Then we moved to Houston. I transferred to the Humongo office here. Things went into the crapper, quickly.
I'm not blaming Houston, because I really like it here. Even though this is the first time I have lived here, Houston gives me an "at home" feeling that I never got in Dallas.
The problem with the Houston Humongo office was, it had only been in existence for 2-3 months before I transferred in. There were absolutely no projects in the office. I can't stand the hectic workload I have now, but I can't stand having absolutely nothing to do, either.
I'm not a marketer- never have been, never will be. While the 3 senior guys were out chasing work, I sat, bored as hell, for 8 hours a day. On the surface, it sounds great; but let me tell you, it's awful. For a while, I took my sketchbook and markers in, and drew cartoons prolifically. However, the guilt over blatantly goofing off all day got to me- not that I had anything productive to do, but the guilt is a powerful force. I could think of nothing else but what I could be accomplishing if I weren't stuck at "work." I would wander around downtown at lunch, sometimes for 2 hours, alone. The other folks in the office, while really nice, all had at least 10 years on me. Not much to talk about after a while.
Also, I was the only one in the office who knew how to use CAD...so I wasn't liking where that was heading. During my 2-year hiatus from blogging, I earned some hard-won experience as a Project Manager/ Architect. Trying to stomach moving back down the food chain to pure CAD Monkey was not possible.
So I left, to go to where I am now, with the shiny new prospect of working with my best friend from college (definitely not Dude). Sure, I'd be taking a pay cut, and losing tons of benefits, but it'll be okay, right? Because I won't be doing healthcare work anymore, and I won't have to deal with big-office politics, and I'll be working in a more laid-back environment, right?
Those last three things are true. However. Dude is an ass. That's all I'll say about him for this post, because it's too damn long already.
Although I'm going to try my damndest to stick it out for 2 years, at the very least I simply cannot go back to a large company without having some sort of friends in this town. I know that sounds stupid, but when I think back to the worst part about Humongo Houston, it was the crushing loneliness. Currently, I have 12 architectural co-workers (the Dudes don't count), and 9 of them are kick-ass people. Socializing with them is often the only thing that makes going into work bearable.
Because I have become so thoroughly involved in all aspects of projects, there is great potential for me to make excellent contacts- and not just in architecture. For reasons I won't go into here, there are possible art world contacts to be made.
My plan, as much as I ever have one, is thus:
- I'm going to stick it out until I can make some friends outside of work, so that I have a damn support system in place when I make yet another difficult career move. The last three jumps have been made on my gut, not with my brains; and they were tough.
- I'm going to force myself to gradually work less each week, with an ultimate goal of 40 hours.
- I'm going to force myself to not feel guilty about it (this will take some work), and not let Dude's idea of an acceptable amount of hours dictate how I feel about this.
- I'm not going to let Dude get under my skin anymore. This may be damn near impossible.