So I foolishly and eagerly set myself the goal of participating in both NaNoWriMo and Iron Noder for 2022.

As you can probably guess, I’ve failed at both counts.

I will always be the first to say that the whole point of challenges like NaNo and IN is to write some thing, thus there’s no real failure as long as one writes and makes an effort to try and get out of the comfort zone.

Well, this month I’ve been completely out of my comfort zone, though not in a way that most people would associate with the wild ride that is NaNo and IN. My life changed drastically just a few hours after I posted my only contribution to IN this year.

Job life

So I somehow landed myself a new job back in August. I almost didn’t want to count on it because the hiring process was so ridiculously long that I really saw no opportunity here. But—as it turns out—it was all a mistake, and once it was solved the whole thing progressed blazingly fast. So they had me twiddling my thumbs for about 3 months and then all the paperwork had to be processed in one week.

There I go, once again into the trenches of tech support, though in a very different way than last time. This place is a “Tech Support” for a single company, but I use the term with a pebble-sized grain of salt because we’re both more and less than what most people would associate with “The IT department”. There’s a bunch of issues we deal with, there’s a bunch of issues we never deal with, and a lot of grey area in between.

But it’s still tech support, which always means dealing with some of the worst examples of dumb people in high places, peolpe not plugging in things and password resets galore.

But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked the night of November 1st.

In the few months since I joined, there were many changes to the team, including both supervisors. On that night, the new supervisor asked me to become the new “backup” supervisor.

Inner life

Now, I don’t know you, but I’m old enough to recognize a special kind of shiver down my spine. It’s a particular kind of fear: that benign fear of the potential, of opportunity. The fear that strikes the balance between calling it a night and accepting one last drink with the group of strangers at the bar.

I recognized that fear deep in my stomach that night. We were the last two at the office: my shift ended later than everyone else’s, she was finishing up all the paperwork that came with the new position. We were shooting the shit about mostly nothing (those last few hours with almost no calls and repetitive writing tasks lend to discussing music and movies) when she excused herself to the restroom.

Once she came back she had a more serious look and tone in her voice. Mind you, she didn’t look or sound serious, just serious-er than before; sat on the chair next to my desk and moved closer: “Can I ask you something?”

I’ll spare you the next hour where we shifted from talking to actually discussing—that alone merits its own writeup—but in the end I said yes. I felt it was the best thing for me and the team. One week later, when we announced it formally to the team, they all agreed.

Life/Work balance

Ever since the announcement was made, I’ve been “working nonstop”, and by that I mean that almost all of my time at work is full of activities, mostly because I need to learn all that I can from the person I’m replacing before they are transferred in January.

But I’m not working literally all the time. Back in August I decide to treat myself, so I finally bought myself a Nintendo Switch (Friend Applications open, /msg me) which has paved the way to a new batch of games that I could not access otherwise, and ones that I’ve been desperately wanting to try out, namely:

…plus a bunch of other games that I technically can play on my PC. But—and this is the important part—now I find myself almost rejecting my own PC.

To me, this makes sense: before, all my work happened in that PC but only in relatively short bursts. Now that I’m chained to a desk for a full 8 hours per day, I dread going through the rigmarole of sitting at another desk and firing up a game to play. The Switch, underpowered as it may be, offers a nice way to escape even that: I merely plop down at my couch, press a button and continue playing where I left off.

Of course, I’m not saying I’m leaving my precious Steam account or PC gaming as a whole, I just need to find the right balance to return to it while also having a full time job. There’s still many, many, many games that I’m dying to try or return to on PC.

So I guess that I’m finally in the “Work Hard, Play Hard” stage of my life.

Read/Write cycle

Which leads me to my other big hobby, the read/write cycle. Since my commute is many times shorter than it used to be, I’m not reading as much as I once did. I’m also not writing the way I used to: lots of academic-style writing (both for e2 and Wikipedia) are incredibly satisfying to me, but require mental energy, even if it’s just to parse sources to produce an actual result.

So this—writing anything that requires any kind of effort outside my own body and emotions—also feels like work, and I’m averse to adding more work-like tasks, even if they are ultimately just for myself.


This of course doesn’t mean I’m gone from the site. It just means I’m in the middle of a series of changes, and I have yet to find the right balance to do what I want to do. These are good changes, I hope, but they are challenging and they are demanding time and energy from me.

For all I’ve worked in my life, this is the first time I’ve ever been “ascended” in any way, shape or form. It’s one thing to jump from a job to a very different one, and another to shift responsibilities and knowledge within the same organization as before.

I can handle doing one thing and then doing another, but I don’t know how to do it when the change happens in a single organization. Now I have to “learn” to do that. Now for the first time I have colleagues that were once at my leve and now are my subordinates (in a merely hierarchical and corporate sense, of course). For the first time I need to learn how to speak strategically to communicate with a group of people with whom I used to be very open. For the first time I need to take actual professional distance from my friends.

It’s scary and I’m behind on my work.

But I’m here today, and that must count for something.

Well, I made it through another November. This was easily the most intense crunch that I've ever put myself through. It started out very stressful and then sort of mellowed into a zen focus. I'd love to be able to access a functional, non perfectionist, writing head space without some kind of deadline but several years in and I'm pretty sure that this isn't something that I'm going to stumble into. I had this same problem with most college writing assignments. Constant writers block and procrastination follow by almost unnerving ease in typing words. It's worth noting that writer me isn't any sort of savant. I'm as good as ever and that's perhaps what I resent. The thing about writing that irks me is putting thoughts and feelings down only to see how much is missing. This can devolve into ever greater levels of florid, adjective laden detail or plain rambling which only the most masochistic reader will tolerate. Healthy conciseness always feel sparse to me and yet I can always feel the specter of bloat behind every impulse to elaborate. I'm starting to accept that the actual happy medium just feels incomplete. Or perhaps I'm just too neurotic to know when to stop.


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