The Software Engineer with Golden Handcuffs

The Software Engineer with Golden Handcuffs

How to save your soul from a soul-sucking job


Upon opening the garage, I was hit with the blast of arctic air that just dumped three feet of glorious snow on the Maryland area. I began my overly-generous neighborly task of firing up the ATV with the Snowplow. I did this as an annual exercise to help plow our neighborhood's private lane. This was about a quarter mile long. My neighbors had no clue or ability to help, these would be the people that would be the first eaten by the Zombie apocalypse. One year, my neighbor offered to have his friend help plow. His friend had a truck with a plow. I said sure. Appreciate it since I hated doing it for other unappreciative neighbors. Being who I am, I became skeptical about the ability of my neighbor's friend ability to deliver. As the snow accumulated, even IU knew that a truck can only push so much snow before becoming beached, or worse yet, burning out a transmission. Well, guess what, I was right. He burnt out his transmission and would not be able to help. I am a genius that way in predicting events. So, not only was I unable to keep up on the snowfall by repeated plowing, I was now faced with 3 feet of snow. Thanks, loser neighbor. So, I get out the 24inch snow blower and start to make a dent. I am a trooper. Hours later, I am now able to use the ATV with the snowplow to clean up the remnants of the blizzard of 2016. Being exhausted, I figured the neighbors would be able to handle the clearing of their driveways and the common lane that went past my house. Was I wrong yet again? I bailed them out with my snow blower and ATV. It was an ordeal and I could have stayed inside all nice and warm playing with the kids.

For me, life became mundane and boring. I lived in Maryland where you can live in a neighborhood for fifteen years and not even know your neighbors, let alone, get them to wave back to you. Honestly, it was that bad. I attribute most of this to them being introverts that worked at the NSA. They were people that walked down the mile-long hallways staring at the floor. An extrovert at NSA is someone that stares at someone else shoes. It was so bad there, that the cafeteria had 'Enter' and 'Exit' signs above the entrance doors to guide the flow of the crowd. Well, the introverts typically ran into each other since they never looked up. In retrospect, this is how some of the introverts were able to socialize and get married and have offspring. Well, these were the people that lived in my neighborhood. Lucky me. And I was the nice shmuck that plowed them out each winter.

The only benefit to living in Maryland was that I was a highly overpaid contractor. I had the Golden Handcuffs and did not worry about money. It was the typical life lesson, M=money over happiness. How to save my soul before it was too late. I tried a few side business, but these were not as exciting as I had hoped. Although one was very successful which I why I am semi-retired right now. So, sitting in a crappy cube, working for mindless people was just not working for me. My immediate coworkers and company were great. They were the exception. The rest of the people there just did not get it.

So, to start taking care of myself, I took the family on Royal Carribean cruises. We got away from the snow and cold and soulless people for all but a brief moment. Mass depression set in when I would have to return to the office. I think mainly because there was no sense of purpose where I worked and the majority of people were just waiting to retire -- umm, in thirty years.

A 2016 cruise took us to Key West as a port-of-call. It was fun and a nice town in the middle of the ocean. I thought, why not see if I can work here. So I foolishly reached out to a woman I worked with in the past. In hindsight, this was a mistake. I should have worked with my current company at the time to see what they could do to get me work in Key West. So, Jovian Concepts was my Titanic. I foolishly thought they would be as good as my current company. I was wrong. I immediately received a weird vibe from the small company and the lady that found a position for me. Note the position was vacant for over a year, so she did not have to work too hard. If at all. Lesson one, be cautious when people act like they are doing you a huge favor. Run away. 

Anyway, I am venting and am amazed crappy company's like this still get work. I made a huge career mistake going to them and now tell everyone to do their due diligence before talking with this or any company. So, the lesson is, the grass is always greener. Go with your gut feeling, if it does not feel right. Run away from the deal. Always keep searching for something you love doing and surround yourself with people that can help you and not bring you down. They do exist and when you find them, stay with them.