Time to Regroup, Or: Taking Matters Back Into Our Own Hands

My life has been in complete flux over the past couple of months. And when I say “flux,” try to imagine being tossed into a clothes dryer on the highest cycle, and then just as the cycle slows down and you think you’re about to be pulled out of the dryer, you get tossed back into the dryer. And it’s not like someone’s thrown a dryer sheet to keep you smelling fresh or keeping the static cling away, nothing like that, no sir.

Life was humming along nicely for my wife and I. Our jobs were treating us well – to be honest, mine better than hers, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The house we’re building was beginning to progress at the pace we wanted. I was writing daily, and with purpose, vigor, even. We were even seeing some very positive results from the Paleo diet we’d committed ourselves to. Funny how we felt so much better now that we managed to eliminate wheat from our diets entirely.

Then my wife’s employer, whom let’s say is a Fortune 100, no, a Fortune 10 company, decides to throw a monkey wrench at her. A giant, greasy monkey because they can. They love throwing monkey wrenches, in a we’re-gonna-challenge-you-because-we’re-assholes kind of way. The Human Resources organization she’s aligned with – she’s an HR Manager supporting nearly 1,000 employees in 49 states and 8 countries – is undergoing a restructuring, which means two things: one, my wife will be transitioning from her current assignment to a new assignment, and, two, her assignment will be in Cincinnati.

Neither of us want to relocate to Cincinnati.

That’s not the problem. The problem is we don’t know when the re-assignment will take place. That won’t be announced until before Memorial Day. Right around when we’re looking to close on the house we’re building. The re-assignment could take place this July. Or next July.

A few things could have happened here. My wife and I could have fought over this. Or we could have resigned ourselves to relocating to somewhere we have no desire of moving, even if that means a promotion. Or we could have taken matters into our own hands, and took back the decision-making regarding our professional and personal future.

We opted for the latter.

We’re moving forward with the home purchase. If all goes according to plan, we take ownership of our new home the first week of June. But if her employer comes back to her and tells her she’s being re-assigned come July, then they need to relocate us to Cincinnati, and assist in putting our home on our market and provide assistance for us to purchase in new home in a new city.

But we’re working on a contigency plan. Both of us feel as if the decision regarding our future has been taken off our hands, so we’re retaking this. Both my wife and I are looking for new jobs – she a new role, me a full-time role, since I’m a contract employee. I’m having some success with interviews here locally, with some employers interested, and a few interviews having taken place. But if we’re going to have to relocate, we’d rather relocate to somewhere we want to relocate. My wife has attracted interest with several employers outside of our current home location, and she’s slated to interview for an HR Manager role in a few weeks. It remains to be seen whether they’re interested in hiring her.

Look, nothing against Cincinnati, but both of us have been there, and it’s not a place we’ve ranked high on our list of places we’d want to live in. But if we have to relocate, we have to relocate there. So be it. The thing that’s made everything so in flux lately is how we’ve felt as if our fates are being decided by others, and not ourselves. That just doesn’t seem right. So we’re taking matters into our own hands.

Add to this the massive workload I’ve taken on with my current job. I’ve been working nearly 60-hour weeks for nearly 3 straight months. I’m grateful for the work, and very happy that I’ve been recognized by peers and management for my accomplishments well above and beyond my scope of requirements. But when all is said and done, I’m still a contract employee, and my contract ends in June, with a likely extension until September, and then I’m shown the door, because I will have completed an 18-month tenure.

If there is a plus, it’s that my wife and I have taken this challenge on with great clarity and maturity. If this would have happened in the past, we would have fought bitterly, and perhaps this would have ended our marriage. But we’ve grown stronger together these past few years, so much so that we’re now faced with a decision regarding our future that greatly impacts us for a long time, and we’re able to look at all our options clearly and calmly, and talk things through. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

Because of this craziness that’s taken place, both personally and professional, a lot of the things I’ve wanted to accomplish have taken a massive back burner. My writing has been completely non-existent. My blog has taken a hiatus. I’ve been so stressed that I’ve taken to emotional eating – I forgot how much I’ve love chocolate…ugh. I was running twice a week; my feet haven’t hit pavement in nearly 2 1/2 months.

Work has slowed down; I’m back to normal 40-hour weeks. My wife and I are pretty clear about what we want to do. So I’m going to regroup and start inching back to the things I enjoy doing again. I started writing again this past week; I wrote a pretty crap short story, but it’s a start. And then there’s this blog you’re reading. I’m returning to a normal blog schedule again. And, yes, I’m going to start running once more. I’m tired of feeling, well, tired.

I have some short stories I’m wanting to finish writing. Then jump-start my novel, which has been sitting there ignored for a few months. She needs a lot of attention, and she’s going to get a lot of it from me.

It’s also time to read The Goldfinch, which has been staring at me from my bookshelf, longing to be read, now that Donna Tartt has won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel.

Whatever the case, there are going to be some changes that are coming to our lives, so we readying ourselves to both face those changes and to make those changes. We realize there are worse scenarios to possibly be in right now, and I’m very much putting things into their proper perspective. Relocating to Cincinnati is definitely not like being deployed to Afghanistan, nor are we treating it like such. If we have to relocate, then we will; we’ll find the right school for our daughter, buy the home we want, and my wife will accept her promotion and bide her time until the next promotion comes, and she’ll have some more leveraging power as to where that next promotion location will be. And I’ll find the right job.

