Stiletto Heels/team

Off Topic / Sharing / Venting => Lounge => Topic started by: cocoyam on October 13, 2014, 01:08:15 AM

Title: working life
Post by: cocoyam on October 13, 2014, 01:08:15 AM
Do you have a job? What kinda work do you do? How is the working life? How was your day today, and did you have any highlights or frustrations? Are you searching for a job, and how is that going?

Going to a private liberal arts college where students pay a high tuition has erased the consciousness of a lower middle class life from my mind. It's difficult for me to conceptualize how people support themselves without a job related to their degree...
I'm about to graduate, and I'm fearfy about what that will entail (I'm not aiming to do anything related to my major). Is it difficult to get a job and to keep it.. is it stressful... are you content... can you pay bills and rent? If you don't have a job, how are you able to support yourself? @_@

Well, you can tell this topic is mostly motivated by my own dread/anxieties and curiousity, but feel free to use this topic to vent about working life or ponder about your career at the current moment.  :wahhh:
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Hats on October 15, 2014, 02:02:04 AM
I went to a liberal arts college as well but dropped out when dad got seriously ill. After that we found out my brother had a mental illness and the cost of him going into hospital was overwhelming and I knew I couldn't go back to school. We were seriously dirt poor so there was no way for my parents to save for all six kids and send money to family abroad.  So at 18 I really needed to think hard on what my options were. I'm in a different situation than most because I support my family financially.

I think it's hard to get a great job without a college degree, but I also love how liberating it is not to be defined by it. I ended up doing translation work for small firm and then through a mutual friend found out about an entry-level position at a bigger company and worked my way to assistant manager. Having a degree isn't enough anymore. You need experience. A lot of my friends turned to interning while they were in school so they could build connections and learn the ropes.

Coco what are you majoring in if you don't mind me asking?

Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on October 15, 2014, 06:28:39 AM
I'm majoring in linguistics, which is the study of language (the universal building blocks across languages, how it's used in society, societal perceptions of language, etc). I took a while to declare my major, though, and now I regret spending less time taking classes for it and not taking advantage of research opportunities to explore instead. So I haven't really done internships related to my major. The only internships I've done is working in my school's IT department during the year and the summer.

At this point, I'm resigning myself to moving back home to live with my mom and getting an entry-level service job in the interim while I pursue hobbies and see if any of them can pan out as side-jobs. Eventually I'd think about going abroad or back to grad school (after saving up monies) to become a teacher. Even though I'd love to stay here in my apartment, I'm not capable of searching for a job in the area while taking care of my studies at the same time (which always makes me feel chagrined when I hear my peers discuss job search progress).

Although I go to a school with high tuition, I'm only able to go here because of the "100% demonstrated need" financial aid policy--which still means I have to pay around $5000 a year. T_T Luckily living off-campus offsets some of that cost so I have less loans than expected, but it's still painful. Are you satisfied with your job, then, Mimi? I've always wondered what kind of administrative job you did.

Speaking of jobs and wages, I was very surprised to find out recently that my brother earns 90k a year.. He's climbed in his salary since his 50k starting wage after college. He's a yuppie now! What a shock. Although he tells me that's still on the low end for the kind of software development work he does. He recently leased a new car, something he's resisted for a long time, going to such lengths as using electric bikes and motorcycles instead. I wish that if he had savings that he would buy a car for my mom, who uses infrequent buses to get around at home since my sister totalled the car in an accident a few years ago. He doesn't really keep in touch with the family. I wonder if he's satisfied with his degree choice now - during his job search before graduating, he seemed pretty bitter at his notion that he would become a code monkey. According to the sounds of it, he does have to sleep over at the office sometimes, 13-hour work-day Momoko-style.

Anyway..  :eto:
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Hats on October 22, 2014, 02:48:24 AM
It makes perfect sense for you to be a little wary about stepping out into the working field, but I'm like the last person anyone should ask for opinions, lol.

