People think that they can change, most people it ain’t true; It’s easy to talk about change, ain’t easy followin’ through

Posted: May 2, 2012 in Fridge Note
It’s been a rough couple of  weeks.

Looking piece by piece, there hasn’t been anything that in itself is overwhelming.  Some work backed up due to Toronto, some clueless plan examiners, an unexpected tax bill, the typical run of creditors…. It hasn’t even been that bad professionally, one of my favorite clients has me doing fun preliminaries on a potentially good project (he is also my landlord, so it’s a barter deal and for now, no actual money changing hands; but it combines the most fun of building reuse and new building, and is in my neighborhood; once we are into Design Development, I suppose he then will question my ability to deliver the eventual working drawings, but I just have to blow up that bridge when it falls down):

I will be using this to do some smudgey marker conceptual sketches.

Heck, money even hasn’t been as excruciatingly tight as it’s been in the past, and it seems likely that a project will escrow within a month, allowing them to pay the fucking architect.

So why has it been so tough?  Not as if I know, I am asking YOU.  If I had the faintest idea, I would be a mental health professional  with a paycheck and defined benefit plan instead of a starving unbalanced architect with poor impulse control.

Dunno.  I would guess a big part of it is likely the rocky transition from mostly gainfully employed to the wonderfully exciting world of middle-aged unreliable “employment-at-will” in the Continual Depression 2.0 New Normal.  It’s resulted in some entertainingly disturbing dream sequences, even without the alcohol and drug abuse.

Un employment and underemployment is a fucking beast, even if you’re not prone to self-doubt and depressive bouts.  With them, well it’s just a non-stop emotional rollercoaster ride and tequila shot party, with blunt head trauma.  And squirrels.  Stinky rabid squirrels with mange and singing Creed songs.

It’s easy to say, over and over again, that it isn’t your fault that the job market has passed you by.  It’s easy to say that it’s not because you are past your use-by date, that it’s not because nobody wants a more expensive experienced guy when they could hire three warm bodies, that it’s  your innate hatefulness or antisocial bent, that your hair isn’t horrible, that you’re not too fat.  It’s easy to say those things.  It’s easy to say it’s not your personal failings.

Believing those things is the trick, you know.

But as the Bloggess says, Depression Lies.

In one of my past blogs littering the scary abandoned smelly portions of the Internet, I posted a couple of times about the hurdle of closing my private practice (I think I’ve mostly whined about it enough to drive away almost everyone who ever hung out during those times, but it’s possible there may still be a couple of lurkers)  and the emotional kneecapping it was providing me.

Funny story:  if you want to close your private professional practice in favor of working for another firm, there must be another firm willing to extend the offer.  Well, maybe that’s not so funny.  Not to me; there may be a few who are willing to laugh at my expense.  Hey, why not?

After deciding to close my gig, I spent a fair amount of time contacting people I knew at other firms and throughout the industry; construction firms, real estate, past clients, people I got drunk with in college… funny thing was, everybody else was in the same boat.  People had been laid off. Firms were laying people off.  People who had jobs were worried about being laid off.  For fuck’s sake, I had a call last week from i guy I went to HIGH SCHOOL WITH and subsequently architectural school, who has been laid off for two fucking years.

Anyway, I called around, had a couple of face-to-faces, and …nothing.  A couple of interviews, nothing.

So with no other options before me, and corporate debt to service one way or the other, I turned back to what I saw as my only alternative; to keep working with whatever came my way, in whatever way I could.  And enough came my way to keep the wolf from my door and the zombie from debtor’s prison.  And, oddly enough, resulted in some of the best work of my career.

I am getting to a point, here, or I think I am.  Hang in there.  Make another drink if you have to; I certainly am.

Yep; a couple of rough weeks indeed.  The incessant posting of Summerfest performers was a weak attempt to keep a forward positive view.

A couple of weeks ago, Wife Sublime reminded me that the college had a Career Counseling center, and they provided services to alumni as well as students and that I was an alumnus, even if it was back from when nobody had computers.  So I made an appointment to see what kind of advice I could get.

Today was that appointment.  Talked for quite some time with a nice woman named Ada (one of my aunts was named Ada).  Talked long enough that my meter expired and got a ticket to boot.  But you know?  Even after the preceding couple of weeks, the ticket didn’t particularly bother me.

Just like my inability to determine any particular reason for the difficulties of the past couple of weeks, there was nothing particular in what Ada and I discussed that made me feel better about my situation.  We talked about what I liked about what I did, what I didn’t like; I was forced to admit that what I didn’t like was mostly the financial parts and what I liked was nearly everything else about being an Architect.  I also admitted that my liking for the profession was making it difficult for me to consider another path; she gave me some suggested ways to explore, and that reinventing oneself is something people should do from time to time.  we discovered that most of what I had done with my job search was pretty much the best approach anyway, if a bit too narrow, that I wasn’t a complete idiot, and then we talked for a  while about the current hot topics in architecture (BIM and sustainability) and how I was keeping up on them. She reminded me that I needed to highlight my robotics and martial arts volunteer gigs.

Maybe what it did for me more than anything is remind me that as bad as things have gotten, I still have a decent amount of competency, management skills, ability to analyze and problem solve, and knowledge. That I’m not as big a useless idiot moron loser as I have been feeling,  Maybe it was just that I am cycling through another nadir cycle. Maybe I improved my diet.

So, OK, I didn’t have much of a point. But every blog I ever had, I used for writing things out, and so this is that.   Cheaper than therapy, although less opportunity for hi-tension prescription medications.

Oh, and if I ever make an actual salary again, I am TOTALLY buying a big-ass motorcycle.  I don’t care if I am one of the mockable old fat white-guy white-collar wannabe  demographic.

