Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Well, shit.

I just got laid off.

They've got to be doing really badly if my projects and my job are on the chopping block.

I'm not doing that well either.

More news as I have it; there's a 90-day notice period during which I am enjoined from working for security reasons but will continue to draw my paycheck, so I should be able to find a new job in that time. (That said, I would welcome pointers to any job openings you might know of, here in DC or in Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, or Minneapolis; also would welcome it if you could pass my resume on to interested parties; let me know and I'll send it to you.)

And there remains the chance that I could get called back during the notice period, though given who else has gotten the chop that's not looking likely.

I will be fine. I have three months in which I will effectively be getting paid to job-search full-time; that's going to suck royally but it should be enough time to find something else, even with the shutdown in effect. And I've got some savings. And I was pretty bored with that job anyway.

But, see above re: suck royally. All advice welcomed on the job front. Hugs, funny cat pictures, and drinks also welcomed.

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Monday, September 30th, 2013

There was going to be a whole post about my road trip,

but then when I got back I was too exhausted and today I am way, way too frazzled. So suffice it to say I am back in one piece and had a great time, and that I'm very glad I got a chance to see the Impressionism And Fashion exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago before it went away.

Meanwhile at work, nothing is happening today, because we are all waiting to hear whether IT will be able to get into the building if there's a shutdown and keep the remote access system going so we can work from home on those projects which are already funded for the new fiscal year. And if IT can't, waiting to hear how we should (a) use and (b) bill our time during the shutdown. If there's a shutdown.

Meanwhile we've been told that the meeting about our funding situation for the new FY, which has already been postponed once, is postponed again, but that they are still going to try to go ahead with as many of the planned activities as possible and that, if there is a shutdown, some people may get calls to report on Wednesday to the university building where our spillover office space is. This we are taking to mean that anyone who gets laid off will get called in to be laid off in person.

So right now, in the event of a shutdown, my tomorrow looks like this:


I think that about covers it.

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Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Vacation! And other things!

So, remember the time, two and half years ago, that someone left a trail of jelly babies down my street?

This morning, someone had left a trail of candy corn. From my doorstep of my building-- which, you recall, is two blocks down from the place I lived at the time of the jelly baby incident-- down all the steps, across the street at the usual jaywalking spot, and down the sidewalk. They kept going past the bus stop, but either stopped or turned-- I didn't have time to investigate-- at the entrance to one of the parking lots in the next block of the complex, so presumably whoever left them got into a car. Though the lot behind must have been uncommonly full for someone here to have had to park in the next block, either in a lot or on the street.

Or maybe they ran out of candy corn.


In other news, I am leaving on vacation tomorrow, and SO VERY GLAD to be missing the huge mandatory meeting Wednesday where, presumably, they will tell us something about whether we all have jobs next month. (Is it good news? Bad? No one knows! The meeting is now so very mandatory that everyone has been instructed to report by 9 AM so that our supervisors can meet with us beforehand, which suggests that they're going to spend the morning breaking the news to the people who are being laid off and escorting them out of the building so that they can tell the rest of us we're safe at the 1 PM meeting? But no one actually knows; I asked my project manager what I should do to stay in the loop and she told me to enjoy my vacation and she'd fill me in when I got back. Meanwhile the operations director just left for a new job on campus and no one is taking his place.

I am still cautiously optimistic-- I've had enough people telling me about the exciting work they have for me in the new fiscal year, including a half-hour sales talk this morning for a project it turned out I'd already been assigned to, that I'm pretty sure that my job is safe as long as the whole place doesn't shut down. I hope.)


And last night I went to band rehearsal! For a community band, run on campus by the emeritus director of bands as a retirement project. It's exactly what I was looking for-- basic band repertoire, Vincent Persichetti and Morton Gould and Jerry Bilik and some classical transcriptions. I'm one of two bass clarinetists; it's a large group, with a fairly wide age range-- a lot of other university employees, all very friendly. The level of musicianship is pretty high, but not so high that I can't match it fairly quickly if I work hard. And I made it through a two-hour rehearsal and I didn't suck! And we didn't get yelled at more than any other section!


So, time to pack my suitcase and take out the trash and load up the computer with some Big Finish audios. And also scrub the bathtub, since I just re-dyed my hair for the trip and it looks like the shower scene from Smurf Psycho in there.

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Thursday, August 8th, 2013

My job situation-- looking better. The VK's-- abruptly much much worse.

