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So how is everyone doing?
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Thread: So how is everyone doing?

  1. #1
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    Default So how is everyone doing?

    So, back about 3-4 years ago, as the recession and financial crisis was just getting underway, I asked everyone here how they were doing. Unfortunately, it seems the number that come here on any sort of regular basis has dropped to almost nothing, but I figured it would be interesting to see where things have gone amongst this small slice of the world.

    At that time, I was riding high. I pretty much took my bosses job, and knew I would be employed as long as my company was in operation- unfortunately, that came into question as we were a startup that wasn't making any money. They are actually still in operation, and leaving was the worst thing I ever did. I moved to a big bank, was miserable, and was laid off after a year. I moved to a smaller firm, and am again miserable. The industry is going through some shitty times these days, and the hours and pressure are immense. My coworkers are robots that work from 8am to 10pm every night. There is no conversation amongst us, no "hey how was the weekend" and no one ever says things like "woohoo three day weekend!" I think out of fear that they will be perceived as weak. Its a brutal, isolating environment. I make a good salary, but to be honest, I would do just about anything to roll back the clock to when I was making 60% of what I do now but was glad to come into work every day. I am currently trying to figure out what the best way out of the financial industry is. Luckily the wife is kicking ass at her job and everything is going well. Part of what sparked this post is that my wife was telling me about how they were going out to lunch for a coworkers birthday, and it made me sad to remember back when I worked in a place where coworkers would acknowledge each other's birthdays, or even talk at all.

    Anyway, enough of my whining. I can pay my bills and then some. Last time I asked, I know a lot of you were struggling. Are things better now?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Was laid off from my job in March of 2010. Got lucky, and found a job just as close to home, that was willing to pay me the same amount 6 weeks later. It was soon enough that I was actually upset at the time. I had lost 4 weeks vacation because I was "laid off" not let go. I spent all that time combing for jobs, not taking any time to relax. I needed some vacation time. So when I found a new job, basically that old company told me to stuff it. I considered getting an attorney, but figured I'd just take finding a new job as a blessing and leave it at that. Plus, I know my old company, they have lawyers on retainer, so they'd have fought it. By time I pay taxes and attorney fees, it was better for my sanity to just accept the loss.

    I'm still at that job now. Although their main line of business is a dying industry. CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. So I've always got my eyes open for something else. The thing is though, it's a great place to work. Great co-workers, friendly, always willing to give a hand to each other, A boss who genuinely respects me and my abilities and is willing to tell me so, 5 miles from home and the company is still giving us raises each year. It's one of those situations where it's tough to leave because things are so comfortable. I'm not saying things aren't crazy at times, hell, that's the nature on the design world, but at least you get the feeling you are appreciated for what you do.
    The world isn't full of fuzzy love. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes we have to deal with monsters stealing our cookies and fat asses who ate too many cookies. Sometimes, that fat ass is me... And sometimes that cookie was yours.

  3. #3
    Skellington is offline I'm a freaking word machine.
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    I still come here a few times a week to see if there are new posts in the movies/TV forum. I really just haven't been playing any video games lately.

    As for the economy, it's not the most pressing issue for me right now.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    God this makes me feel like an asshole, because I'm still at my current job that I started in 2006. I love the small team (four of us total) I work with and we are always dabbling in new programming technologies and practices. I also love that the work we do helps manage grants that fund cancer research and military health.

    My only real complaint is the company I'm with. I'm stuck in a crappy bell curve for my job description and even though we bust our asses to meet some of the craziest client demands we only got a 2% raise this year. While I'm sure upper management enjoys their bonuses or make more money than they possibly need. But I digress.

    On a personal note, I'm almost done with college. Been 16 years since I graduated high school and I haven't been real focused on college. Now that I'm just three classes away, I have a little more drive, but honestly what the f will a degree get me? I already have my job and make decent money.

