Friday, September 18, 2009

Look Away Before You Leap.

I heard reported on NPR a couple of weeks ago that only seven percent of Georgia employers will be hiring over the fourth quarter. And the seven percent is mainly comprised of construction companies and contractors who’ve received stimulus money. This is a problem for Sarah and me because today, nearly ten months since the birth of little Maggers, we’re still a one income household. And my income isn’t what it should be, either. So we’re both looking for something right now. Actually, she’s doing most of the looking for the both of us.

Sarah’s had a couple leads in Atlanta that never really panned out, but for the most part, the job market around here has more or less dried up. Whereas a couple of months ago, Sarah may find 15 or more promising local listings in a single day, lately she would be lucky to see those kinds of numbers over the course of a week or two. So for a while we’ve been widening the net a bit. The first thought was to North Carolina. It’s where we were born and went to college, and we know some people there still. It’s also not that far from here, so the logistics of interviewing, and moving and everything else didn’t seem terribly daunting. It was a few months ago that Sarah started looking in North Carolina, and we’ve yet to land a concrete lead. So within the last couple of weeks we’ve covertly begun to cast an even wider net. And so it happens that at the beginning of next week, Sarah has an interview for a job in TriBeCa about two blocks from where I went to grad school.

New York City. Again. Maybe.

As luck would have it, Sarah received the call for an interview when she would be most readily able to do it. She took the kids to visit her parents in Greensboro last weekend, and got the call on the day she was planning to return. As luck would have it, the weather was terrible yesterday, and the rain was delaying their drive home. Now it’s been delayed for the better part of another week. Sarah, the kids, and her parents will be driving to her aunt’s home in Manassas on Saturday. They’ll spend Sunday, Sarah’s birthday, visiting, and then Sarah will take Amtrak up to Penn Station on Monday morning for the afternoon interview, then back to Manassas that night.

Looking in New York again was my idea. It was an emotional decision. There were lots of reasons, really. The state of the search here was a definite catalyst, but the simple truth is that, given the choice, we want to be there and not here. And not in Raleigh. Or Charlotte. Or DC. Or anyplace else. New York is where we have spent our adult lives. It’s where we started our family. It was where we always planned to raise our children. Oddly enough, over the last seven years, it became our home. It’s where we want to be.

Of course, you can’t always get what you want, and Sarah and I had spent so much of the last year saying that it wasn’t going to happen. That it couldn’t happen. It was stricken from the realm of possibility. Then we officially crossed the one year mark. A few weeks before everybody started celebrating the anniversary of Lehman imploding, we had our own series of anniversaries. Over the Fourth of July weekend, we realized it had been a year since Indymac went caput, and Sarah was laid off. Then, August 11, Nate’s third birthday, marked a full year since Sarah and he left New York with my parents. I had my own anniversary a little over a week later.

I guess it’s only natural that anniversaries are going to make you a bit nostalgic. This one did. And it was that special brand of nostalgia that was tempered with a bit of shame and regret. So I began thinking: why not? I’m not sure I was taking the question as seriously as maybe I should have been. I mean, I had spent the better part of a year thinking precisely about why it couldn’t happen. But suddenly I was in a different state of mind entirely. My mantra was “Well, we’re going to be struggling wherever we are. Why not struggle in a place where actually want to live?” Today I’m a little unsure about how sound that logic is. But here we are. The first lead we’ve had in a month and it’s in Lower Manhattan. Precisely where we want to be. And all I can think about is, “What the fuck are we getting ourselves into?”

I mean, we think we have the money for the move. We’ll have to sell our car, and probably take the hit of a couple grand on that. But we do think we have the money to make the move. And maybe live for a month or two on a strict budget while I look for a job. We think we can do that. We think we can. We do not know. Yet here we are. It’s Friday. Sarah has an interview on Monday. In New York. I am writing this at work. In Atlanta. It’s by no means a given that Sarah will get this job, but it’s clearly plausible. And if that happens, then everything is going to change, very quickly. Things go from being theoretical to being real. Very real. Decisions will need to be made, and they’re the kind of decisions that shape the kind of person you are and are going to be. We’ve done this before. We’ve made the leap. It worked. More or less. But things were different. We had one more job and one fewer kid. It worked in the short term, but things fell apart around us. Indymac crumbled. Sarah was pregnant. We were stuck. There wasn’t going to be another job for months and months.

But those months have passed. And an opportunity may be presenting itself. An opportunity to do what? is the question. And what happens next? And do you know anybody who may want to hire me? That last one may be the most important question of all. Pay attention to that one.

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