Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Funny Bounces

Quite a few people are posting about ow 2009 went for them. I wasn't going to, but there's been a recent development, so here I go.

For me, 2009 has been a year of funny bounces. 

In March, I was laid off from my job with a major semiconductor manufacturer. I was a marketing manager in a sales office that served the auto industry.

The economy fell off a cliff, our sales fell by something like 50% and there were a lot of layoffs. My number simply came up.

About a month after my last day, I received a call on a Monday from one of the salesmen I worked with. One of our customers had recently won a program and needed someone to write software for them on a contract basis. He wanted to know if I'd be interested and should he suggest my name

You bet I was. I hadn't written any software in something like 14 years, but the hourly rate I could get for writing software beat what I was going to get for unemployment. On Tuesday I heard from the automotive director of the company in question. I had a breakfast interview with him on Wednesday, was in a customer meeting with him on Thursday, and was fully engaged on Friday.

The contract was for six months, which would have ended in October; extended to the end of 2009, then extended again to the end of March 2010. After that, the program would be soon going into production and there aren't any new programs on the horizon.

While all of this is going on, back in June a guy that I know who owns an engineering services company calls me up and asks if I'd be interested in working for him. Sure! We'll have to figure out how I could best be put to use with his company.

After many conversations over several months, they finally made me an offer on New Year's Eve. I'll be doing new business development for them. They want me to find new applications with new customers in new segments, and drive new products if I must. They're handing me a blank sheet of paper.

I've worked for foreign companies for the last 15 years or so. They pay a premium to have an American face in front of the customer, especially the Japanese. I always knew this intellectually, but now I'm having to come to grips with the reality of it. My base will be about 2/3 of what I was making a year ago. But I'm getting back company paid health insurance, disability insurance, their contribution to a 401k, etc.

C'est la vie. I've had an extraordinary run. I'll just be motivated to make as much of that back as quickly as I can.

I have to give my contract employer a month's notice. I hope they'll release me a few days early so I can start on the 1st of February.

The Mrs is relieved that I'll have the stability of a direct job again (ie knowing what my take home is, rather than having that big tax liability hanging out there). On the other hand, the difference between what I had been making and what I will be making will take some getting used to.

As far as my kids go, the older one is still working for the regional public transportation agency, still working on her master's degree, and still living at home and saving money. She's hoping to get herself into some sort of starter home next year.

The younger one played volleyball well for her school. She was a starter and made the conference all freshman team. She found that playing a varsity sport in college is tough, and that also her school is very small. She's hoping to be accepted into one of the big state universities and play club level volleyball for them.

As for 2010, we'll have to see what the demands of the new job are, before I start making plans. It'll be a brand new adventure.

Here's a couple of blogs I would invite you to take a look at. One is Nagual Time, who's author practices aikido and taijiquan. The other is Short Zen Poems. Please take a look. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.


Shang Lee said...

glad to hear that all the funny bounces are working in your favour. all the best in 2010!

Rick Matz said...


To make up the difference in the base rate, I'm thinking that I'll have to do something resourceful, like have a really big bake sale, take up gambling, or write a best seller.

Matt said...

Best wishes for a successful 2010!

Zen said...

Yokatta, Omedeto!

Rick Matz said...

Thank you. I'm trying to figure out how to wrap up my current projects and hand them off.

Shang lee said...

i second writing a best seller, since you're already writing so much. if that fails, you can always bake that... ;)

Compass360 Consulting Group said...

I wish you well in your new ventures. ... Thumbs up!

Rick Matz said...

Thanks. It's not just a life; it's an adventure.