    Beyond that there is one other personal issue my wife and I are going through now. I have really made a push into my hobbies, but I'm realizing that it is just a way for me to focus on other things than this problem.
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    Hi!

  5. #5

    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Started graduate school for an MA in Geography in 2008, got it in 2010. Proceeded onto the PhD. I'm two years in, and I'll finish my final set of exams in November. That will put me at "ABD" (all but dissertation) status. Unfortunately, the job market for academics is pretty shitty right now, and it doesn't look like it'll fix itself anytime soon. It seems as though if you want to be successful in today's dwindling market ("success" defined as "tenure track at a state uni or better," which is problematic in itself) you'll be working 60-80 hour weeks. I don't know if I have that in me anymore -- maybe I did a decade ago, but now I sort of wish for stability.

    My wife's got a wonderful job where they keep throwing promotions at her. She now makes more than what both of us made combined "back home" in San Diego. No complaints there, but the other aspect of academic work is that you'll never work where you were a graduate student. The majority of the jobs are mid-west with a few back east. So once I complete, we'll have to decide who the "trailing spouse" is. It may actually turn out to be me.

    If that's the case, do I finish the dissertation, or do I finally acknowledge the opportunity cost and start working on a career? The question weighs on my mind daily. Makes it hard to get any work done.
    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

  6. #6
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie C View Post
    If that's the case, do I finish the dissertation, or do I finally acknowledge the opportunity cost and start working on a career? The question weighs on my mind daily. Makes it hard to get any work done.
    How far are you from completing your dissertation? A stat I heard is that it is harder to becoming a tenured professor today than it is to become a managing director at an investment bank. The odds are stacked pretty heavily against you.

    You do have some serious thinking to do. A friend of mine is finishing up her PHD in marine biology, and for some reason thought it would be a piece of cake to get a job locally. She couldn't have been more wrong, and now she is married to a guy who has very deep irish family roots here, and is unwilling to move.

    Pardon my ignorance, but geography gets you some usable skills like cartography and GIS right? There are jobs available for that sort of thing, my friend has one w/ the gov in Maryland. My personal reco would to keep your eye out for a job, and see what is available. Some jobs might even let you work on your dissertation while working. I base this on the fact that several of my friends are super educated and super not employed in their field.

  7. #7

    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevstev View Post
    How far are you from completing your dissertation? A stat I heard is that it is harder to becoming a tenured professor today than it is to become a managing director at an investment bank. The odds are stacked pretty heavily against you.
    Probably 2 years out yet, possibly 3 depending on what we need to complete for the NSF grant we just scored. The odds are pretty heavily stacked against me, although I have some features that are both attractive to industry and academia. More about those in a second, but I have no illusions of gaining tenure. If I'm in an attractive position in 2 years, I'd consider an offer -- but I'm not betting the farm on it. Either way, I'm paid, unionized, have health insurance, and have nothing better to do per se. I'm also learning some extra skills that are valuable elsewhere.

    You do have some serious thinking to do. A friend of mine is finishing up her PHD in marine biology, and for some reason thought it would be a piece of cake to get a job locally.
    Weird. I've never heard of a PhD scoring an academic local job unless there were multiple universities in the area doing heavy bouts of hiring.

    She couldn't have been more wrong, and now she is married to a guy who has very deep irish family roots here, and is unwilling to move.
    Thankfully, my wife is more than open to the option. I'm not sure that I want to gamble on her being happy somewhere else. It's been a tough road to find a job she likes.

    Pardon my ignorance, but geography gets you some usable skills like cartography and GIS right? There are jobs available for that sort of thing, my friend has one w/ the gov in Maryland. My personal reco would to keep your eye out for a job, and see what is available.
    That's basically what I'm doing. I actually specialize in GIS (or what's left of it), which actually makes my odds of a tenure track skyrocket in terms of geography or an information school so inclined.

