Catching up by quitting the race

I decided to change jobs. This was an incredibly difficult decision. I have only had one kind of job since 1999. I was decent at my old job, but I was traveling quite a bit.Well, that is putting it lightly. I was traveling so much that I owned my house for three years before I realized I did not have air conditioning.

I liked most of my old job. I enjoyed the work (usually), I enjoyed the fact that I was doing something different most days. Then something important happened. I watched people get promoted and I stayed stagnant. I requested to be part of the utilities group and the company hired two new employees. I asked to be part of a commissioning group, and the company hired two new commissioning guys. It took a while, but eventually, I realized that I was stuck. There was no where for me to advance, and I had burned a couple bridges.

In the middle of all that, I was running a project in North Dakota. I don’t know what you know about North Dakota. I could describe it in many different ways. From May to about September,  parts of it can be gorgeous. For the rest of the year, it is a miserable  snow, ice, and mud ridden wasteland that makes most places seem like paradise. The project was difficult primarily because it was in North Dakota. I should have guessed that there was would be a bit of difficulty when I heard the project slogan: “Garrison Dam, 2014 to forever. James, Why are you crying?” It is sort of interesting that the project slogan was made before I had even been there.

I learned a lot of things during the North Dakota project. Things I never would have learned without that project. Did you know that if you pay some kids to mow and weed your lawn, but don’t watch them every time, they probably won’t do it? Did you know that if you go on vacation and turn over the project to another “project manager”, he will completely ignore everything you said, almost cause the project to explode, and cause members of the crew to shout morale boosting things like “I am going to stab him in the face”? Did you know that you can get written up for not wearing your safety equipment by a man in flip flops and no hard hat? Did you know that if you try to send a 3800 page document to the shared printer, people with band together and come to your desk with pitchforks and torches?

When I put in my 3 1/2 weeks notice (yes, like 2 weeks, but more), I fully expected to turn over the project to another project manager. My company felt that it was unnecessary because I had already written everything down. So another project manager took over the project and then proceeded to trip off the substation. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

I know this post wasn’t as funny. I haven’t written for a while. I said I wanted to write one blog post a week this year. I am only 25 behind schedule now, so yay me.

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