If we do stay here, then we’ll move into our home and I will continue in my current capacity and search for a full-time role in the meantime. And my wife will remain in her capacity.

As long as the decision regarding our fate remains firmly in our hands.



23 thoughts on “Time to Regroup, Or: Taking Matters Back Into Our Own Hands

  1. I don’t blame you on not wanting to move to Cincinnati! I went to school near there. People who grew up there seem to love it, but it’s just not for me. Especially now that I live in Florida, I can’t imagine ever moving back there. Even if it did mean a promotion. Not everything comes down to a paycheck.

    • Truth be told, it may not even be the location that’s the hang-up. Whether it’s Cincy or LA or NYC or Providence, RI, the promotion means a lateral move in pay, which sucks, and that’s not really a promotion after all. Add to that the fact that it is Cincy that we may be forced to relocate to.

      Things could be worse, though.

  2. Trying to live life while so many balls hang in there air is difficult and stressful. Sounds like you two are approaching it as a team, though. Sorry things have been rough. Hopefully you’ll feel more settled come summer.

    If you do read The Goldfinch, maybe you can post a review on your blog. I’ve been curious about it. Some people love it; others hate it. Haven’t been tempted to pick it up yet myself, but maybe you’ll convince me to. Or not to…

    • Trying to live life while trying to juggle so many balls is a bitch. I’ve gotten better at it, but it’s still a struggle.

      I find the negative criticism of The Goldfinch pretty hilarious. It all boils down to the inevitable hate towards a writer whose novel has been widely discussed, so there’s the inevitable backlash, with little discussion about whether or not the novel is good. The reviews have been overwhelming positive, from what I’ve read, and the fact that it won the Pulitzer Prize speaks volumes. I’ve been somewhat disappointed with the National Book Award choices over the recent years, but the Pulitzers never fail to impress.

  3. I’ve been where you are, man. It’s hard. I can only tell you that it really, really matters where you live. Cultural differences, landscape – it all matters. The job may become less important in the face of finding no like minded friends, etc. Think of what you want the most and find that. It’s there, really. I wish you all the best. Stay strong together, that’s all that matters.

    • The most important thing for us is where our daughter goes to school, so the right school district is a must for us. Wherever we move, that comes first and foremost. My wife and I have also come to the conclusion that no matter the location, and regardless of whether it’s an extremely desirable location, if the job isn’t the right job, then the relocation is off. No sense relocating to somewhere desirable if you’re going to work at a job you’ll be miserable at.

  4. Hang in there, Gus! And Carrie, the real question may be whether you CAN pick up Goldfinch. Have you been going to the gym regularly? Seriously, I saw the large type version at the library last week and I’m pretty sure it’s bigger than a breadbox. . . Maybe bigger than a Smart Car.

  5. I totally know that feeling. Too much work (how can I possibly be committed to 2 projects at 100% each?) for both my husband and I, not enough writing, a move at the end of the year and a baby due in August. So, I’m grateful for the Overtime Pay, as every little cent will help with time off, but I’m tired, and I’ve put off planning for our first for too long. Time to be inspired by you and take life back into our hands.

    • At one point, I was 100% committed to 5 different workstreams, which made my workday nearly impossible for me to manage. But I managed, one way or another. Congrats on the new baby coming soon!

  6. Sending you good vibes as you continue forth with the unknown. Reading your words reminded me of our own family challenges. My husband lost his job just a few months ago. He’d been a loyal employee and fantastic boss to great people for over 24 years. Now? He’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him. We’ve decided to live off of one paycheck, budget better and be true partners in crime. It’s nearly the happiest we’ve been in the 20+ years we’ve been married.
    I’m so glad our paths crossed at RoS today. I’m going to enjoy your re entry into the blog-o-sphere and, as a fellow runner, look forward to hearing more about your miles on the road.

    • I’d love to downsize, and I’d like for my family to work towards that. I’m sure it’ll make us happier.

      I’m also glad we met through RoS, and thanks for the well-wishes and for stopping by!

  7. Good luck Gus. Sixty hour work weeks with job changes in the works, new house and possible relo to Cincinnati is a lot of stress. Take care of yourself. My 2 cents: avoid if at all possible relocating to a locale you aren’t fond of. I’ve seen quite a few people move here to Florida for a job and absolutely hate it here (life on the beach and under the palm trees just isn’t for everyone). Anyway, they usually end up packing up and leaving after a couple of years.

    Again, I wish you all the best.

    • I’ve known plenty of people that have relocated to Florida and have come to hate it there. Not everyone’s cut out for sunny weather and palm trees. Where you relocate to is so important because that’s where you’re going to establish roots.

      Thanks for the well-wishes.

  8. You obviously have a lot going on all at once, Gus. I know the feeling. Sometimes, it seems, everything just hits you like a landslide and you end up trying to dig yourself out.

    I don’t know much about Cincinnati. But, a fellow blogger, Sherry Lachelle, lives in the area and has made the most of it by taking and publishing some photographs of the locale as part of her burgeoning freelance career.


    Regardless, I wish the best for you and your wife. And, get back to writing and jogging! I just started jogging again late last year, nearly 6 months after I had to stop visiting my gym. Both writing and running are very therapeutic.

    • I swear, I feel like sometimes I just don’t have enough time in the day to do just even the basics. But I’ll find a way to dig out of what’s been thrown at me.

      I’ve always done my best thinking and writing when I’m running. Time to get back on that wagon, I say.

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