Greetings, and a warning this is going to be a rambling stream of conscience.
Logging on to Blogger I looked at the posts from the last few months. The titles and what I remember of the content based on those titles tells me most of my writing has been about looking back. Perhaps a few flirted with a couple ideas on how to go forward but little thought has been put into that, and similarly little progress made. The short answer is I don't know what to do next, the better answer is I have never been able to imagine what I wanted to do that is still true.
When my work is heavily self directed and or the number of tasks is small a failure to commit to one early in the day compromises my effectiveness at both. These days I will wake up and ask should I write today or apply for jobs. The answer will be yes. Unfortunately I don't ask which task gets priority, once the indecision takes root ways are found to avoid doing either, and damn my laid back personality from not beating me up over those failings.
In applying to jobs I submit to postings that come within throwing distance of what I had done in my last post. Now the thing with me and throwing is I am often off by 30 degrees in 5 different directions. So the returns are low. Here comes the part where I blame external forces. In what approximates my profession, I exist in a small niche a user of an obscure software suit for a recession pron industry, a suit I like little in an industry I am indifferent to. When my search steps away from the industry I started out in the jobs become more interesting but less accessible. Yet I apply, with varying amounts of care and attention bordering on The Onion's take on job applications. Online job applications are like a monkey flinging feces, without the passion, aim, satisfaction, or results, when a monkey does it a least something is covered in shit. I have had a few nibbles a couple real interviews and a few calls from recruiters who neither understood my work nor the industry I have worked in.
Now I have tried to make this post about going forward, but right now I am thinking more about trying to get back to where I was, if not in job description but a steady job would be great. So before I explore some other options or decide to delay them for another post I will address the next thing people tell you to do, network. I hate that term, it always brings to mind people dressed better than me with confident smiles, I can not pull of a confident smile for a sustained period. Now I understand that in order to connect the services I can offer with the needs they can fill connections have to be made but the way the process is sold makes me feel unclean. It is at this point in the dialog someone will chime in with the patronizing advice of "It's not what you know, it's who you know". That may be true, but I will hate you for saying it. It has always had the effect of devaluing the knowledge I spent time and energy gaining.
It is so much easier to look back. I know what I did, what parts were enjoyed what parts were endured, it is easy to imagine something the same but different. I have orbited the same but different since I started working. It is the easy thing to do conceptually. The work I did for two years at Independence was the dull end of an interesting field and leaving open the prospect that I could land better work employing similar tools must be considered. It is only the start of my GIS profession and getting started is the hard part. When the commodity prices were high and I was still taking Geology jobs, offers were more frequent, a healthy reminder that I have be employable in the past.
I have romanticized the notion of landing in a totally unexpected field or weird new job that fits me perfectly but honestly I have no idea how that could happen. What value is it to most people that I can break open a rock efficiently, or that I can actually use my 30X handlens, and if you give me a few weeks and leave me alone I can cobble together a simple program. If I squint just right I feel clever and can believe that I can be of good value to people. Yet I see a job market full of short term contracts demanding specialized skills, and feel useless again.
Damn it I was trying to think ahead. Currently I have rambled on about the now. The question of how to land an interesting job, possibly within GIS or the geosciences remains poorly considered. Mostly I have reminded myself that mostly I have learned what I don't want to do. I am not done with this pondering. I will revisit the subject soon and perhaps move beyond complaining.