The good news is that, while work still can't make any promises, they are both submitting next year's statements of work on my projects with the assumption of full staffing, and talking to me about where to allocate me on those projects with the assumption that I will be here, so while I still would be happy to hear about job opportunities that sound like a good fit, I am back to looking for a better job, not a backup job.

The bad news is that the Vegan Knitter's theater, which has been coughing up blood, abruptly closed its doors last night with two hours' notice to the staff. His plan was to do one more show and relocate in October; that schedule has now been accelerated. Possibly accelerated significantly, as he's been sharing a house owned by the theater with other staffers and no one knows yet how long they can stay there.

If you know of someone in DC or Maryland-- or even the nearer bits of Virginia-- who needs a roommate or subletter, or of a cheap studio somewhere, please let me know.

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Thursday, August 1st, 2013

I really wish I'd asked for the additional cat.

So! Here is a funny thing that happened last Thursday. I had a haircut appointment after work, at a place [personal profile] v_greyson recommended, Eastern Confederate in Columbia Heights. She had warned me it was a den of hipsterism, but it was a very good haircut and reasonably priced by DC standards, and I will definitely be going back.

But, yes, also JUST AS HIPSTERY AS YOU WOULD EXPECT. I come in and the bench by the door has two skinny half-grown cats (a tuxedo boy and a sand-colored tabby, gender unknown, with a stumpy tail and white eyeliner-- so, hipster cats) stretched out over every unoccupied inch, so I have to pick one of them up to sit down. The tabby settles right back in my lap and goes back to sleep, and the tuxedo kitty sprawls over my thigh, so when the barber-- one of those dudes who probably isn't actually stoned all the time, but has just forgotten that it's possible to talk as though he isn't-- comes up to check me and the other waiting customer off on his schedule, I am COVERED IN CATS. Stoner Barber gets our names, says it'll be a couple of minutes, and then says "Can I get either of you a beer? [beat] Or a... nother... cat?"

But. Great haircut.

This was the day of the meeting of doom at work, where we got the confirmation of probable layoffs, so I was glad to have Things To Do afterward-- the haircut, and then meeting the VK and some of his friends for drinks after the penultimate performance of Disco Jesus. I gave the VK the brief rundown of my day, ending with "So I have no idea if I'll be employed after September, but at least I have a fabulous haircut."

"You could have a career in the performing arts," he said.

The VK's work situation is even more uncertain than mine at the moment-- or at least, it's very certain he won't be working where he is now after the current show is done, but after that it is all extremely nebulous. But Disco Jesus won the Director's Award at the Fringe Festival, which is more a plum for the writers than for the cast but is still an excellent thing.

Meanwhile he is very busy and I am very busy and we are back to just seeing each other on weekends, which is Not Nearly Enough. *pout* This has been the first of two weeks at work that we are running subjects in the lab until 7:30 every night. I've shifted my hours to 11:30-7:30, so I'm not working overtime, but it is still highly annoying-- all the subjects have to be escorted the whole time they're in the building, so for eight hours a day I'm either on baby-sitting duty, which means working at a hotdesk in the lab, or I'm on call, and likely to be pinged at any time to run someone into or out of the lab. (And between late arrivals, up-to-an-hour-early early arrivals, bathroom breaks, and people inexplicably finishing the session way earlier or later than we'd timed it to, there really is very little predicting when someone will need to be escorted in or out.)

So the upshot is that I'm not getting much any resume/job search stuff done at work, because either I'm being constantly interrupted and unable to focus, or I'm in the lab where the hotdesk screens are completely visible to anyone who walks in (and also being constantly interrupted). And then I get home and I'm so wound up from the constant interruptions and from dealing with subjects all day that it takes three hours of playing Alpha Centauri to unwind.

This is also why I have not been updating DW or answering email. I'm going to try to be better about that. (I'm not sanguine about my chances of success. But I'm going to try.)

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Friday, July 26th, 2013

Job-search bat signal.

So for sequester-related reasons, my workplace is almost certainly going to be laying off some unknown number of people sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and most of them will probably have my job description. I think it is fairly unlikely that I will be one of them-- I have a 'senior' in front of my job title, and my clearance, and a lot of institutional memory and general goodwill from the research scientists. (Though some of them may also get the axe.)

However. If you should know of anyone who's hiring-- let me know?

(Details: My degree is in linguistics, but I'm looking for anything with Researcher, Editor, or Writer in the title, either here in DC or in a handful of other cities (Boston, Chicago, Seattle, or San Francisco under any circumstances; NYC only if the pay is high enough; Minneapolis only if the commute is doable without a car.) I will happily point you to my LinkedIn or send a copy of my resume; email or PM me if you want that info.)