Also, since I can not NOT think of things in terms of music, here is not-local, then local, then not-local musician Scott Woldridge doing a song, I thin Brando will like it anyways:

  1. herr doktor bimler says:

    She reminded me that I needed to highlight my robotics and martial arts volunteer gigs.

    I also recommend more emphasis on the “Living corpse blogging” area of expertise.
    How come you never blog about robotic martial arts? If they can shoot hoops they can learn aikido.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© says:

    And if they can learn akido, why can’t a robot rob a bank?

    That’s where the money is, I’m told.

  3. mikey says:

    Yeah. Check this out. I had a big multi hour multi person interview scheduled for yesterday morning. Oddly, when I got there I discovered the interview had been canceled – removed from everybody’s calendar but mine. Hokay, whatevs, we’ll reschedule, right? Right. Well, this gig was through a recruiter in Connecticut, a pretty cool woman as recruiters go, and I talked to her this morning. It turns out that there’s a VP at that company who knows me and told them they weren’t interested in hiring me. Period. Canceled the interviews. Great – burned a bridge at some point I didn’t even know was there.

    So yeah – I’m feeling the hate and fear today. Amazing how hope and change can turn so quickly to smoldering ashes…

  4. mikey says:


    But what else should we expect? We LIVE crappy.

    Hell, man, we eat crappy for breakfast.


  5. Hope in one hand, crap in the other and see which piles up faster.

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© says:

    That sucks, mikey.

    I guess it’s good that you found out what happened…I guess…

  7. well, now he knows who to track down, thunder.

  8. Kathleen says:

    mikey that really really sucks.

    zerm – I don’t come here for a blog post with a point!!! it was good.
    also the last Castle ep was a zombie one. had some good moments.

  9. Kathleen says:

    I’ll come back and post more after I watch soccer

  10. Kathleen says:

    Bar tab: $4.50 food, $28.50 beer

  11. fish says:

    Too much food.

  12. Nick says:

    Hey, ZRM. Well, you could always go into the public sector. I mean, it d/n pay as well as comparable posts in private industry, but you have better job security and you get some respect for helping others and doing work that serves the greater good….


    Oops. Wrong decade, wrong state. Shit.

    Hmm… well, why does the second-story detail of the blue-windowed building look like an erect penis, complete with scrotum? Accidental, Freudian or intentional?

  13. Well, you could always go into the public sector.

    I’m no libertarian, Nick. 🙂

    How’s it going Nick? nice to see you.

    Realistically, I have looked at public sector. i have some friends in various places there, and it’s no help, especially when Walker is cutting everything but his crony’s jobs.

    well, why does the second-story detail of the blue-windowed building look like an erect penis, complete with scrotum? Accidental, Freudian or intentional?

    Option A: Who do you think I am, Stanley Tigerman? (look up Daisy House for reference)
    Option B: What, I’m not supposed to be ACCURATE?
    Option B1: You would prefer flaccid?
    Option C: Upon looking at the plan again, I think the inkblot tendencies are coming to the fore, and reveal more about you than maybe you intended.

  14. ooo, another answer: I hope, for your wife’s sake, your penis doesn’t have all those angles and corners. OUCH!

  15. Nick says:

    No angles or corners. No wife, either, for that matter. Ex-, these days.

    I would not recommend the public sector at this point, no– that was kind of tongue in cheek. Yeah, I know, no smiley. I’m a slow learner but I’ll get there. 🙂

    Turdwaffle and the clueless fuckstains at TMJ and WISN have vilified public service to the point that I actually think some of their radiobots truly believe public workers A) don’t have to pay taxes and B) just pick up a paycheck without having to do any work at all, Tony Soprano style. There are people that dumb.

    Hey, you remember waaaaaayyyyy back when, you know two or three personas ago, when I urged you to moderation and to try and persuade? Fuck that. The current GOP is so deranged, so delusional, that they only message that will MAYBE bring them back to reality is to get kicked in ‘nads, good and hard. Turdwaffle must go down. It is perhaps the most important vote of my life.

    Over the top? I don’t think so. And I am Mr. Moderation.

    Whheeeeee! Kind of fun to throw caution under the bus and embracing my inner drive towards hyperbole and grammatical excess!

  16. well, I guess I persuaded YOU.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Turdwaffle must go down.

    On the Daisy House?

  18. In other funny fucking news, Turdwaffle’s Kock-knocker purchasers spent over 8 million dollars on lying ads in order to stay at 50/50 in the most recent poll.

    Hope they kept the receipt. They certainly aren’t getting the results they paid for.

  19. Brando says:

    Great rendition of that song. I hope this doesn’t get me kicked out of the cool kids club, but that song and “Landslide” are two instant “getting dusty in here, talk amongst yourselves” songs. And anything off Nick Drake’s Pink Moon.

    ZRM, if you love the architect part but not the financial part, the GOP believes you’re going to love the new Socialist America. Maybe you’ll get to design the Well of Lost Dreams, a reflecting pool that only projects a middle finger when you look into it.

  20. Brando, Scott Wooldridge moved to Milwaukee from Indiana, with most of his band at the time, the Squares. This was when the Femmes were still gigging in town, and the BoDeans were just starting, not to mention a ton of other bands. They came to be part of the local music scene. Eventually, they broke up, and he gigged with his brother Brian, known as the Wooldridge Brothers. Eventually they landed the title song on Party of Five.

    Now he lives in MPLS, and his brother is still here; but they released a really fine album recently and they play out once in a while. I can recommend the album strongly.

    I just ripped an old Squares LP, “enjoy yourself….and others”

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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