Friday, March 23, 2012

NOW I remember what being happy feels like

        It's 10:30pm on a Friday and I'm sitting in my apartment mere blocks away from the downtown San Jose nightlife working.  And not working on anything really "cool" or "sexy", at least not to most people, in fact it's about as dry as you can get.  I'm working on a comparative analysis doc for different software components of the continuous integration system we're putting together at work, and I'm having a blast.  Realizing this made me stop and think, not about the specifics of the task itself, but the implications of the situation.

        My friend and fellow tech artist Rob Galanakis made a blog post a while back regarding a change in jobs/life he had gone through recently, and I guess it's my turn now.  It's so funny, you know, I'm the guy that's always saying "Ah, it's just a job, work's just a passing phase, etc", but you know, looking back I spent so much time propping myself up that I don't think I realized I wasn't following my own admonitions.  Even when I was in L.A., I feel like, in retrospect, that I was the guy who was married to someone who he wasn't really that into, but publicly proclaimed how incredibly hot his wife is, in a really feeble attempt to make himself feel better about it.  Clumsy analogy, but you get what I'm saying, that is, i feel like i've been deluding myself (poorly, I might add) in an attempt to miss the bigger issue.

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"That's delude yourself, dummy..."

        Maybe it's too early to tell, i've only been with Perceptual for a month, still in that honeymoon phase, but you know, I've never felt this sold after just a month.  That could just be because I'm so happy to be doing something different, but I think it's more than that.  I've told everyone this and it's true, this is seriously the hardest job I've ever had.  I'm having to pretty much draw on every bit of software development experience i've gathered in the last 12 or so years just to keep up, but you know, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Not being challenged at work is worst than death, and I mean GENUINE challenges, not the challenges of having to manage your managers.  I have ONE manager now who I report to, and by report to, I mean i tell him what i'm working on for the month and if it aligns with the groups charter, he gives me his blessing and doesn't bother me again for a month.  And when people ask my opinion and tell me to go do something, they mean, "we trust you to leverage your experience, so we're just going to get out of the way and let you execute".  Having been paid that lip service for the last 2+ years, this is a refreshing change.

        Ultimately, I know we're sitting in the pressure cooker.  In a year, we may not be around, but you know, I'm going to try my damndest to make sure that doesn't happen.  And you know, i feel like at this point, I actually can do that.  I feel like my contribution matters, I feel like my contributions are actually valued, I feel like I really can make a difference.  I haven't felt that at a job in...about 4 years.

        And you know, the most telling part overall is that at a high-stakes, high-pressure team inside of a large company like Intel, I've found that working environment I've been looking for.  The one the games industry claims to espouse, but really doesn't have a clue about how to create...that's interesting.

       Ah well...not gloating, not whining, just thinking.  It's good to be happy at work again.

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Not quite like this, but close enough considering...