Random Rantings of a Young Professional

It’s hard in the modern workplace.  For pretty much everyone.  Every single category of workers you could break someone down into faces their own unique challenges in the office.  Take me, for instance.  I graduated college and entered the workforce a few years early, and the place I’ve been working for since has really placed a lot of responsibility on me, so I’ve ended up with a lot more job skills and experience than most my age have.  Youth is definitely an asset.  It’s pretty awesome being young.  If you haven’t yet, you should give it a try sometime.  However, inexperience is a problem, and youth and inexperience often go hand in hand.  And when my organization is making use of one of their key personnel and project managers who isn’t anywhere close to reaching 30, people tend to see the latter far more than the former.

There are a couple things I could be doing about it.  I could foster and make apparent a strong work ethic.  I could make it clear I expect to be taken as seriously as anyone else in my position.  I could start wearing masks to work so nobody could tell my real age.  Or I could cry about it for a while on some out of the way blog that for whatever reason gets a lot more popular when I haven’t posted for a while.  I imagine those would all have the same effect.

From what I’ve gathered, it doesn’t matter what field you’re working in; if you’re young, and in a white-collar job, people who don’t know you will always assume you’re a tech.  Once, I had gone to a presentation at a major industry conference.  As they were setting up, they were running into some technical issues, and all their support staff were off working on something out.  The presenter looked across the crowd, singled me out, and asked me to help him out, assuming that because I was the youngest person in the room I knew how to handle computers.  And that’s far from an isolated incident.  It seems that at any conference or multi-group meeting I and my boss always have to keep emphasizing my job, else people just assume I’m there to talk about computers and nothing else.  Sad thing is, I actually am pretty good at working with tech, but I always feel hesitant to show that publicly, for fear of getting pigeonholed into that role and having nobody take me seriously for anything else.

It’s an odd experience, having an older colleague along to such a gathering and hearing how others will interact with them in regards to me.  I work in an organization that fits a couple different common non-profit subsets, and one thing I’ve noticed in the various fields I interact with is that they really tend to employ the older generation a lot more than other industries might.  And the older generation seems to assume they just can’t get mine, and makes a lot of sweeping generalizations to compensate.  I used to dress a bit more formally than most at industry events, thinking that’d show me as being serious about my work.  I had to stop after everyone kept asking my colleagues if I was goth/alt/whatever subculture they had most recently heard of.

I have long hair.  That might exacerbate my problems.  Or it might not.  I have no idea, because nobody’s ever talked about it with me.  I kind of wish someone would, at least one of these people I’ve been interviewing with, so that at least I might be able to blame that for being the reason I’m unable to switch jobs.   The local Amish community seem to love working with me, though, and if anyone would take issue with my hair, it’d probably be them.  I did have one manager at a partner organization sit down with me at a dinner meeting once, and tell me all about her younger sister who is covered with tattoos and still gets high level work and how great it is that the younger generation is standing their ground and forcing companies to accept non-traditional appearances.  Because apparently women haven’t been showing up at work with long hair for decades.  That was a little awkward.

We host quite a few events.  Which, given my role, means that I do a lot of events management, getting logistics together, arranging speakers, etc.  I don’t know if this is unique to just being young, but my boss gets directly thanked and recognized for a lot of the work I do, while nobody will even mention my name.  Odd thing is I know this irritates her as much as I.

Speaking of events, it’s pretty common for us to be making presentations at various occasions.  I’m actually pretty experienced at getting up and giving a speech to a crowd.  Absolutely nobody expects it.  It’s kind of funny to see the looks on people’s faces when we’re scheduled for a presentation, and rather than the distinguished personnel they were expecting, some twenty-something shows up to speak.  In fact, last week, I was at a forum that my boss was scheduled to introduce the speakers at, except nobody bothered to inform her, so she wasn’t there.  I, of course, would have been the next best option, having worked with the speakers and their project on a number of occasions.  But I’m young, and nobody expects young people to give a coherent speech in front of others.  So they asked some other guy who had never worked with the group before to do it.

