I'm approaching my twenty seventh birthday. I've been reflecting a lot about the things that have happened to me in that span of time. My grade school years were miserable - I was literally reviled and persecuted by nearly an entire class of mean-spirited kids - and it felt like I would never get past them. High school was rough, but I managed to find a few friends, and I've enjoyed their presence in my life since. I graduated from college, and have been gainfully employed ever since.
All in all, I consider my life a success. To quote my favorite film, I can die without feeling like the good Lord gypped me. I've seen the most wonderful place on earth, been to the other side of the planet, and was quoted on slashdot. I was expelled from high school for writing an underground newspaper (one of these days I'll get that online). I am a father. I am a Big Brother. I am in love.
I find that I gravitate toward people who are similarly introspective and appreciative of the things in their lives that truly enrich them. My friends all share that trait. My parents encouraged (and exemplified) a strong sense of respect for diversity. I've fallen away from those friends I used to have that demonstrated a closed mind.
I found out today that my job is being terminated at the end of June. It was a rather unique experience, as I've only been fired from one job, and that was when I was 13. No, technically I'm not being fired. But when you're proud of your professional accomplishments it's sure hard to remember that involuntary termination doesn't necessarily mean you're fired.
I'll find another job. I've been looking for one, anyway, so this isn't that big of a deal. Skimming through monster.com shows a couple of interesting openings. But as I scroll through the job listings, I realize that I want to do something that matters. Buzzwords and market hype don't make a job worthwhile. Satisfying supply-chain fundamentals to progressive e-business initiatives while visoneering customer-friendly deliverables doesn't mean squat to the world at large.
I guess I've been affected by the human services work that is performed around me every day. It gives me a good feeling to know that the network I've built and supported directly supports people who are providing quality mental health to very troubled young people. It makes me feel proud to know that I've been able - even indirectly - to improve the quality of life for our clients. I don't think I'll get that same satisfaction from the bulk of the open positions I see.
I think I've also been affected lately by the Free Software Foundation's philosophy. The GNU Project began because Richard Stallman wanted to make a better community environment in the fledgling computing world. I really appreciate that sentiment. I really want to work in an environment that fosters that.
I'm a big fan of market economies, and capitalism, for the most part. But I don't want to spend my days supporting an operation that aggressively sells widgets to people who really don't need them to begin with.
Who knows what experiences I'll have in the next twenty seven years...