Out of game status update – Part 2

To summarise part one – took a break, unsuccessful job search, looked at business opportunities, went back to school.

I haven’t had the normal sort of impetus – like food and shelter – to get back to work as soon as possible. Despite two years of me being unemployed, financially the family is fine. When I finished at my last job the mortgage had already been paid off, we had no debt, and the bank balance was healthy. The situation has not changed, and we live reasonably comfortably on my wife’s wage.

The fairly logical and unrushed journey I’ve been able to take in working out what to do next in my career has been a relatively fortuitous luxury not afforded to most.

By taking primary responsibility for the kids, my wife was able to change jobs twice and rejuvenate her career. I am better at cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping and time management than my wife, so the house is better organised and runs smoother.

My wife has a pathological need to have our kids lives filled with organised activities – aside school five days a week there is soccer training and matches, swimming, karate, athletics, roller-skating lessons, Sunday school and professional appointments for our daughter. Since not working it has been a lot less stressful for us all trying to meet my wife’s overfull and complicated scheduling.

I am better at dealing with our daughter – who is on the high functioning end of the Autism spectrum. Over the last two years we have been able to work with her Paediatrician, Psychologist, Speech Therapist and Teachers to better understand her, and have got her out of control tantrums from happening 15 to 25 days a month down to 3 or 4.

It is not all happy days though.

My wife is supportive – almost always, mostly, sort of. For much of the first year she was keen on me not working as it made it much easier with her job changes. She understands the journey I have gone through, the decisions I have made, and says it all makes sense to her. On the surface I have a great deal to be thankful for.

But – my wife avoids confrontation like the plague and is passive aggressive. The occasional jibe, under breath utterance, and attitude shift suggests she isn’t entirely happy. She expresses annoyance at not being able to spend as much money on the things she wants – travel and entertainment. She jealously remarks on how she would love to be the stay at home parent – while indicating she wouldn’t make anywhere near the effort I do or wangle the kids half as well, so I’d be expected to still cover off lots of that stuff. I’m left with the underlying impression that while she is thankful and happy with my contributions, she thinks a little less of me, and if she was to be completely honest, she would prefer I do all that I do – and earn a good wage at the same time.  She would like to have her cake, and eat it too.

My wife and I have always been very good at making long term plans. We haven’t really been able to since not knowing where my career will go.

Personally, I have found it very hard to quantify my self-worth in the Stay at Home Dad role. A monthly salary was an easily defined contribution to the family. A male keeping the house orderly, the fridge full, the kids in clean clothes, putting a hot meal on the table as your wife walks in through the door – society either assumes I am not doing it, or it is dismissed.

We likely both sound ungrateful – but understanding and meeting your own, your families, and societies expectations in this area has been trickier than expected.

So back to concise context – not working has left me busier than before, there have been real benefits for my family, but it has been tricky to navigate, and leaves aspects of life on hold.

So that is life out of game. Now back to the normal sporadic updates.

Out of game status update – Part 1

This isn’t about EVE. It is background context and an update on topics I have mentioned before.

I’ve been unemployed for two years now. A less than auspicious accomplishment that plays on my mind.

I’ve tried to remark on this before, but I never seem to be able to explain the situation in a succinct enough manner.

I left my last job because it was obvious the organisation was in its’ death throes. It started shutting down just months later. Credit where credit is due – the last remaining Senior Manager was the Accountant, and he handled the process in a very orderly manner. As far as I had heard, no one lost any of their entitlements.

Not long after that, the US Parent company went into Administration and was sold, with the Shareholders losing all their money. The last CEO had in a couple short years taken a large successful international business and ruined it with his Dilbert like jargon and hot air.

A hollow vindication I guess of my initial decision.

I spent about four months just tackling the To-Do list around home. I never really made a dent in it however – as quickly as I accomplished something, two more items would be added.

When I started looking around seriously for work I found there was none. I’d been warned for years by colleagues that this was the reality. Knowing it, and seeing it however are two different things. Of the few jobs that did pop up, I was handicapped by not being able to travel (I had to do the school runs), and by a conscious and considered decision to specialise in a way that was now no longer particularly marketable.

I caught up with many of the people in my professional network, I had my resume reviewed, I looked for options to step sideways into other technologies, I tried to be creative in broadened my job search, but I found myself pigeonholed back into a career that was no longer open to me.

