Things I Miss about Novell

It occurs to me that as much as I’ve been enjoying cartooning full-time, there are a few things I miss about working for Novell.

1) The money. I made between three and four times what I’m making now.

2) The people. I had great co-workers, and that had all sorts of benefits. Even standing around the mythical water-cooler and griping was enjoyable. I still count these people among my friends, but I don’t have much opportunity to see them anymore.

3) Did I mention the money. Mostly I miss the “lifestyle” stuff — eating out, buying shrimp and steak for grilling on the weekends, renting cool movies three or four times a week, seeing first-run films at the theater, and of course making those “impulse purchases.” I remember when I could spend $100 on something nifty and not worry about it. Sandra would scowl, and we’d budget around it, but my discretionary “impulse slush” was always there. By contrast, these days there is NO impulse spending. I know I can get a cheeseburger for less than a dollar, but even when I crave it, I know that there are better uses for that dollar. That’s half a gallon of milk, or a sesqui-dozen eggs.

Oddly, I don’t miss the actual WORK at Novell one little bit. I was good at it, and I got props, kudos, and meager fame for being good at it, but now that I’m not doing it, I’m not missing it at all.

(Note: If I ever have to chow down on the Humble Pie and head back into the I.T. industry in order to make ends meet, this Journal entry may disappear from view. It won’t look good on a resumé.)

Last night I put Patches to bed. This is Sandra’s job, and Patches knows it. He asks for me at bedtime, because I’m where “lap” happens. That’s “lap” as in “sit on Daddy’s lap and watch trailers on the web,” and it keeps him out of bed for that extra ten minutes. Well, I put him to bed, and he screamed. He called out for me — ME, not Mommy. I went in to him, hugged him, and put him back down. He eventually (10 minutes?) settled in and went to sleep.

Sandra then pointed out “You’re fast becoming his favorite person.” I refuted this — Patches still wants Mommy first when he’s sad or otherwise in need of comfort.

Sandra countered: “He plays with you. He ASKS you to play with him. He’ll play with me if I offer, but he never asks to.”

And then this morning, between strips, I wandered into the family room. Patches handed me a hamtaro and insisted that I run it around the Duplo ramparts, and I realized that Sandra was right. This little guy, and to a greater or lesser extent ALL my kids now have a measure of trust in me they never had before. They trust me with their imaginations. They want to Play With Daddy.

Dear God, I want this to last. I’ll draw ’till my hands fall off for this. I don’t care about the money, and I’m not afraid of the Humble Pie. The stuff I miss about Novell can stay missed. I just want to retain Favorite Person status. Going back to being “that big person who stays here at night” would kill me.


18 thoughts on “Things I Miss about Novell”

  1. I’m glad you’re getting the connection with your children: I can’t tell you how much the tiny remnant of my black, shrivelled heart is filled with happiness for you in that.

    As to the situation with Novell, I do understand: for me, it was Intel. By the same token, this time next year, I hope to have a book completed. That’s my goal, now. It’s time to do what I need to do for my soul.

    Thank you, Howard: you were part of the impetus that helped me make this choice. Even if I don’t succeed, thank you for helping me decide to try.

  2. Yes.

    Going back to being “that big person who stays here at night” would kill me.

    That was my father, when I was little. When I was six or so, he shaved off his beard, and my older sister and I literally didn’t recognize him.

    Don’t get me wrong; I love my father bunches now, and I’ve gotten to know him better as I got older. But in my pre-teen years, he wasn’t someone I knew or did things with, and my (stay-at-home) mother was who I wanted, whenever I wanted someone.

    I’m glad you’re able to stay home and be with your kids more, too.

  3. Yep, Daddy time is a Good Thing. I’m trying to arrange my life to get more of it, but hasn’t happened yet.

    BTW, if you don’t want this post coming up at resume time you may want to disappear it now. Google Caches All. I think fifty years from now some grandmothers are going to be very traumatized by what their grandchildren are pulling out of the google cache of LJ posts.

    1. There’s an option in your Edit Info page to tell search engines not to cache your entries – “Block robots/spiders from indexing your journal.” I’ve got it switched on, and Google doesn’t have any of my entries cached.

    2. Incidentally… I don’t think that a company that you’d really want to work for would mind so much that you prefer being a father to your children than an employee to your boss. In my (horribly limited) experience, the companies that treat their employees best are the ones that recognize that they’re not – and shouldn’t be – necessarily the most important thing in their employees’ lives… certainly when compared to, say, a family.

  4. I’m glad you’re adapting. Living with frugality is good in many ways. Teach you to appreciate stuff. And don’t worry, even as an independent webcartoonist, there are some good seasons, financially speaking. And when season’s bad, it’s still worth it.


  5. If you do end up eating “humble-pie” and getting IT job agian, make sure it is a job that is more family friendly. Like only 40 hours a week, close to home and little if any travel.

    How family friendly is Randy’s job? Seems like he is close to home and doesn’t do much work related travel.

    1. Mine’s great. I walk to work when I have the extra ten minutes or so it takes, or the desire, or the lack of options. It’s a small company, and the CEO, driven though he is, believes in putting family first.

      I watched the movie The Family Man last night [note to Howard: do not watch this movie!] and bawled like a baby big tough man bawling at an emotional movie. Those of you who’ve seen it will know how apropos it is to this particular journal entry.

  6. I’m happy for you, and for you’re kids. And frankly, if I had the money to burn, I’d be happilly supplying you with some through the purchase of good ol’ Schlock merchandise.

    May God continue to bless your present endevor.

    1. Ah yes, the ever elusive dollar

      As a current under-grad I too feel the almost constant need for more money than I ever have. The exception to this is when financial aid first comes around at the start of every term. I already plan to purchase several things from the Schlock store when this occurs in April. I’m planning on figuring in purchases of merchandise from various web comic artist who I appreciate when I budget my money this Spring. Howard, hang in there for a few more months and I can at least put a couple bucks in your pocket. 🙂

  7. Howard, you made me tear up. I never had a dad, and what you’re doing is as important to your kids as it is to you. Of course, you know that. 🙂

  8. Lucky man. I live for the weekends with my family. My son asks me every morning why I have to go to work today. He always has to know how many days until daddy gets to stay home (Sat Sun).

    I’m glad you could work this out for yourself. Something all us dads aspire to someday.

  9. The right questions have timeless answers.

    Viewing years of quality Schlock Mercenary for free= very cool.

    Seeing Howard make the leap to full-time webtoonist/artist and succeed (not to mention plot, art and humor going way up over time)= impressively cool.

    Reading this latest LJ post= priceless.

    Way to go, Howard. Jackpot, absolutely jackpot!

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