I don’t know what to do or how to feel, so we’re gonna take this slow. We’ll probably start at the beginning, but forgive me if we don’t.

I’ve hated my job for ages. Not my colleagues. Not the customers. The job. The work itself. I’ve been working it for over a year and a half and I just can’t feel any sort of connection with working tickets doing what essentially amounts to sysadmin, netadmin, and mildly security adjacent stuff. Occasionally I’ll run into a problem that sparks my excitement, but lately that’s been so rarely that I feel like I’m drowning. I’ve talked with my supervisor and manager about this frequently.

This morning, after my shift, I fell asleep in four minutes, a record for me, waiting for Rick Altherr to pull me into the meeting. I’d set it up days ago (embarrassing myself in the process), honestly just wanting a little bit of candid advice from someone who was emotionally detached from me. Anxiety still got the better of me until I fell asleep though. I woke up when I heard his voice in my ear, very groggily answering him before I even knew what I was doing.

I feel like I walked away from this meeting both emotionally distraught and with at least a plan forward. Not just in my career, as I had asked, but I feel like I might have been given something more generalized than that. A lot was talked about, really, or at least, it felt like a lot. Thinking back, I regret not recording it so I could go back through it without a tired brain.

I was told to know myself. Hesitation and (though I didn’t tell Rick) self-sabbotage are my brain’s best tricks in getting in the way of my goals, never mind in my career progression, but in life, too. So I should know myself, its true.

So I walk away with a few action items. Simple things, such as soul searching and asking questions of myself and others. After all, I need to know what I want, while also putting my family’s needs and care into view. I also need to know answers to simple, but hard questions, like asking about job stability.

But we also got started talking about Oxide. I wasn’t going to bring it up. I had told myself that when I scheduled this meeting. Of course, my silly little brain says things before I can react. I apologized, of course. I’m more than certain that Rick gets insane questions about Oxide all the time.

Yet, my brain and my mouth conspire against me, that self-sabbotage again. I asked about the SecEng job listing, brought to my attention by my supervisor. And I am not going to lie, I thought that was the end of the meeting. But he started talking to me about it. What it was like. He kept emphasizing how important innate curiosity and “just asking a lot of questions” was.

And now I have something that’s maybe more detrimental than my own self-sabbotage. I have hope. Because if there’s one thing that a hacker like me is good at, and I mean really good at, its asking questions. The hacker spirit is really just curiousity, and more than enough to kill the cat.

I still don’t know if I want to apply though. I’ve been following Oxide since early 2020. I look up to the team. I mean, if this tweet is to be believed, their first revision board booted. That’s impressive on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. So I guess I’m intimidated. To be surrounded by people who know what they’re doing, so far beyond what I am even capable of knowing is a genuine point of anxiety for me.

But it would honour and excite me in ways that I haven’t felt in ages. Maybe it is time for a change.

I was told I should fill out the Oxide candidate materials. Even if I wasn’t going to apply. Rick thinks I might be able to get something out of it, even outside of the Oxide specific things. So I think that’s what I will do. I’ll fill out the candidate materials one question at a time. Then I’ll decide whether I want to apply or not.