Change is in the air: Jobs, inaugurations, our future

Today is an historic day for the United States and I am sure that 1000s like me are writing.  But, all I will mention is that while we are getting a new President today, my life is experiencing change as well and I want to focus more on that subject as it is also a cause for reflection.

I am taking a break from updating my relections for 2008 to comment today on change in my life.

The last 5 weeks has been challenging for me and my family. As the economy as faltered, Japanese translation work has fizzled and I have spent the last 5 weeks without any substantial income other than a few nights of pizza delivery for Papa Johns.  With lack of income comes worry, stress, marital strain (though my sweet wife Julianne has been a gem), lack of confidence….  As we struggled to shuffle what meager funds we had to pay our car payments and mortgage, we realized that the world truly is changing, and in many ways, for the worse.  So, it has become a time to really sit down, refelect and count our blessings.

Yesterday was one of those days.  For the last 10 years (including last year, though in Canada and separated from family), we have had pretty much ample income to live a fairly comfortable life.  Granted, we have few of the “worldly” possessions such as big screen LCD HD TVs. new fancy cars. giant house, etc.  But, we do have a comfortable home with a fabulous fixed interest rate, we do have reliable transportation, and most of all, 5 healthy children and 5 healthy grandchildren.

But, we have not had a job. We are still paying a very high price on health insurance through COBRA.  Things are truly challenging.

Back to yesterday…   Last Friday I went to a company called ACS (see acs-inc.com) for a job interview.  The job I was interviewing for was a call-center position for tech support for iPhones.  Sounds exciting perhaps.  But, I must admit, there was a part of me that was very discouraged.  Why?  Basically, I am going from a $25/hour Japanese translation job to a $9/hour call-center position.  I have not had a job that paid less than $25/hour in nearly 15 years. Nor have I had a job that paid me less than what my wife was making. 

Nevertheless, I am a realist.  The economy in the U.S. is in shambles.  Thousands of other “white-collar” workers have lost their jobs and are looking for new work.  Many of them are holding back for that “perfect position” that they are cautiously confident they will get.  But, in reality, those jobs aren’t there.  Thus, many are losing their homes, their cars, their marriages.  Some are even taking their own lives.

Not this guy.  I am facing the hard cold wall of reality.  I refuse to lose my home…the only home Julianne and I have ever owned.  Not a fancy place, but it is ours and we are paying for it month by month and doing it on time.  We are not in foreclosure and will not be.

You readers may be asking, “Why does a guy with so many skills, a Master’s Degree, fluency in Japanese, etc., take a job like this?”  The answer: Harsh reality.  I choose to survive and to keep what I have. 

I choose to not lose dignity over this.  I am not too proud to start all over again from the bottom and work my way up.  For, not only am I providing for my wife and myself, but I am setting an example for my children, most of whom will now be making more than me.

I have also chosen to look at the positive in this new challenging direction in life.  I will be working an evening shift, from 3 PM to midnight, every day.  Not fun, but I am making an income and after 90 days I will qualify for the company insurance program…effectively providing a dramatic reduction in how much I need to pay for health insurance.  Further, since this is an evening position, I will be able to do the higher paying contract Japanese translation work or web design work during the morning and early afternoon hours.  Though this work is not available now, it will ultimately arrive in my email inbox.

Along with this, I will be learning some new skills.  The iPhone is a new technology, sure to improve.  I will learn to deal with customers.  I will lear the workings of a call center.  There is potential for advancement and bonuses.

But, bottom line, I will be able to pay my bills and keep my house and my cars.  This is the ultimate blessing.

So, as millions of Americans celebrate change in the direction of the country this day (as do I with them), I celebrate my personal change.  I celebrate the chance I have for a fresh start and a new direction.  It may not be all rosy, but it certainly is a road to vitality.  Today, I do as my good friend Antsy McClain’s song suggests – I am creating some New Good Old Days.  And so is this great country.

All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.

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