Revitalized

May 31, 2004

On Wednesday last week, May 26th, I got a call from a company that wanted to bid me on a multi-year contract with the state. At first I was hesitant about pursuing this option, as I had just received a verbal offer the day before in Kansas City. After thinking it over for a few minutes, and talking about it with Michele, I decided that I'd be foolish not to at least investigate the option further. After a couple of phones calls with the company, and a quick review of the job description, I consented to having my name submitted for the contract. I now had two bids in play for potential contracts with the state.

Thursday last week was a busy one around here. In the morning I received the overnight package from the job in Kansas City that had been promised to me. The package contained a contract with compensation, non-compete and termination clauses, also included were sign up sheets for direct deposit and health insurance. Not wanting to commit immediately I set all of this aside. My plan was to pick it up again on Tuesday and sign my life away then.

Life may have other ideas however. Thursday afternoon I received a phone call from the company that had wanted to send me to Wisconsin. So far this is the only bunch that has interviewed me face to face.

Even after I turned down a scheduled client interview with them, the account manager has continued to pursue me as a potential employee. She called Thursday afternoon, and we talked about a position she suddenly has open in Bloomington. On the surface the job there sounds much like the job in Kansas City. The account manager was willing to pay me the same salary I had been offered in KC; and this is a place I could drive to from here every day.

Since the drive would be roughly two or maybe two and a half hours each day, driving would not be good long term situation. Keeping the job in Bloomington would mean getting a house there and moving eventually. One of the big plusses is that my brother, and his family, lives in Bloomington's twin city, Normal. The other plus is that since she needs to fill this position as soon as possible it is likely I'll have a firm offer in time to consider it before having to move to KC.

Friday we had a moving estimator come and quote us on the cost of having our house completely packed, and moved to KC. Packing our 11,400 pounds came to about $2000; loading, shipping, unloading, and insurance came to another $3500. Obviously moving to Bloomington only 80 miles away, would save us a significant portion of that money. Staying here would save it all.

Saturday we spent most of the day in anticipation of going to see my oldest nephew's high school graduation. We had a good time at the party afterwards at his home. Sunday we were extremely lazy, managing only to make our meals and take a hot bath.

During our bath together Michele and I had a wonderful discussion of our options. We had both avoided talking about it all day Sunday, giving ourselves some time off from the strain, pressure, and stress. Both of us want very much to stay here if at all possible. Taking the Bloomington job, even with it's 80 mile commute, is better than having to leave behind our home. Because of our financial situation we've had to use a major portion of our home's equity to survive. Staying here for another 3 years would give us time to wipe out that burden and we'd regain the equity we should rightly have in this house.

I said during our discussion that the problem with waiting for the state contract to happen meant passing on KC well before having a signed contract in hand. It would be a huge roll of the dice, one that required perhaps more faith than I could currently muster. She replied that the Bloomington prospect seems very likely to happen rapidly. The firm there is back-filling a position they already had a contract for, so they were motivated to move quickly. She then pointed out that were the Bloomington position to happen, it would give us the time to wait for a state contract to be signed.

In that one sentence she completely altered my view of our future. Now, instead of having to give up the house and move, we had a viable plan to stay here short term, with money to cover our living expenses, while the best overall employment situation coalesced here in Springfield. Even if a contract never comes out of the state we'd still have a job that allowed us to stay in Springfield for the time being. We also talked about options for finding Michele an entry level position in the information technology world, either at the state or the local senior college where I have contacts.

Four years ago when I was laid off in South Carolina much the same thing happened. Initially it looked like our only option was to move away. But after coming to terms with the emotional side of the equation, I was able to find work that allowed us to stay, and that gave us time to find a better long term solution. Then the eventual solution was moving here. Now I feel the ultimate solution is staying here. I feel revitalized and hopeful again.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.