of traffic, Wal-Mart and chain restaurants. In short, suburban hell.

I, on the other hand, make a pleasant 20 minute bike ride to work each day through the quiet streets of Travis Heights where people wave at me as I pedal under the shade of stately old live oaks. I may hit the gym or have breakfast at Whole Foods before I get to work. At work my boss respects and trusts me and generally leaves me to do the things I need to do at my own pace (which is still faster than the standard agency pace). I take leisurely lunches at Whole Foods each day which generally involves a 10 minute bike along the shady shores of the Town Lake hike & bike trail. I have friends and fun coworkers to chat with and liven up the day, and I see them frequently throughout the day. After a good 7 or 8 hour day I cut out between 4 and 5PM and sometimes head over to Barton Springs for a swim or to just lie in the grass and watch the people while listening to my iPod. After a couple of hours I may bike over to Portabla or South Congress Cafe (local favorites) for dinner before biking home through the quaint and curiously personable streets of South Austin. In the evening I may watch one of my Netflix selections on my giant 55" high def cinema screen tv or I may tend some of my potted plants to see if I have any new blooms. After my shower I may read a bit, surf the net on my supremely amazing MacBook Pro, or do a little freelance web design before calling it a night.

The point of this is that I really don't complain about things anymore. I really can't. Life is as near perfect as it has ever been for me and I want to savor every moment while it lasts.

At May 18, 2006 6:20 AM, Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

I want to work where you work!


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