I have a fear of being burned – not physically (ok, yeah – physically too), but emotionally. I’ve been burned before by ex-girlfriends, friends, family, coworkers, neighbors…I don’t know. Whatever it was, parting was never amicable. I’m sure my behavior didn’t help either. Some people draw a line with tolerance for stupidity…well, I can cross that line if I have to. Many times. I have a big mouth and I’m never afraid to use it, though lately, I’ve been quite good and I’ve kept my mouth shut. Kind of.
Deactivating my Facebook account greatly reduced the friction that I was giving myself and probably others.
I don’t know what it is, but it really doesn’t help with getting to know people (not the big mouth, but the fear of getting burned). I do have a desire to connect, but sometimes, it seems that I’m just so wary of what might happen that I do come off as superficial. My randomness probably doesn’t help.
The few people who I do keep within arms’ length are quite close. They’re my wolfpack. They don’t know it, but I’d do anything for them. I’ll break your heart so I can give you mine – actually, that’s a quote from a song by Garbage, and now that I listen to it again, it’s quite a sadomasochistic verse. Sounds malicious, but there’s good intent there. Damn, Garbage was a great band.
But I digress. Through no choice of mine, I do spend a lot of time at work – so yeah, I can admit that some coworkers are part of that wolfpack.
I have a few coworkers from previous jobs that I remain good friends with to this day, even if our contact with each other is nowadays limited to the occasional email or text. I traveled extensively with them and I was mentored and was taught the ways of the world by them. My approach to testing and engineering was molded by a small number of people whom I can count on one hand, for which I am grateful. If there was ever a group of people who worked hard and played hard, it was my group…but yeah, sometimes, the latter manifested itself way more than the former.
I’m still struggling to fit in with my current coworkers though. I’m in a weird position – I’m not exactly young, but I surely don’t act mature. I think I’ve turned down lots of invitations to social things not because I don’t want to go, but because I can’t. My family comes first. When I die, I don’t want my kids to remember me as never being home.
Similarly, I’m in cahoots with some senior folks, not that I sought it out. A lesson I learned from different people along the way – good work is rewarded by more work. Another lesson: your reputation precedes you. Basically – my work ethic is my own downfall when I say to my family and friends that work is keeping me busy. The good thing – it’s been interesting work and for the most part, I have complete ownership of it. I do set my own milestones and though I answer to internal and external customers, at the end of the day, I can only blame myself for any lack of progress should any roadblocks exist.
Ironically, I’m struggling with becoming more professional. What exactly does it mean to be professional? I get paid to do what I do. Yes, I am a professional in that respect. However, there seems to be a well-known rule that professionalism also implies the wearing of slacks and the tucking-in of shirts, to which, I respond – did somebody die or is someone getting married? If the answer to either question is yes, then I believe that a clearly-visible beltline and pants that require ironing are required. Otherwise, if my day may involve crawling on a floor to run cables, lifting heavy equipment, or the use of a spectrum analyzer, then I don’t believe that slacks make me more professional. I’m not management material yet (though I’ve been told otherwise) so I think I can still commiserate with peers and get away with wearing jeans without holes.
I just don’t want to be burned again. The last time I hinted at upward mobility within a work environment, I was shunned and effectively, little did I know it, but bridges were being burned for me.
Unfortunately, I think that the biggest cause for concern isn’t being burned by coworkers, but being burned by work – or for my situation – impending lack thereof.
It’s looming and I know that it’s inevitable.
BTW – the picture this week – it’s a picture of my legs a few hours after a set of interval runs to calculate my maximum heart rate. I’m training with a heart rate monitor now.
Max heart rate: 186 bpm
Resting heart rate (per Kaiser): 41 bpm
What do my legs have to do with the topic? They were burning.