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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I have to write

I don't want to write, but I'm dealing with so much stress that I need to.

First, recovery: I finally saw a doctor last Wednesday, as my earlier post stated. This evening I began the eighth of ten days' doses of Augmentin XR. I've been mostly off Sudafed and Advil for a few days now. My left ear is still ringing, and the hearing is not as keen as I'd like, but I'm walking around vertically, if slowly.

I extend my deep thanks to my associate, to whom I look(ed) for direction at work. He encouraged me to stay home on Monday and Tuesday, when I felt healthy but very weak, and driving 55 minutes to and from work might have been a hazard. Today I felt really terrible waking up at six in the morning, but driving has not been a problem. I even got back into the Italian lessons from Pimsleur, doing both units 5 and 6 of Italian II twice each.

Now the shocker: I'm more or less looking for a project again. I really appreciate working for this division of IBM, where being on the bench doesn't mean I'm instantly at intense risk of losing my job. I got the news on Tuesday that my project has laid down the law: all technical resources must possess certain credentials which I don't yet possess. There's nothing further I can do about it but pray: I'm in the pipeline already, and it's just a matter of being patient for a few months while my case is processed. But the customer has made their point clearly, and so I'm no longer useful on this project.

This is, of course, a source of more insane stress. I haven't had an office to work in for about a year now, and a few boxes of my computer belongings and several shelves of computer books are cluttering up our house. In the last few weeks I had been assigned a cubicle on this project, and had started to slowly, cautiously move in. I haven't been told to move out yet, but for now I'm working in another location, with no assigned space, and so I once again have to carry whatever I might need with me to work every day and home again every evening.

For the short term (or perhaps longer) I've found a place to be useful doing HR-type work for the non-technical side of the project. I spent this afternoon processing resumés. But I don't know how long I'll be able to be useful there.

All this comes as such a stark contrast after Chamber Music Weekend and the GC International Brass Choir. Both of those were events providing intense flow, a feel of being very useful, very capable, and of doing what I was created to do: make music.

I've thought about making a radical career change, like going into music teaching. I think I have potential skills as a teacher, whether of music, computer skills or some other subject. But teaching is not the same as doing, and it's become clear that making music is where I truly excel. How can I make a living making music?


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