Pickle

December 21, 2004

I find myself in a real pickle all of a sudden. Frequent readers here will know that after losing my contract in March 2004 I spent 3 months looking for employment and ended up moving at the last minute possible to Kansas City for a contract here. The work is okay, actually better than most places, and we are slowly starting to recover from the shock of unemployment and the move.

Still we have lingering doubts which most often find expression in a desire to return to our former life in Illinois. Towards that end I have pursued several employment options in and around central Illinois. Most of these haven't worked out, but today I got an email I thought I'd never see; one telling me that I've won the bid for a contract in Springfield. For the cost of yet another move, Michele and I could return to our house, and basically our life prior to last March. As an added bonus, she now has the ability to work as a college instructor from home teaching via the Internet. Oh, and we wouldn't have to sell the house at a loss either.

Last week, I was approached by the major player in the contract here to see if I would be at all interested in pursuing employment with them. A "promotion" as it were, from sub-contractor to employee. To even be asked about my interest was very flattering, and I have enjoyed the rush I've had ever since. It would mean committing once and for all to the path here in KC. It would mean finding a way out of the financial quagmire we left behind in Illinois.

This all brings me to the pickle. I'm currently employed through a local firm where I am enjoying low-to-middle quality benefits. I have on the table before me two options: (1) Retreat to Springfield, sacrificing professional opportunity in order to avoid financial setback, or (b) Upgrade my employer (which may spawn a third option: increased compensation from the current employer) to a national player and pursue the sheltered lifestyle we had grown to appreciate in Illinois here in Kansas. (Staying here and staying with the current employer (even at a higher rate) seems to be the worst of both options, so it really isn't being considered.)

I've never played two (or more) potential employers against each other before, however, I am think that is my next step. With a job offer in hand, and being currently employed, I have very little to lose by precipitating a discussion with the firm that approached me last week, to find out exactly what they had in mind for me. If they balk or back away I'd rather find out now, while I still have an open offer. If they are serious and can make me some firm assurances then I can make an informed decision regarding Illinois.

Or I could just huddle in the corner of my bedroom, rocking to and fro, humming to myself.

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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.