Monday, January 25, 2010

Co-op Purgatory

I've been with my Federal Government agency for just over three weeks now, and I have to confess that I am bored stiff.

I suppose I had a bit of an epiphany at some point in time, while I was staring at my monitor, waiting for something to happen. I want a job where the next move is obvious, where the work-flow is continual. Where I don't have to sit there staring at the monitor waiting for some event to bring purpose to my life. Where I don't have to meaninglessly occupy a chair for 8 hours if the job can only be done in 2.

Granted, I don't yet have the knowledge I need to be an effective member of the team. My boss has flatly told me that it's not my job to be efficient, it's my job to learn. It's an awkward position for a Type-A OCD gal like me... do or do not, there is no try. Not being able to give my full potential is galling to me. I know I'll get there, but oooooooh, the learning curve!

It doesn't help that my current reading material is "The Four Hour Work-Week" by Timothy Ferris. He's telling me to work smarter, not harder; that advice does me no good whatsoever in co-op purgatory. I must abide.

I know by the time these four months are done, I will be Queen of my little UNIX domain and I will know enough to be able to complete most, if not all, tasks with ease. It's just the learning curve that irks me. We wants it now!


kate said...

Welcome to the world of government white collar - it's either the Sahara desert or Noah's Ark on the verge of sinking!

XUP said...

Ha ha - I love it when government types pretend that things eventually get efficient! This is it, baby. It rarely gets anymore interesting.

Susan said...

Gosh, don't you two know how to cheer a girl up! I either need to learn to be less efficient or to find a way to knit surreptitiously at my desk...

Brett Legree said...

It's okay, I know how you feel (I'm pseudo-Fed, as I said at XUP's place) - do what I am doing, learn all you can and take it with you to your next assignment, and eventually your first full time post.

I've been almost 10 years where I am, and I am on the cusp of going independent with two consulting businesses.

The years of boredom will pay off, I know it - and hey, the pay has been good!

(PS - hope you don't mind that I popped in to say hi, I felt it was the least I could do after chatting with you at XUP's - I poked around a bit, don't give up on Linux, the power is intoxicating once you know how to use it well.)

Susan said...


I don't know why this matters to me, but it does... I don't know if you read back far enough to know that I call myself a Fed not based on a four-month co-op term but on 15 years of full-times service in the Armed Forces, including two tours overseas. Programming is my second career after my knees gave out from Army service.

I'm glad you stopped by. I checked your blog out, too, during our discussion yesterday. I found your blog very thoughtful and I enjoyed the trip.

As for Linux, well... after four months as a UNIX sysadmin with my current agency I build a Linux file server/Subversion system for home use. I'm a convert! :)

Nice to "meet" you.

Brett Legree said...

Hi Susan,

Yes, I did read back quite far in the archives, you've had an interesting and varied career, and should be rightly proud of what you've done.

Most people do not have what it takes to follow that calling.

And thanks for heading over to my blog to look around - it has been extremely quiet lately, and that is because I am working on two very important "freedom" projects just about full time right now, while still working, err, full time.

Blogging can wait! When the time is right, I will formally announce things there.

Glad to hear you're in the Linux fold (I suppose I can say I use everything, Linux servers, Windows game box, Mac laptop - oh, Windows laptop at "work" too - it's all good) - I am happily jealous of you, I wish I could use it at work.

In time... in time...

And yes, nice to meet you out here. XUP said she put me on The List (local bloggers in her region), I am not too far from where you live, so if you ever go to any of the functions XUP is talking about, we may meet in real life and do that handshake for real.