Are you satisfied with your job, then, Mimi? I've always wondered what kind of administrative job you did.
Without going into too much detail, I can tell you, it's probably the most boring place to work at in the world. Tons of paper, glass windows, and only the sound of people typing and talking on the phone for comfort. But that's not exactly the right picture. The people there are amazing to work with. They go bowling (though I never go), throw office parties, recently made us do the Ice Bucket challenge and we goof around a lot. The president is the type of laid-back guy that gives his son a box of Cheerios for his birthday present. Even if you have a sucky job, at least if you have cool workmates, it makes working there worthwhile. If you get a really sucky job, one that totally sucks toes, and you have workmates that make you want to shove their head down the toilet bowl then by all means RUN IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION...unless you really need the money, of course, I can totally understand.

90K a year is holy psfdsklj! I make a little over 50K, which is his starting wage, plus I have to sleep in the office Momoko-style to make a deadline and I have a family to support. I should have been a code monkey! But I only work an 8-hour shift on most days, and I'm not required to actually be in the office. I mean, people come to the office for meetings and find me outside in jeans picking lemons from our lemon tree...
Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on November 04, 2014, 07:13:15 AM
Sounds nice, Hats. And, although my brother makes a lot more, I'd be glad to earn 50k for many years to start out if it means I can have a stable income and support myself and my mom.
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Avelys on December 07, 2015, 06:16:31 PM
Wow, you guys work really hard >_<

I work full time as a Chiropractic Assistant, but I'm more like the office manager. It get's really busy and stressful but there are days where it's very slow and nice. I love office jobs. And I get to meet people everyday so that's nice. The work schedule isn't that bad, 9:30 to 5 pm, Mon-Friday.

Due to circumstances I wasn't able to go to university :'( but I'm saving up for it. Although would a degree really be worth it? X)
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Hats on December 08, 2015, 04:28:16 AM
I'll be honest, I don't hold a degree, and I don't plan on getting one. I can't afford to drown in debt to attain it either. But at the end of the day, I'm content with my job, and I don't really want it. I think I'm pretty satisfied where I'm at in life right now. It really depends on what career you're looking for and how feasible the costs are for you. Everyone's desires and circumstances are different.

If I had a real choice, I'd save up enough to buy a piece of land, get my tiny house, write incredible novels, and then quit my job. But this is the next best thing, and at least with the steady income, I'm THIS much closer to getting my tiny house. :hero:
Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on December 09, 2015, 05:08:11 AM
Hmmm. When I actually started working, I didn't post about it. And now I'm looking back on all this anxiety about what I would end up doing for work, too. Now that I'm about to stop working soon, and go back to school, I regret not writing more about what work was like. Maybe I'll find the time to write some musings sometime.

My starting salary ended up being $18, which although not at $40k annually just yet was in the ballpark of what I was hoping for just to be secure. Security and the ability to provide for myself meant a lot to me, so the fact that I managed to land a job just out of college that gave me those things was pretty significant to me. And I felt that this was supposed to be a good job. Yet, I wasn't happy. I was having a difficult time adjusting to and coping with my responsibilities and work life. I felt that if I stuck with it, I might adjust and it would be the good job I felt it was supposed to be. But when I was given the option to be freed from the pressures and pursue something else I found interesting, I admitted to myself there was a possibility I would never adjust and be happy, or I wouldn't be happy for a long time.

If I never had that option, I probably would still be sticking with it, and eventually adjust to some degree. Maybe. My goal was pretty much to lead Hat's life, with a moderate income enough to support myself/family and not live glamorously, but be content. I was hoping to accomplish that in my job, but I will never know if I could have.
Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on January 04, 2016, 09:11:10 PM
What work was like...
(I'm still at work. heh)

In in my own office. Which I thought would be great! You know, I thought my predecessor had an easy job. She would just see students, have her own office to goof off, and since I'm responsible I would also use that time to work on projects and think of ways to improve resources for students. And she'd still get paid a decent wage to do it. I thought because I'm an introvert, I'd like that solitude.

All of that is more or less true... some things have changed, in that since the main department team is under-resourced, I'm expected to lend support, and I've been assigned to work on major projects ahead of schedule so it's not as much of a crunch time later. But my time in the office is tinged by a hazy brush of anxiety.

