Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fare Thee Well New England Shore

I’ve been intermittently staring at a blank white page on my computer screen for most of the morning now, trying to find the motivation/inspiration/punctuation (wait, what?) to post a real, honest-to-goodness blog update that consists of words and thoughts rather than links, embeds, and bullet points. Over the last year, every blog I read on a regular basis has slowed posting to the point of non-interest, mine included. Why? What is the reason for this national, irrational ennui that seems to be sweeping over us? Is it just that we have all grown tired of trying to inform the masses about our daily thoughts, hopes, and dreams? Has the Facebook/Twitter/IM/Chat phenomenon altered our communications so much that my life at any given moment can be summed up in two sentences or less? Or do I just not care anymore?

My life, my family’s life, is not one that can be summed up, all consideration to Inigo Montoya aside. However, setting time to actually write something I consider being of some value to the reader is more of an issue now than it used to be. Life getting in the way? Status Updates are the ready-made solution.

Here’s mine for today, not summed up at all:

Oh my God, here we go again.

Yup, for the fourth time in eight years, we have moved. The difference is that this time around, we moved out of necessity. Back in September, just about six months after everyone had realized that Indian casinos were not recession-proof, my position here at Foxwoods/MPTN came within reach of the grasping claws of our failing economy. My contract was not to be renewed for the upcoming year.

Throughout my career, I have never had any difficulty finding employment. I have been met before I walk out the door with at least one job offer. This time, however, things were different. In the past four months, I have sent out over 50 applications, been in contact with no less than 10 recruiters, and have only had two interviews to show for my efforts.

I am very good at what I do. There is simply not enough development and construction happening to accommodate the ever-growing number of professionals who are now looking for work. At one point, I was told by one recruiter that he could not even place an executive with 30 years of experience.

Faced with the real possibility of having to find interim employment, we made the decision to leave Connecticut and move back to Buffalo. We have more family support available there. We have property there. We would be able to move into the house next to Leah’s mother. And our cost of living would decrease significantly. Unbelievably, the job market in Western New York is actually better than that of Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island, so there was a better chance for me to find a position up there anyway. Based on what I had received for feedback, there was also a real chance that I would end up having to travel for work beyond what my family could do or what we were comfortable with. Being in Buffalo would give Leah and the boys the security, and support they would need if I was forced to work somewhere they could not go.

So the weekend before Christmas, we packed up a moving truck, and I drove across New York State again. All things considered, the move went amazingly smooth.

We were then blessed with the best thing to come out of this craziness, and that was Sam being admitted to the Elmwood Village Charter School. It is considered the best school in the city right now. There was one opening available for the entire City of Buffalo, and somehow the Gods smiled down upon us and granted him admittance. Sibling preference assures that Noah and Aidan will go there next year as well. The twins are now in a great full-day pre-K program on the Buffalo State University campus.

Then, one more piece of good fortune. One of the two companies that I actually had interviews with offered me a position last Friday. I accepted and will start my new job this coming Monday. In Buffalo. About two blocks from Sam’s school. I’m going to be building hotels all along the eastern seaboard for a private firm whose owner used to take his children sailing in Mystic during the summer.

So despite the frustrations, the worries, the anxiety, the fights, the tears, and the endless hours of hopeful speculation and contingency planning, things seem to be working out. We will miss our friends and family in Stonington/Westerly very much. But we will return for long vacations in the summers. My brother Chris’ mother-in-law put it best.

“You were meant to live in Connecticut for a reason, now you’re meant to live in Buffalo. Life is going to happen whether you like it or not. And really, it’s only a drive across New York.”