Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The voice of reason

One of my girlfriends made the point that it's not necessarily unreasonable for K not to be on board with any potential move I might make at this point. I thought about it, and yeah, she's right. K is relatively happy with his job(or at least not unhappy enough that he feels a burning need to find something else) and his apartment, and he doesn't like change as it is. He just has it in his head that he'll never, ever live more than 10-15 minutes away from J, no matter what, and he's come out and said that Waco "isn't an option." That's what gets me most - not that he's less than enthusiastic about it, with the possibility of talking things through and reaching an agreement if it turns out that that's what's best for me (and isn't what's best for me also good for J? Not ideal, maybe, but at least good?), but that in his mind, he's completely ruled it out of consideration. He's made up his mind, and once he gets an idea in his head, it doesn't budge. So if I were to say I'd accepted (or wanted to accept) a job in Waco, he would come completely unhinged and I don't think any amount of talking would make him any happier about it. If I found a job that was just perfect for me and paid 25% more than what I'm making now and wanted to work there until I retired, and it was in Waco, he'd tell me I couldn't do it. (Not that he gets to make that call, but that's what he'd say.) It wouldn't matter how fabulous it was for me, because he's already made up his mind that Waco just isn't happening. So yeah, in retrospect, I can understand that he might find the idea unnerving. But at this point, I don't feel like I can or should rule out any good jobs that are in this area. At least with Waco, I could drive there until my house sold and I could move. If I were to get a job in Austin or Houston or San Antonio, I'd have to move as soon as I started, and that would mean having money to rent a place to live as well as pay moving expenses, and I certainly don't have those resources right now.

And I can't keep waiting and praying and hoping for something to come through here in Dallas/Fort Worth. Yes, I keep looking, and I give first consideration to anything I find here. But I can't *make* something come through here. I wish I could. The thought of moving makes my stomach hurt, because I've got almost 11 years' worth of crap in my house. It was bad enough getting K's stuff moved out, weeding through and packing up everything else would be a flaming nightmare. But I'm to the point where I have to consider all viable options, and to my way of thinking, any job in Waco that paid what I'm looking for and was a good fit and where they could give satisfactory answers to the questions I have is a viable option. It has to be at this point. I NEED a better paying job, and that's just all there is to it.

I wonder, if I were offered a job there and everything was just right about it, would K attempt to find a job in that area? Or would I be the one combing the want ads and career listings to see what I could find that would suit him? I don't think it would ever be in the plan for us to be away from each other for the long term. I think that if I found the right job there, then something would work out for him as well - something good that he could stay with, because the job market *is* a lot smaller there than it is here. He's an involved dad, and I don't think the ultimate plan would ever include taking away his ability to stay involved. I'm just not sure he can make that leap of faith, though. Maybe that's it more than anything else, the fear that he will be apart from J (even though neither he nor I want that). I just hope that we can talk about this without either of us getting testy or seeing only our own viewpoint, that we can be open-minded about it, and that he can understand why I feel the need to at least apply. The Brazos River Authority job does sound like something I'd be quite good at:

Announcement of Vacancy
Staff Counsel
Waco, Texas

SUMMARY OF POSITION This position provides legal services within the Authority that include reviewing and preparing legal documents and contracts, conducting legal research and providing legal advice. Essential duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following: performs legal research; reviews services contracts; prepares and reviews legal documents and other correspondence,
including pleadings, agreements, and contracts; prepares drafts Authority water supply contracts using standard forms; researches, studies and interprets ordinances, laws, rulings, and regulations to assist management with developing strategies for compliance; keeps informed of and analyzes existing and/or proposed rules, regulations and programs pertaining to state and federal regulatory agencies pertinent to the Authority; reviews laws and regulations regarding procedural requirements and confidentiality to ensure compliance; reviews current Authority policies and develops recommendations on additions or changes to existing policies; and performs such other related duties as may be assigned.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, & ABILITIES Skill/Ability to demonstrate proficiency in legal research skills; demonstrate proficiency in both oral and written communication; read and analyze contracts, policies, and reports; write correspondence and legal documents; establish and maintain effective working relationships with other employees and the general public; and maintain appropriate necessary certifications.

