Monday, March 19, 2012

Dust, no wind

I realized today, as I’ve been drumming my fingers against my skull trying to come up with a post thematically appropriate for Monday, that not only is there not much going on at work but there’s likely not going to be much going on at work any time in the near future. On the one hand, that probably doesn’t seem terribly surprising given how often I reiterate that my job tends to swing back and forth between gut-wrenching-crisis-that-must-be-solved-five-minutes-ago and casting-about-for-any-kind-of-busywork-at-all, with the latter being more common than the former. But even given that fundamental assumption, there have almost always been peripheral circumstances to break up the monotony.

To recap: I’ve been a government contractor for nearly five years now, with my anniversary coming up in June or July. This is a little bit remarkable because when this opportunity more or less fell in my lap back in mid-2007, I had been working for the same company for … close to five years, almost exactly four and a half if I remember correctly. And at the time, changing jobs was a big deal because I had never worked anywhere else for that long before, usually maxing out at two or three years tops. Sometime around the beginning of this year I seem to have broken my personal record for length of time collecting paychecks from a single employer, and I didn’t even notice. And as I’ve alluded to recently, I’m not planning on going anywhere at the moment, with “moment” more or less defined as the current arrangement wherein I have two mortgages to pay and two kids in daycare and so on, none of which looks to be going away anytime in the next year or so either. So the streak is only going to continue.

Within those nearly-five years of my present job position, I worked on one contract for about two years before it went away and I landed on the bench, but fortunately I quickly transitioned over to the contract I’m on now. And I could keep chopping up this contract into different eras, as well: the time I spent working out of our corporate HQ, followed by (theoretically) splitting my time between HQ and the client site, followed by reporting every day to the client site. At first I had a cubicle by the window in the client’s office space, then I was relocated to the former-closet, then I began to accumulate closet-mates (and lost one, after a period of intensely uncomfortable weirdness). And then my daughter was born and I went on leave for a few weeks, during which time the entire client office moved from Rosslyn to Crystal City, and when I came off paternity leave I had a new commute, a new cubicle, and the most concrete sense of actually being part of the agency, on par with all the other contractors, that I’d ever experienced here.

Clocks on the wing ... all we are is clocks on the wing
And that last part, the great post-paternity-leave return? That was almost a year ago at this point. My wife and I are reasonably certain we’re not going to have any more kids. The grand security-upgrade construction project (still ongoing) here in the office leads me to believe that the agency is in this space to stay. The contract I’m working is on Option Year 2 of 5. All of which is to say that I’m not going anywhere, the job isn’t going anywhere, and what I see is what I’m gonna get for a great long open-ended stretch of the foreseeable future.

It’s odd, to say the least, to realize that things moving in a constant state of flux became my normal, and knowing that things have largely stabilized feels somehow off. There’s no longer any reason for me to say “well things are only going to be this way until X”. I’m sure at some point there will be reason to say it again (in fact some might argue that simply composing and posting this all but guarantees I will get hospitalized on two months of short-term disability this winter or something crazy like that) but for right now the dust that I’m forever waiting to settle seems to have done just that.

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