Midnight Pub

stopping in for a nightcap


Another 12am maintenance in the hole in service of the local telecom. I was only an observer on this one, in case things went sideways. A dark, leafy tasting porter would really hit the spot if such a thing exists.

Impostor syndrome doesn't really suit the way I feel about it. I'm sure I would be plenty capable if I was interested in this type of work. For the past 4 or so years, the desire to be productive with the least amount of effort has stood in for ambition well enough, and the right people find me suitable as a member of the engineering team for reasons that are mostly not by my conscious design - a far cry from walking old ladies through the process of rebooting their router as my first taste of the industry.

Back then, it was four guys in a room, in what was once a funeral home (key infrastructure lived in the morgue because it was nice and cool). We did engineering, tech support, incident response, and installations. You never knew who would be on the other end of the line when you picked up the phone. Could be the aforementioned old lady, a guy looking at another guy 20 feet up in a bucket truck, or some government employee whose org definitely contributed to a substantial portion of your salary. It was chaotic but forced you to be very employable unless you gave up.

When we got acquired, it came with all the typical ups and downs. More specialization, better pay, less autonomy. I took advantage of the fog of war and carved out a niche, writing data retrieval tools and network automation one-offs in the absence of perfectly good solutions that we still didn't have the budget for. Eventually they brought in someone who was actually very good at these things, and I lost my purpose. Not to mention feeling miffed after not being considered at all despite getting us out of some tight spots a few times.

So I left and went to a datacenter for a few months to move patch cables around for some Non Disclosure Agreements. Despite the brain atrophy, it was a nice vacation before I got an offer I couldn't refuse from the telecom people again - this time armed with bigger money and some political willpower to do something besides pump and dump what was left of my old company.

And the result? Well, it's not for me.

> And the result? Well, it's not for me.

Looking back, I'm not sure it ever was for me. I'm also recalling looking around from time to time, noting it's seemingly rarely for anyone else either.

If anything, it's mostly seemed like the fringe of greed wars.



Own it. Everyone's got imposter syndrome to some degree, usually due to some roll of the dice favoring your work above that of those you deem to be your better peers. Truth is, your peers only excel in some specific niches they've specialized in and you haven't, and it's these differences you see the most.

Also big fish in a small pond >>> small fish in big pond. More stressful and lower pay, sure, but the work is more meaningful and I like feeling needed.