Friday, July 28, 2006

The New Job

Remember when I said that you all would hear about the big news "tomorrow?" (That was ... um ... Tuesday.) Yeah, well, sorry about that.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was offered a development position with a small and very intriguing non-profit. (I can't give you any more details without giving away their identity.) Wednesday morning, I called and accepted the position.

I am excited and terrified about this new job. Excited - it's a higher level of responsibility, not to mention more money, than I've ever had before. Benefits are great: medical, free bus pass, four-day work week (which means I get to spend Fridays with little O!), my own office...

Let me just say that again. My OWN OFFICE. A corner office, with a big desk and a lovely view.

The pay is over a 30% hike from my last job, and a 20% hike from my last development job. It's a good-paying job that will demand a lot from me. Hence terrified. This is a job that moves my career in a clear direction. And it's always possible that I will bomb out at this job, or I'll find out that it's not what I want to do with my life, or ... something. It may not work. And then I'll be stuck trying to figure out what the next move is, after falling off the career ladder.

But folks, I don't think that's going to happen. This is a perfect learn-on-the-job position, the same way that my first development job was a perfect entry-level development job. The difference is that this place doesn't show any signs of going under anytime in the near future. Interestingly, its financial future looks astoundingly secure.

I'll have to learn grant writing, but the boss has already identified a dozen foundations that would likely fund us if we sent them a proposal. All I have to do is touch base with them, get an RFP, and write up a proposal. Homework has been done for me.

This is the next logical step from my last job at FISH. I had a little grassroots fundraising experience when I took that job, and I got a crash course in writing fundraising letters, reading budgets, maintaining databases, and writing fundraising plans. Now, I'll get to use all that experience. Plus I'll learn about grant writing. I'll do some major donor work. And all of this will be supporting an organization that works on great issues that I can support wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.

It's good, people. It's very very good news. I've spent a lot of the last few days jumping up and down in my living room, and whispering to my wife and my baby, "I've got a job! A real job! The job I wanted!" And it was. I had a lot of interviews with a lot of interesting organizations, but this was the job I wanted.

It's a good thing when you get the thing you really want. Now it's time to see if I'm ready to do the job I wanted.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Jumping Up and Down

It's going to be hard for me not to jump up and down for the rest of the week. (Except, of course, for the baby being asleep.) I'm also grinning like a damn fool, which I don't think I can stop.

I'll tell you why tomorrow, once it's official. But it's good news.

Very good news.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Interview Madness

I have had six interviews in the last ten days with five different prospective employers. I have two more interviews scheduled next Monday afternoon. One is a second interview, so that'll make eight interviews with six employers. All in a space of two weeks.

It's enough to make my head spin. I've been trying to consider which employer was my top choice, 2nd choice, etc. and it's tough to make a decision. I'm burdened with an abundance of desirable jobs - there's not a single one that is just a ho-hum job. And the range of employers is wider than typical for me: two schools, three non-profits, and a private business. Each job would be challenging, and most of them would be a good step up on my career ladder, albeit in slightly different directions.

I was almost relieved to get an email last week that I was not selected for one job. That only leaves four to consider. I've got a good shot at all four jobs. One is already calling my references, and another invited me back for a second interview with two members of the board.

I'm still sending out resumes at a furious pace. I'm not counting on anything. Either I'll get an offer from one place, or I'll get several offers and have to weigh the pros and cons of each. There's another option, but I'm not even putting it into words. I don't even want to think about it happening. Just in case, though, I'm keeping my name out there. I'd rather be in the position where I have to turn down interviews because I'm working, than have to start over again flat-footed.

But I'm hopeful. The interviews all went very well - I had people laughing and nodding knowingly. I said the right things, I responded to the right unspoken questions, I asked good follow-ups. I looked sharp. So yes, I'm hopeful. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

How Long? Not Long.

Every day is one day less with this particular version of our baby. This one. The one that babbles incessantly in consonants, in whispers and whale squeaks and jabbering speeches. The one that stand on the pinnacle of full-blown walking by himself. The one that takes cautious, plodding steps, one - two - three - four - and stop! And applaud, because he's so proud of himself for the work he's doing.

How long? Not very long. Weeks. A month or two. Then he'll be walking. Then, the gates we've erected to enclose him in the living room are going to be nothing more than punch lines. Soon, soon, he'll be walking up to us with the book that we absolutely must read to him at that very moment right there. Soon, we'll be watching him waddle down the aisles of the supermarket, through the doors of the coffee shops and toy stores. He'll walk to the elevator himself, press the buttons himself, and walk us, hand in hand, to the car.

So I remind myself to savor these moments. They disappear before I realize they're gone. I didn't realize until it was nearly too late that the days of bottle-feeding him were nearly gone, back at the end of June. And then it was the last two days that he'd get a bottle from me, and then it was the last day, and then it was the last bottle, the last time he sprawled on my lap to let me feed him. And then, there were no more left.

Soon, soon, the chirps and slivery syllables will give way to "mama," "dada," other words. "Bird." "Tree." "Book."

Then, "want more corn, daddy."

Then, it'll be "dad, can we read this book?"

Then, soon enough, "Dad, that's my bus. I've gotta go. I love you!"

It won't be long.

