the hell...

Wednesday was the first day I really lost track of time: I slept poorly on Sunday and Monday nights, so on Wednesday morning I finally through the night and crawled out of bed around nine, and didn't shower until after one. Kat came by and asked, "Did you vote?". "Yes!", I said. "Wait...was that today?". I had a memory of a long excursion on my bicycle to go to the library, City Hall and the post office, but Tuesday and Wednesday sort of ran together.

I'll have to make some more money eventually. I made it through to a second phone screen with Google, so I've started giving more thought to whether I'd work there. I was boggling at their list of benefits, and thinking that they sent the entire company to Disneyland this past Monday through Wednesday (they used to fill up a ski area, but now they're too big); they arranged with Southwest Airlines to fly extra regular flights out of the three Bay Area airports. As usual, I'm having trouble visualizing the fountain of money Google works with, and how much of it they spend on their employees.

More than that, though, I've been reading some papers and watching a tech talk or two, and thinking how challenging my phone screen was (and that I passed), and realizing that for better or worse, Google is basically the new Bell Labs, complete with encouraging employees to spend 20% of their time on something offbeat. Combined with an active engineering discipline (conspicuously lacking at my short-lived last job, and I didn't want to be the guy to fight for it, especially with an 80-minute commute), Google could be one of the best places for me to be surrounded by people smarter and better-educated than me, and move my skills up another level into distributed or other high-volume systems. Most accounts indicate that while I wouldn't be a rock star, I could work banker's hours. But working at Google would be in part about letting go of my desire to feel important, because in all likelihood, I probably wouldn't be. I'm plenty smart, and I have a pretty unusual set of technical and intuitive skills, but in sheer engineering terms, there's no end of people next to whom I'm just kind of clever.

And I don't know if I want to be doing engineering right now--whether I should be running off to grad school in the coming year or something. Though if I could find something to get excited about, solidifying my career and saving money for another couple of years, while I stay in the area and eventually get my black belt, doesn't seem like a bad course to try. In particular working for a monolith if the economy gets dodgy is a good idea: during my unemployment in 2001, I wanted to have stickers made saying "THE MAN IS HIRING".

We'll see. I've surely got at least a couple months of slacking yet.