have been toying with the idea of coming back to this for a long time.
You can't imagine how many times I've started a faltering entry -- trying to
describe what has happened in the last year and a half of my life -- only to
lose the disc I saved it on, or just plain give up. Hopefully this entry
won't be of the same fate...
To truly get up to date, I need to go back even further than the missing 18
months. I suppose it's possible to just read all of the previous entries
-- assuming the links to them are even working anymore (something I'll have to
check when I get a chance) -- but I can provide all of the important details
Somehow, way back in 1994, I found myself moving from Pittsburgh to San
Diego for a job -- one I thought had a chance to be interesting, but
one I mostly took because it was the only chance I had at employment. I
dragged my wife out there with me, even though she knew nobody and had nothing
to do there. (I still wonder sometimes why she didn't tell me to
go jump in a lake....)
Anyway, it quickly became apparent that we didn't fit in out there.
My job was trivial (though it took up a lot of time), our apartment stank
(sometimes literally) and we couldn't afford anything better with the crazy
cost of living, and all of our family was 2000 miles away. Oh, there
were a few good points, like our church, good food, and some fun places to go
(like the zoo), but we knew we had to get out as soon as we could.
It took over six years.
I finally found my dream job -- back in Pittsburgh, no less -- and before
we knew it, in November 2000, we packed up all our stuff (and our infant son)
and headed back to PA. We bought a great house in a nice neighborhood,
found a church we liked even better than the one in California, and our Little
One was thriving -- everything was going perfectly.
You know what that means.
It was a Monday
morning, somewhere around Halloween, when my boss asked if I had time to talk.
I was happy to get the chance, because things had been squirrelly there
lately, and I knew there was a big reorganization looming (and probably
layoffs, too), and I was hoping he’d tell me what I would be doing in the
months to come. I got up and followed him, right passed his office (where I
expected we would talk), and right past a conference room (which was my second
guess) – and it was then that the full reality of what was going on hit me.
I think my mind left my body right about then, because otherwise, I
don’t think it would have allowed my legs to continue walking.
him into what was basically a vacant office (ironically, it was left that way
from a previous round of layoffs). There
was an HR drone sitting there with stacks of papers.
I slumped into a chair, and my boss said, “Your position has been
eliminated. I’m sorry.”
through all of the paperwork, passed me off to some outsourced career
consultant who tried to give me a pep talk, and took me to clean out my desk
under the watchful eye of yet another HR drone. Then, at 10:30 on Monday morning, I was home.
ex-employer arranged for us to attend a free workshop on our career search.
Though I knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant, I went, figuring that I
needed all the help I could get. As
expected, it was brutal. I left
there thinking that I would never have a job again (unless Eat-n-Park was
hiring). They said that we should be making about 30 contacts a week
related to our job search, and talk to a total of 25 to 50 hiring managers.
number of hiring manager contacts?
About a month
into my search, I stumbled across a small, privately-owned company here in the
Pittsburgh area. They had exactly
one opening for an engineer – and, well, I had exactly one opening for a
company. The interviews were a
breeze, which is of course very rare for me.
In mid-December, I started my new job, while still receiving severance
pay from my old place. Two months
later, I still love it here.
I always thought
that I would enjoy working for a smaller company. Actually, I have worked for a smaller company before, on
summer breaks in college, and it was much more my kind of atmosphere.
But what I didn’t realize was how much better it is working for a
private company. One of the
things they said to me during my interview was that they have never laid
anyone off here. I just about
fell in love right there. But you
can tell that the employees are very important to the owner, because the
benefits are great. Plus, they let me do (woo hoo!) software, even
though I had basically no experience.
Oh, and they have a picnic at Kennywood
every summer. How can you beat that?
Sure, I won’t be getting rich from stock options or anything, but
I’m not even going to go into what my 5,000 options were worth from my
previous employer. I thought I
was going to be able to pay off my house with them when they vested – now
all they’d be good for is wallpapering my basement.
The thing that
surprised me the most about the whole job search ordeal is that I never really
got discouraged. Well, I did a
couple of times, but I didn’t sink into the deep, prolonged depression that
I would have expected from myself. I
don’t think I can take credit for that, though – my wife and my parents
had literally dozens of people praying for me.
And after everything, I know we’re better off – the only thing I
don’t like is that my commute is longer, but other than that, I’m having a
lot of fun, and the stability is exactly what we needed right now.
I'm thoroughly convinced that God orchestrated this whole
thing for me from the start. There really is no other explanation.
I couldn't have devised a plan to work everything this much to my advantage if
I tried. We went to San Diego for a while, learned how to be ourselves,
saved up some money (since we didn't want to buy a house out there).
Then, He found us a way to get back to Pittsburgh, back to our family, just in
time for them to watch our son grow up, and just while the first company was
thriving enough to move me across the
country and help me buy a house – a total cost that I can only guess at
being something like $20,000 – and then dumps me after not even a year.
Then I find a job I enjoy even more, like it was the one I was meant to
have in the first place – but they probably wouldn’t have been able to
relocate me (and to be honest, I wouldn’t have even thought of looking for a
job at my new company if I hadn’t already been in Pittsburgh).
So when they say that “all things work together for good”, I can
just chalk this up as yet another example.
So this basically is why I wanted to restart this journal. There is
one pastor in our church who is big on journaling, to keep up with your prayer
life, your walk with God, all of that. I'm not sure how much this
journal will be spiritual (this entry is, I guess), and how much will be just
plain goofy, but I do agree with how therapeutic it can be to write down your
thoughts and feelings, and to go back years later and see how far you've come.