Monday, March 29, 2010

Out of Excuses...

So now I need a reason.
Escapism. As I get older I sometimes wonder why I spend so much time in pretend worlds, reading and playing video-games. Then I watch the news, read some political commentary, check on the latest polls, pay my bills, and dig right back into my post-apocalyptic training simulators and fantasy novels.
I'm not sure I could express my frustrations with the way things are without swearing. Heavily. Nonstop. Punctuated with rude gestures at key intervals. Spittle would be involved. And that's just about the general status-quo. Specific topics would probably involve a punch to the neck.
It sounds like I will have a job past July. That is the good news. The bad news is that no one has been able to tell me what my job will be. I may have mentioned the merger in previous posts. We are now in the layoff phase of the process and things are looking grim. Between the two agencies we have lost about two million dollars in funding due to the state-wide budget cuts. I do not know what will come out of this mess. A merger is a messy business at the best of times, sorting out redundancies and readjusting management structures. The political back-and-forth about 'whose side' will need to be cut makes for a vicious drama to begin with, but to have utter uncertainty about the future of the agency in any form makes all of this a little disheartening.
Supposedly all the cuts in staff that were going to be made have been decided by now. So maybe we'll begin hearing from the powers that be about the vision that they had when making the decisions about who to cut from where. It probably will not be satisfying, because from most accounts the cuts may as well have been random. Seniority, performance, workload, experience... none of these seemed to be an indicator as to the stability of your position.
We'll see. Again, it looks like I'll be offered a contract, but at this point I don't know how I would be able to perform the duties I've had for the last 7 years when looking at the rough outline of the new agency. The expectations of my current position fall well within my abilities, but it wouldn't take much to make my job physically impossible. Our service area will double in July. Our department has had staff-cuts, with no comparable department in the agency that we will be merging with. Workload divided by workforce is giving me a fairly daunting result at this point, so I really hope that someone soon can give me some idea of what the workload side will entail.
And for bonus points... My girlfriend will find out sometime tomorrow if she will be laid off due to outsourcing. HAPPY FUN TIMES! :P

Despite all this I'm actually pretty happy. I've finally worked my way back through all the Terry Pratchett Discworld books sequentially to get to the newest one. I'm playing a neat FPS/RPG game set in a fantasy wasteland/Russia/militarized zone thingy. Mutants, radiation storms, odd anomalies, warring factions, a mystery, and a world just open and dangerous enough to be interesting: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat. The third entry in the STALKER series. I've played the first one a bit, but ran into major technical issues with my old computer. I've played the second one for about an hour but ran into major distractions with other shiny games. I've played the third one for almost 40 hours so far... this one has the magic sauce. At first it plays almost like Nethack (gamers with roots will know what I mean). Pop into the world. Run around doing stuff. Meet an enemy. Do something stupid. Die. Rinse, repeat. Slowly you learn about the world and its dangers and live longer.
It has been a long time since I've been this engrossed in a game. The unforgiving way it drops you at the edge of the swamp with the tools but none of the knowledge to survive.

But enough rambling praise.
This was composed while at work, so I apologize in advance if the narrative seems a bit broken and disjointed. As you can imagine things are bit chaotic at the moment.

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