Sunday, August 1, 2010

Can anybody find me somebody...?

Once more I'm in thoughts about myself, my identity and the social world around me.

I'm going to tell a little secret: I do have a minor crush on some celebrity (if he's famous enough to be called that).
I should be too old for something like this, too mature. I am not sure what it is about him, he's not some unearthly beauty. I am not even sure if there is a sexual component to it. I like the way he moves (alright, maybe there is something slightly sexual in that). And I really like his style. It's nothing fancy. But when I look around, there don't seem to be a lot of people like that.
I have met him twice now, and he's a very friendly and likeable person. Of course this crush is going nowhere, not only, but also because he's taken.
The point of me telling this? I caught myself thinking: "I wish there was someone like this in my life".

There's those moments when I feel like I'm not the only one of a kind.
When I met Michael, my favourite colleague at my old job, maybe I felt some similarity there, too. He liked Black Books, and he knew who Bright Eyes was. But we never got close, not even as friends.
I've watched a DVD by My Chemical Romance and saw the singer wave around a replica of Sting.

If three guys of that kind exist, there surely must be more?

When I think of someone, a possible friend, I only ever think of guys. Why?
I'm not sure. I just generally prefer the company of men. Though of course the possibility of sexual and romantic tension poses a risk. But maybe also my longing for some sexual and/or romantic relationship mixes in with it. I'm not sure. It's as it is.

I am aware that at my age the chance that a guy I like is already in a relationship is very high. If he is, friendship will be difficult. Even if he's not, I don't think there's much chance of him being interested in me, even less in a non-platonic way.
But I feel so lost and lonely. Just a casual friendship would be an improvement.

If not somebody to love then someone to talk to who understands. Someone who gets my jokes. Someone to go to concerts with.
Just somebody.

This blog post's title is taken from "Somebody to Love" by Queen. Read more on this article...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

review: Suppli

Suppli is my second favourite josei manga so far. And sorry: I have no idea what the title means.
Apparently in Japan there's seven volumes so far and there's also a drama series (according to wikipedia). Tokyopop USA published three volumes, but then stopped. Fortunately they have started again and just this summer issued Volume 4 and 5 in one book.

Rating: 4/5
Volumes: 7 (so far?)
Mature content: some, but not very graphic
Genre: Josei

Minami Fuji is 27 years old and works at an advertisement office. After she splits up with her boyfriend of seven years, she realizes she has always spend her free time with her boyfriend and no one else and thus has no friends.
She tries to concentrate on working hard, and starts spending her free time with her coworkers. She doesn't know how to socialize well, but they take her up into their midst anyway. One of them is romantically interested in her, but Fuji meets a new colleague who has just been transferred and falls for him. They start having a casual relationship, and she starts getting attached to him - and then finds out he is involved with another coworker, a married woman she had adored because of her seeming ease to combine being a working woman with being a feminine one, too.

Maybe I like Suppli because I can identify with Fuji. She is so clumsy about her social life and absolutely "un-cute", she's not a very girly or sexy type: "I really do want to be kinder and happier and cuter but something inside of me gets in my way."
Her appearance is practical, made to fit her work life, not made to be attractive, and she has a hard time trying to look more feminine.

Apparently the series depicts the work life in Japan very well, and I have to say I'm glad I don't work there, it seems very stressful. It is interesting to read though, and maybe gives a little insight into a foreign culture and work life at an advertising company.
At the end of every book there's one page with explanations and cultural notes - a great idea and very helpful at times.

The drawings take some getting used to, in my opinion. Especially the men look so similar that it's sometimes hard to tell them apart.
Some double pages have a background connecting the panels, raindrops, leaves, starry sky, etc., which creates a really beautiful and dense atmosphere. Read more on this article...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

review: Love Blog!!

No, this is not going to be a blog post about love, this is my first review of a josei manga. Which is called - you guessed it - "Love Blog!!", written and drawn by Akira Fujiwara.
Love Blog!! has three volumes, followed by a sequel called "Love Blog!! Next" (which I haven't read).

