13 January 2008

First week on the job

I've just started a new job with a defence contractor. Pending any more joyous paperwork or induction activities to dismiss, I'll be back in my good old software engineering boots in a matter of a few hours. I didn't sleep well before my first day on Monday, so I was tired for most of the week, but I'm feeling better now.

Actually, I had an interesting experience on Friday, being back at my old genuine-article Defence workplace. Aside a client meeting, I spent most of the time looking around for people I knew from when I worked there. It's not as though I could realistically have stopped to chat much, of course, and lots of people are still on leave, so it's still a bit of a ghost town.

Given that things weren't going so well for me when I left in June, I had wondered how I'd feel about being back there. The first person that I saw that I recognised was a former supervisor of mine, with whom I don't really get along any more. I wasn't sure if he was expecting to see me, or if he would know what so say to me if he did. I didn't really know what I would do either. Perhaps I was listening more intently than usual to my new boss, who was with me at the time, in the hope of avoiding whatever awkward moment might have been.

Fortunately, I had already had a weird premonition of what would happen. When I returned from my Christmas holidays in Townsville, another former supervisor was on the same plane back to Adelaide. I was waiting at the departure gate, and I had the distinct impression that he saw me and that I had seen him. Yet, he kept walking as if he wasn't supposed to be there. I caught another glimpse of him getting his luggage in Adelaide, but by then I was looking for a bus ride home.

It was all a bit strange. I hardly wanted to stop to chat, particularly because I don't really have a lot to say to him. I will, no doubt, see him again one day on the base. That said, I can take some heart from the sheepishness with which he seemed to avoid eye contact with me at Sydney airport. I've long had a theory that he was afraid of me when I worked for him, although this near-conversation hardly put that theory to a conclusive test. In some ways, I can't wait to find out more - I can accept bad news, so long as I understand it - but in other ways, I'm not exactly seeking it out.

It was all just a coincidence... or was it?

Well, yes, it was.

My near miss on Friday with another former boss conjured up similar thoughts. What would I do? What would he do? Nothing, as it turned out: as sure as I am that we both recognised each other from afar, we both got on with our respective business without outwardly acknowledging each other in any way. Another anticlimax, then.

All in all, Friday had the makings of a very bad day. We were waiting on some software that we are having written for us, for which we have been waiting day-to-day for months but which has been delayed again. Things didn't go so well at our client meeting, either, but we have since managed to make some progress. As for me, I'm still in the mode of not knowing what I'm doing from one day to the next, but that won't last much longer.

* * * * * *

I still can't believe that the Adelaide 36ers beat the Sydney Kings last night. After a near-melee between Brad Davidson and BJ Carter, the Sixers came out and flat-out shut the Kings down in the second and third quarters. The Kings don't lose often nowadays - in fact, last night saw them lose for only the third time all season - but I can't even remember the last time they got smashed like that.

Although I don't get anything for click-through, you can read my match report on Ozhoops. I'll have another one to write on Wednesday night, since we have the Perth Wildcats in town for the Fox Sports game.

* * * * * *

The US economy continues to crumble, and the US dollar continues its slide against the other major currencies. The Dow Jones dropped another 246 points on Friday, and has now dropped some 1500 points in the last three months and 1000 points since Christmas. Gold is knocking on the door of US$900/ounce but is starting to be outpaced by silver now.

The "good" news is that oil has dropped below US$93/barrel, so we might not have to deal with A$1.49/L petrol here for much longer. We'll see what happens on Wednesday, when every petrol station in South Australia simultaneously jacks up its prices.

While I could go another week without filling up the car, I would personally rather try getting the bus to work this week. One tiny problem with that is that it would mean waking up at 6:00 and working 8:00 until 16:30. Considering how tired I've been all week, I'm not sure I'm up to the task, at least without more training. We shall see.

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