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18 June 2016

No one's listening

Having accommodations at work-- a set and steady schedule where I only work one job in one day. a workstation where I have my back and one side to walls, and noise canceling headphones to wear-- is helping a great deal. I've been able to get a lot of work done, and I'm demoing the project I've been working on to the rest of my team next week. Things are not perfect. There are still times every day when I can clearly hear people talking that are across the room, and if a few different voices are present at once it's very triggering. I've thought more than once that maybe it's me, that I'm just that sensitive to noise, but my hearing isn't that good-- people at work are just really that loud, and the way the open office is set up does nothing to dampen sound.

I mentioned that I'm going to demo the project I'm working on-- this is hopefully true. The team of developers I'm on hasn't met the past two weeks for whatever reason(s). This is one of the few times that you'll ever hear me make such a complaint. I'm not a fan of staff meetings where the boss figure reads off the news of the week to the minions. My team's meetings are agile-ish and the rest of the team shares the idea that meetings should be productive and short, so our weekly meetings are pretty tolerable. 

As much as I really want (and need) to be left alone while I'm coding-- and as much as I need accommodations to even concentrate-- I don't like working in a vacuum. I want to know that what I'm doing matters to someone. I want to interact with people on my team, to share ideas and learn, just not while I'm coding. Different things, different times.

No one has asked me a meaningful question about my project for a while now, which is especially important since my team hasn't had a meeting. I'm flying solo, which is a lot different than not being bothered while I'm working. I trust myself to make good design decisions but building things in software isn't supposed to be a solo activity. Feedback is important, and there really hasn't been any-- not from my team, not from management.

I don't know if they trust me that much, or if they just don't care, or if everyone's walking on eggshells because of the ADA accommodations, or a combination of all of the above. There are people at work on the help desk side that will literally sit and pick my brain for an entire shift-- they'll get me talking about something technical and just let me go, and I love it. 

That tells me I'm not that scary, at least to some people.

So I said eff it (no, actually, I said fuck it) and posted to the team Slack that I'm going to demo my project at next week's meeting. I'm hopeful that someone will actually have an opinion, some feedback, something. Posting to the Slack is also a way of saying "and we are actually having a meeting next week, right?" and in doing so putting everyone on the hook to attend and listen to me present my project.

Lead, follow, or GTFO the way.

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I'm starting to get some replies back from the resumes I've sent and forwarded and had referred. I've been to 20+ hackathons, so my resume is out in the wild already. The copies that are out there say that I'm graduating this fall, but I'm not-- I'm doing a pack up the wagon and head West thing-- so now it's on me to explain that my plans have changed and I'm not actually graduating.  I haven't heard responses to that explanation yet, but I know not having a bachelor's degree is an issue for some companies. So we'll see.

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In trying to figure out how I'm going to get me and my stuff to California it's occurred to me that buying a van is an option. It'll hold my stuff and then I'll have an emergency place to sleep when I get there. 

This is, to a large extent, the PTSD and depression and social anxiety taking. It's also the former homeless veteran talking, planning for the worst. Those couple of years on and off the street really changed me in some ways, and I'm still learning what those ways are. There are a lot of things about life-- institutions, ideas, things that most people take for granted (and me, once)-- that I don't trust. Having been homeless is a shadow that follows you-- rental history, credit score. "I know how to make a cargo van into something pretty comfortable. I could do this. Maybe it would be better..." it all whispers.

I don't really know where things go from here.

But I'm still leaving.

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