Rating: 3/5
Volumes: 3 (4 including the sequel), finished
Mature content: yes, some
Genre: Josei

Leading character is Eriko, a 23-year-old secretary with hobbies like long phone calls, going out and dancing, getting dressed up, shopping and drinking. Her best friend, cousin and room mate is annoyed by her constant ranting about childish men so he tells her to write it all into a blog. Thus every chapter ends with Eriko typing her thoughts about what happened into her blog.
She has set her mind on finding the perfect man, good-looking, nice and of course he has to be rich, too. In walks her new boss, who seems to be all that - except that he's got a girlfriend. So she drowns her sorrow in alcohol, has sex with her "childish" colleague who she knows has a big crush on her. On her way home she meets her boss who just split up with his jealous and controlling girlfriend and they have some amazing sex in the park.
Yes, that's how it starts.

Honestly Eriko is a bitch. She set her mind on getting together with her boss and his reunion with his girlfriend won't stop her, so she makes them break up. In the meantime she uses her colleague for sex and comfort (though she makes it clear she's out for the boss). Maybe some women can identify with her. I can't.
After the first book I gave it another chance. The second volume gets a little better as some conflicts arise when her gay cousin rebuffs her "femme fatale" best friend and her boss/boyfriends ex turns into a stalker.

The best and deepest characters in this series are the male ones, though her "perfect" boss Kai to a lesser extend than her supposedly childish colleague Azumi and her gay cousin Masami. All women are extremely dislikable.
In spite of all that it's readable, there aren't ridiculously many sex scenes and there's actually a plot. And it's only three volumes anyway. Cliffhangers at the end of each volume help continuing, too.
If you like "Sex and the City", you might like this manga, too. Read more on this article...

A month passed

I feel the need to blog about my new job, having spend a month there. But honestly I'm not sure what to say? What is important about starting a new job?

Well, first of all I found that a big part of the team is rather new, as is the organization. Many processes are not efficient or not yet established. For someone new this is a little confusing, but maybe also a chance to shape things.
On the other hand there's a set of Web 2.0 tools that are implemented, a wiki, a company instant messenger, a company-wide social network, and there's going to be more. Unfortunately not a lot of people use them yet, but I'm positive it will get better. To me it shows that at least the IT and a few decision-makers are open minded, looking into the future and trying to adapt and change things.

I've had a hard time finding into my actual job. What do I do there? I'm still not completely sure. As I said, the team I'm in is new and so there's no very clear instruction. But I think I'm getting there, slowly.
My first project will be finishing another project from earlier this year. It proves to be rather tricky because no one really seems to know how it's working. It has been implemented by an external coworker.

My colleagues are nice. There's not a lot of distance to those in higher positions, it seems. This week I was at a conference in a really good hotel with a colleague. I think it shows respect of the people to really send the ones who will have to work with the product. A lot of companies only send managers to such events.
There doesn't seem to be much of a dress code either, which I admit surprised me a little. After all this is a retail company selling clothes and furniture. I mean it's not high class designer products, but not exactly cheap either.
Also I seem to be one of the oldest. It's kind of strange when I think about it: my team leader is 2 years younger than me, the departmement head a few years older and the division manager 10 years older. But since they have more experience and do a different job, in every day work it's not much of a problem.
I'm not sure whether there's potential friends among my colleagues. One actually freaks me out, he always seems to be smirking; I'm trying to ignore it, but it makes me uncomfortable. Amongst the others... it's hard to say. No one I'd spontaneously think as absolutely sympathetic. But it's only been a month. I do miss having someone like my favorite colleague at the old job, someone from another departement with who you can get together from time to time to talk and maybe vent a little.
The IT guys always walk past my desk, and there's one or two good looking ones. ;) But we weren't introduced (yet).

Well, that's it, that's the update after one month of work at the new job. Read more on this article...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I'll miss

As much as I disliked the other town, there's some thing I will miss here.

