August 30, 2005

Some Small Changes

There have been some changes over the past week, and it all starts with hair. Now those of you who know me, know that I'm not a man that's too concerned with (or some would argue, even aware of), my appearance. However, there is such thing as making a first impression, and for that, I went to the hair salon.

A few months back, I colored my hair lighter blond so Melissa and I could Costume up like some Anime characters. This nice tattoo-armed lady at Hair Cuttery did a nice job and made it look pretty natural. However, that was a few months ago, and (to borrow a phrase) I was showing more ROOTS than PBS during Black History Month.

Last week, I was finally going to meet my new boss, HER boss, and the President of the Company when the department got together in Little Rock. Now "the Rock" is not the most metrosexual-friendly kind of place, as you might imagine. If a man has his hair colored, it better be "Just For Men" covering up some graying temples, or else tar and feathers may be involved. So I went back to the salon to get my color evened out.

Long story short, the nice tattoo-armed lady wasn't there, and the lady that saw me didn't speak English all that well, and after 2 hours, I ended up with the same dark roots and even lighter blond hair. (Kind of like a negative of Reed Richards.) This would not do. I could almost smell the Tar coming to a boil. I called back the next day and the nice tattoo-armed lady did all she could do, which was try and darken my hair back to the root color. It came out sort of reddish, but it was a good job. (Mel joked that she married a Weasley.) I was ready to make that impression.

First I met Suzanne, my boss. We didn't talk much during the flight, but when we got on the ground, I gave her the joke test, which she passed easily. I figured that if she got along famously with Kelly (the smart-assed former co-worker who recommended me for this job), it would be no problem. Suzanne was direct, on the verge of outspoken, which is just fine with me. I get along well with that type, as my choice of spouse proves.

At lunch, some small-talk and some history on the group was exchanged, and I thanked them for extending my contract through June of 2006. Then came the kicker: Suzanne all but offered me a lead position (permanent, not just a contract like I am now), in our Jacksonville, Florida office. I was stunned to say the least.
"Now tell him the OTHER thing," prompted Kelly.
"What other thing?"
"That he CAN say 'no' to the offer."
"Oh yeah, you can say 'no' to this, and you'll still have your contract through June, at least."

I promised to give it some thought, and I did. I called my Dad, because I didn't know anything about Jacksonville. He said it was a nice place when he visited there, a port town, lots of commerce. Of course, being my Dad, he recommended that I take the job immediately. Dad only turned down one promotion that he was offered in his life, and every time he took one, it meant a move out of state for us. It got old moving every three years, and I vowed that when I had a family of my own, I would only move when it was absolutely necessary, and if it was for THE right job that would secure my family and my career. It would have to be worth the personal cost.

I talked it over with Melissa, and she had a different view of Jacksonville, as a place to live instead of visit. And she echoed my reluctance to give up our family that lived here, friends we've known for years, our great church, and everything else that made living here great.

After a long talk, I decided that this was not THE job. It was *A* job. I'd been working for them for 3 months, and that does not make me lead material. Secondly, taking that job would mean abandoning my mentor, and losing all the work he's put into training me. Plus, I had my doubts about the city of Jacksonville. It was not worth the cost. I would tell them NO.

And I told her the next day. Kelly had prepared her for it, saying that I would never leave Atlanta. I told her I love the job, I love the department, and the work I'm doing here is very satisfying. And if there was some permanent position with them that I could work from Atlanta, I'd take it in a heartbeat. But the Lead position in Jacksonville was not the right fit for me. She nodded, and understood.

I thought that would be the end of it, but when the Atlantans were having lunch at the airport before our flight out of Little Rock, Suzanne sprung it again.

"Look, if you like what you're doing here, there's a position open on the job postings site. The one that says you can work remotely. All I'm saying is that if you apply for that one, you'll get a warm reception as well." Direct and to the point. I like this boss. I applied for it Monday morning.

In a couple months, I might have a full-time job in this department. No more contracts, no more billable hours, no more justifying my existence every few months and worrying whether I'll have work enough to keep my job. This is the way out I've been praying for. Fingers crossed.

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