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Thursday, June 13th, 2013

"You mean I have to die to discuss your views on death?"

I have just told the co-worker who is watching Doctor Who several seasons behind that I am still too angry about the season 4 finale to find the mental or emotional resources necessary to explain the critical apparatus that we would need to have in common to discuss it productively.

I'm going to call this "practicing good self-care," also "maintaining collegiality."

Short work week; I took Monday and Tuesday off, and I am taking next Monday and Tuesday off, so as to get in at least a mini-vacation or two before the work hell that is going to be July. Saw a lot of the Vegan Knitter, and went with him to the Time and Navigation exhibit at the Air and Space museum-- highly recommended; they cover the history of navigational timekeeping from the development of the marine chronometer through GPS.

I bought a National Symphony Orchestra three-concert pass earlier this season, and of course have waited until the very end of the season to use it. Two weeks ago, I went to see John Adams conducting his own "City Noir," plus Resphigi and the Ravel piano concerto. Fantastic concert; the Ravel has never been my favorite, but Adams took it exactly right-- perfectly metrically even and at a near-constant dynamic, to let all the tone color variation come through. And "City Noir" is just fantastic.

And now I'm down to two concerts in the season, so I will be going this weekend (possibly even tonight, though given how heavily it will probably be raining when I get off work that seems unlikely) and next. The program is more Ravel, Vaughan Williams, and a cello concerto by a twentieth-century French composer who is completely unfamiliar to me (Henri Dutilleux's "Tout un monde lointain"); I am looking forward to it. Next weekend, Jean-Yves Thibaudet!

And now I go to the meeting where, possibly, I will find out just how overworked I am going to be next month.

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Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Home. Floop.

Home. Happier than I can possibly express at thought of sleeping in own bed tonight. And at thought of sleeping in general, since I have been up before six almost every day this week.

Another week of negative wordcount-- got a lot of editing done but very little new writing. Did read a lot of Pratchett and knit most of a sock, though, so week not a total loss.

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Sunday, March 3rd, 2013


I'm off on a work trip this afternoon and will be away all week, and probably pretty scarce-- I'll be away from both internet and phone during the day, and I don't know yet how expensive/reliable the hotel internet is going to be. Email if you want to be sure I see it eventually; call if you need to reach me more quickly.

I'm less than excited about this trip for a number of reasons, but the work they've got me doing will involve massive amounts of downtime, and while I can't have electronics with me I can have a notebook and pen, so I am planning to treat it like a writer's retreat. Wish me luck.

Meanwhile, this week's wordcount is actually a negative figure, since I'm ripping out the provisional cast-on with which I started and replacing large portions of the first four chapters with more permanent plotlines, but I have high hopes for this next week's wordcount. I think I'm on track to have book one (of, I think, five?) drafted by MJ.

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

In other Doctor Who news--

It is advent, and I have just built this year's action figure nativity.

This year, I have an actual nuclear family for the Holy Family! Amy. Rory, and River Song, reclining in a peppermint-box manger with a Playmobil-scale gold laurel wreath tilted rakishly across her brow for a halo, is the baby Jesus. ETA: And now Arthur Darvill's "I am the only sane person here" face is going to be my mental image of Joseph forever. Not that this is a bad thing.

Naturally the angel, dangling from the roof of the three-ring-binder stable and clutching a Playmobil scroll, is Idris. Doctors One through Three are magi, offering a Playmobil gold goblet, a Time Lord beacon cube, and a Nestene energy sphere. All of the other companions are duckherds, accompanied by a flock of sheep-sized (on their scale) rubber duckies and K-9 as a duckdog. Torchwood, bringing up the rear, are either more duckherds or have just taken the duckherds prisoner; I don't know if they even know what they're doing.

And there are Star Trek science-insignia Christmas lights across the bottom of the shelf; and Omega, a Drashig, an Auton, and Simm!Master are pointing and staring from the next-lower shelf of the adjacent bookcase, perhaps being the Adoration of the Villains; and from the shelf above the nativity, all the remaining Doctors-- a sort of Temporal Host-- are gazing and pointing down and talking amongst themselves. (Five seated demurely, Nine sprawling with one leg over the edge and the other stretched out, Eight bending over to talk to him, Eleven lying on his stomach with his feet in the air peering down over the edge, Seven standing in the front row, and Four, Six, and Ten standing in the back pointing over the others' heads and bitching about how being tall means they always have to be in the back and they're going to do something about that next time around.)

There will be no pictures, my workplace being my workplace. But it is pretty awesome.

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