Michael, my favourite colleague.
Of course there are nice people here, too, but I really got along very well with him. I trusted him. I could talk about all kind of things with him. He helped me a lot, probably more than he knows. He also had a way to calm me down when I needed it. He's a great guy.

My yoga teacher.
It's not easy finding the right teacher for you. She looked after everyone, so no one would do asanas that weren't good for them. And at the beginning of every course we'd talk a little about an aspect of yoga philosophy.

Living in the city centre.
It's very convenient to live close to all kinds of stores. To be able to go shopping for clothes on your way home instead on Saturdays in packed stores. Most of the street festivals and activities were close by, too.

Ready made fruits in single-friendly portions.
Like that one store always used to have. They also had a small salad buffet. Perfect for single life. Unfortunately I don't live close to one anymore.

Chocolate buns for breakfast.
Sometimes I can't eat much early in the morning, so it was perfect getting something to eat on the way to the bus, or eating it at work while all the programs were booting.

I guess this is a chance to get rid of some bad habits I developed and try to change some things. For example I'll try to wear contacts to work every day (I can't see very well with my glasses). And I want to take up Nordic Walking again.
Unfortunately I'm sure I'll also develop new bad habits. Read more on this article...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pull yourself together 'cos you know you should do better

Recently I've been thinking. About identity, and changing yourself for the sake of others.
I know, I know. It's "philosphically incorrect" to do that. "Be yourself", they say, "faking won't make you happy", they say. But what if no one likes you the way you are? "There is someone somewhere that will like you." Yeah? Well, I am right here, right now, and I am lonely. That maybe somewhere in the world there is someone who might like me or maybe I will meet someone like that sometime does not help me now.

Of course there are people who like me.
I've been told people at work like me. That's not the like I mean. We get along ok. But they won't miss me when I'm gone. They won't think of me. They don't want to share their life with me.
There's internet acquaintances who say they like me. I believe them, and I like them, too. I do consider them friends, in a way. But still - something is missing.
Then there's my family. Yes, they love me. They often miss me. But... that's not enough. I want someone to love me who does not know me from an age where I couldn't go to the toilet alone.

I am following tinybuddha on Twitter. Recently there have been two posts that are connected with what's going on in my mind at the moment.
"How to deal with negative people" I retweeted this, but I didn't dare to add that people knowing me might need it. Yes, I am negative. And I know I shouldn't be. People don't like people like that. But it's really hard to be different; in a way that's just how I am. It's how I see things. I admit I don't think I could be able to constantly filter what I'm saying and check it for negativity and think how people would react to it. In a way it wouldn't feel right either. It wouldn't be genuine. Could anyone really be my friend who only knows what passed my internal "don't say something negative" censorship? And what would there be left to say? Would there be anything left to say? I mean, I guess that it's not be too bad, talking less and listening more, but I do want to tell a bit about myself, too. What to answer if they ask how I am doing or how my day was? But still I want to try to better myself, a little at least, as much as I feel comfortable with.
"There's nothing wrong with you." I don't really think I'm an awful person. I think I'm good, mostly. But I have found that that's not enough. I have been more or less independent from peer groups all my life. I'm sure most people will find that something positive, and I thought so myself for a long time, maybe in a way I'm still thinking like that. But where has it brought me to? I'm living alone in a place where I have no friends. There are many days, when I'm off work, that I don't see anyone (and with anyone I mean anyone). There are some days, when I'm not working, the stores are closed and I'm not talking on the phone with my mum, that I don't utter a single word.

I am suffering. I don't like my life like that. I want to change. Though a part of me thinks that I'm generally a good person, I also think that there's something wrong with me. Otherwise I would not be in this situation. There are uglier people than me being loved, and hell, even Hitler found someone to marry. There's got to be something... Even though I am alright for myself, I am not all right for others, and that again is making me feel bad.
But I don't know what to do. I don't know what the problem is. Not exactly. Is it only my negativity? Is there something else? And can I change it? (Unfortunately I have a terrible lack of self-discipline.)
I just don't know what to do. I feel helpless.

