Ever realize as you contemplate making a decision that you've already unconsciously made that decision? Ever have your unconscious mind push you to face the consequences of that decision whether or not your conscious mind is ready?
I've stated before that the only fate I can believe in is that which we bring upon ourselves. Where I consciously wanted to pretend to be content where I'm not content, my unconscious was tugging me to fight... and in retrospect it seems obvious what those small things added up to and why I did them, but at the time they seemed undirected and without purpouse. Luckily for me, this particular time appears to have worked out in my favor, even if I hadn't been planning on pursuing this. But, let me start over somewhere near the beginning:
Last summer I put a lot of effort into a job search. I emailled and considered harassing many HR reps from several big national companies. I somewhat intently read and commented on several blogs of interest in my job search. I was particularly hoping to perhaps get noticed for a position at Microsoft and believed, apparently mistakenly, that doing it for a non-Summer coop semester might give me some sort of leg up. I even emailled one particular noted software developer who owns a smaller firm only to find out he was something of a jerk.
After all that I finally got a job offer. It just wasn't for any of the jobs I had wanted. I took it, being a fool and needing a break from struggle. I knew at the time it was the easy way out and I would live to regret it. I do feel like I almost died last semester as I struggled to keep from asphyxiation in such an uptight, stagnant conservative environment. I realize now that this attitude showed and I outright discussed it with a few people (cow-orkers). Feel free to admonish me for starting with a bad attitude, but I was told when looking for a coop to look for an experience that would help me grow. This job was an experience that was almost designed to keep me from growing. I was a caged bird or a root-bound plant at that job.
All of this became particularly plain as I prepared my coop report this week. As much as I did, and I did everything I was asked to do and more, I felt like I hadn't really gained anything and that they didn't have anything real to offer me other than enhancing my skills in bullshit-slogging and bullshit-slinging.
Today I got a call. One in which I realized my unconscious had secretly been waiting for. I'm slightly sore from the day before, have been running around trying to get everything I need in order for my last remaining class of the day after three straight classes and several other rushed errands between them, and am planning to run from my last class to my Grandparents' house for dinner. So, the timing of the call within the context of this day, wasn't the greatest for me.
I was told by an HR representative at work that I was not being rehired for subsequent coops. The phone call sounded like a bureaucratic version of the "It's not you, It's me" speech without the brutal honesty or even the false honesty of such speeches in televised relationships. Sure I did everything I was asked to do, and as far as the actual work was concerned they had no performance issues with me. They just had personal issues with me and I just didn't fit their environment.
I couldn't argue the personal issues... even if I believed I had sorted them out, dealt with them, and talked about them. Such things are so subjective it's just so easy to pull the "I changed my mind" or "On second thought" cards under a variety of names and what can you do to contest it? Especially when you realize that you don't want to contest it? I realized before taking their offer that I wouldn't fit their environment, and maybe unconsciously I was sabotaging myself. I'm a real bastard for the pain I've cause myself and the hardship I may have caused others, if that is the case. But whether I consciously did it or not I assume I'm ready to take the consequences.
Luckily, as I said, I think these consequences may work out in the end in my favor. This second chance gives me the oppurtunity to set things right and this time get a real experience I can be proud of, which is what I was looking for and didn't find the last time. The timing of the call, as the HR rep kept saying, at least gave me a good amount of time to look for one this next semester. Perhaps this time I might even take an extra semester if I need it. I got the first one and am in much less of a rush this time... Ironically, Joel Spolsky suggested I take another semester to perhaps better my GPA, but his words were none the less condescending and rude, and he had no idea of my situation at the time and why I was trying to rush into a coop. Getting a coop last semester helped me get the classes I needed this semester. The same thing is true about cooping in the summer, but I'll feel less worried about it because I'll be much closer to where I need to be than if I had not cooped last semester.
Now comes the fun part... I'm sure many people know that I'm a conspiracy theorist at heart, so I can't help but call bullshit on the excuse they gave me as to why they don't want me back in the summer. In this particular case it is also fairly easy to do. First of all is the interesting coincidence that today also happened to bring a large above-the-fold section front page article on their profit shortfall. Nothing drives a business like money, and a company like this that prides itself so much on "never firing anyone from budget layoffs", I would guess would be real easy about jumping to excuses to fire (or not rehire in this case) someone. Second of all, I knew some sort of shakeup was around the corner regardless. I had gotten wind of it prior to leaving. I already knew on leaving that I might not have a job, and definitely wouldn't have the same job, in two semesters because the project I had been working on was moved to a different group. It seems obvious to me that the group would have a much smaller potential workload for coops without that project, and the other group would have to be willing to try to smash a coop into their budget. Within a few days of my leaving I had already heard wind that most likely they would be hiring a full time developer for that position instead of coops.
I'm certain I was responsible for it moving departments and potentially needing a full time developer (I very definitely upgraded and rephrased the scope of the project), whether or not they'll give me credit for such work, which I guess is one more way I sabotaged myself from cooping with them again. I'm such a bastard for doing real actual forward thinking work. Which leads to the conspiracy theory that they obviously fired me because I'm liberal. None of the complaints about my personal issues were brought up until it was obvious I was a loud-mouthed liberal who bucked the system (thanks to my newspaper appearances). Sadly I don't think you can sue under Anti-Discrimination laws for being in a political minority.