I work primarily with machines, and something I’m glad to have again is a job that gives me rhythm. Machines of all kinds generally accomplish units of work through iterations of something. A jet turbine rotates, a reciprocating, 4-stroke engine has something like 40 individual movements that repeat over and over again (or something to that effect if memory serves). CPUs in modern computers and smartphones iterate on the order of 750,000,000 – 4,000,000,000 times a second doing all sorts of calculations on millions of pieces of data.
The human brain and existence has mechanical qualities to me, and rhythms are just as natural to biology as they are to machines. The heart, lungs, muscles, et al are all a biological analog of a machine. Again having mandatory rhythms in what one does is a very nice thing.
Wake up by 7:00. Get ready, and take a moment to enjoy the coffee. Be on the subway by 8:15. Walk from union to work or be a wimp and take the six almost to the front door. Work and do well. Talk to people, work with people. Fight with the computer. And at the end of it all… you could go home.. or.. this being Manhattan, you could stay awhile. And “stay awhile” is almost always a good option.
For awhile it was an open question as to whether or not I even wanted to stay here in NYC. The choice of returning to Dallas was remarkably tempting, having come about at a time where I’d had just about enough of being outside my comfort zone and was actively missing my old rhythms and life.
But a family friend’s casual remark of “give it two years” provided the keystone moment that got me out into the job market. He was right–this place could not be properly appreciated without giving it its due time, and in some ways I hadn’t even tried. That very night, I responded to a linkedin query about my skills, and next thing I knew I was running around Manhattan on various job interviews for the next week and a half.
It turns out the job market is remarkably good for people with programming skills, and no less than five companies wanted to make offers. I eventually chose a non-profit gig on Park Avenue, the first non-profit of my career. The thinking was that it would be lower stress than my traditional agency jobs, and such a job would be a great way to experience life in Manhattan.
Having a “real” job again (vs. a “virtual” one) has done remarkable things. It was as though I’d awoken from the matrix and opened my eyes to the real world. Going into Manhattan daily has been invigorating in a way that has made me put Dallas behind me in very short order. I’ve done a 180. Just a few short weeks ago I was pining for the life I left behind, and now my feeling is that moving here has been one of the best choices I’ve made, and that I do not want to leave for quite awhile.