And I wonder: would I be different if someone loved me? If I got a hug now and then, if someone adored me, if I got some love & affection. Would my life be better? Would I be more positive? Would other people also like me more? Would I be a better person?
It sounds like a vicious circle.

This blog post's title is taken from "Spread Your Wings" by Queen. Read more on this article...

Friday, May 14, 2010

So uncute?

I thought about maybe starting to post some reviews of mangas or animes here.
I'm not a big expert on the scene, but there's a few gems I think I found.

My first contact with anime was back many years. I was in a depressive phase. I was living with my parents, hanging around all day, not doing much, not wanting to do much. By chance I watched the children's program one afternoon and they were just giving an insight into one specific anime they show. I thought it was a bit weird, a guy turning into a girl when splashed with cold water, others turning into animals. But then I saw this episode with that poor little black piglet getting lost in China. And I laughed as much as I haven't laughed in a long, long time. I was hooked and though I didn't manage to bring myself to do much, I was in front of the TV every day to watch Ranma 1/2. My parents thought it was weird that I was watching "that children stuff", but I guess they saw how much joy it gave me and they let me.
To this day I have not yet managed to watch all Ranma episodes or collect all books.

I was curious and I looked for others series I might like. None of my friends was reading manga or watching anime, so it wasn't easy getting recommendations. The choice is huge, which makes choosing a lot more difficult.
I was lucky that one of the first josei mangas I came across was a really good one, Tramps Like Us.
Josei is mangas aimed at adult women. I guess that can include very many themes, from business woman Slice of Life to yaoi (gay porn), but what it normally doesn't include is high school girls getting their first kiss or turning into magic super heros.

As I said, my search was very much trial and error and I want to try to share some trial with whoever is reading this. Read more on this article...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's the season for the mad masquerade?

Violence bothers me.
Not all. I remember having watched Interview with the Vampire and being fine with a vampire being sliced into two pieces. Maybe because it's not humans. Maybe because it's just something that happens, not a vital part of the plot. But I also remember once watching Fisher's King and the scene where his wife is killed - I never, ever watched that movie again.

Violence didn't play a big part in my life. I was never raped, never beat up and no one close to me have been violently killed. So why do I have such a problem with it?
I tend to think it's empathy. I might have too much of it. Sometimes I feel like one of those telepaths in science fiction stories that have to shield their mind from the thoughts of others. I shield myself from violence. Because I know it will only hurt me.

I do not understand how violence can be entertaining. Celebrated even.
We are terrified at the idea of child soldiers in Africa - and then we watch a little girl kill and people are think it's great, just because it's in a movie? How can people turn off their brain and not realize that similar things happen in real life, to real people?
For most people it doesn't seem to be a problem. Horror movies are a very popular genre. A lot of people get into fights. A lot of people think that a guy who doesn't fight is a pussy. A lot of people think that violence is an acceptable way of solving things, and if someone does *insert.insult.or.offence* it's ok to "punch 'im".

I admit I'm having a hard time tolerating people like that. I try not to be disgusted. I tell myself they're normal people, nice people, some of them I consider friends.
Maybe it's like Yoda said: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. I am not angry, but I guess I am afraid. I'm afraid to be the victim of violence.
So perhaps I should learn some martial arts, become good in it, so I don't have to be afraid anymore? Maybe that would give me some peace of mind. But: why do I have to resort to violence (or at least the possibility of it) in order to prevent it?

This blog post's title is taken from "Put out the Fire" by Queen. Read more on this article...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Melting away the little town blues

Before I move and leave here, I'd like to see some more things in this area.
Some time ago on a weekend, the weather forecast was good and I decided that I'd pay Frankfurt a visit. It's about half an hour by train away.
A colleague of mine was so nice to send me a few recommendations, complete with links to Google maps. Also there was going to be a museum night that day.

