Here we go again. My contract with Level 3 ran out this past Wednesday so once again I’m looking for work. Frankly, this doesn’t worry me. I’ve been unemployed before and no doubt will be again. Even the current condition of the economy doesn’t really worry me that much. The area I live in has been economically depressed for the last several years so we’re all old hands at dealing with the kind of economy that the rest of the country (world?) is still getting used to.
Truth to tell, I’ve been working the local job market for months in anticipation of this so it’s not like I’m unprepared. And though I haven’t really had any nibbles for a while, I do have an interview setup for next week. With luck, I’ll soon be employed again.
But what happens if I don’t get lucky? In the short term, it means unemployment until I find work. Not my favorite way of paying the bills but doable – if only barely. Unemployment holds no stigma for me. I don’t feel ‘less of a man’ if I’m collecting unemployment. It’s something that I’ve paid into so why not use it. I think of it more as insurance against job loss. It’s not something that you ever want to use but it’s sure nice to have when the gas bill comes due.
In the long term unemployment would probably mean that I’d have to move my family. This is not something I really want to do. First, Tami and I really like this area. We are big fans of small town living and the climate here is great – actual winters with snow and everything, gorgeous springs with everything in bloom, warm summers with cool evenings (great for sitting around a bonfire in the back yard while you talk, roast marshmallows and watch the stars) and finally, breathtakingly beautiful Autumns where the surrounding mountains look like they’re on fire with all the color.
The second reason I don’t want to move is my youngest son, James. He’s still in High School and I really want him to be able to finish up with his friends. I moved 5 days before Christmas my Junior year of High School and it sucked! I’ve not become an axe murderer or anything but moving away from your friends does make a difference – especially when you’re a teenager.
I switched Elementary Schools (and States) the summer between 4th and 5th grade and frankly, it didn’t hit me that hard. At that age, you accept change easily. Moving during my Junior year, though…that was tough. I left behind friends that I had known (Teen Angst to Warp Factor 10, Mr. Sulu) most of my life!!! I also left behind (Warp Factor Zillion, Mr. Sulu with a side helping of hormones, please) my first serious girlfriend. This plus moving just before Christmas was more than a little trauma inducing to a 16 year old. I’d prefer if James didn’t have to go through it.
So…what are my options if I don’t get this job I’m interviewing for? What’s my strategy for finding gainful employment in Information Technology in a depressed economy in a depressed mostly rural area with a limited number of jobs period, much less IT jobs? Simple. Look for work where I can find it and be prepared to adjust my plans and desires to fit reality.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it. I even said it was simple. And it is…in a Zen kind of ‘simple is complex, complex is simple’ kind of way. There are two parts to this: “look for work where I can find it” and “be prepared to adjust my plans and desires to fit reality”. Lets take a look at both parts seperately.
When I say “look for work where I can find it”, the first question that comes to mind is where can I find it? There’s precious little employment available around here and I’ll apply for any of it that’s available. But what if nothing comes through? At the same time I’m applying for local jobs, I’m applying for jobs in surrounding cities with the idea that I can work there during the week and come home on weekends – not my first choice but still very doable and it still allows James to finish High School with his friends. Great, but what if nothing comes from that? That’s where my third group of applications comes into play.
You may have heard of a town called Morgantown, WV. It’s been mentioned in the news lately because it has the lowest unemployment in the nation. Morgantown is my Ace in the Hole – not because I saw it on the news but because I have family there. Morgantown is where I moved to my Junior year of High School. Tami was born there. So was my oldest son, Sean. I lived there for over 20 years. Paradoxically, Tami and I moved from Morgantown because I couldn’t find work. Things were different in the late 90’s than they are today. The thing is, working in Morgantown would almost require that I move my family. It’s just a little outside “go home on the weekend” range…which is there the ‘be prepared to adjust my plans and desires to fit reality” part comes into play.
If that’s where I can find work, that’s where I’ll work. We’ve talked to James about it and, while he’s not real happy about the possibiltiy of moving, he’s willing and able to accept it. And Morgantown is tops on his list of places to move to since, aside from having family there, he also wants to attend WVU. So even my “bad” possibilities aren’t that bad.
But we’re not there yet. I’ve still got an interview to do on Monday. And who knows, maybe I’ll get the job and we can stay right here. I hope so. It’d be nice if reality would work with me on this. But if we have to move, that’ll be good, too. Just in a different way. I mean, traumatic as it was to move during High School, if I hadn’t moved I never would have met Tami. And she’s about the best thing that’s ever happend to me. Love ya, Hon.