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Dream: 12.31.17

December 31, 2017


  1. The “whole gang” at IDEM (including CJ)
  2. data; working with data
  3. Alabama
  4. CPD
  5. getting fired for “not being a team player”
  6. how could commuting work?
  7. the gang anticipating “pet projects” being assigned
  8. thinking about “second chances” & wondering if it could be worth trying again

In the dream, the “whole gang” was 5 or 6 people I’d worked very closely and well with, and was very fond of. CJ was at the reunion lunch, but I actually spent more time talking to a couple of the guys.

I felt like I had belonged here, and now that I’m not working, I don’t belong anywhere. That (oh so familiar) unmoored feeling.


We were somehow sitting in a room with a bank of data displays, like in a control room. I confided in one of the guys that I missed “working with data, with reams of data”, but then corrected myself, saying (in some confusion) that I now deal with masses of data a lot, just organized differently. (I did not elaborate that no one is asking me for my analysis either.)

Data is often what I think with, what gives rise to my ideas. But now that no one is gathering it up for me, and guiding in which directions I should confine my evaluations… it’s a lot harder to figure out what to do with it. There’s no more certainties.


Alabama is where the Mobile­–Tensaw Delta is located. Some years ago, I planned to drive myself out to the Gulf Coast to experience it for myself.

I got daunted by transportation logistics, and didn’t go.


CPD is the boss I had at IDEM when I still enjoyed working there. He steered plum assignments my way when he could.


In waking life and the dream, CPD left and we got new management.

I never was a team player, but with a good boss, that wasn’t an issue; with the new management, however, it was a big problem. [In waking life, I was miserable and I quit. I was not in danger of getting fired.]

I have been fired, though.

In the dream, I felt sick and ashamed about having been fired, even though I’m not ashamed that I’m not a team player. I longed to somehow “redeem” myself.

I was conscious, though, of having “moved on”. If I were to be offered a position, how could I “commute” across several states? If I telecommuted, the experience would be nothing like seeing everyone in an office every day. I’d still be an outsider.


A male coworker mentioned that management was starting to let people take on “pet projects”. That’s when I really thought I should try applying for something again.



People have a framework for thinking about you, evaluating your “worth”, when you are employed. Now that I’ve been, essentially, retired for 8 years, though, I’m invisible to most ways of gaining recognition. And the alternative paths I’ve tried… haven’t worked either.

Social recognition for (my) competence and innovative ideas has proved elusive.

But when I was working, while I was always valued for being competent and productive, I was almost never valued for being innovative, never mind creative.

I crave being noticed (for good things), but who can I allow myself to be when I’m solitary? When whatever projects I take on are not human-collaborative? When I accept that no one else cares what I do, where, when, how.

Which sets up 2018’s theme.


I’m in a shadowy, grey, misty place, a liminal space, that I’ve been assiduously avoiding for several years, and yet it’s found me anyway.

Who am I when I live for myself?

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