Frankfurt really isn't that big, but it likes to act as if it was. It does have one of the biggest airports in Europe though and is the financial capital of Germany. It likes to call itself "Mainhattan" because of the skyscrapers, Main being the river running through it. Other than that I never considered it to be an attractive city (I also never heard anyone say that about it).
But it's certainly good enough for a half-day city trip.

I started out at Williy-Brandt-Platz where the European Central Bank is located.

From there I took the paths through a little park towards the old opera. The park provides a nice view, the trees mixing with the tall skyscrapers to each side, seatings here and there, and the occasional statue (like the one of the German poet Friedrich Schiller).

At the end of the park, on the right hand side is a a round tower with blue glass exterior called the Maintower. It has the only public viewing observatory in Frankfurt and it costs 5 € to get up there. I accidently got out of the lift too early (there's a restaurant there, too) and had to find my way up to the platform through several lift and stairs. I was rewarded with a great view over the city.

After that I went back down and toward the Old Opera. I always wanted to go there for a concert, but I'm afraid I won't make it anymore before I leave. It's a beautiful old building from 1880, but unfortunately it's currently being renovated.

Close to the Old Opera is the rather new Opernturm, another skyscraper with a bright stone façade. On ground level there's a store called ManuFactum. Their slogan is "They still exist, the good old things" and they sell... well, all kinds of things, from dinner mints and garden tools to perfume and waxed jackets. They also have a little snack bar attached where you can eat sandwiches (I would have liked one, but they were too expensive).

From Alte Oper I caught the subway to Merianplatz. My colleague recommended a stroll along Berger Strasse. When I got out I wasn't sure in which direction I should go, but I instinctively chose the right one. To each side of the road there are lots of fascinating little stores, selling design furniture, fancy ice cream or yoga equipment.
I got myself some ice cream and finally arrived at Bethmannpark. The park itself isn't anything special, but it contains the Garten des Himmlischen Friedens, a beautiful Chinese garden. As the weather was great of course there were a lot of people there, and I admit I wished I could enjoy the garden when it's a little more quiet. There were kids running around, and a woman explaining her listeners how the pavilion is charged with chi by a group practicing qigong in it, and on a fence sat a young man drawing the garden. For a moment I considered approaching him and inquiring about his art (I was curious to see the drawing, and yes he was kinda cute, too), but then decided not to interrupt.

From the garden I took the tram towards the Konstablerwache where the main shopping street called Zeil starts. It's a shopping street like every other, not particularly nice looking, but you can find all kinds of stores there of course. I was too tired to do a lot of shopping. But I got myself some cheap ballerinas because my feet were very tired and I needed a little change to the Chucks I was wearing.
What I wanted to see at the Zeil was the infamous new mall MyZeil. The stores are not interesting, although there's one of only four Hollister stores in Europe - you actually have to queue just to get in (I didn't)! The most fascinating and interesting thing about MyZeil is the architecture. In the front glass façade there's a big hole with a tunnel bending inwards. It is very hard to describe and nearly impossible to catch on photos, too.

After walking through the shopping street from one end to another, I needed a little break and thought about what to do next. As I said there was a museums night that night, but I was really tired and had a headache kicking in. I decided to take the subway to the Museumsufer where most of the museums are located along the bank of the river Main, stroll along the riverside to another place I wanted to see and then decide about what to do.

Arriving at the first museum made it clear that it would be packed with people and there'll be much standing in lines, so I decided it wasn't worth it to drag myself through this. Along the river banks were many people, families, lovers, groups of friends, having a picnic or just sitting around and enjoying the warm evening. I admit it made me feel a little lonely, but I tried to also enjoy the beautiful sunset nevertheless.
I finally arrived at the Gutleutviertel where there's an old harbour that was made into a modern residential area. It's nice there, reminded me a lot of Copenhagen actually.

There's another tower there, too, the Westhafen Tower, which is called "das Gerippte" by locals - after the traditional glas in which the local specialty Äppelwoi (apple wine, a kind of cider) is consumed.

