Monday, December 12, 2005

Becoming a Vagabond

I'm planning to go vagabond, to go walkabout, to shrug of the shackles of the working world for a brief moment and enjoy different corners of the world.

Err...that and the less lofty goal of getting the hell out of my job. Traveling is a brilliant excuse.

The plan going forward: write about it. I would like to write about the process of closing up shop, packing away my things, and making my way to various destinations. I have several travel related posts on my essay blog, but they each encompass a single, complete trip. What I would really like to do is compile the whole experience into a travel journal.

It begins with quitting.

I've been wanting to do something like this for a very long time. I've traveled a bit here and there. My friends seem to think I'm well traveled. I feel like I've only touched the tip of the iceberg.

The problem is, I've always found that a job gets in the way of travel. Sure, it provides for the travel expenses, but at the expense of time. Plus, it's a hell of a lot more dull than traveling ("So, I just figured out that one does actually get atomic writes with a J2ME RecordStore object! How cool is that"[1]) .

Besides the problem of being dull, I've found that I hate it. It's the little things. Ok, honestly, it's my boss. He's an asshole. Everyone tells me, "that's true everywhere," but he is seriously an asshole. There are other reasons, but he was the main source of my unhappiness at work. I will refrain from that whole barrel of eels.

At the end of last month, noticing that my name was showing up a lot on the Big Board, I decided it was definitely time to put my plan into action. Four weeks early, for those who knew my plans. I waited around all day, much later into the day than I usually would, to get a moment to pull my boss aside.

The wide-eyed look was priceless. I've become number five to quit under his helm in the year he's been here. Considering that there are never more than eight developers at anyone time, this is a huge turn-over rate. Still, I couldn't bring myself to tell him the real reason I was quitting (hated working for him) and so I made up some excuses (company strategy, management decisions, sales out of control).

Then I threw out the ace of spades, that dip at the end of the dance, that brilliant piece of evidence the detectives are always pulling out at the eleventh hour: I'm going to do some traveling for a few months.

Turns out, this is an untouchable reason. It's adventuresome, it's cultured, it's bohemian, it's a personal choice with no personality conflicty-type reasons. In a word, brilliant.

My relief after this was amazing. I've never felt such a weight off of my shoulders. The tension slipped off my neck and I felt free. The song "Revelry" by Sea Ray was my song of the hour[2].

... For about a week.

[1] No shit, that's a self quote. I'm a geek.

[2] Which, as it turns out, is not as happy a song as it sounds.

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