This is a post that’s explicitly about me, rather than my take on something, which I try to avoid here. Apologies. Ignore it if you wish.
So here it is. Another arbitrary milestone, but sucker that I am, I find it hard to ignore those little markers beside the road, arbitrary or not. For me, 2001 was one of those years of reinventing myself, ones that seem to come in more or less three-year cycles. I decided that, for the moment at least, the IT industry was not where I wanted to be, even if Australia was.
Throwing heart and soul into a project that I believed deeply in and having it sh-tcanned because of arbitrary, ego-driven political bullsh-t (I will never forget it, Mr. Bastard, and when you least expect it I will leap from the cover of darkness and rip your f–king black heart out and feed it to you, still pulsing) gave me pause, and triggered some re-evaluation of what I need as core in my livelihood, to keep my sanity. I’ve always needed friendships (if at arms length, perhaps, and on my terms, arrogant control-freak that I am) to sustain me, coupled with plenty of time to sit alone and think and drink. The first was possible in Sydney, the second, not.
Serendipitously, this university teaching job came to my attention at almost precisely the same time that I was re-evaluating how rewarding (in any but a monetary sense) the IT work and my role at was to me, and precisely how much sh-t I’d have to eat to fit in with the new corporate regime. I’ve been called naive, and foolish, and perhaps I am, but teaching has always seemed to me to be a noble calling. In the right situation, a teacher, a good one, can see how they have done some measurable good in the world. It’s a lot harder to see that result in the software biz, particularly when the results of a year’s labour is a piece of ‘groupware’ which ends up getting shelved, anyway.
Happily, since I’m nothing if not skilled in uprooting myself and flinging my sorry ass halfway across the planet at the drop of a hat (and happily, since SK is cool with that), the move back to Korea wasn’t the potentially shattering thing it could have been. I made (and renewed) some good friends in Australia, and I hope we’ll go back, sometime. I took a 60% cut in my gross salary, and that is a price that I gladly pay to be free from feeling coerced to lick corporate ass, to have the time to write, and read, and think, and drink, to teach again, and have my efforts appreciated, and to give the woman I love a chance to live in her own country again. I’ve made (and renewed) some friendships here, and as ever, all my friends that I can keep in touch with through this amazing InTArWeb thing sustain me, every day.
2001 was a stressful year, as my Years of Reinvention always are, but I think there is a chance that I’ll be a better man because of the hard decisions I made. And at the end of the day, at the close of another year, that’s all I can really strive for.
Peace, friends.
Call me a fool for love…