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Author Topic: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...  (Read 63800 times)

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pmcd9

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #930 on: August 01, 2018, 02:59:08 am »

No, this is my own stupidity.

No it's not. Wages have been stagnant for 40 years, inflation has not. You are a white collar worker. A generation ago in the same job you would be in the middle class and could at the very least live on your own without roommates. Two generations ago you could be supporting a family and live in the suburbs.
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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #931 on: August 01, 2018, 02:15:15 pm »

Paul is correct except I would edit that to say that two generations ago you would have been able to support a family and live in New York City, which is probably even more shocking.

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theinevitable

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #932 on: August 01, 2018, 04:28:10 pm »

True. Wild. I can definitely spend less on lunch though. I work near Wall Street so everything is priced for people who make many times what i make. I won’t get to “can live alone” but putting money in my savings account is a good idea. Yeesh.
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pmcd9

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #933 on: August 05, 2018, 02:34:04 am »

I don't suppose you had the opportunity to vote for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
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Victoria Waterfield

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #934 on: August 05, 2018, 06:32:28 pm »

Wages have been stagnant for 40 years

I initially misread this as "Wings have been stagnant for 40 years" because I'm half-asleep on account of the heat, and I wanted to say "Well what do you expect? That's when they broke up!!!"
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theinevitable

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #935 on: August 05, 2018, 06:35:02 pm »

Nope! She’s in a pretty distant part of the city. BUT:

1. She’s a member of my socialist group. In one interview they asked why she joined and she mentioned we were some of the only non Puerto Rican people at a solidarity rally 100 days after the hurricane, on a day when it was like 10 degrees and nobody came. I was there!
2. Also, in her awesome campaign video there’s a shot of her giving a speech and it cuts to the crowd and shows people cheering. I was standing next to the camera man because i was a volunteer vote-counter at that meeting.
3. I was in a neighborhood she will represent on Election Day and it was so fuck*ng rad. Posters and t shirts and smiling supporters everywhere.

I should have been out canvassing for her but ... canvassing really sucks.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 12:37:03 pm by theinevitable »
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AugustWest

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #936 on: August 08, 2018, 12:37:24 pm »

I initially misread this as "Wings have been stagnant for 40 years" because I'm half-asleep on account of the heat, and I wanted to say "Well what do you expect? That's when they broke up!!!"

I think maybe I'm amazed by this comment.
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theinevitable

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #937 on: August 16, 2018, 01:28:45 am »

Real rough meeting at work today. My boss has mentioned several times that he wants me to "own" a project in the division (population analysis division) so I can learn and grow. Then today we had a meeting about it. He had written everything he has planned for the next 3 years up on the board, and then we went through together and crossed out everything someone else is doing, that I don't know how to do (statistics heavy or geographic analysis stuff that one of our PhDs should do), or don't want to do. The result was... very few things. Entirely things where I'd be helping someone else, doing repetitive double-check type tasks.

Yeesh.

He talked a lot about how he thinks I'm so smart, he enjoys working with me, etc, but also how he doesn't want me to end up like [two people who left this year] who eventually got in a rut and hated working here. He suggested that I take a few weeks to think over whether I'd be interested in transferring to the Brooklyn section of the Department of City Planning to do more traditional city planning stuff (neighborhood outreach, approving building plans, etc). The alternative is that we work together to come up with some projects to expand my skills here, doing data/statistical type stuff. But that seems a little iffy to me-- whether I could really get to the point where I'm on the level of my colleagues who are more math-brained and math-trained than I am.

He emphasized that he wants me to do what will make me happy and help me advance my career. He told me an anecdote about a time in his career where he had to make a big decision about whether to make a change and do something else and how he agonized over it.

And everything he said was true, and I've been saying ever since I started that my data chops are not up to working in this section, but it still sucked to hear. It sucks to feel like for the past year and a half he's been watching me and mentally noting all my weaknesses. I entirely believe he meant this in the most positive way and really does just want me to find the right place for me. But. Ugh. A low moment.

Came home and walked to the GF's house and she had ordered thai food and we ate it and then walked to get ice cream. It's a beautiful evening in Brooklyn. And it's so nice having someone to come (kind of) home to.

(we also discussed moving in together in 2019... lately I am seeing 1 bedroom apartments that are KILLING me with desire)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 02:17:54 am by theinevitable »
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AugustWest

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #938 on: August 16, 2018, 12:43:45 pm »


But that seems a little iffy to me-- whether I could really get to the point where I'm on the level of my colleagues who are more math-brained and math-trained than I am.


First of all, don't sell yourself short.  Why can't you learn these math skills?  Math ain't nothing but a thing.

Secondly, you don't have to be on the level of your colleagues who have been exercising this skill set for years already.  I'm sure your boss doesn't expect that.  Growth in the right direction is what he's looking for.  Baby steps toward minimum competency will take you a long way. As Jake the sage said, "sucking at something is the first step toward becoming sorta good at something."  You'll never get to their level if you don't start walking down the road.

Third, consider what you really want out of your work life.  Maybe you perceive your current job to be more prestigious or advantageous to your career than the Brooklyn section or some other job entirely.  And that may well be true.  But if what you do all day makes you feel miserable, or unqualified, or evil, or just unhappy then it is not worth it.  This is what you'll spend 2000 hours a year for the next 30 years or so doing.  It doesn't just affect your life, it IS your life.  Do something you at least sort of kind of enjoy doing, that's suited to your personality.  And I don't mean in a hippy dippy run off and join the circus kind of way (necessarily, although if you can pull it off, go for it!).  Even within the bounds of Good ol' normal American wage slavery there's plenty of room to find a job that's at least approximately right for you, especially for a fellow with your resume.  If crunching data ain't never going to work for you, trying to force it to is just going to make you miserable.  There's no shame in adjusting your career goals once you learn more about your own abilities and preferences.

