Considering Balance

The skinny blond bearded guy on the bike with the hat like my old one smiled at me as I crossed the street in the rain, next to DCL. It was Jon, of all people, who lived in Allen Hall. We had a mutual friend to talk about, which we did at the Red Herring, where he treated me to some vegetarian lunch, since he’s recently collected on some loans, and I can’t refuse a free lunch just now.

He’s one of the many friends I still have in town who have never left. His excuse is that his girlfriend had to stay for school, and he was offered a good deal to work off a Master’s degree he’d never considered earning, so it worked out. Of course, he’s recently broken up with the girl, but he’s nearly got a Master’s degree to show for it, and a job after graduation for a year, and especially in this economy, that’s not at all shabby.

There’s been quite a few folks who seem a little surprised to hear of me working in a coffee shop – is the job market so bad? Are you looking for computer work? My answer tends to come out along the lines that sitting in a chair behind a computer all day for work is not the most desirable condition for me, because my hobbies tend to involve sitting down, with a computer, a book, a newspaper, or a movie. I’m something of a loner in my natural state, so any service job where I get to riff off people all day, is a healthy counterpoint to my naturally quiet state when I get home, and being on my feet is also a good physical balance to my sedentary proclivities.

On the other hand, you can’t beat the money in technology, and I figure I’m going to spend at least some time on it as a hobby, some consulting, and the occasional full-time job. (After the tech bubble, it is hard to assume that any tech work is anything but a conditional situation: even the University has support staff positions they’ll have to cut, atop their current hiring freeze.) I tend to see myself jumping head-first into the rat race once I have a family coming along, at which point I should be grateful to sit in a chair behind a computer and deal with someone else’s problems, and balance that with plenty of human interaction and physical activity back at the casa.

Ideally, for my single life, I think I’d like a half-time tech job, rounded out with service work or volunteer activities, as a perfect balance between cognition and daily interaction, with good money to boot. Nice work when you can get it, but it is a rarity indeed. I’d like to think that this model would work well for tech companies, because really, there’s only so many hours in a week in which most of us can apply our brains to a particular problem, so if you can get two folks to tag-team on a particular problem for the price of one …

But that’s not an experiment that I’m in any position to conduct, right now.

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