Two years, man

Two years ago today, I started working at my current job.

And it's all right. Probably about the best I could hope for given the current economic climate. We moved here in the midst of very bad economic times, August 2001, so that my wife could attend graduate school.

I started sending out resumes to Washington-area companies in March. I got absolutely no response. Some of my resumes were eventually returned in the mail because the company or headhunter I'd sent them to had gone out of business. When it finally came time to move, I still had no job, but figured it might be a little easier if I had a Washington address. No such luck; every week I would frantically comb the Post classifieds and Internet job websites for a software engineering position I was qualified for, but when I would find one and send a resume out, I got no response.

This continued for weeks. I would send out 20 resumes and cover letters in a week, and get nothing in response. Once, I did get a response to an ad that promised opportunities in database programming; it turned out be just a shill for a class at Rockwell "University" and not an actual job.

9/11 didn't make the job situation better, and just made me more stressed. Then, a virus ate most of the data on my hard drive, including the contacts I had saved. I think that during the couple days it took me to reconfigure my computer, I finally reached my breaking point at about 4 a.m. I was absolutely destitute; there was no way we'd be able to pay the rent on our apartment for more than four months without going broke, especially after being ripped off by the movers. I cried and cursed myself for moving to Washington; away from a steady job, away from friends, and into serious financial difficulties.

Finally, in mid-October, I found a listing on a website that sounded right up my alley, for a software job requiring a master's degree but no experience. I sent out a resume at 2 a.m. and was surprised to actually get an actual phone call, from an actual human being who had read my resume, the next morning. I interviewed, they liked me (of course), and I took the job.

And that's how I landed a job in Washington; after my first and only job interview.

Two years later, I'm still here. It's actually a good place to work and I shouldn't complain much; the hours are very flexible, good benefits, a good amount of vacation time, etc.

But man, it can really get boring. I'm in a windowless office, and basically contracting to do government work; I didn't realize that it was possible to create that many acronyms. There are literally over a hundred acronyms I have to remember in order to do this job; some of them spell funny words; some of them don't spell actually words but you pronounce them like they do. Many of them are just random conflagrations of letters that make little sense.

I guess the disappointing part of working here is that I always envisioned myself doing something a little more creative. I've got the computer skillz, but I also always enjoyed writing and designing things; I've got to get my left brain working as well as my right brain to keep myself happy. I could totally do something related to film/video that involves computers, like computer animation, or creating video games. I think I would love that.

But clearly, Washington is not the place to go if you want to do something creative. With all the monolithic government jobs and bulildings, this city is like a giant iron that flattens out the wrinkles in your brain and keeps you from thinking. I just hope that, when this is all over and I finally get out of town, I'll still be able to pursue my dream of creating things that other people can enjoy; I hope that I'll still have some wrinkles left up there.

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