It is a very odd feeling to no longer be able to do the work you enjoy and are good at. Your self-worth takes a knock, you feel grief, embarrassment. It is hard to explain.

After 4 or 5 months I started looking seriously into buying a franchise. There is a romantic notion to being your own boss. I did some online courses and a crap load of research, and had long discussions with several groups. In the end however, while I found a number of Franchisors I really liked, and some products and services I could get enthused about, I did not find them combined. What I ended up with was a very long list of what I would steer away from – any Franchisors who were public companies or run by investment organisations, any franchise less than 5 years old, any pyramid franchises where you reported to a franchised area manager who reported to a franchised regional manager who reported to a franchised state manager and so on. I still get the emails and read the magazines, but currently I don’t have any prospects I am chasing.

Meanwhile I had always remarked that I could just get a lawn mowing business to bring in some money while the kids where still young. I earnt pocket money during High School gardening for half a dozen elderly clients. It was something I was and remained good at. Friends of ours suggested I could start on cleaning up their property, to see how I went. They lived on a large and very steep block that was overgrown with weeds and covered with blackberries. For the last year, for half a day a week, I’ve been doing their gardening. It has been a mammoth, heavy task, but our friends have been genuinely delighted with the results. It did however show me that I could not physically do such a job full time. My fall back option was not an option after all.

So – for the last 6 months I did a lot of research, enrolled and have undertaken study. The particular course I took provides a qualification related to training adults. The thought is to get into corporate IT training or the like. I had very good feedback from the other students and the instructor, who has gone out of her way to look for opportunities for me. That should all be finished by the end of January.

I don’t know if it will provide a solution for my unemployment, but it gives me options. It has also been a reminder, like the gardening, that I can be quite accomplished at what I set my mind to. I’ll have to set my mind in a similar way to finding work in the new year.

How it is

I took a trip to Jita to pick up any Glacial Drift skins I didn’t mind the look of, and thought I might use.

While there I grabbed some Exoplanets Hunter skins as well.

I’ve read back through the last year or so of the blog, and I don’t have anything new to say about the status of my EVE journey. Something might grab my interest for a session or three, but then I might not log in for a fortnight. I follow a number of social feeds to keep an eye on the news and updates, read patch notes, and follow the handful of older EVE blogs that are still active. I leave myself open to have my enthusiasm triggered by anything interesting.

I guess that can come across as complaining – but it is just how it is. EVE is currently an occasional pleasant distraction.

It is not alone in that regard, World of Warships and Dungeon and Dragons Online fall into the same category.

Old EVE

The DEV Blog on the updates to the Agency interface I remarked on in my last post can be found here:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/updates-to-the-agency-journal-and-agent-finder/

I picked up a new PC three weeks ago. I got someone else to put it all together, but I selected all the components. I stepped up to a Coffee Lake i7 8700K CPU, boot from an Intel m.2 SDD, and have Corsair 3200Mhz DDR4 Memory – all upgrades from what the old system has.  It is also a bit more garish..

(I still need to move in the second graphics card and another hard drive, and re-neaten the cables.)

It is noticeably faster – although not in a meaningful way. Sitting side by side there really is nothing wrong with the performance of my old PC. The update only related to age. After five years of running 16+ hours a day, the old PC is starting to show some stability problems.

I’ve been so busy that I have only managed to migrate about 10% of my data and programs to the new PC. The EVE client has made it across, but none of the secondary tools have. Pyfa will make the move, but the out of date EVEMon and EFT won’t. That feels odd. Like an end of an era maybe? A reminder of how the “Old EVE” doesn’t always manage to keep up with the “New EVE”.

EVE Christmas

Each year CCP do something to acknowledge the festive season. This year CPP want you to undock and collect your own treats by running their Rogue Swarm Nest sites.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/eve-online-news/the-yoiul-festival-has-begun/

Completing Agency tasks can also give you extra festival rewards.

Speaking of the Agency. We should get more information this week about changes being made to that Interface. Looking at this forum post, they are moving more information into it:

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/january-release-updates-coming-to-the-agency-journal-and-agent-finder-in-january/45126

While I like the idea of the Agency interface, I don’t much like how CCP have implemented it so far. It uses too much screen real estate, gets a bit cluttered, and seems to arbitrarily filter out results so you don’t actually have a complete picture. Worryingly CCP now intend to move the very usable Agent Finder into the interface.