ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Reboot —

Oh, it has been an eventful month.

Sorry for the weblog getting short shrift, but I think it’s a good situation that daily life needs trump weblogging duties. That’s always been my policy, and ideally I can write essays (I try to avoid using this to write small, dashed-off half-thoughts) and still do other things I need to do. But when that’s not the case, this website goes dormant, leaving only strange screeds about archiving websites, goatse-ing myspace, and fucking incomprehensible technology promises.

But just to get back on track. It’s now Labor Day Weekend, and I’ve been enjoying a proper vacation for a few days, seeing a lot of museums, hanging with friends, checking stuff out, taking care of myself. Unfortunately, a (very) slight pall is set on the festivities.

Last Wednesday I was called into a meeting in which it was explained that, after about 12 years with a company (in which I took a year to work at a start-up, breaking up my run into a 3-year and 9-year segment pair), I was being let go.

The rulebook when you’re letting an employee go is that, short of them being violent, you kind of let them go do what they want to do. I assume some cry, some plead/beg, some stutter and fall into silence. It all depends.

Me, I twittered about it. And I mean, literally whipped out the blackberry while being given The Speech and just let people know. It seemed the thing to do.

Anyway, this sets into motion a whole range of things that are going on. Among them, is my intention to move back to my home state, NY, for eventual moving to New York City, a place I have grown rather fond of and will enjoy being a part of. I just happen to know one of the ways to end up face down in a gutter is to zoom right into NYC or LA with a suitcase and pocket of dreams, so I’ll be staying in an intermediate place, a family-owned compound, before a final move down there. Not sure of the timetable for any of this.

This is the first weekend I’ve been unemployed since 1995.  It’s hard for me to be really unhappy about any of this because 1. I’ve had a very good run considering the late 20th-century/early 21st century trends in employment.  Nearly a decade and a half of job security? Can I complain? No. and 2. The job was no longer what I really wanted to be doing as my primary time consumptor. This was a job that would not take the slightest amount of pleasure in my work in computer history, and even made some unpleasant overtures regarding my silly twittering cat.  How unlikely I would be to miss such an experience.

When I started with that company, there were roughly 225 people working for it. Through two buyouts and over a dozen name changes, I was one of three people remaining – I certainly can’t feel like I was not given a good run compared to the others. And yes, I know you’re asking what company and I won’t discuss what company – part of the rules. I was a computer administrator who for a time could be depended on to be crawling under the floor running wiring or installing cards into a Sun Server or blade system as I could be fixing disk errors, optimizing kernels or coding shell scripts to take the load off. I was proud of what I did and I did many good things. But part of the deal was no details.

I’m kind of sick of that, of the whole business of computer administrating. It was nice when I helped people and made things better but not fun to be blamed for simple execution of the laws of physics or to be made a scapegoat for horrendous planning and contingency evaluation. But more than that, it wasn’t where my heart is.

I mean, as it is probably noticable through my various projects and endeavors the general public has witnessed, my love is computer history, documentary filmmaking, creative work and public speaking and all sorts of fun stuff. Sure, a steady paycheck is nice, but is it that nice, when, as my stay in a hospital revealed, a thick layer of muscle had built up around my heart and my blood pressure was in deadly ranges? The doctor there said, simply “whatever you are doing, you should stop”. And here, it’s stopped. Dead.

What now? Well, I have a documentary to finish. Maybe I can make some money out of that project, enough to not immediately look for another job. Maybe live a little more frugally, try to piece together income from something I want to do and combine them into a living wage, enabling me to do what you’ve seen me up to before, but even more so.  Maybe.

What I do know is that right now, I answer to nobody. Nobody can make a few phone calls and get me in trouble at work. There’s no work to get me in trouble with – except, I guess, calling me, but I think I’m pretty awesome and your calls won’t get me to fire myself.

I’ve had a few things on the back burner. Time to turn them up to high and make them boil over. Time to finish up a lot of work and get going.

And, never let it be said I won’t consider this – maybe it’d be nice to get a job with someone, somewhere, some group that would be proud and not ashamed to have me on the team, whose logo I’d put in my weblog because they’d want people to know I was working there, doing what I do for them. If you’re somebody, god help you, who has said “now, all we need is Jason Scott” as part of your meetings and con calls, well, get cracking, fucker, because here I am.

And here we are.

Oh, it is going to get very, very exciting, indeed.

Categorised as: housecleaning | jason his own self

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  1. Mark says:

    This is the most exciting “I have been fired!” follow up I’ve ever read. You are awesome. Can’t wait to see where this takes you, and where you take it.

  2. Meagan says:

    When I heard you had lost your job I was sort of surprise to learn that you had one to begin with. You always struck me as someone who was making a living through their various projects. You have enough of a following that once you decide how to monitize the things you like, I doubt you’ll have trouble doing so. Good luck whatever path you take.

  3. Fernando says:

    Jason, I missed you’re “I’m fired!” tweet and learned about this today. I wish you the best man, and I’m posting this solely to tell you that I get a lot out of this blog and your perspective on history. I’m selfishly glad that that’s going to be your focus from here on and I hope it works for you.

  4. Flack says:

    There are many people who find losing their job a liberating experience, and I suspect you may end up being (or already are) one of those people. So many of us end up in careers that we don’t “love”, but pay the bills. Walking away from such a job is scary and/or impossible, but when the decision is made for us, it can allow us to seek out our passions and, well, “reboot” our careers. It would not surprise me in five years to be reading the Jason Scott book, watching the next Jason Scott documentary in a theater, or visiting Jason Scott’s Memorable Museum of Microcomputing Minutia. (For the record, I own that name; should such a museum open, I get half of all admission sales.)

    All kidding aside, I hope you are able to make the best of this situation. You appear to be handling it with grace and style (two things I would find difficult to do). Just because you’re good at something doesn’t make it your passion. Good luck, my friend — the adventure is just beginning!!

  5. Andy says:

    As a cardholding member of the Adventurer’s Club, I can’t wait to see what you do next, and will gladly kick in financially to see you there.

  6. Best wishes on your many projects. I think that most people who are really and truly *happy* in their work can tell a similar story of the opportunities that came their way, after they were forced out of a job where they were merely *content*.

  7. says:

    I kinda know where you are at Jason. I have worked as a sysadmin for 10+ years and just quit a couple months ago. Mainly I quit because it just wasn’t fun anymore, my heart was no longer in IT. The IT world has changed a lot over the past decade as have I. And the two are no longer on the same track, so I left.

    And let me tell you, it feels absolutely awesome to be able to have computing as a hobby again rather than as a job. I am happier than I have been in years! Just thought I’d share. 🙂