Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

Decisions

9 August 2013

Dear J-

It has been a while since I tried writing on the road and I’m pleasantly surprised to discover the keyboard still works, well, at least as well as it ever did which is to say with a sticky ‘o’ key and everything. I’ll give it some more time to warm up, I suppose. Good. Awkward preamble done.

As it turns out maybe this — trying and failing spectacularly at getting the units returned to service — maybe this is the impetus I need to shake off the momentum that’s kept me driving a hundred miles every day to work. We have yet to see what jobs everyone will end up getting but I’m contemplating three choices. There’s a local job as a procurement engineer, doing stuff I did every day for five years and that I’m sure I could do in my sleep. What it has to recommend itself is familiarity and comfort, no need to move, shorter commute, I know I can do that work. I’ve done it. But on the other hand it’s a very substantial drop in pay, especially once the bonus or results-sharing payout is figured in, probably close to 40% and is that going to be enough to keep us in San Diego and not struggling check to check?

Then there’s potential job number two, in the Bay Area. Probably involves some travel. definitely a relocation. There, though, the work is interesting — much more in line with what I’ve been doing for the past year and a half or so. Very technical, too, and that’s something my mind wants. So far no interview and no discussion of salary, but I have good hopes there, so we’ll see I guess.

And also, there’s potential job number three, a cross-country relocation to Charlotte, North Carolina. This is even less certain given that I’ve only just applied, but they called me and asked me to submit a resume, so that’s a good sign, right? But still, Charlotte? Yes, Charlotte, and with lower costs of living and the heat, and the South, there is also the satisfaction of working a pan-industry job, meaning it’s something they’d need if any nuclear plant is working. Anywhere. is that a huge appeal, stability?

That’s the crux of it, I’m afraid. if I had no family I’d have no problems shrugging off a relocation anywhere, anytime. Thus concludes the Southern California adventure. We’ve had a good run. I look at what my dad had — the same job for thirty-five years, and they had to push him out the door — and I know that isn’t going to happen for me, unless I want to switch gears completely or work into my mid-70s. it’s a source of envy and regret, we’ve spent so many years here and we’ve just gotten to sample the joy of its potential: Disneyland, beaches, sunshine. every place has its upsides, though, and part of the joy of relocation (oh yeah, I went there) is is finding those things that work well for you.

And yet I’m not alone in this. Leaving now means pulling figgy out of her current school program — a pretty unique opportunity to learn Mandarin in a public immersion program — with no guarantees that we’d be able to jump into another one in time for this fall. I keep having faith that we will but, y’know, wish in one hand and spit in the other, and you’ll know which one fills up faster. Ultimately I don’t know if that’s the trump card that should cover everything else. It should be. But I’m also not sure if this is a case of work to live, we need something to enable this, what we have, what we need.

Mike

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Job Changes

18 October 2011

Dear J-

I’ve been thinking more about our proposed move to Illinois and it surely seems that the sooner the better at least as far as the kids are concerned, though we do have a ton of things tying us to San Diego: the house and our income. Everything else can be replaced at other places, and being that they’re not in school at the moment the change wouldn’t be too bad. I remember every year how my parents would propose to move us closer to the store in Spokane so we’d say goodbye to our friends every June, only to surprise them by being back in September.

I would have to find another job but really, what’s tying me to this industry or this company besides a misguided sense of loyalty? I’m sure that I’m appreciated and I’m really good at what I do, but that was the case the last time we made a big move from Davis to San Diego, ten years ago, and while the work in Sacramento I wasn’t sure I’d make a career out of, this power utility business I think I could keep doing until I retired if I wanted to. So what do I want? (This is a question, by the way, that gets asked a lot in the family, usually in an exasperated tone as figgy yells out from her room after bedtime that something else is needed — covers tucked in, water, potty, stuffed animals arranged just so).

The nature of the work is secondary to the people I’ll be working with. While cleaning out my desk I ran across a chart I’d made of the organization I hired into: of those twenty or so people there’s five left after only five years (and that’s counting myself). You can either be fulfilled in what you do or who you do it with and right now I’m working six days a week chasing paper around. Primarily, though, the reason that Urbana seems so enticing is because of theVet: the way she’s talked about what she’d be doing and how animated she gets let’s me know that this is something she’s thought about and clearly wants, and I can facilitate her chasing that dream, so yeah, I’m flexible and portable enough that we can make it happen. Question now is whether we’d ever be back.

