With the current world economy, quite a few people I know, particularly in the IT industry, have started asking questions about their work. The corporate Dilbert world doesn't exactly leave you with the gratification of personal growth. And working 80 hour weeks leaves you with no personal life. And now, we've all been suffering from massive lay-offs and a rapid growth in unemployment. People with 5 years of higher education and a large studen loan end up working at McDonald's flipping burgers. This is not exactly inspiring, and it's a clear indication that something is way wrong with the world today.
I used to work in a middleware company, hooking things up in hospitals. Although I had to fight a lot of politics to do my job properly, I always knew, and felt, that what I did had a purpose. That is, until the company was bought up by a much larger corporation, and we went from 120 employees to 2500. Suddenly, the politics ended up consuming more than 60% of my time, and the remaining 40% were spent on 10 simultaneous projects. If A.D.D. is a result of your work environment, this situation would describe it very well. For my own sanity, I ended up quitting my job, and I eventually found my way back home to Norway.
Through a series of complications that are better fit for my diary, I ended up at a crossroads. I had to ask myself what I wanted to do. As it turns out, my current job as a freelance computer consultant was not it.
It is not the fact that you're trying to live for three weeks on the last $10 on your account, just because your clients can't be bothered to pay the little independent guy on time. The infuriating part is what you actually do to deserve this: With 20 years of programming experience, and 7 years of work experience that has challenged your mind, you get the loving job of moving a picture half a pixel to the right on someone's web site. And the process of listening to the client's CEO speak for four hours straight about how important that half pixel is to the company profile, and makes a $5 million difference to his company, of which you will receive exactly $20, is equally painful.
There used to be a time when these trivial things were exciting. Today, I feel that it is a waste of my time and my skills. It does nothing for me. I would have more fun cleaning the bathroom of a mall. At least there, I'd get some variation of the bathroom graffiti to challenge my mind with.
And I know I'm not alone feeling this way.
The Norwegian foreign minister announced on national TV that we have ear marked 160 million crowns (ca US$22mill) to humanitarian aid for Iraq as soon as it is safe to move in. The announcement woke up a fire in me that has only been growing stronger for the last five years; the wish to do something meaningful. I would volunteer without even blinking, if I had the chance. But like many others, I am tied down.
I should still take my time to count my blessings, as I am not nearly as tied down as most people seem to be these days. I live with my parents, I don't have a full time job, and my economic ties are limited to a time share in Georgia, and my student loan. It might not take much effort to free myself from these ties.
The more I thought about the cons and pros, the more I agreed. I actually want to get rid of my time share in Georgia. And with only the governmentally financed student loan left, I am sure something can be negotiated when I volunteer my skills and my time. I have already sent a note to the foreign ministry about this, requesting information about available programmes. After that, and after getting rid of all my excess stuff that I don't really need (movie collection, old magazines that can be tossed anyway, CD collection, etc), all that remains is finding the right channels through which I may deploy - myself.
This is not about being desperate for a way out of the economic imbalance that so many are suffering from today. It is about turning my life upside down, and give in to the fact that my soul requires more attention than my bank account. And it is not about feeling self rightous. It is about doing something about it, instead of just talking. It is about doing something where my skills can be used where they are needed, where my mind is challenged, and my work can make a difference to something other than an overly wealthy CEO's ego.
So what is this article about, if it isn't about talking? It's about you buying my time share, so that I can go rebuild the wartorn country of choice.
My CV will be available to those who want me to do something worthwhile.
My timeshare will be available to those who want to buy it. My paypal account will be available to those who wish to donate for my future as a volunteer in a location where my skills can make a greater difference.
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