From there I walked to the main station and took the train home. Read more on this article...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Leaving home ain't easy 2

On that Saturday I had to get up earlier than on work days.
I had three more flats to look at and then the plan was to buy a newspaper (since my free trial hadn't arrived yet) and make some calls.

The first flat had no kitchen and a boiler. Otherwise it was really good, enough room, nice surrounding area. I really thought about it.
I met my parents there and we went to the next viewing with the car.

The next one was amazing! It was in a great area, in the backyard in a little house. It had nice two rooms, a nice bath, a little terrace. The owners lived on the second floor, obviously wealthy people.
Unfortunately with 710€ per month it was a little above the limit I set myself. But it was tempting.
They wanted a self-disclosure containing questions about my occupation, musical isntruments I play, pets, warrants and refrences. Wow...

Third place was out of question. The current lodger was very open about that. Washing mashines were only in the cellar, and only two for the whole house. The kitchen and bathroom had no way for venting, it would all go into the living room.

After that my parents and me had a little break in a café and had some cake. We got a newspaper and I was calling all numbers that sounded promising. I managed to get three more viewings that day.

One of them was in a really promising surrounding. Very close to a concert venue and a park; I would have liked to live there. But the flat... It was underneath the roof again, had a boiler and gas heating in only one room and again no room for a washing mashine. It generally looked very old. I just didn't like it very much.

I already nearly gave up hope for the day. I was thinking that I either had to take the first one, or pay for the second one or go looking once more.

But the last flat we looked at was (nearly) perfect! Top floor, two rooms, nice bath, no boiler, a little balcony, storage room. It only has a kitchenette and there's no washing mashine in there now, but the owner said I could install one. The area is great, nice houses, shops close by and a bus stop in front of the door from which the bus takes 15 minutes to my future work place.
We were so happy to finally have found the right place. It turned out that the owner worked for the company I'll be working for for 30 years. He said I should sleep one more night and then say whether I want it, but I was already sure.

So on Sunday I called and went there once more the next week to sign the contract.
I tried to be happy but I still worried about the kitchen and the washing mashine. When I was there it turned out that I probably have to buy half of the kitchen (sink, fridge, etc.) but I can take the rest of what is there for 1000€, including a microwave and an exhaust hood. I have no idea what these things cost, so I said ok.
I was feeling somewhat down on the way home. I was worried about the kitchen and the washing mashine and the fact that I have to live there at least 2 years (it's in the contract). My parents calmed me down a bit. I probably would have had to buy a kitchen anyway.

The balcony:

The kitchenette as it looks now:

I am sure this will be a nice place to live and I'll be happy there. But I'm not really happy yet. There's still a lot of organizing to do, getting a kitchen, moving the stuff, installing the washing mashine. *sigh*
I'm looking forward to the time when all this is over and settled with. I didn't quite think that moving was such a big deal, it somehow wasn't when I last moved (we were really, really lucky with this flat I think). Good thing I didn't know that before I chose to change jobs, I might not have done it. Read more on this article...

Leaving home ain't easy 1

It really isn't easy.

First of all I ordered a free trial of the local newspaper and did some research on the internet. I also put an ad myself in the newspaper.
So after using my cell phones as much as never before, I had three flats to visit on a Wednesday afternoon. I left directly from work, the train takes about 1,5 hours.

The first flat I looked at was nice. The house was build in the same way as the house my parents live in. But it was way too small, I had overlooked that the ad said it only has 32 square metres.
The second one was nice, too. The busline to work was close by. It was, well, generally really nice. But somehow... Maybe it was the way the prospective landlord (living in the same house underneath) kept asking me whether I can clean up. Maybe the very boring, middle-class surrounding. It just didn't feel quite right.
The last one was really pretty. Very nice surroundings, tram stop right in front. A maisonette top floor flat with two really nice rooms. But the kitchen and bath were very small and I couldn't have taken my washing machine with me, but would have had to walk down into the cellar every time to do the laundry and pay extra for it.
I got home sometime after 10 PM that day without having seen a good place. I felt slightly panicky. I felt like I should have taken the second one - after all there was no rational reason why I shouldn't.