Sorry to Dad out on you, but it took me a long time to find a job that I liked instead of a job that I was supposed to want.  You got this shit.
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Carlos del Vaca

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #939 on: August 16, 2018, 12:54:31 pm »

AW is wise. I would also add a) you are lucky to have a boss who cares about growing your career rather than just getting the job done, and b) the flip side of the Dunning-Kruger Effect is that imposter syndrome. You are probably much better at things than you think you are; realizing that you still have a lot to learn doesn't make you bad at your job.

You are our collective large adult son, and we believe in you.
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Asherdan

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #940 on: August 16, 2018, 03:12:10 pm »

Really good things from EggMan and The Mayor.

This is a great chance to assess where you are and where you can see yourself going now that you've been in the facility long enough to know shit from shinola. Really, you should be making this king of assessment more regularly than you'd like, it keeps you from running too far down poor pathways.

It's super-duper easy to come out of this kind of review feeling shitty because it's super easy to focus on your short comings. Please realize that your (very good) boss is doing this because he sees enough from you to care to try to help you develop, that there are worthy things about your skill set and approach already.

Hang in there, use what you know to use this time effectively for yourself.

Relax, it's only your life
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Asherdan

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #941 on: August 16, 2018, 03:13:41 pm »

ALSO: you're always going to have to learn new stuff, forever. Try to make as much of it as you can your kind of jam.
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wombat

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #942 on: August 16, 2018, 03:59:38 pm »

Wow, I'm not sure I'd call this a low moment, because this may be the only time in your life that you have a boss who's looking out for you to this extent. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything. Take this opportunity and make the most of it.
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pmcd9

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #943 on: August 16, 2018, 06:41:06 pm »

AW is wise.

True!

You are our collective large adult son, and we believe in you.

Also true.
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theinevitable

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Re: Return of the Son of Today I'm Gonna...
« Reply #944 on: August 16, 2018, 11:14:27 pm »

Thanks everyone. It felt really bad because I felt like all of my fears (that I'm not good enough for this job, that I'm not contributing, etc) came to pass. This was not at all what was going on (well, maybe a little on the limited contribution front) but it felt that way. I really do not think my boss could have made it any more clear that he isn't trying to get rid of me.

I came home and had a great conversation with my GF where she asked me "what got you into urban planning? Who are the people in urban planning that are doing stuff you think is cool?" I think she knew the answer, which is, people who do the stuff that I do, but better. People who take weird datasets or maps or whatever and come to interesting conclusions with them. So clearly leaving for the Brooklyn office is not the solution-- the solution is to tell my boss that yes, I want to buckle down and learn a lot of new stuff. I have a list of proposed projects:
  • (as he suggested) work with the tech/website people on their next cool mapping app. Learn how to take the work we do and make it accessible for the public to fiddle with and learn from. I think he is majorly underestimating what the learning curve on this would be but I would love to be able to pitch in.
  • Dig into all the crazy historical data we have about the city sitting on old hard drives or in old filing cabinets and see what we can learn from it. Find interesting datasets, weird stuff from the past, etc, and write reports on them. There is one particular dataset we have of the "building typology" of every building in the city that I am thinking of.
  • There is a big report we do every 10 years about what the newest census tells us about immigration to NYC. It's a 100-something page book and it's amazing... but why don't we do mini reports about other topics? I would learn how to analyze data with small-scale projects, produce reports on interesting topics that would be useful to other planners and the public. The goal here would be to learn modern data analysis tools so that when the 2020 Census results come out, I will have the experience and tech framework set up to rapidly produce reports to let people know what we've learned.
    Currently our department pretty much does everything in giant excel files (or SPSS, which is like the demon child of excel and normal programming from what I can tell). My friend who is a "data journalist" was telling me about a website she's building to track the results of the midterms. Everything is all set up so that when results start coming in, they can instantly display them on maps and graphs that are generated by the code she prepared in advance. Doing that with the census seems to make a lot of sense, and seems doable since we know what format it will be in, just not what the actual numbers will be.
  • I mentioned to a coworker that I'm brainstorming projects to improve my technical/analysis skills and he threw out like 5 ideas that are... lower hanging fruit compared to learning entire new programming languages etc. So maybe I can do a combination of one of the above things and some of the more short-term skill building things he suggested.

Also, with regards to the math-brained thing, I still think I can't get to the level of my colleagues who have literal statistics PhDs, or my neurotic coworkers who are detail oriented to a level I am not capable of being. I make a lot of mistakes and get turned around and myopic. It's just how my brain works. But I think that I can learn some cool creative new shit, shake things up a little, and hopefully they will give me the mathematical guidance to make sure it all comes out rigorous and up to our standards. I also think that I need to mentally separate the two parts of doing statistics:
1. grasping advanced theories and applying them in novel ways (the phd stuff that I will leave to my boss and the woman in line to be his successor)
2. mastering a technique, turning it into a repeatable process, eventually getting to the point where I understand the process enough to improve it or apply it in a novel way.

I can definitely do #2, and can turn it into a transferable skill.
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Social pressures exist
And if you think about them all of the time
You're gonna find that your head's been kicked in
You're gonna do it all for the grind
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