BootsnAll Travel Network

Archive for June, 2008

« Home

Job Found

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

After leaving my sister’s home in late May, I spent a week in Oregon and Washington catching up with family. From there I flew back to New Orleans where I was met at the airport by my parents who I hadn’t seen in 15 months. After settling in and playing with the Bassett Hound/Labrador Retriever mix next door (look like a Retriever with sawed off legs) so that she wouldn’t bark at me everytime I went outside, I set about finding a job in the local area. After sending out about 10 resumes, I ended up with offers from two different companies. (My trip was on the resume so as to explain the gap in work history.) One was the company that I worked for before I left. They were offering a job similar to the one that I had when I left. The other was from an engineering contract company which would move me around between different sites. So began an agonizing few days of going back and forth about which job to take. I was also trying to decide whether I wanted to return to engineering in the first place.

First I figured I would have to make the decision about whether to accept any of the jobs. While I do take risks in life (the trip), I am not one who likes to exist on a razor thin edge (show up somewhere with $10 in my pockets and hope for the best.) I like to have some sort of a back up plan. While planning for the original trip, I had set certain financial criteria that I needed to meet before leaving and didn’t leave until I met them. I wasn’t broke when I returned from the trip, but I didn’t feel I was in a strong enough financial position to just throw caution to the wind and try to invent a new life doing something completely new. In the end I decided to take one of the two job offered to rebuild my financial strength.

With one decision down, it was time to tackle the next one. From a financial perspective, both jobs were equal in the first year but the engineering firm won out by year two as the increased pay made up for lower benefits.  From a comfort level, my previous employer (from now on P.E.)  won out as I already knew the job and the people I would be working with. My P.E. would also provide stronger job security as engineering firms tend to suffer more in weak business cycles. The engineering firm offered a more flexible work environment with alternate work schedules, overtime pay, and easier access to unpaid time off which would be great if I wanted to do a longer trip.

To solve this problem, I put all my engineering skills to the task and try to quantify what was essentially a values decision in both Excel and mental spreadsheets. In the end I chose the engineering firm. While the pay was better (I will be making 30% more  than when I left), this was not what made me choose them. I have no desire to become superwealthy and I don’t have extravagant tastes. (I won’t turn down an opportunity to put myself in a better financial position if I can though.) It was the perceived flexibility that won out in the end. I am a big proponent of work/life balance. I believe in working hard when I am at work but I also want to be able to enjoy the fruits of that hard work. Starting on June 23, I will reenter the working world for the first time in 16 months. It will be an adjustment, but it will be nice to have income coming in again. I plan to stay at my parent’s home for the next two to three months and then go buy a house. From there the future is open. Currently I plan to continue to travel to exotic locales but just for shorter time periods. My plan for the near term is to try to set myself up so that I have some sources of income that don’t depend on me going to a job site everyday. This way, if I do decided to take another long trip, I can still make money.