August 31, 2010

Back In The Saddle

I somehow managed to make it through yesterday, the first post-vacation work day. Reentry was rough, friends. I limped through most of it resembling a post-lobotomy mental patient wearing a suit. Which was unfortunate given the fact that I had to attend an all-day meeting involving 90 people in front of whom I had to speak and answer questions and sound reasonably intelligent in the process. It was not easy. Throughout the morning, I kept replying to questions inappropriately. When asked how are you? I'd say good morning. Shit like that. The morning was made less easy by the fact that I kept tripping. It only occurred to me later that this was due to the fact that I was wearing fancy work shoes for the first time in a week. I prefer flip-flops.

Apparently - based on feedback that I got later in the day - I managed to avoid sounding like an idiot. I ended the work day at a team happy hour where I was given a beer in a large frosty bowl about the size of my head. This was nice but I got tired holding it which only reminded me that I need to start working out or something. I'd hate to reach the point in my life where I become too weak to drink.

I'd by lying if I said it wasn't nice to get back to reality. But only a little. When Mia told us, repeatedly, that she didn't want to leave the beach, we explained that the thing that made it so special was its relative absence from our lives. That's true. But I'd like a better balance.

Do you all have any ideas as to how I could make a living - support my family in the manner to which they've become accustomed - in a little Delaware beach town? This is no hypothetical. I'm looking for answers.

Posted by Chris at August 31, 2010 6:41 AM

My aunt and uncle have lived down the Jersey shore since the 70s. She was a special education (gifted) teacher; he was a cop. Their two adult kids both are currently at home and have jobs as well. It can be really hard and lonely in the winter, but if you find the right town, it can work. My only suggestion would be to look for a town that has a real year-round presence. So many towns are primarily for resorts, and it clears out after Labor Day. I would honestly think about finding a job on the mainland (offshore), and then living in the beach town. A lot of people apparently do it that way and make it work.

Posted by: Coleen at August 31, 2010 7:55 AM

You're in IT, so it may actually be do-able with some changes to your career ( even if you keep the same job ). Specifically, if you trust your manager enough, have a serious heart to heart that you really want to do the remote worker thing; find an office out that way that you can work from ( maybe co-locate with someone ). To prove that it _can_ be done, start working remotely once a week, and then step up the days from one to two, and so on. It can be a long road, and the flip side is that while you gain some freedoms, it takes more discipline to work remotely ( especially on tasks that fall more in the "why are we bothering" category ).

Also gotta consider the whole move further from grandparents, schools, social network, support network thing; it can take a while to re-establish roots.

Here's hoping you can make it through Tuesday without falling down.

Posted by: metawizard at August 31, 2010 8:17 AM

I grew up on Cape Cod and Dad was a teacher in the winter and cop in the summer. Mom was a stay at home mom and although we weren't rich, we seemed to get by with all things good.
I spent my summers on the beach, swimming and playing in the sand, and winters walking the deserted beaches. It was a great childhood, but by senior year in high school I wanted to get away. Now I live in the mountains of New Hampshire, and long for the beach once again.

Posted by: Maribeth at August 31, 2010 8:20 AM

Keep your eyes open for IT jobs with beach towns? A nice cushy government job in a small beach town would not be a bad way to spend the next 20 years.

Posted by: COD at August 31, 2010 9:05 AM

I rather like the idea of walking around on the beach with a box on my head. In the box is coconuts, a machete, ice, rum, and fruit punch. Wack the coconut in half, fill with the remainder of the ingredients, presto, instant beach bartender!!!!

Posted by: Dawn at August 31, 2010 9:39 AM

I have a technical IT job (not just project management or incident management) where I can work from any place with a high speed internet connection. It's very freeing. My co-worker's husband is looking for a job and his search is nation-wide because she can pick up and move anywhere in the world without anyone caring or even knowing.

I found this job by accident, but basically some companies use this model and some don't. IBM, HP, Capgemini, the big consultants like that use it heavily.

Posted by: Brad at August 31, 2010 9:48 AM

Telecommute if you have to, but I'd look outside the box. You're good at blogging, seem to enjoy it, have a following...expand on that and blog about picking up and moving to a beach town. It's something almost everyone has thought of doing at some point, they can live vicariously through you. Work on getting advertisers/sponsers - maybe the town you potentially move to would be interested in sponsoring the blog? Keep the IT thing going while you get your dream up and running.
It's not impossible....

Posted by: Laineydid at August 31, 2010 12:11 PM

Is telecommuting an option?

Posted by: oakley at August 31, 2010 12:37 PM

I'm opening a rock & bead store in that town of which you speak.

Someday. That's the plan. Come visit. I'll give Mia & Owen beads & rocks. (they'll probably be in their 20's but hey...the offer will stand.)

Posted by: Amy at August 31, 2010 1:10 PM

Maybe if you lived in a little beach town you might not need to live in the manner to which you have become accustomed? Or to an extent anyway, I don't mean you'd just give everything up, but maybe you'd hang out at the beach more, spend less money? So maybe it wouldn't matter too much if you had to take a bit of a pay cut. Obviously this is very easy for someone without kids to say!

Posted by: Katherine at August 31, 2010 1:56 PM

when you find the answer please let me know :)

Posted by: becky at August 31, 2010 1:59 PM

you know, i think i'm willing to sacrifice vacation being so "special" by being on it all the time. seems better than the alternative :)

Posted by: kati at August 31, 2010 2:45 PM

Teach. Those small towns need teachers. And Baretend in the summer.

Posted by: William at August 31, 2010 3:37 PM

Get a job with a stable virtual company that doesn't actually have a home office. Then it doesn't matter where you work as long as you have internet access. My husband discovered this ... and now we live in a small town in Alaska.

Posted by: Amy at August 31, 2010 4:07 PM

If you find any good answers, please let me know!! ;)

Posted by: Haley-O (Cheaty) at August 31, 2010 10:31 PM

I have no answer to your work/beach conundrum. What I do have is an image of you as Agador Spartucus in The Birdcage- "I cannot wear the shoes because they make me fall down."

Posted by: Annie at August 31, 2010 11:05 PM

Write a book. You and Beth already have the material and a few connections. Find an agent and get cracking!

It would have to be a big bestseller for true financial freedom, but stranger things have happened.

Posted by: Laura Gato at September 1, 2010 6:47 PM

I was going to suggest telecommuting too!

Life is too short not to reach for your dreams. The kids are a bit older now - could Beth work also? I'd love to see this happen for you guys as I look forward to reading all about it. :)

Posted by: Anna at September 1, 2010 6:53 PM