My contract is up in Feb. And, well, they actually like me where I am. Like, now that I have my CPAP and my medical shit under control, I'm actually a competent employee. Which... opens a new can of worms. Because now I can start to ask for what I'm worth. And start to think about what works and what doesn't work (since it's not necessarily "me" anymore that's the problem). So now I need to figure out what that means.
I like the place I'm at OK. It's not great, but it's a job. There are a few things that are not working, though. For one, they've got me working in a call center. Like, I'm still a writer, but I am in a place where phones are constantly ringing and people are coming in to pick up and drop off equipment (and I am the 2nd closest to the door, hooray) and people are shouting across the room about Priority Ones and there are big flatscreen monitors playing a 24-hr news loop along with a call center metrics/analytics dashboard and and and.
It's just not the right physical space for me. They keep saying there's no room, but we have one and a half entire buildings (not to mention the East Side office, which I don't want to move to if I can help it). But if I'm going to stay, I don't want to stay where I'm sitting. Too much of a demand? All I want is an actual cubicle (which I had when I started, before we got moved down a floor). That, or let me work from home 2-3 days a week (now THAT'S not too much to ask for).
Believe it or not, that's the major stressor. I pretty much literally can't work while I'm at work. Gotta wait til people leave or work when I'm home. Which... screw that. But while I'm making hypothetical demands, I've started to think about switching fields/careers.
For a bit now, I've been thinking about switching to UI/UX design. It's what initially got me interested in psychology: studying affordances and the way people interact with stimuli. My first exposure to real, actual psychology (as opposed to psychiatry) was a seminar at Stevens when I was in high school where we looked into some human pattern recognition testing software and learned about how the mind interprets stimuli (including some pre-processing that happens in the eyes themselves!). My second exposure was the Perception class I took 2nd semester of my freshman year. And, of course, I ended up majoring in it.
Of course, the place where I work doesn't really design its own software with any UI and stuff. Well, the mobile app people do, but that's an entirely different thing. So I think what I'd need to do is define my own job title and position. Which, well... while I've definitely impressed people in my year there so far, that's a pretty heavy thing for a contractor to ask for. I think, if I'm going to pitch it, I'll have to frame it as a "Client Interface/Interaction Designer." I mean, they're already asking me to do way more than was in my original job description (which says nothing, btw, about communications; if I'm going to draft company emails (the part of my job I like the least), I should at least get recognition (and compensation) for it).
Of course, this means also laying out what my new job responsibilities will be, which... I guess I should google some buzzwordy stuff about what a UX designer does? And then I can graft that to the stuff I'm already doing, and say: "Hey, anything that is client facing, from web pages to emails to documentation already goes through me, so let us make it official, k?" Also, money. Also, bennies. And pls. start my vacation accrual and all the seniority-type stuff based on my original hire date a year ago. Cause you know how these companies are; it'll be six years before I'm getting the extra day or whatever vacation they give you when you've worked somewhere for five years.
So I need to put all this together, plus fix my resume, plus start looking for jobs (both tech writing and UX) so I have something to fall back on if they call my bluff. And I had a dream about my boss just going ahead and renewing my contract without talking to me, which is totally something he'd do. He'd get to be the hero who keeps me on board (at the same pay rate, for his corporate masters) because I'm too talented to let go while totally sidestepping any messy negotiations.
Which is the funny thing about our society. It's my job to ask for more money, almost always/universally. Meanwhile, the system is set up so that they try to pay me as little as possible. In a society/economy where my entire worth is tied up in my income/compensation. No wonder we're all so depressed and miserable. And no wonder we're all fucked.