What I hated about the whole ordeal is that you have to tell people asap whether you want it or not. After all you're merely one of a dozen interested parties.
But not only do I hate making decisions, but it's worse when you have to say no to one thing with nothing but the hope to find something better. I just don't feel comfortable in such situations.

I was really tired, but did not have much time to rest: on Saturday I would have another tour of looking at flats, this time with my parents supporting me. Read more on this article...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How can we sleep while our beds are burning?

The situation at work is really bad at the moment. Two colleagues were ill last week. The errors just kept coming and getting worse. It was like as soon as you managed to somewhat deal with one thing, another thing came up.
We were doing fixes of live errors on the website nearly every day. Last Wednesday colleagues stayed until late at night to work, one past midnight.

We are a rather small team and lost a lot of members and with them knowledge in the past months. We are overworked and there is neither the will nor the time to document things. So maybe one colleague knows how to do something, but if he's not there no one does. None of us has a good general overview of the systems.
We have no successor for the colleague who quit recently, neither for me who'll be leaving in May.

We can hardly manage the everyday maintenance business for the two webshops and the small change requests. At the same time at least three projects are already running, more are in the waiting line.
And then they want to open two new shops, one this year within one website, the other one in January next year on a completely different system. It feels like a bad joke.

We are badly over worked. We have been nearly constantly doing overtime for months now.
And it all just seems to get worse. And when you thought it's already worst, it gets still worse. It feels like Kobayashi Maru. There seems no way out.
People are getting sick from the stress.

Still our department gets the blame for all the things that go wrong.
It is not our fault. We are working hard (and for not much pay). We are doing our best.
The company has no way to deal with the fluctuation of employees, no culture of knowledge management and it was a strategic decision to increase the manpower in e-commerce for project management and conceptional design, but not in the IT for actually coding these things.

The colleagues in e-commerce can see that. Some at least. One put it like this: we are wondering what new wallpaper to put up while the house is burning.

It can't go on like that.
We wonder whether no one else sees that. Where are our team leaders, our management? Can't they see?
We have told them. We got a little louder last Friday. Something has to change! Soon.
They say they can't find suitable successors. They say the team can't take more external consoultants. They say they can't (or don't want to) cancel projects.

We are standing in front of a boiler that is about to burst, we desperately need to reduce pressure. But what are we doing? Standing there and going "well, we can't do this, we can't do that, and we can't do this one either and there's nothing else we could do". But we need to do something or else there's going to be an explosion.

If I wouldn't have already quit, I would now.

I'm waiting to see what will happen next week. Will something be decided? Will something change?
If not we'll have to think about what to do. I know I am leaving this team soon, but at the moment I am still part of it. Maybe we will have to ask the workers' council for help. Read more on this article...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A theory: life in slices

I've come to think that life is divided up into different parts, sections.
Their influence on your life varies greatly in different stages of life.
They need different skills to handle.
And if there's a disbalance, if one part has a bigger or smaller relevance than it should have in the phase of life you're in, it will make you unhappy.

Those sections are family, school & university, friends, work life, romance & sexuality, health, finance. There's probably more.
There's a time in life when work life doesn't play a big role. You might have a summer job, but it's not "the real thing" yet and you'll have a hard time to imagine how it feels. When you're very young romance and sex are not important - and for those on who it's pushed anyway it will be a burden for their whole life.
As for the skills... I haven't thought about that one too much yet. You need self discipline in the health part, I guess. Logic would be a help in dealing with the financial aspects. I think there's many virtues that will help you in more than one. Empathy, patience, impartiality for example.