Am I doing this right? Am I managing my time right? How do I best interact with students? I take obsessive notes (sometimes). I take a lot of time to sort out current tasks and projects, or how to approach major projects. It's hard for me to leap into something once I get confused about where to start, how to go about it. It's hard for me to stay motivated to work as well. And without someone to monitor, the way I react to anxiety is by avoiding. I'm a really avoidant puppy.

In an office environment with other co-workers around, you feel the pressure of the panopticon. On a subconscious level, I hate feeling like others can evaluate my work; I want time and space to do things by myself, at my own comfortable pace. I wonder if this is a by-product of being a perfectionist, or just being really self-conscious about my work. This is why I had a horrible time in my ceramics class when we had to work in a studio during class and afterwards, when others could be there. It's why I avoided working on essays around other people, and never had study partners during college.

But at least you can't avoid working while others are around. So I'll be working, but feel pressured until I can go out and do errands by myself, which is nice. But on my own, I feel a vague pressure. Am I doing things right? What would people be thinking if they saw? But there's no external force to make sure I am working, so I don't work when I am uncomfortable, which contributes to my own anxiety because I do want to perform. Maybe this is the problem with lacking executive function/self-monitoring abilities. Or maybe I'm just an unmotivated puppy. Maybe both.. In the end, I get kind of phased out when working in an office by myself.

All of these I felt were problems with myself, not necessarily with the job. So I kept plugging away, hoping I would fix myself and the way I handle things, adjusting as time went on, and the job would become the great decent job it was supposed to be. I mean, I was lucky! It was serendipitous that somehow I would have a job right out of college, that the person was retiring at just the right time, when I had no career leads from my study path; that I would all of a sudden become staff to my co-workers instead of an intern, just because I had formed the connections with the right people and had the right timing. And it was my goal, as I mentioned before,

to just bring in moderate income enough to support myself/family and not live glamorously, but be content..
Maybe indulge in my hobbies after work, on the weekends, like crocheting, trying out new recipes and reading manga and watching anime. You know. That was my goal, and lifeplan.

Other caveats to the job:

So those are some reasons, when I got a chance, I was relieved to let go of the job. It's super weird. I was planning for this to be my life. I would stay in our beloved sunny and spacious apartment (technically to be real I would probably eventually move to avoid rental lease hikes though), with our nice hot tub, take my mom to events at the college, have a stable income. Maybe eventually pursue web development with my free time. But instead I was bringing home work from work because I avoided doing work at work and felt pressured to deliver results. (More like feeling like I should be working at home to make up for work, but not really getting around to it ever, but feeling that I should be working all the time was kinda sucky.) And now, randomly, I'm taking a pretty different path all of a sudden. Yes, I've been thinking about web dev for some time, but now I'm randomly packaging myself as a prospie software engineer, taking classes and going through a formalized routine, like it's much more certain I'm pursuing this path suddenly. Weird. I guess that's what happens with sudden opportunities.

PS coughhack I don't expect you all to read all of this, writing it is more for my own benefit to debrief myself on my thoughts. As one way of dealing with the current anxiety I'm feeling (or avoiding) at work. Haha..
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Hats on January 05, 2016, 02:55:06 AM
I'm reading it...or have read it. Now I just need time to process it all.  :wahaha:
Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on January 05, 2016, 06:28:09 AM
Haha. More than anything I think it just shows how anxious a puppy I can be. :eto: I tend to ruminate (and wander) a lot in my vague, circular writing as a way of processing, even if I don't ruminate as much as Kusapet in real life. But maybe it reflects my actual thought process better that way.

Other than that, things seem to take time for me to process and it's hard for me to make decisions. I tend to want to map or plan everything out in pen before I tackle it, and then I vacillate. Somehow, it was and is difficult for me to work on the projects for this job, though I think it should have been straightforward.

My main question now is, would I be happier in a new job in my current career path of choosing, or would things be any different? I'm hoping that by actually attaining a technical ability, the work will be more straightforward and I won't have cause to vacillate so much. Math and science seem to come all right to me, so maybe the logic of coding will suit me too. And hopefully it might be fulfilling, depending on the project and tasks. I think one persisting worry might be whether I will still feel lack of drive to work for sustained periods, though. The ADD part of me, maybe. We'll see.
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Xekuhz on January 08, 2016, 06:56:07 PM
i read a blog about how a lot of people struggle with the thought of is their job worth it, or is it more worth it to find another job. i think it's normal to struggle because a big part of it is the unforeseeable future in your decisions. if you have time, you should definitely check out the article!

Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on January 10, 2016, 09:08:08 AM
Thanks, Xekuhz! This looks good for people trying to figure out what they want to do in life, too.

Truth be told, I don't think I really want to be a software engineer, with the whole 9-? 13-hour workday. /cue gasp, why are you going to school to be a software engineer then?

I guess I'm in it for the skillz. I like creating things (leaning towards web dev, front-end or UX design), I just don't know especially about the job environment as a programmer. If I could do anything, I think I might like to work on projects independently, like making a virtual pets site or a manga community, etc. In reality, I don't know how well that would work, especially to feed myself. There are contracters who work on projects instead of holding a permanent position at a company, but I don't know what that's about yet.

I feel like in the techie scene, there's an automatic assumption that you should do a start-up if you want to create something, but start-ups seem to be all about growth, profit, scaling and marketing, and I'm more into the idea and how it's executed. To me, it seems like weird culture that I'm not sure I'd fit in with.  :blush:

I guess the other part is, I'm in it for the skills to improve my social capital, since I felt precipitous knowing only how to research and troubleshoot and not any strong technical knowledge in my previous/(still-current atm) position. I feel like if I know something which is at a premium because you need training to acquire it, it adds value to your set of skills. Straightforward, maybe, but I feel like my set of skills is currently not so valuable and want to remedy that.
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Xekuhz on January 26, 2016, 02:13:50 AM
That's totally reasonable Cocoyam!

and i think its a really great mindset you have to want to continue to better yourself and learn things.
it helps open a lot of doors in the long run and widen the variety and options for yourself, which i think some people are not able to have.

i definitely think of "start up" when i hear tech, haha but there are sooo many different positions and different types of companies you are able to join.

maybe i'm just glammed up by the thought of the whole tech industry but to me it's so vast and filled with opportunities. you're never tied down to just one type of business ya know?

as for me i work in the fashion industry and i hate it. worst part is i cant really get out of it. people wont hire a fashion designer for like a graphic design position, i'm so limited to the things i can do.
knowing that, i do my own thing on the side so hopefully one day i can do other things.

I think doing web developing and UX deisng is a great skillset to have esp in this day and age.
i'm so impressed with that stuff haha :ohh:

and yea a lot of start ups are vey profit based. my friend does UX design and she actually doesnt like star up companies cause she says all people focus on is "the next big thing that'll make them rich".

but i think most importantly its having a hobby outside of work that you enjoy. and hey if one day you can get paid for such hobby then it's like the best life you can live
Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on June 06, 2017, 06:38:41 AM
Xekuhz, I'm not sure if you still check the forums, but I think it's possible you can become a graphic designer with your background. I'm sure many people would find it interesting to know you were a fashion designer before, it's not a common occupation and it has some novelty to it. You can relate the skills the professions have in common, and if you do graphic design on the side, you can build up a portolio gradually. :)

I agree on the hobby for work thing, except sometimes once your hobby becomes your means of living, it can be stressful. For instance, I think I enjoy art on the side, but if I had to do illustration for work and complete commissions by deadlines according to other people's demands, it could become stressful and unenjoyable! but still, if you really find joy in it and feel you can express yourself in your work, maybe it could be really rewarding.


Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted here.
It's interesting to read back on your doubts and anxieties, and freshen up hazy details of what your previous work felt like.

When you're busy, though, and everything's moving, you hardly feel you have the liberty to pause and write updates. I thought I would have written one when I first got my first software engineering job, about how fortunate and surreal it felt. I might have put it in the Today thread instead, or maybe I just wrote it in my head.

I've been working at my first software eng job now for around 9 months. Before that, I studied at school for 9 months, which passed by very quickly and was mostly fun and engaging. So it's been 1.5 years at least.

How do I find work now? Well, I'm pleased to say that I do like coding / software engineering. I can sit in front of a computer without being obligated to interact with people too much (tires me, an introvert, out), and I do like and feel suited to the straightforward, machine-dictated logic. Best of all, I get paid well to do a job I don't find too difficult (atm). It worked out as well as I could hope for my decision that I made 1.5 years ago to work.

