The Long-Awaited Job Update

So it’s been a while, and I’ve been incredibly busy. Overwhelmed in mostly a good way.

The internship has been incredibly challenging, and has left me, often, feeling incredibly stupid. It’s a generally excellent work environment, though, and it’s the first time in an immeasurably long time I’ve felt like I was overwhelmingly challenged in a way that isn’t negative. I want to be contributing and doing well at the things I’m doing, because I like the people I’m working with and because there is purpose to the challenge. It’s real work. It’s not arbitrary or mindless or stupid. So in spite of the fact that my brain has been repeatedly fried over the past week, it hasn’t turned out the way I was worried it might: I’m being pushed to the limit, but it’s not, so far, a horrible-burn-out sort of pushed to the limit. This has been good.

I still have a lot to learn, and more recently I’ve been feeling like I haven’t been contributing to the teams I’ve been on. Mostly on account of how many new things I realize I need to learn every day. Today it’s Rails, tomorrow it’s HAML, then a much better understanding of JQuery, then a new testing suite, and those are just the language-level things. My conceptual understanding of a lot of Rails was way more primitive than I realized.

To compensate for this, I’ve been repeatedly grilling the Rails-related content on, which has been immensely helpful.

Now, to the back issues.

My worst fear in all this was that the sitting for 8 hours a day would be something I couldn’t handle at all. The worst case was that a full work week would be enough so that the accumulation of pain would continuously happen faster than my ability to ameliorate the pain. So far this has not been the case. I am experiencing significant pain at work at times, and I’m still figuring out how best to manage that, but the bad spots each day seem to be at about the same level each day. They do not seem to be getting progressively worse. So that particular bullet seems to have been dodged.

That said, the daily pain is still very unpleasant, and I’m still having to work hard to develop strategies to manage it that aren’t disruptive to the programming I’m doing with people. My hypothesis that pain had as much to do with engagement as movement seems to be panning out–I seem to experience more pain when I’m bored (or stressed), and less when I’m feeling engaged in the project. Yesterday was a worse day because I really didn’t understand what was going on well enough to contribute much of anything.

So not a disaster. The workplace environment in general, also, is pretty excellent. I’m seriously considering trying to make this a job, even with the back issues, which means I’m boning up as much as I possibly can on concepts during the times when I still have any brain cells left to concentrate with. I’m also kind of entertained by the fact that I’m pretty sure at least one, and probably more other people in the office deal with back issues, because there are two Thera Cane Massagers hanging on the walls. So hopefully I’m in good company.

Back to work for now.