When It’s Time To Change?

Pondering whether I have to rearrange.

I’ve been at the very physical package handling job over nine years, and it’s starting to take a toll. It’s one thing to keep it and love it for the exercise and the help it gives me in keeping in shape without purposeless effort. It’s another for it to beat me up and leave me injured in ways I can’t simply work on through.

To be fair, I ended up there because they would actually hire me. At the time, that was astonishing to me. It also paid well. Since the wife had gone back to work, it mostly worked around her schedule. It was easy to accept that tech didn’t want an elderly, mid-forties generalist with skills already going obsolete, so I had to move on. There was a false start at the part time job, a couple years in, when I applied for a full time management position out of guilt. I looked around and saw nobody else appropriate at my location, and felt guilty at the idea of not taking it. It didn’t occur to me someone amazing might be waiting to come in from another location. I also felt guilty at the idea of not taking something better if I could, even though at the same time I had no idea whether the wife would be willing to give up or move to part time in her job, or whether child care might be possible to cover. Since the interview was a disaster, I needn’t have worried, but I never stopped being mortified. Between that, how off-putting the interview process was, and the employer’s reputation – albeit nothing like that of tech – for preferring the young, I steadfastly resisted pursuing anything like it again. It also helped me feel even more hopeless with respect to my ability to get a “real job” more generally. Even though that was a particularly insane interview, it cemented the idea that I’d lost all ability to interview successfully. In the nineties, my problem was in getting interviews, not with dazzling them.

I have many years left before I’d be due to retire in reality, rather than being semi-retired with too little money ahead of time. It seems silly not to do something better. Self-employment has issues, and I may have marketing skill, but I don’t do well selling. See the aforementioned issue with interviews. To make it worth the free time and the combined pay and benefits it replaces, and prospective costs it might incur, the amount I’d need to make full time would be substantial. That is, the kind of money people somehow make, for per capita incomes and living expenses to be what they are.

Recently the universe has seemed to be trying to tell me something. I saw something on formatting resumes for the age of human eyes never seeing most of them (possibly part of my problem in the late aughts). An old client asked if I’d considered getting back into computers. Someone I was helping with a web site asked if I’d considered moving up at my current job. A former partner let me know support people were needed at the place he’s been working over ten years. I should have taken him up on referring me there in 2007, but the offer was obligatory, and I haven’t forgotten his reluctance. Perhaps we really do have an economy again, so things like that are out there and actually pay viably.

For the moment, I’m keeping an open mind. I’m preparing. Someone recommended a professional web site that shows or links samples of work, less relevant than in her case, and of course presents your resume. That was something this site was supposed to be, but it turned into a blog primarily, and I hate to break the internet by taking it down or changing it substantially. In particular, the obituary for an old friend may be the only thing like it findable online. He has relatives who may be completely unaware he died long since. I’m using another domain from my stash, coding by hand to help my HTML skills, and keeping it a professional landing site first and foremost.

Nothing may happen. I may end up a web guy, which would be another career change, in part. Not like it’s new to me. I made my first web site in 1996. I made the site for my old business in 1997, and it’s still up, maintained and hosted by me (what was that about not breaking the internet?) ten plus years after the business closed and twenty plus years after I created the first iteration of it. I created the first, placeholder iteration of a site for the major client of the old business. Working with a web-inexperienced graphic designer, I created the version of it that existed until just a couple years ago. I did minor data updates to it for a few years myself, after my old business had closed. I’ve used various blogging software on many sites since 2003. I’ve helped with or created other sites.

We’ll see. Stability has been good. The ends move, though. Inflation may not be officially a thing, but the cost of groceries sure goes up, and not just because the kids eat more with age. My hours have gone down, these past couple years, while the work jammed in to them has intensified. All well and good to get productivity raises, but they become moot if the hours go down.

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