My current life lacks the parts friends and romance & sexuality almost completely. I am not sure how it came about, it seems like it just happened. I guess my depression had to do with it, it had an effect on many aspects of my life and I guess never regained those two.
I might lack the skills that are needed in dealing with all this - I certainly seem to lack the skills to built up those kind of relationships. I would like to learn and grow.
There is a disbalance in my life. This is not how it should be. And I suffer. Read more on this article...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

"I quit."

Monday I did nothing yet. I was terribly nervous about what I had to do. It was worse than the actual job interview. I had my yoga course in the evening, that calmed me down a bit.

On the next day the first thing I did was drop the contract for the new job in the mail.
At work I broke the news to my team leader. That was hardest.
It's hard for our team to lose another one, I know that. In the past two years while I was working there, one after the other quit (for various reasons), each time it was connected with a loss of knowledge that made work harder for the remaining. Next month the only one left from the original team will go. We still have no one to fill in for him. And now me. I feel sorry for my colleagues, but I can't stay just because of that.
After talking to my team leader we went straight to the department manager. In the afternoon we broke the news to my team.
After that I met with my favourite colleague in the canteen and had a hot chocolate to relax a bit. It was good talking to him, though he knew about it since Monday. He always manages to calm me down and make me feel better, he helped me a lot through this. I'll miss him.

It felt surreal. I have been through this several times, but it was always other people quitting. This time it was me.
And even though I know I have another job waiting for me, it feels awkward.

On Wednesday morning I finally got to talk with the IT division manager and from that on it was official. My team leader wrote a mail to everyone in IT.

The written notice took a little longer though. I talked with the workers council to make sure I did everything right. They pointed out that things might be different because it might be a tranfer within the corporation. So there was another delay because I first had a talk with the HR department. Turned out that everything had to go its normal way, so I left the letter I had written before there.

The talks got easier and easier every time. Who would have thought that quitting your job included so much talking? I didn't have so many meetings within one week for months.

The only thing left to do in February was to cancel the tenancy. The problem is that I couldn't find my rental agreement. I went through all papers lying around (something that needed to be done badly), but no luck. In the end I just wrote a short letter, I guess it'll be alright.
I have to find the contract in the next months though, to make sure everything is alright when I hand over the keys.

Now I can relax a bit, all that had to be done within February to be able to start in the new job in June is done.
Now I have time to plan and organize. I got a notebook that I will divide into two parts: one for my old place, one for the new. There I'll note what needs to be done, who sends me post here, how much space my furniture needs, etc. Read more on this article...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A new hope

There will be a change, a new start.

On Friday I had a second job interview, they offered me the job. I took the contract home with me to read it, sign it and send it back.
It all went very fast and very good. "Too good to be true", a little suspicious voice inside me thinks.

Actually when I decided to start applying I planned to go abroad. I thought it was a good time, I have some work experience, no partner, no pets and I feel lonely and out of place where I live now anyway. I wanted to go to Ireland or UK.
A search didn't turn up a lot of suitable jobs though, it seemed that mostly companies seemed to look for more work experience.
Instead I found this company (belonging to the same corporation at the one I work for now) looking for a usability expert. I am none, but I 'd like to be, so I applied. Now they hired me for another job, process manager. A smaller step maybe, but non the less a step. A step away from programming and coding, towards more project management and conceptual work.
People seem to be really nice there. Apparently they liked my somewhat "freakish" personality.

This is my first time changing jobs. It's the first time quitting a job. It's the first time completely moving from one place to another.
The doubts and the worries are now kicking in.
What do I do next? When and how do I quit my job? How do I tell my team leader that he'll lose another employee when another one who'll quit isn't even replaced yet? Until when do I have to terminate the rental contract? How do I find a new place to live? How do I move? Do I have to renovate my old flat? How much will it all cost? Where to do I have to send notices of me moving? How will work feel after everyone knows I resigned from my job? How will the new job be? Will I be able to make friends? Will the work be good and interesting and will I be able to handle it all?
All these questions and more go through my head. I'm trying to calm down and think in little steps. What has to be done next? Read more on this article...