And, of course, my age definitely plays into job searching.  My job really values professional development, especially in their key personnel, so I’ve got work experience most people would have to wait a few years to pick up.  I’m not looking to go down a level in my job search, so when I’m applying for jobs, I’m competing against people mostly five to ten years older.  In some cases, inexperience does play a factor.  I’ve been pushed through training and challenging assignments, but there’s still some things you can only truly pick up by putting in the years to learn it, and in those areas, I am truly behind.  But I’ve been starting to wonder if it’s truly an issue of skills.  I’ve often seen people seem obviously thrown off upon seeing me for the first time in an interview, and have had quite a few organizations who seem really interested over the phone turn absolutely disengaged for the in-person interview.  One of the worst was just last week.  I had gone through four stages of the interview process before finally being granted an in-person interview, drove five hours to reach the place, and could just tell upon entering the room that the interviewers had already made up their minds.

Well, that’s just some random thoughts I wanted to get off my mind, and figured I’d take advantage of this forum.  See you next time for some actual quality posts!

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Proving Ourselves in Dark Souls

Last time, on this thing people keep reading for whatever reason, I gained the power to control fire and used it to kill some things that are already dead. It was certainly fun, but now it’s time to do something that actually matters. That’s right, it’s back into the sewers for us.

At the end of the sewer level, past the double doors previously blocked to us, I find the entrance to the infamous Blighttown. I don’t know much about this place, other than that it’s spoken of with much ire around the internet. Is it because the area’s especially difficult? Annoying? Boring? We’ll find out together! Remember, here at Lost to the Aether, I play this game so you don’t have to!

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The entrance to Blighttown is this massive blasted pit. We’ve made it to the lowest depths of the sewer level, and now we’re going to have to dig even deeper. I sure hope that’s not metaphorical.

I briefly consider plunging to my death, avoiding what is to come, but instead, I find a ladder and descend that way. Apparently, one of the other players thinks I should be regretting that decision.

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It’s not long before we run into our first adversaries in this area, these infested barbarians. There’s a bunch of these guys in a row, but I decide to play things safe and lure them out one by one. As you might expect, they’re quite strong, able to push me around even as I block them. Their clubs are also poisonous, somehow. And they’re surprisingly mobile, at least within the confines of this wooden latticework. I have to play this defensively, rolling back at the slightest sign of an attack and picking my moments to attack. With careful timing, though, I’m able to wear these guys down enough for a killing stroke.

They have a habit of leaving behind dung pies. I’m not sure why I keep picking them up.

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Moving forward along the walkways into the bowels of Lordran, we encounter our second enemy class of this area, the infested ghoul. These guys, as well as the barbarians, seem quite a bit different than the standard hollows we’ve been putting down. Something’s happened to this place, beyond the normal curse of the undead, that’s twisted those who’ve been hanging out here.

In any case, the ghouls here rush towards me as soon as they catch a glimpse. They’re armed with swords, spears, or bone clubs, but telegraph their attacks well enough that they’re easy to block. They do have a nasty little grab attack, though, putting their filthy teeth to bear. The bite takes a good deal off my health, but they snarl before they do so, giving me enough time to prepare my defense. Two hits is more than enough to take them out, so they don’t pose any real threat individually.

Heading on just a bit farther, I’m struck by something. Something small. It doesn’t do any damage, but it causes my toxin gauge to skyrocket. It came from my right. Luckily, there’s a wall nearby that I’m able to duck behind.

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Here’s our perpetrator. An sniper with a blowgun. The darts don’t hurt me, at least not right away, but they’re coated with a powerful poison, and two hits are enough to overcome my resistance. Also, the way bows work in this game, they’re really not well suited to sniper battles. You can’t move and ready an arrow at the same time, meaning you’re a sitting duck for an enemy who’s already drawn on you. My best bet is to try and hit these guys from areas they can’t return fire to, but with as observant as these snipers are, good luck with that.