    In addition to cartography and GIS, my work is primarily using "big" social media data along with tools/languages like R and Python along with the web design and visualization chops to get a message out there. By the end of this, my lab should/will produce an open source social media analysis package. If all goes according to tentative plans, I would be searching for an academic gig with pockets full of research money. That helps grease the wheels. A lot. And if I decide not to publish-or-perish, there are a million and one start-ups that will kill for me just as soon as I finish up learning Python. Data scientist, data journalist, planning, utilities, social media maven, programmer, computing consultant, instructional technologist....I can wear a lot of hats.

    Some jobs might even let you work on your dissertation while working. I base this on the fact that several of my friends are super educated and super not employed in their field.
    Yeah, that's a consideration as well. I've talked about going ABD and taking leave to find work. I also have some strong ties to the college where my partner works, including in the academic dean arena. I've been encouraged to start poking around to see if they'd be willing to craft a permanent position for me.

    In other news, today I found out that one of my students in the first class I taught is retiring this year. Apparently to the tune of $21 million. Got in early on the Zillow IPO and made oodles of cash.

    And now he's going to grad school. WTF?!
    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

  8. #8
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    I started freelancing at my current job more than a year ago now. And my first anniversary for fulltime will be in October!

    This was after 5 years of pure freelance, my most successful of which was 2007. After the economic tanking of 2008 I spent several years at an adjusted gross income of less than 10K

    I'll say things have come a LONG way since then.

    The fulltime job is awesome, the people are awesome, there were the slightest little hints dropped this week about possibly transferring to Seattle (which I would LOVE to do), so fingers mega crossed.

    Basically, my workplace is like the Enterprise on TnG. Everyone has their primary day-to-day roles, but everyone's expected to be working on their own personal/special projects on the side. It's the combination of stability and daily contributions plus the bonus of using the resources at your disposal to explore something new and exciting that makes this job rock.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie C View Post

    That's basically what I'm doing. I actually specialize in GIS (or what's left of it), which actually makes my odds of a tenure track skyrocket in terms of geography or an information school so inclined.

    In addition to cartography and GIS, my work is primarily using "big" social media data along with tools/languages like R and Python along with the web design and visualization chops to get a message out there. By the end of this, my lab should/will produce an open source social media analysis package. If all goes according to tentative plans, I would be searching for an academic gig with pockets full of research money. That helps grease the wheels. A lot. And if I decide not to publish-or-perish, there are a million and one start-ups that will kill for me just as soon as I finish up learning Python. Data scientist, data journalist, planning, utilities, social media maven, programmer, computing consultant, instructional technologist....I can wear a lot of hats.
    You don't have to worry too much about your future, just the buzzwords listed there along with "PHD (candidate)" will get you hired somewhere. I didn't know you coded, I thought you were just a dirty hippy

  10. #10

    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevstev View Post
    You don't have to worry too much about your future, just the buzzwords listed there along with "PHD (candidate)" will get you hired somewhere. I didn't know you coded, I thought you were just a dirty hippy
    HAH! I'm still a dirty hippy at heart, I just know how to hang with the bourgeoisie now.

    Yeah, those buzzwords are basically the reason I'm still in academia-land -- those sort of folks are being hired to tenure track positions (when they're not siphoned off by Microsoft Research or one of the other firms with a vested interest in big data). So unlike a lot of compatriots, I'm not actually sunk by any means. It's more a question of, "do I really want to work that hard?"

    And *that*, my friend, is why I'm still a dirty hippy at heart. Because even though I work very hard, I suspect I might like not working at all even better.
    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

  11. #11
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Kev, I work for a company that may still be looking for developers in NYC. If you're interested, PM me.

    I wish I had known you were miserable in your current job a few months ago! They were offering like $7K bonuses for people who recommended devs in NY that ultimately get hired.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    As for myself...

    I bought a house!

    Then I got laid off from the rinky-dink marketing company I was working at 6 months later!

    Apparently the company was doing fairly shitty, but the CFO had been covering it up somehow via creative banking practices.