ACCEPTABLE EXPERIENCE & TRAINING A Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (J.D.). Eligible to
take BAR examination or License to practice law in Texas from the State Bar of Texas.

SALARY RANGE: $45,474.60 - $68,211.38 per year. This is an exempt position.

I got chills when I saw the listing, because it just felt right somehow. [Can I explain that? No. Is it how I felt? Yes.] The low end of the salary range isn't enough, but they're also looking for someone right out of law school. I personally think I'd have a good argument for at least the midpoint of the salary range (about $57,000), being as how 1) I have experience drafting and reviewing and researching and interpreting statutes and regulations, 2) if I come to Waco, I'd be planning to stay for the long term (and I'd be willing to bet that most young lawyers want to go somewhere bigger to make their mark), and 3) I've been out of law school 13 years and have a certain amount of maturity and experience dealing with people, which makes me worth a good bit more than a wet-behind-the-ears baby lawyer. And I'd never know if my argument would succeed if I didn't apply for the job and get an interview. If I were to move to Waco, the cost of living would be less. Property taxes would be less. My commute would be shorter, so I'd save on gas, and I wouldn't have to pay for parking. My house note would be less. With a smaller house, my electric bill would be less. My combined bill for water, sewer and trash pickup wouldn't be much more than my water bill is now, and I'd no longer have to worry about maintaining a septic system. I have no idea how much daycare/school would cost, but I'd be saving $90/month just on parking, and probably $150 on gas. I can't imagine any preschool would cost $240 more per month than what I'm paying now.

I know it sounds like I've made up my mind, but I haven't. I'm just trying to look at pros and cons, and right now I'm focusing on the Waco job because that's where the apparently good opportunity is. So to be fair, let's look at the pros and cons of staying put.

Assuming I can find a good job soon, my finances would improve. I wouldn't have to pack and pay movers. I wouldn't have to find a new place to live or worry about qualifying for a loan for a new house. My commute would remain fairly consistent, as opposed to the looooong drive I'd be making were I to get a job in Waco (at least until I could move). [The con side of that is that up here, I'll never have the opportunity for any kind of short commute unless I move into Dallas proper, and I'm not doing that - with a job in Waco, the commute would be short once I got there.] J wouldn't have to go to a different school. K wouldn't have to try to find a job where I ended up, but could stay where he is.

So there are ups and downs to both ways.

The one given is that I cannot continue to stay where I am. I must find a new job, and sooner rather than later. I'd prefer that K and I be in the same general area if not the same town, but there are divorced couples everywhere who live farther apart than an hour and a half, and they make it work. I'd prefer to stay in my house, but when it comes down to it, it's just a house. I've got to go where I find a job that I like, that I want to keep for the long term, and that will allow me to support my family. And when I'm settled financially, that will benefit me and J, and will benefit K as well, because I'll be in a position to start paying him back. Ideally, yes, the job will be here in Dallas/Fort Worth, and I won't have to move and K won't have to move to be where J and I are. But as we all know, sometimes life is less than ideal. I think my current job situation establishes that pretty clearly.

And if it were a question between taking a job in Waco and starting to see improvement in finances in two months or holding on for a job in Dallas/Fort Worth for an indefinite time period and starting to see an improvement in finances in six months? I'd be sorely tempted to take the two-month route, because I'm not sure I could keep hanging on here for six.

That's the kicker, though - you NEVER KNOW when the good and right thing is right around the corner. So all I can do, I think, is apply to what sounds promising and not totally out of the realm of doability, and keep hoping and praying and believing that the right path will be made abundantly clear to me. And I hope K can understand that any decision I make will be made only after much thought and prayer, and not just on a whim.

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