October 3, 2007

Not technically, but I like the way it sounds

For the next week and a half, I will be a burden on society, a blight on the American professional landscape, a hanger-on, a dragging weight on the progress of the national economy, contributing nothing of substance to the GDP, to the greater good, or to anything other than, perhaps, the viewership of daytime television, Sportscenter, and the Cartoon Network.

I will be, in a word, unemployed. Or, more accurately, I am unemployed right now.

That's the shorter, much more interesting version. The truth is longer and has, like most truths, far less flash. But it'll do.

I got a new job. Monday was my last day with the firm where I have worked for the past six years, and I start the new one in mid-October. While I had been planning to job-search when I was finished with school, and had every intention of polishing up the resume to support that effort, life stepped in a little early and made all of that unnecessary. It went kind of like this:

When I first started at my most recent job, J was also working there. Very solid engineer, strong business sense, overall good guy. He went with me on my Egypt trip, and we got to know each other fairly well (at least, as well as one can in the office). We would even kick around after hours shaking our heads at some decisions management was making, and wondering how it was that the right thing seemed so clear to us and yet eluded many people with far more responsibility, experience, and salaries than we had. But I digress. After a couple of years, J left the company to pursue his own thing. He was going to start his own company, and set off to seek his fortune, as it were. I pretty much lost touch with him shortly after that.

Fast-forward about three years, to a month or so ago. I get back in touch with him on another matter, and we catch up on what's been going on since he left. Turns out that rather than start his own firm from scratch (as was his original plan), he got the chance to start his own division within an existing company instead. And was, oh by the way, in talks to take that firm over once the owner decides to retire in the next couple of years. So at the end of that story, he asks what I'm up to and how things are going at my end. He knows most of the players, having done some consulting work for us since his departure, so he gets a lot of the shorthand. Long story short (ha), I get this offer about two weeks ago. A good one. With some pretty serious growth potential, and a clarity of career path which is more or less foreign with the current company. All that plus the fact that with a new, swiftly-growing firm there are plenty of things they haven't decided how to do yet, from a corporate policy perspective, and the chance to be involved with that appeals to my about-to-be-an-MBA brain quite a bit. The commute's about the same (Crystal City instead of DC), better health coverage, that sort of thing. And of course, more money. And did I mention I'm friends with the Big Boss? That doesn't hurt, either.

You can imagine how long I had to spend thinking about it.

The irony is that it's another federal contractor, and that's the one area I didn't expect to get involved with in a post-MBA career move. I had planned on going and looking into consulting, etc, with private-sector clients, and even had a small list of companies to go chasing. Instead, I got a job similar to what I'm doing, albeit a serious upgrade, and never had to update a resume or even really interview. It's something that I wouldn't necessarily have gone looking for, but I'm certainly glad it found me.

Six years is a long time to spend in one job, and truth be told the company has been pretty good to me overall during my time there. It's a big office, filled with a diverse group of smart, fun people, and that's something that's very difficult to find. While it is hard in it's own way to leave, it's the best move and I'm looking forward to the next step.

But in the meantime, I get to be a bum. Well, okay, not really. Since I'm not collecting unemployment or anything, I'm not technically a burden on society. And I won't be watching a whole lot of TV, what with the whole grad school thing going on. But being a bum sounds a whole lot better, doesn't it? The upside, though, is that I should be able to get on top of my classwork in such a way that makes the end of the semester a whole lot easier. I kind of wish that the move happened in August, between semesters, but you won't hear me complain. Much.

There seems to be a lot of this job-changing thing going around lately, I'm noticing. And that's just the people actually making changes; there are a number of other bloggers in the area either seriously considering changes or having changes looming in the not-too-distant future. In what I would describe as a relatively small community of local bloggers, that's an awfully high percentage. I don't know if it means anything, but I think it's significant.

Heck, it's almost enough people to co-host a HH. Well, almost...


gn said...

[Scoffs] Crystal City?! What's in Crystal City? ;) I am never going to have to hear that reaction again.

Haha -- half those people ARE HH hosts already.

Congrats! Too bad I won't be running into you at Foggy Bottom anymore. Because that one time was awesome!

Mandy said...

I'm working on it...

WiB said...

gn - I will be trying to answer the question, "what is there to eat in Crystal City?" I am looking forward to the research. :)

Too bad indeed. But it was a very cool coincidence; it definitely improved my morning.

mandy - I know, I know, and I'm pulling for you.

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