22 February 2017


Life is funny. Things happen when you are not expecting them. Generally, the older you get, the less surprised you are when something unexpected happens, but occasionally a genuinely surprising event occurs.

For the past year or so I have been working two jobs. For the second half of 2016, I was regularly working more than 50 hours each week. Plenty of people do this, but it was new territory for me. When my W-2s came I saw that I had done all right for the year, but the effort required to get there was significant. But certainly, let me be clear, it was better than not working and not being able to get a job.

I think I have mentioned before that my second job was for one of my former supervisors. What I don't think I spelled out explicitly is that this was at the employer I was laid off from five years ago, the one I had thought I'd be able to stay with until I was ready to retire (remember, I'm closer to the end of my working life than the beginning).

For a while after I started working for her again, I used to think about the possibility of being rehired full-time, but it seemed a lot more likely that the most I could expect from them is that someday they might offer me 20 hours a week. Even if that happened, I couldn't see how I'd make it work; my main job was not the sort of thing that could be done part-time, and 20 hours a week wouldn't pay me enough to live on. I stopped thinking about it.

Then, unexpectedly, before Christmas my former/current boss asked me in an email: "If we had a full-time position, would you be interested?" Just like that, with the "if" italicized. I knew there had been some staff changes and that resources were being allocated differently in their budget, but I was not expecting that sort of proposal.

I told the Mrs., who was suitably pleased. I decided not to say anything to anyone else until I had some certainty about what was happening. I made one deviation from that: I told my family, but only after a couple of weeks. I had to get through a medium-sized obstacle course of bureaucracy that took a few more weeks. I needed some idea of when they wanted me to start, so I could figure out when I needed to give notice to my other job. (I've only had that experience a couple of other times in my working life.)

The structure of the job is a little different from what I used to do, and a little better overall. Some of it is the editing work I've been doing for the past seven or eight months, which I really enjoy. Other parts of it are just what I used to do before, and while that's not necessarily as exciting or interesting, it's worth it. Some of the processes have changed, and not necessarily in ways that can be considered improvements, but I don't care; it's worth it.

Even though I was working full-time and then some for a successful and growing company, I was technically an employee of the agency that placed me in the job; the work was stressful but also tedious, I was not being paid what the work was worth, and the benefits available to me were not especially competitive. Making this change means that once again I'm part of an organization with thousands of employees, and able to benefit from that in all the ways you would expect.

So, while I am still disheartened and disappointed by what's happening in our government and in our country, on a more personal level this is a distinct turn for the better for me. And the office will be moving in a couple of months, which will provide a figurative fresh start to accompany this more experiential one. And I expect I will be able to find more time to blog...