Every day is one day less with this version of our little boy. Soon, too soon, he will be evolving and changing into the new version. He's already shed so many skins: the embryo in R's tummy, the formless larva baby who cried and slept, the baby who lay on a blanket and batted at toys, tummy-time baby, rolling baby, crawling baby. Solid-food baby. Cow's-milk-drinking baby. Changes, changes. Sleeping-in-daddy's-arms baby gave way to sleeping-on-bed baby gave way to ... well, okay, he's not quite in the crib yet. But it'll be happening soon. I know it's coming, and yet I'm already missing the boy that's still here, already sad that he's changing in ways he hasn't even changed yet. He's constantly moving, learning, changing, and all I can do is watch him wake up every day and see how much he's changed since the last sunset.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Confidence - L'il Walking Oliver

Many things happened while we were in Boston. There was the whole reason we were there, R's sister's wedding. It was beautiful, and small, and heartfelt. Both her sister (who we'll call Pickle, for reasons known only to me) and her hubby are in their 30's, and didn't want something that was too big or too traditional. So they wrote their own vows, planned everything from the pre-wedding champagne toast to the reception. And it was great. It actually made me think about what me and R had missed by eloping - the chance for families to come together, a real public celebration, the cake and the dancing and all that.

But the big news - possibly bigger than the wedding - was this.

Oliver took his first steps.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I waited for two freaking weeks to tell you. But I've been busy! (See previous post.)

I was away at the bachelor party for the future Mr. Pickle, and Pickle and R were at home with little Oliver. At some point, R was walking him across the hardwood floors, hand in tiny hand, and suddenly he let go, and he took two little tiny steps just like that. Bang. There it was.

(R didn't remember to tell me until sometime the next morning. I almost spit out my coffee.)

He did it again two or three times while we were out there. Once, the future Mr. Pickle stood a few steps from him and dangled my watch (a favorite toy of Oliver's) in front of him. "See this? You've got to come here to get it!" And he did - six steps, right to Mr. Pickle and the watch, while we watched with our jaws on the floor.

And that was fun. And we were all excited, because suddenly we had a genuine! walking! baby! But then we came home, and suddenly he showed no interest in walking. We'd try to get him to do it, taking him on little strolls, then releasing his hands and whispering "Come on, Oliver. You can do it. We know you can do it," while the other person teased him with a book or a toy. And he'd plop right down on his bum and crawl over to the other person. He took the very occasional step or two, but nothing to get excited about.

And then, a few nights ago, he remembered. Nothing seemed to change, there was no great bolt of lightning or shower of fireworks going off, but when R would let go of his hands, he stood for a minute, giggle maniacally, and then step... step ... step. And he did it again, and again, and again. Once, he went for a good twelve paces before he let gravity take hold again. And every time, the wild giggle, like he couldn't believe he was doing it either.

Like silly people, we applaud every time he takes steps on his own. And we try not to groan too loudly when we stand him up, and instead of walking, he drops down on all fours and crawls instead.

Tonight was the absolute best, because after taking a few hitchy baby steps, he started clapping himself. It seems only fair. He's the one who's doing all the work. It's only fair that he should get to applaud himself.

P.S. At the same time, he's suddenly learned how to turn his wagon around by himself. (I complained - gently - a few posts ago, because he was using the wagon like a maniac, but daddy or mommy had to turn it around every time he hit a wall or a corner.) All of a sudden, we saw him doing exactly what daddy did - tilting the handle back, pivoting the wagon until it was in the right direction - and then tearing off again. Once he got the mechanics, he was very nearly unstoppable. (Well, if it weren't for the toys that kept logjamming under his wheels.)

And once he could control the wagon, I realized that I had made a horrible miscalculation. During the early days, when I was trying to coax him into using the wagon at all, I would encourage him to use me as a target. "Come on. Come get daddy." And then, when he was a few steps away, I would leap away with a little scream. Well, now he's decided that the game is Hit Daddy with the Wagon. And I'm jumping out of the way more and more now, and no, it's not fun anymore. He's still laughing, though, every time he gets me lined up in his sights.

Confidence - Me

I've been sending out resumes since around February, even though I was still Oliver's stay-at-home dad until very recently. It's what the experts call "hedging your bets." I originally planned on going back to work this summer, once Mrs. B came home for her summer vacation. But it seemed like a good idea to start looking, just in case I got lucky before the summer started.

Well, it's been a tough haul. I've gotten the occasional interview, but only one at a time, and never more than the first interview. I guess I sent over two dozen resumes out, with only three interviews to show for it. It's been very frustrating.

Recently I took two weeks off from the job search. One weekend, we were preparing to fly out to Boston, and I was too busy preparing to think about sending resumes. and the next weekend, we were actually in Boston. The first Sunday after we came home, I tore open the classifieds and found ten different jobs - ten! - that I was qualified for, and that interested me. I sent out a ton of resumes. And suddenly, everyone is calling me back.

It's as if a dam burst open. I had an interview yesterday at 10 am. I had another interview today. There's another one scheduled for tomorrow.

And for Monday.

And on Tuesday, a second interview.

And on Wednesday, another interview scheduled. That's five separate employers who want to talk to yours truly.

Both of the interviews so far have gone very well. I've found myself fantasizing about the ideal scenario - what if I have two (or three? Or even four?) jobs to choose from, and I have to turn someone down? What if there's - gasp - a bidding war for my services?

But then I calm down and I remember that right now, I don't have one job. So getting just one offer will be good.

My confidence re: jobhunting is increasing stratospherically. I think it comes out in the interviews, too. I don't feel needy. I feel like I'm the best candidate they have, and I talk with confidence about my experience, my skills, and my vision for my next position. It's a good feeling, after months of rejection and silence on the job front.