Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Married, but single

Strange posting, I know. That is the only way I can describe my current situation. I'm married. Heck, I'm married with half a dozen kids. But yet I live alone in a 700 square foot condo in Silicon Valley hundreds of miles away from my family. I have a sister that is married. She lives in Texas. Her husband lives in California. They see each other about once a month or so. Now I understand to a small degree how she lives her life. I don't care for it much. I prefer my six noisy kids and my beautiful wife to solitude. Solitude will come with time when the children move away and I become older and (hopefully) wiser. Then it will be my wife and I. The children probably will not be gone until 2022 or 2027. That's a long time away.

Today was my first day on the phones. I took three calls in a three hour period of time and I closed two of those three calls. It was a good day. I'm glad to be here and contributing to the cause.

Friday, February 8, 2008


The summer of 1989 was the last time I spent any considerable time in California. In 1989 I sold books for Eagle Marketing. They sold illustrated scriptures with cassette tapes to families. I did OK, but other guys on my team did a lot better than I did.

Now I'm back in California for some training. The last time I was here, California didn't seem like it was that much different than the rest of the country. But this time around, there are some noticeable differences. Bottled water seems to be out. Instead, drink water from a tap. People are a lot more conscientious about recycling, good gas mileage, mass transit, turning off equipment when not in use. I have seen more Toyota Prius cars here in my short two weeks than I have in my entire life. Businesses have multiple garbage cans so that recyclable materials can be placed in bins that get recycled. Its amazing how people are conscious about recycling, about using more fuel efficient cars, etc. I'm not an avid recycler, but it is refreshing to see that kind of an attitude make its way into a society that accepts and encourages recycling.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My first photo sale

Last year I purchased my first real digital camera. I've taken approximately 5,500 photos in the eight months or so that I've had the camera. One of my friends suggested that I submit my photos to an online, royalty-free, stock photography web site. So I decided to take him up on the offer and I did. The website is www.istockphoto.com . Well, I uploaded one photo and nothing happened. I uploaded two more photos and nothing happened. I got busy doing the job interview thing and ignored my photo portfolio. Well, I checked it a few weeks ago and I actually sold a photo! Yea! And I checked again today and I sold another photo! Double yea! So how much money have I made selling photos? Well, about four bucks and some change. I know. Its not a lot of money. But I only have three photos. And the site has millions of photographs for people to choose from. Its a psychological "high" that you get when someone thinks your photograph is good enough to purchase and use in whatever way they deem. Perhaps its being purchased as an example of how NOT to take a picture. Hopefully not. Hopefully the photos will be put to good use.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A new job...

Right now I'm sitting in a one bedroom condo in San Jose, California. No kids. No wife. Just the three of us - me, myself, and I - are sitting here with my laptop blogging away. What am I doing in California? Well, a couple of weeks ago I quit my job with my former employer to take on the same position (tech support engineer) for a firm based in California. I was with my former employer for eight years and a month and some change, but who's counting anyway, right? My former employer has struggled for years. The last couple of layoffs at the company were a little scary. So I decided to look for other opportunities. The amazing thing is that when you start looking for another job, you usually find one. So how did I get here? Here's the story....

Backup to October 2007. My former employer was in the throws of their annual layoffs. I happened to be in Wal-Mart when I bumped into another former employee of my former employer in the store. We talked for several minutes and I told him what was going on. He said that his current employer was hiring and they were growing like crazy. So I decided to send him my resume. Well, one thing lead to another and I got a new job, leaving my old job far behind. Was it hard to change jobs? Absolutely!! When you've been with a company for 8+ years, you start to have a lot of friends and feelings about the place. I knew a lot of people in the support organization that I worked in. I had won awards for doing a job well done. I had sacrificed being with my family for the fourth of July one year to go onsite to Belfast, Ireland to take care of a large customer. So I had plenty of skin invested in my employer.

But the company changed in the eight years I was there. The benefits slowly began to erode. Annual pay increases turned into semi-annual (every two years, not every six months) raises ("Just be grateful you have a job....." was the quote from my boss one year when I didn't get a raise). Bonuses and other fun stuff dried up and went away. And then came the outsourcing. Jobs moving from the States to India. And not just development jobs, but support jobs. I knew when that happened it wasn't a matter of if, but when. When would I be disposed of like a used Kleenex (I'd use another metaphor but I may offend), cast off like 70's fashion? (Wait... 70's fashion is back in fashion!) When would my number be drawn and when would I be asked to leave? I decided that I didn't want to be left hanging, so I started taking things into my own hands. No better way to shape my destiny than to decide to shape it myself. Yes, to a small degree, you do control your destiny. You don't and won't get everything you want (I'm still waiting to get my Corvette), but you can control what you do and what you spend your time, talents, energy, and money on. And when you focus your energy on change, change does indeed come.

So with the writing clearly written on the wall, I made my quest to search for new employment. It was in the midst of this quest that I ran into my friend at Wal-Mart last October. I had applied for and interviewed for one other job. This was the second job that I applied for and I got the job. Yes, I was extremely blessed. And yes, I did feel the hand of Divine Providence in my life as He took care of me like no one else ever could. And yes, I openly acknowledge my faith and belief in a God and His divine nature. And He cared enough about me to take care of me and my family in our needs. I am truly blessed and cannot complain.

My new job requires that I spend three months in California being trained. Hence the one bedroom condo in Cali. I get to fly home once a month to spend the weekend with my wife and children. I've installed Skype on my home computer and my laptop. And I've spent considerable time watching and talking to them over Skype. Its fun to see them. We've even had family prayer a few times. So we're able to be a family as much as possible. But to say that's its hard to be away from them is the understatement of the year. My wife comes out to California for President's day weekend. I can't wait until she arrives. Once you've been married, it sucks being alone again. But I take it a day at a time. I try to stay busy. I'm exercising about 15 - 30 minutes a day.

Well, I've got to get into bed. I need to get to work early in the morning.