[the palaverist]

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Today is my second day without caffeine. Yesterday I also ... snore ...

Wha? Who? ... Oh, right. Blogging.

So, a day without caffeine, I am discovering, is like a ... like a ... like a nap? grumblesnoozegrumble ...

Oops! I'm back. Really. Uncaffeinated, but conscious. Sort of.

Will The Palaverist stay caffeine-free even into his new job next week? We'll see how the next couple days go.

Update: Okay, so a cup of tea this afternoon seemed wise once the headache got serious. Cold turkey may not be the way to go. I don't know that I even need to be off caffeine at all, but I thought it might help me to sleep better — I wake up a lot in the night. So we'll see.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

[crossing the border]

It has been a curious fact of my life that leaving a full-time job has generally meant leaving the country. My first real job out of college was a proofreading gig with a graphic design firm, the whole point of which was to save up money for my four-month trip to India and Nepal. My next permanent job was with DoubleClick, which I left in 2001 to go to Korea. From there, once my year of teaching was up, I was only too glad to hop on a plane and head for Kathmandu.

One could even argue that I crossed a national boundary to take my current job, as speech writer for the South Korean Mission to the UN, which I will be leaving at the end of work today. I work on Korean territory, under Korean law, with Korean colleagues, and saying goodbye feels a lot like leaving Korea did, right down to the inscrutable calculations that have gone into my final paycheck. Once again, I find myself wondering whether I will ever see most of these people again, what role my Korean experience will play in my future, and what it will be like to readjust to the American workplace.

My final week here has been punctuated by overeating at lunch and back strain in the evenings. On Monday I was taken to an Italian restaurant, Tuesday was Japanese, Wednesday was a final visit to the Delegates Dining Room inside the UN and its dangerously tempting buffet (why not have a second dessert?), and yesterday was Greek seafood. I think I'm actually going to wind up buying my own lunch today, but there's some sort of party in the afternoon.

The back strain is a result of three and a half years of hoarding: a ridiculous number of books, including a pair of Korean-English dictionaries with terrifying heft, along with extensive paperwork, notebooks, a pair of dress shoes, a space heater, my STV mug, posters, two spoons, a cell charger, headphones, CDs, etc. I've twice filled a small suitcase, and a couple of time hauled home an overstuffed backpack — last night was two bottles of wine destined for regifting. I was a little disappointed when someone came into my office today to return a book I had lent him long ago, and also to give me a new one: two more to carry home tonight.

The amount of junk I'd accumulated is to some extent a symbol of how much at home I'd come to feel here. I have never been happier at a job or more reluctant to leave it. One of my colleagues asked me if I was going to go out and party tonight, and I told him that I am, in fact, planning to have a study session with my Korean conversation partner. I am not so much rejecting the old as welcoming the new.

As far as that goes, I think it'll be good for me to come home again to an American workplace, and to be surrounded by colleagues who are genuinely my peers. Where will it take me? Who knows? If past history is any guide, probably to some other country.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

[double doubleclick]

Back on December 24, I told you I'd be joining Invision. Turns out I'll be going back to DoubleClick instead.

When Invision called my old boss at DoubleClick to check my reference, she sent me an email:
You're still coming in here to talk with us, right??
We'd love to see if we can come up with something to interest you.
Interest me they did. For one thing, they offered me a higher salary. Beyond that, though, there are a number of factors that make DoubleClick attractive. It'll be nice to go to work for people who already respect me and know what I'm capable of. There is a real possibility of taking on formal management responsibility, particularly if I work for it. And DoubleClick has implemented a very interesting development methodology called Scrum, which is something I'd love to learn.

Another factor the old dot-com atmosphere, which DoubleClick still cultivates: there's pizza lunch once a week, free drinks, and a game room with a Wii.

And then there's that whole Google deal, which, if it goes through, would make me a Google employee. I have no idea what the human resources arrangements would be like or whether Clickers would inherit the lavish benefits enjoyed by the Google-nointed, but even the possibility of being a part of Google is pretty enticing.

I'll still be leaving the Korean Mission on January 18, but I'll now be taking a week off and starting at DoubleClick on the 28th.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

[i am privileged]

Don't know where this meme started, but I picked it up from my cousin Louise. If it's true for me, it's in bold. Feel free to post your own.

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children's books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family (fam trip because Dad worked for travel agency types)
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

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Previous Posts

[things i'd like to write about but haven't]
[drop the red lantern]
[how not to apply for a job]
[pop is the new alternative]
[what does it all mean?]
[national fears]
[lies, damn lies, and sound effects]
[our pakistan moment?]
[how to fail like an olympian]
[cold winters]


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