I’m not sure who noticed, but I haven’t really been around the last couple of weeks. Not on Twitter, nor Telegram, nor Facebook, nor anywhere else.
Because the world and life sucks right now, and I retreated inwards and away from it and everyone.
It’s not just all the bad political stuff that’s all over the place right now – primarily the UK and US – but that is definitely part of it.
A good part of it is feeling increasingly trapped by situation.
For example, as much as I adore Otter, my angry little cat as I call him, his needs from being diabetic now make it impossible for me to spontaneously do any kind of travel for a weekend. I used to be able to leave him and Cylia and drive down to Seattle for a couple of days. Can’t do that anymore, as he needs to have his blood glucose levels checked morning and evening, and be given insulin. This isn’t something that I can easily ask a local neighbour or friend to do. Many people, even pet sitting services, are squeamish about doing such things – despite how easy it actually is. Now if I want to take a trip, I have to book him in to be boarded at the local vet office, where they’ll do it for $35/night. I cannot even do a slightly cheaper option of boarding him elsewhere with someone who would be willing to do the check/shots. I did that over Christmas while I was in the UK, and Otter got himself in such a state that he needed to get taken to an emergency vet clinic.
I feel trapped by my job. I’ve been with the same company for over 13 years. I’d like to get out, but it’s tough to find something out here similar enough to what I do to make me look worth it to a company. I’m a senior support engineer, sure, but supporting the things I do might be considered work of a systems administrator, and there’s enough that changed with other software and hardware in that kind of job that I’m not sure I would be considered qualifiers for that role anymore. Adding to that is how much the on-call stuff is getting to me. On-call starts Friday 8am and runs until the following Friday at 8am – a whole week. During these weeks, I’m constantly on edge outside of working hours, and can’t sleep properly. The last time I was on (which helped put me into these doldrums) I maybe got 3 hours a night.I can’t really even do much personal stuff out of work hours, because the primary people who are typically in front of me now are so new and almost always end up escalating to me, so I don’t trust things enough to feel comfortable to go far from the house. I have another week of this starting Friday, and then two more weeks a week after the first one finishes. Not looking forward to that at all.
All that’s happening down in the US right now is making it far less likely that I could find a position and move down there. The uncertainties over NAFTA (and thus, the TN-1 visas), and the chance that the H1-B and L-1 programs could here restructured enough to make it impossible for me to get in that way mean that it’s unlikely that a company might want to take the risk on someone like me. Of course, compared to up here in the Vancouver area, down in the US is where all the jobs that interest me seem to be, as well as much, muchbetter pay.
It’s not just all these things, though. Nothing else seems to be exciting or fun anymore. I’m not sure what would even be fun for me. Things that I once may have had fun doing all seem to have dried up or no longer seem rewarding.
I turned 43 towards the end of last year, and I have no idea where my life is going. Things just seem stalled… stuck… going nowhere. 20 years ago, back in early 1997, I had interviewed for a company out in the San Francisco Bay Area, had gotten an offer for a job, and I knew that my life was taking a new direction. By 2001, when I was laid off from that company while going through the US Permanent Residency process, things started to look uncertain. Then in mid 2003, the year my H1-B visa was going to expire, and being laid off from another Bay Area company, things really looked uncertain and that I’d have to leave everything behind and move back to the UK. Then in December 2007 I got my Canadian permanent residency. Things may have been going good then, but the Canadian citizenship I got back in September 2012 was bittersweet. That may be when things became ‘What now?’ I still have no idea ‘what now?’. I’m not sure that, long term, Vancouver is the place for me. It serves a purpose now, but things just don’t feel like I properly connect here. I feel that I’m always too much out on the edge of things and not part of anything.
I don’t know anymore. I’m now rambling. This post started as something that I was writing on the train this morning, and now seems disjointed thoughts. Maybe I’ll leave this up, maybe I won’t. I just don’t know.