    They laid off around half a dozen people on the spot... no warning whatsoever. One day I felt 100% secure in my position. The next I was applying for unemployment, and I didn't even get credit for my vacation time. Like Clone mentioned, I probably could have sued them, but it's hard to throw down the gauntlet for a legal battle when you've just lost your job.

    I worked freelance for a few months and ultimately got a job at a really great company in Austin that went public a few months after I got hired on with stock options. Things were going fantastically there until I got moved internally recently.

    I was placed on a team with a new hire who is easily the most incompetent douche bag I've ever met in my life. He was the member of my team responsible for managing the projects and client relationships. The User Interface Designer and I immediately despised him. I could tell within a day or two of having met him that he had bullshitted his way through his career thus far, which is incredible because he's probably nearing his mid-40's.

    It has taken every ounce of my patience to tactfully explain (when feedback was specifically asked of me) that he's the most incompetent, do-nothing moron I've ever worked with. So his boss knows he sucks. My boss knows he sucks. EVERYONE knows he sucks, but they're going to try moving people around again instead of just firing him, which boggles my mind.

    We're in TX for crying out loud. I thought you could fire people on the spot, flip them the bird, send them on their merry way and there was nothing they could do about it.

    Anyway, they shifted us around to see if they could find this asshole "a better fit," despite the fact that I've already developed a reputation for being exceptionally easy to work with after only 9 months. So, he's someone else's problem now, unfortunately for them. I'm moving on. I still like 99.9% of the people I work with and things are looking up.

    Hopefully my current company, which is about 30x larger than any other place I've ever worked, won't suddenly implode after 2.5 years like every other job I've ever had.

    edit: oh yeah, I got engaged a few months ago too.
    Last edited by M.C. McMic; 07-22-2012 at 12:15 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by M.C. McMic View Post
    Kev, I work for a company that may still be looking for developers in NYC. If you're interested, PM me.

    I wish I had known you were miserable in your current job a few months ago! They were offering like $7K bonuses for people who recommended devs in NY that ultimately get hired.
    Well if that offer ever comes around again, let me know. My work history has too many short stints on it now, I need to stick it out here for at least two years, probably three. The real question is whether or not I move out of finance. I make good money, but from what others tell me, people in my tier at other firms make about the same, so maybe finance doesn't really have the premium on it that I thought it did. I am also a C++ guy, I have almost no web skills.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevstev View Post
    Well if that offer ever comes around again, let me know. My work history has too many short stints on it now, I need to stick it out here for at least two years, probably three. The real question is whether or not I move out of finance. I make good money, but from what others tell me, people in my tier at other firms make about the same, so maybe finance doesn't really have the premium on it that I thought it did. I am also a C++ guy, I have almost no web skills.
    You're a C++ guy, you could also be a PHP/Ruby/Python guy in no time. A designer is going to handle the "web" side of things... They provide a template, you fill in the blanks to make it work.
    xbl: The Starkillers

  15. #15
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    Default Re: So how is everyone doing?

    As for me....

    I graduated college last year (finally) which came with a pretty significant pay increase at my current employer... Which I was ecstatic about. I'm really playing with the idea of doing some work on the side, but I can't seem to find my 'niche'. I've dabbled in just about every programming language that's worth a damn... Which is both good a bad. One day I want to write an Android app, another day I want to write some Ruby web app.

    As far as relationships go, you guys are all nailing down wives meanwhile I seem to nail them for a few months and then get very uninterested in them (or vice versa). But I've got plenty of time for video games, and plenty of money to buy them... So I really can't complain about a damn thing.

    In all honesty, just a few years ago I was rather depressed after a particular failed relationship. Felt that she was the one for me yadda yadda. She probably was, but I digress... These relationships since then have only led me to feel happier about being single and having COMPLETE freedom to do whatever I'd like. It's awesome.

    I do plan to get DayZ and be up and running once the game works out some of the kinks. The concept sounds right up my alley. I love consequences in video games...
    xbl: The Starkillers

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