Mike

Econo-Jitters

27 January 2009

Dear J-

I think I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:  if the economic growth of the past ten years was due to the free-wheeling spending that was going on, and the only way to get us out of the current funk is to spend some more, then why isn’t the money being put in people’s hands to be spent?  We’re now on the hook for nearly a trillion dollars applied to businesses and still we’re being chided for wanting to hold on to our money in case of, oh, an economic crisis.  Companies that have received bailouts yet persist in cutting employees deserve some particular ire here, I think — I understand the urge to cut costs, but when we’re being asked to spend, it’s hard to do without an income.

It’s another mixed message that our esteemed fourth estate tells us:  how to save money in the living sections, and how our penny-pinching is only going to hurt us in the business sections.  The deflationary spiral is vicious:  the less money that circulates, fewer businesses are able to sustain the storm, more people go out of work, thus the money that’s in our hands gets clutched tighter, and less money goes out into the economy … I understand the need to spend, yes, but we’ve built our businesses to worship the dollar as a measure of health, not employee happiness or country-wide economic strength.  We believe in the Darwinian model of industry:  agile, mutable companies will adapt to the changing markets and thrive, while the lumbering dinosaurs will fall natural victim to those pressures.  Well, I should say that we pay lip service to that model and then give blood transfusions to cadavers anyway.

We’ve placed blind faith in the government and its chosen agents — Treasury Department, businesses, and banks — to guide us out of the woods.  After all, they are experts in that particular world, but aren’t these the same experts who pointed boldly into that dark forest to begin with?  When we choose our regulators from industry experts and leaders, how is that different than putting gluttons as our aerobics trainers?  The too-cosy relationship between government and industry bodes ill for normal citizen.

Mike

Catching Up

11 November 2006

Dear J-

There’s a pervading sense of shame in some of those first posts I wrote back in 1998. Kind of a “well, damnit, I am good enough” feeling possibly brought on by growing up in such a small place — the first time I recognized myself as the minnow among men was that first semester in Berkeley — Dr. Lieu paraded the Drake scholars up on stage after the first day of class and when handing back the first midterms in E28. Unspoken: these are not your peers, these are your superiors. Maybe he meant it as serious motivation; at least it worked in my case (but that just feeds my vicious competitive streak, honestly, appealing to baser emotions can’t be what they teach you in professoring school).

What have I done in the intervening eight years since I last wrote? I took up video games as a mind-numbing substitute for human interaction (trying to wean myself off now). I got married, but not before going on a date with a homosexual man by accident. I’ve held down three jobs at two sites, and believe now that contracting benefits the owners, not the contractors. We’ve bought a house. We’re supposed to be responsible now, I guess.

I’m never convinced that I’ve grown (aside from girth, unfortunately) after intervening years, but every time I look back on the past, I’m filled with at least some regret that I could have done it more stylishly, or at least showing some pizazz. I’ve read that one of the characteristics of folks my age is that we were constantly beat over the head with the idea that we’re special, and thus grow up feeling entitled to fame in some way or another. So maybe that’s me, maybe that’s why I write. I want the everlasting fame and fortune, right? It’s the vanity, it’s the fear — I don’t want to be forgotten, but why should I care if I’m remembered by all, or lost to strangers, honestly?

I don’t believe it’s an entitlement, to be honest. It’s more an insatiable need to be liked, for whatever reason (maybe this is the flip side of the porn star theory — looking for attention/validation from father figures?). I remember when I was three, having my face hurt all day because I kept smiling at people. That can’t be that unusual — doesn’t everyone want to be liked? I think my least favorite times at Worldcom were dealing with account execs (who seemed to have, at best, an adversarial relationship with us poor provisioners) and angry terminal folks, who thought nothing of ripping us up and down for making their lives difficult.

So that’s maybe me, just asking whether or not you still think I’m such an idiot. Although I know I am, I don’t want you to think so.

Mike