Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jobs, Architecture, and ambivelence

This blog has been quiescent for some time, mostly because I've have been focused on staying afloat financially instead of school.

The persistent problems with MSU financial aid department hit the point where it was financially impossible for me to attend school...(like having better then 1/2 of my student loans go missing for half the semester... not once but two semesters in a row!)

The resulted in me dropping to half-time and then as my student loan payments became active seeking full time work.  Which after a couple of false starts I have found.

For the last six months I have been a contractor at a terrific establishment, and on Monday I become an official employee.  It's a great job that challenges me daily, but draws on my 15+ years in the it industry.  A job where I am valued, trusted, and treated with respect.  It's also a job where I get to map out the road map for their technological future.  The bonus is that my coworkers and boss are a pleasure to work with as well.

Where does that leave Architecture school?   Good question.

In this economy it's a pretty poor time to be junior Architect with no work experience in the field.

Also, my new job offers to pay for (not reimburse... pay for) the maximum IRS amount for schooling as long as it's job related.   Which in my case means some IT type degree.  A quick google shows that the amount the offer is easily over half of what full time tuition and books cost for full time attendance.

So I can go back to school on works dime.. but only if I change my major.

Worth it? I don't know.  Frankly I'm going to have to ruminate it's implications towards my future.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trip Day 5 - Trip complete

Miles Driven: 291
Mean Temperature: 89 f

The day started earlier then expected with a group of protesting kids loudly leaving the hotel room next to me.  Since I was already awake and had packed the night before, I hit the road 30 minutes early, headed for home, with a brief planned stop at the Billings office.

I had high hopes as I arrived nearly an hour earlier then expected, having cleverly detoured around road construction that a co-worker had forewarned me about.

With great hubris I whistled a jaunty tune and walked in the door at 10 AM; anticipating I would be in and back out on the road in thirty minutes, and be home by noonish.

Then I was handed a stack of "Urgent Call, ASAP!"  notes.  My heart sank.

I sorted and plowed through them, most of which were solved with a single phone call., but one was a doozy.  One of the nearby (relatively speaking) field offices had gone down that morning and would not come up.

Calls to Qwest determined their maintenance had broken the DSL connection, but they had repaired and it was authenticating properly so far as they could tell, yet our equipment was refusing to talk to the outside world.

*1000 words of tedious technical gobblygook redacted so you don't get bored.*

Finally, I was faced with a choice, drive to the field office knowing that the entire 50 miles there was under construction and I had already been told that it was running 1.5-2 hours each way or try and walk a technically unsophisticated end user through manually resetting the equipment.   The end user voted for option B, since if it didn't work I was going to have to drive there any way so we might as well try.

Low and behold, 45 minutes of excruciatingly precise instructions... everything came up.

So, instead of spending 30 minutes in Billings I had spent 4 hours.  The problem was I had to be back in Bozeman before 5 pm or my reimbursement check for this trip was going to have to wait until after our accounting person got back from vacation, which was going to be a week and a half away.  1000 miles of gas money, hotel expenses, and food bills that came out of my pocket.

I had 146 miles to go, and 2 hours and 15 minutes to make it.

I leapt to my car, prayed to the gods of road construction that they had knocked it off for the weekend and rocketed towards the highway.

Wind blowing in my hair, hands gripping the steering wheel I drove like a madman at 75 mph towards my destiny! *

And made with 10 minutes to spare.

Trip finished, the prize?  A well earned night in my own bed.

*I should point out that the speed limit was 75, there were lots of highway patrolmen out for the holiday weekend... and well... I don't speed.