Monday July 6th

How are you?

I’m not even kidding

  • Two people sent me messages; one was an email, and the other a text, asking exactly this.
  • I’m better, and especially today I took a 1.5 hour nap and it was one of the best naps I’ve had in a while. I feel a lot better. My feet aren’t swollen anymore and from what I can see, I don’t have any allergy reactions visible (for now).
  • But once again, I’m starting to get the emails and the notifications about things. And then the headaches return. One of these days, it would be nice to have an assistant. I would treat them as well as I can, because the pressure of all the things is rough. I get it now. They’re there to take care of some of that and make your life easier. I value their jobs so much right now, but I have to do everything badly for now. I’m trying.
  • I had a realization over the last few days; I cannot have a job after my PhD as a “foot soldier” role. And that is not to denigrate any position in particular; what I mean to say is that wherever I go, they have to give me space to still do talks, still lead organizations, and they should respect that by bringing me on, that’s part of who I am, but if they give me the room to do my work and to do that, it will augment their organization (or I could just lead my own and that wouldn’t be a problem really). Because if there is a company that wants to psycho-control my time, it’s probably not going to work out. There’s just too much going on at any given time in my life. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon.
  • My parents and I have conversations over the weekend, and one of the things they said is important in any organization is respect. You respect what I have to bring to the table, and that you have faith that I can carry out what you need me to do. It’s so hard to find, though. Many organizations hire you or tell you “you’re the one” and then micromanage you, like you’re really a cog. So where’s the respect? That may work for a while, but the worker will resent you, and that’s not a sustainable pipeline for workers anyways.
  • I’ve been thinking most recently about how many times managers aren’t transparent. The culture is very different from my country, and I’m still getting acclimated, even after having lived here for more than a decade, but one thing that has really frustrated me is how infrequently I hear “sorry; I messed up”. This is especially true in managerial capacities. I mean, is it so hard to be transparent? Often, there isn’t acknowledgement of this, but rather, it’s taken out on the worker, or the person below those managing. It’s a double-edged sword to be able to see this because it’s so frustrating. At this point, I’ve worked so many jobs that I can smell bad management a mile away. And they’re often the last to admit that they messed up.
  • I think about my future and it’s always a toss up between industry and academia. What I’m really weighing in my mind is probabilistically, which one will give me less exposure to a toxic work environment and crap management? Which one really values (and not just talks about) growth? I’m still weighing options in my head. But oh man, industry; why you be that way? Get it together.
  • I think about the times people have asked me why I chose grad school, and sometimes I think the right answer was really “bad management”.
  • But that exists everywhere; I’ve seen it in academia, too. And it’s so painful for me. I’ve been in boardrooms since I was a child.
  • Something as simple as “vision”. Where are we going? I’m beginning to think that my parents are right; it may be a talent that is in short supply.

I’m on a break

  • I’m actually reviewing a thing and took a break to write a post. Because why not. I usually do a couple read-throughs, which means I take a bit longer, but I know it takes a lot to write these, so I want to give feedback. I have another pending to look at, as well (I’m sorry! I’m only one human!) I will get to that when I can (probably by latest end of this upcoming weekend).

RLOS week 7 and 8

  • This took up a lot of my time this weekend. And it’s still not resolved. Oh well. I guess some days are like that.
  • The debacle with my school also still is up in the air, but I won’t go into that. Thoughts have simmered in my mind about my future with respect to this.
  • They sure do go out of their way to promote the heck out of every other local person. Just not us; the outsiders. It is what it is, I guess. And I don’t care, but I do want my award. At this point, it’s gotten a bit ridiculous, and embarrassing, and frustrating..all into one. I wish they’d just get it together.
  • Also, I hate when people tell me “it’s going to be okay”. I’ve done freelance for most of my life, and when it comes to money, it’s never “going to be okay”. People get divorced over money, partnerships break up in companies! Money is a serious thing. I am fine, but I don’t ever joke about money. That’s a metaphor for my time and my energy and value of work. Miss me with that nonsense.
  • I feel less frustrated about this (the inability of the institution to measure up) these days; I’ve realized that I just have to take from it what I can, and find the other things elsewhere. Just as there is a limit I can give in terms of energy, there is a limit in terms of what the institution can give me. That is its own failings, not mine, and I can’t take it personally. And to you who has an awesome institution rooting for you, supporting you all the way, with the paved path in colourful candy crush candies, good for you. Send me good energy, please. Give me the patience…
  • That reminds me; when I lived in LA, I used to joke that my motto was “lower your expectations”. I have to remember a bit of that, while setting my external sights higher. It’s the only way in some organizations. Your sanity…it’s important. Reminded me of a movie I was working on (my first feature!); there was an electric / lighting person (who is still a good friend of mine!) who I discovered was reading an Adorno book at the back of the truck. If you know anything about working on set, that’s quite strange. And as it turned out, he had an extra one, so soon we were sitting in the back of the truck, as the assistant director yelled “shhhh” to all the other people, reading philosophy. Those are some of the times I remember; where I was able to be more than one thing and to see myself outside of myself, and gravitate towards others who did that, too. As it turns out, he went back for his Master’s at Berkeley. He didn’t let who he was (or what others saw his capacity to be at the time) limit where he saw himself and what he wanted to be. Good on him!

Moving on

  • I’m doing a cryptography workshop and it’s pretty awesome. It’s spread out over a long-ish period of time (until September-ish?), and it ties into some of the work I’ll be doing in Fall. the good thing is it is a kind of go at your own pace, with some optional socials and Q&A thrown in, which is great for my time (since I have none). So I spent some time going through all the lessons today and yesterday. I also had read some of the papers, since it does intersect with some of the work I’m doing, but funnily enough, one of the persons who wrote a paper I was reproducing work from last semester is in the workshop, too, so that’s a little trippy!
  • One of the modules is definitely familiar; my professor and I went through the paper for that together and had started deriving some of it in Sage, but some of the other stuff I definitely need to go slower on. Fortunately, there is code for each part.

As for my internship

  • So far, so good! And that’s about all you’ll get from me on that :) Fooled you! :) I will say that it’s one of the most competent teams I’ve ever worked on. It’s so true! Everyone on this team knows their stuff, and it’s been a joy, quite frankly. I’ve learned a lot and am thankful for my experience this summer on this team! Everyone is as sharp as a tack, and they absolutely support you and put you up to the task.

Toy project

  • I also spent some time on my toy project this weekend. It was nice because it was just a “me” project, although I have a mentor through two blockchain groups who is walking me through some stuff and helping me learn things. But I realized, as I was telling my parents this weekend, that that’s important to me; being able to do things I like doing, and having space for that. Or else everything is transactional and I’ll hate it and get burned out and never want to code or work on those kinds of projects again.

I have one more thing on my plate

  • It’s not major, but I might just end up just pushing it off to tomorrow, and enjoy the bit of my long weekend that’s left, after doing the review.
  • One of my peeves is people who try to take my time and cross that boundary, instead of letting me manage my time. And I hate extra nosiness into my time. Not only is it rude, but I’m primarily a pretty private person; there are some parts of my life I couldn’t care if anyone knew about, but others I keep quite private. And I’d like to keep it that way. I do social media participation and all of that (most people do), but there are still some parts of my life that are pretty off the grid and they keep me whole. I really think it’s important to protect those parts of yourself and from the interference of any of every person. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Black Mirror (I watched a couple episodes two weeks ago and then cancelled my subscription lol; I don’t have time for that as a habit, although watching a handful of episodes late in the night / morning was nice).

And that’s it

Written on July 6, 2021