I like that coding is interesting technically, and can also be creative. I'm happy with the skillset that I've gotten to build and can keep building. I am probably also far less anxious than I was in my previous job.

Some of the less green pastures, for me, personally, is that I feel the pressure to improve my skillset as a software engineer to keep growing and stay competitive in the field, outside of work, but I find I lack the drive and motivation to commit time and energy outside of work.
The job still feels like a 9-5. Basically, something you're doing to earn a keep to keep on providing for your existence in life. While not in dreadful work conditions, you sit in the office from the 9-5 to earn your hourly keep, like a rat running in a rat wheel*, M-F and you wonder if you're going to spend an equivalent arbitrary and unmeaningful chunk of your life like this just to provide stability for yourself and those you support, for the rest of your life. And that, folks, is what it means to be an (white-collar, working) adult. You think of all those hours you're signing away of your life, knowing if not for the conventions of society and how money is earned, you'd be doing something different with that time.

Well then. Moving on, how I feel at work fluctuates a lot, based on how I feel towards my co-workers and how reserved I feel with them, little tensions and politics that come up, or if I'm working late a lot or forced to do something I find stressful and don't want to do. Sometimes I'm content, and sometimes I'm unhappy thinking about going to work. Mostly it's a decent company, but I wonder sometime when I'm going to leave and which company I'll hop to next, if not ditching work to travel to Japan, teach ESL for a bit, go woofing and do some contract work before going indie or joining a small creative studio (all dreams, but possible actions).

* except to a rat, there is a point, since it's healthy exercise, it's something they want to do.. right?
Title: Re: working life
Post by: Hats on June 10, 2017, 12:23:33 AM
I'm actually working late right now while typing this on my phone. I've been here since 7 am, and everyone else in the office is out having pizza and beer. But I have my PS Vita with me, and while I'm waiting for this shipment to come in for a $40,000 order,  I'm running around collecting last 15 of the 108 stars in Suikoden. I usually have a positive outlook with my job butvtoday it is a grueling 7-6 hrs. I'm dead tired and sweaty. I need a vacation!  :wahhh:
Title: Re: working life
Post by: cocoyam on August 24, 2018, 11:24:41 AM
A college alum (who I don't know personally, but did see around on-campus my freshman year when she was a graduating senior) recently emailed me to intro me to a recruiter for the company she works at. I think they're just trying to hire software engineers and probably asked employees to reach out to their networks. Still, I have an intuition that it might be a good place to work for, and I've actually been curious about this company since I knew that two alums were working there at pretty high-up positions. They seem like efficient, capable people who would not settle for mediocre workplaces.

It makes me feel ambivalent. There are faults at my current workplace that I've discovered, but overall it's a decent place to work at for the moment and I appreciate certain things about it. It would also look bad to leave soon, and probably leave a bad taste for my manager and the co-workers who interviewed and hired me. I've only worked at my current workplace for ~8 months, and I left my previous company after 1 year 2 months. It'd be problematic for my resume to establish a trend of leaving companies after only about a year. Most recently (after previously struggling a bit mentally with continuing to work here), I'd reconciled myself with working here for the time being, until things shift for worse or I reach 1.5-2 years of employment. At the same time, it might nice to have a change:
 - if I can find a workplace where I have (even) better rapport with the manager
 - feel I can learn a lot and will have better support / active mentoring from my co-workers
 - better financial outlook / direction for the company as a whole
 - better benefits! health insurance is relatively sucky at my current and we have no retirement accounts, nevermind the usual cushy tech benefits like commuter benefits and wellness stipends

It's a timing thing. It seems like it could be the type of company I'd strive to leave my current company for, just in another year or so. Bad timing?

So, I dunno. I guess I'll have to get some questions answered, like how urgently they need to fill the open positions, whether I'm even what they're looking for, try to get a good gauge on the co-workers and manager I'd be working with, ... if I decide to move forward, ideally I'd investigate opportunities at other places as well so I don't just go for the next best thing that is presented to me. >"<