Also, for whatever reason, structures in Dark Souls actually extend a bit beyond what they’ve got visuals for. Those arrows you see floating in the air in the picture above? They’re embedded in the wood that doesn’t really exist. This has been a small frustration of mine all game, but it’s really infuriating now, that I have to face off with these enemies I can’t reach with my sword.

Luckily, these snipers don’t seem to be undead, meaning they don’t respawn. Kill ’em once, they’re out of your hair forever. I catch a bounty of purple moss from this one, which serves as an antidote to poison. Something tells me I’m going to need that.

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After I slay the sniper and start moving on, I find a message that there’s a sniper around. Thanks, guy! There’s also a tempting bit of treasure that appears out of my reach. I’d have to jump for it, but it looks like a tricky leap. If I miss, the fall will either kill me or land me in unknown territory. I decide to leave it be for now.

I move out from the initial walkway, into where Blighttown opens up and… oh my. I don’t know whether it’s the size of the area, the poor PC optimization, the lack of developer tricks to hide areas so they don’t have to be loaded, or what, but this place is doing absolute murder to my frame rate. My computer’s been handing the game at a solid 30 fps, but this area tops out at half that, and frequently dips into the single digits. This is painful.

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Laying down the Line

I’m going to try something new here.  Something groundbreaking at Lost to the Aether.  Something I haven’t done at all, outside of my Dark Souls playthrough.  I am going to open myself up for some public shame.

Here’s the thing.

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I’ve made some commitments.  Commitments to this blog.  And it’s been taking me a good long while to fulfill them.  You remember the Persona retrospective I started up, what, five months ago?  Where the hell has that been at?  And the Dark Souls thing?  The Let’s Play that’s currently ongoing?  Not counting this last intermission post, we haven’t seen any movement on that since January!  Man, that Aether’s pretty garbage all around, isn’t he.  It’s ok, it’s ok.  You don’t say it, but I know that’s what you’re thinking.

So, here’s what we’re going to do.  I’m going to make a public declaration, beucause this way, I’ll be motivated to get it done.  If you all know I’ve committed to something, I will be focused on avoiding the threat of shame to finish it.

So, here we go.  Barring some major life event, such as me getting hit by lightning or finally getting a new job and being able to move out of this hole, which seem to have the same chances of happening, I’m going to have the next Dark Souls post up this week.  I’ll also have the Persona Retrospective ready to go before the month’s out.  I’d like to move towards doing at least two Dark Souls entries a month, but I’m not going to promise the moon until life stops being horrid to me.  So that’s where we’re at now.  So there.  New posts coming soon.  We’re bringing life back to this blog!

Snap Judgments: Bravely Default

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I don’t buy a lot of new games when they’ve just been released. I’m both too cheap to pay the launch MSRP, and patient enough to wait until I can get them in the sub-$20 range. So, I figured that on the rare occasion I happen to get a game when it’s still relatively new, I should do something to celebrate. Something…. bloglike.

Such was the case when I recently picked up Bravely Default. 3DS games don’t drop in price quite like most do, so when I was lucky enough to find the game at a significant discount, I jumped on it. I just knew, in playing it, that I’d have to put together a post, so I could be just like those cool kids who play all the new games and finally get invited to parties again. Unfortunately, well… some of you long-time readers, who we’re totally going to pretend I have, may have noticed that posts have slowed down the past couple months as life started taking my lunch money and beating me up after school. That hasn’t stopped being a thing that happens, so unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to play much.

I could just wait until I’ve beat the game to do something with it, but by that time, all the bloggers with such things as “disposable income” and “free time” and “merely average levels of beauty” will have beaten the game to death. Instead, we’re going to jump on this bandwagon right as it’s rolling by. No plan, no context, no real format, we’re just laying ideas on the page as soon as they come up. So, without further ado, here are just some random thoughts of the first two hours of the new 3DS epic, Bravely Default.

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