There Is No Cat

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Well, October has certainly been an interesting month. Toward the beginning of the month, on the fifth, I was officially notified that my services at work would no longer be required. I had gotten a heads up from my boss a week earlier on September 28th. I can't say that this came as a surprise; I had been expecting that particular phone call since last December. That was when a merger resulted in about 99.9% of the work I had been doing going away. For the past ten months, I've been doing something at work other than web stuff for the most part. I was still getting an occasional call about legacy stuff, but most of my time was being spent on another project I had been assigned to while my boss figured out what to do with me. They were bidding on another big web project where I would have been useful, but they didn't get it, and when that happened, I was let go. My last day was October 19th.

I can't say I'm heartbroken. I was bored to tears. I dug into my temporary project as well as I could, and can honestly say I now know more about banking and printing checks than I ever wanted to. But there just wasn't enough work to keep me occupied, and I was getting increasingly frustrated. In the week and a half since I left, I've really realized how badly I felt at that job since December; even with all the uncertainty that unemployment entails, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My months of exile are over. One thing that leaving the job has done for me is freed me to think of myself as a web guy again. I had been aware of a little project started by Lisa Herrod in Australia a few months ago, I work on the web, for people to post photos of themselves on Flickr and tell their story about working on the web, but as my months of printing checks dragged on, I was starting to wonder if I would ever work on the web again, so I hesitated to post my story. Being laid off freed me to do that.

I work on the web.

So anyway, the low-key job search I've been running since the spring has kicked in to high gear. I had two interviews within three days of my job ending. There's a possibility one of those may come through with a job, but I don't want to jinx it by writing about it.

In the meantime, I've been trying to enjoy my time off, and largely succeeding. We've been renovating our family room this summer. I've been able to work on some finishing touches for the room, installing the moulding, moving the furniture back in to the room, that sort of thing. I'll probably post more about that once the room is really finished. We ordered a couch a few weeks ago (after I found out I was losing my job, in fact; we had the money for it saved up and decided not to let my employment situation get in the way of finishing the room), and hopefully it will be showing up in the next couple of weeks. One of our wedding presents a few years ago was a home theater-enabled stereo, but I hadn't gotten around to installing the extra surround sound speakers. Now I have. Right now, I'm building a bookcase for the room to hold the DVDs that are currently scattered around the house in piles. It's sitting in the garage partially assembled at the moment.

I've been spending a lot of time on Flickr in recent months. I've found my toy photography habit a useful way to engage my creative side while the creative side of my job disappeared. There are a lot of photos from trips I've taken in recent months: Ohio back in August, Wildwood over Labor Day weekend, and earlier this month Cape May. Laura and I went out with some toy cameras on October 20 to mark World Toy Camera Day, shooting in the morning out on Sandy Hook, and in the afternoon down in Point Pleasant Beach. That was fun. I haven't posted my photos from that day on Flickr yet, but will over the next week or so.

2007 up to this point has felt almost like a lost year. I suppose that's a big part of why I haven't been posting here much. (The other part, I think, was that I was pretty shaken up by a lightning strike that hit our house in July and took out about $10,000 of electronics while I was sitting right next to them.) I'm not sure I'll be getting any better about that any time soon, though; I just haven't had much to say, and I'm starting to rethink what it is that I want to do with this site. So I may be relatively quiet for a while longer.


Posted at 10:32 AM


Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

I'm glad this has ended up being a positive event for you. I can't help thinking you'll get a new job sooner than you wanted.

What are you looking for, anyway? Type of job? Techs used?

Posted by Shelley at 11:31 AM, October 31, 2007 [Link]

Oh, I know all those feelings. I wish I was having that rid-of-this-job feeling as well, though only if it came with a I-just-inherited-a-hundred-grand feeling as well.

All the best, though, Ralph. I think you'll be fine. You don't lose your webgeek credentials just because your job pulls you from the web for a while. If it did, my eight months working on the school's accreditation should have generated a form letter from Zeldman asking me to send my membership hCard back.

Posted by dw at 1:14 PM, October 31, 2007 [Link]

As always, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. (Damn it's hard to type this way!)

Posted by Elaine at 3:58 PM, October 31, 2007 [Link]

hi Ralph,

Wow big changes and all the best with what you do next.

This is the second story I've heard since we started 'I work on the web' where a big work change has occurred. Hopefully these moments allow us to rethink where we've been and work out if we're heading in the right direction.

Funnily, the same thing happened to me last December/ January too :)

Good luck and thanks so much for your post on the site ;)


Posted by Lisa at 7:58 PM, October 31, 2007 [Link]

Thanks, everyone.

Shelley, the resume says the last two jobs were as a Front End Web Developer, so I figure that would work nicely for the next one as well, although I'm open to other possibilities that would take advantage of my experience. I've got the usual jumble of acronyms: HTML, XHTML, DHTML, CSS, Javascript (not an acronym, but hey), Ajax (used to be an acronym, not any more), SEO, etc.

Dylan, yeah, I hear you. I am *so* ready to win the lottery. Hundred grand wouldn't cut it, though. :-)

Elaine, you could always use your nose. Thanks.

Lisa, thanks. Seems like it worked out pretty well for you. And thanks for coming up with the idea for I work on the web in the first place. Anything that makes this place a little more human is a good thing from my perspective.

Posted by ralph at 2:17 AM, November 2, 2007 [Link]

Hi Ralph,

My son is a junior in high school and is contemplating what to study in college. He had long assumed that he would go into engineering, but is increasingly hearing that the U.S. market may be saturated with grads.

He is your typical teen into video games. But he is also quite computer savvy and is even an administor on a computer related talk forum.

So, he is considering computers/web/programming/video games as a possible alternatives to engineering. What avenues look promising today?

Thanks, Todd

Posted by Todd Cratty at 7:19 PM, November 5, 2007 [Link]

nice article.

Posted by Tercume at 9:51 AM, November 22, 2007 [Link]


This site is copyright © 2002-2024, Ralph Brandi.

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio

There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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