It can be difficult waiting for a clear direction in terms of how one should use your abilities and understanding. We are being tested in this respect at the moment.
I went through the interview process for one position, completing a number of programming exercises along the way. I was informed that I was next on their list to be employed because I had exceeded their expectations. However, contractual requirements meant they needed client approval to expand the team. That approval wasn't given so I was informed that the position was no longer there but that they would act as a referee for me.
Since then, I have been through another two interviews for possible positions with another organisation. Again not an outright 'no' but rather there is no position available at this time that matches your talents. They indicated that they would advise me if anything did come up that might be suitable. Maybe the economic uncertainty is beginning to impact some of these organisations.
Each of these is a blow to my confidence. Sure I lack experience in the use of some of the tools currently used in industry but when given the opportunity, I have usually exceeded expectations including sometimes my own. In the interview process, I don't hide the fact that I haven't used some of the tools but it does frustrate me that the usage of specific tools has priority over conceptual understanding but this is getting a little off topic.
The PhD thesis has now reached a point where there is a complete draft. It is oversize by a little over 11,000 words. Major revisions of the larger sections is required if I am to get it down to the 100,000 word limit.
I have things to do that occupy my time but the issue is that they don't help the cash flow. That concerns me but I sense that I am supposed to be where I am and doing what I am doing especially with regards to writing the thesis.
There is another piece of uncertainty in this equation in that I am unsure of what I am supposed to do next. I enjoy developing software especially when I can focus on problems to do with providing the functionality. No so keen any more on going through all the set up requirements to put in place a build system or to make the tool set work. Both in the programming environments and in the panorama stitching, I see that we haven't learnt to resolve the integration problems. We still expect the user of the tools to do the integration of the tools set and to locate the components that need to work together for the task. Maybe this says something about where I am at in my thinking with respect to my own role.
The other thing that I enjoy doing is helping others learn and discovering whether the approach that I am using is really helping the other person learn what I expected them to learn.
The problem seems to be that there are few positions available that allow me to focus on these two aspects without consuming more time than I have available.
Sometimes, we simply have to trust that things will work out and not panic when solutions don't seem to be appearing in the way that we anticipate.