Can You Spare Some Change?


At your job today... don't bunt when the U.S. ...

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I am starting a new job. That’s right – no more schlep to Harrisburg each day, a multi-hour commute into a place where I was doing fairly noble work for barely half of my former salary. No more Pennsyltucky rednecks (not to mention the one guy I am sure must be inbred, though he’s nice enough), no more backwards technology, absurd rules or depressingly old facilities.

I took that job because I needed it. Yes, I held out hope that it could be a long-term situation for me, but the honest fact is that I needed some income to come in through my door, I needed health insurance for my wife and kids, and I needed to start doing something, anything, to ensure that I wasn’t seen as “unemployable”.

It actually turned out to be a good move, as unpleasant as aspects of it were.

I had been unemployed for two years. Sure, I did some consulting, but that was not steady, and wasn’t a “real job” in my own brain. As I mentioned here before, I was positioning myself in more of a management role – and the competition for those jobs was too stiff. There are so many folks out there with MBAs – people all with vastly different experiences and histories. It became a matter of finding hiring managers who appreciated my own particular skill sets and capabilities.

Taking the job with PDE allowed me the confidence to position myself more as a “tech guy” – a position which is much clearer to define. What systems do you know? What types of datasets have you worked with in the past? What types of projects have you managed?

And it’s been amazing – the number of contacts I have had from recruiters in the past two months is unbelievable. Even though many of them sought skills or specialties which didn’t mesh with my own, I wound up getting more phone interviews during these past two months than I had over the last year before accepting the job with the PA Department of Education. This new job stemmed from just such a contact – an internal HR person found my resume somewhere online (I’m still not sure where), called me up, and it quickly turned into a new job for yours truly.

I can’t mention the name of my new employer on this site – one of the policies of the new gig – but let’s just call them XYZ. What does XYZ do? They provide Life Science data (in my case, I’ll be working with Pharmacy and Pharmacy Benefit Management clients). In theory it’s not TOO different from what Thomson and Wolters Kluwer provide – it is just data, in the end. And my being in a more technical role (as opposed to marketing) truly shows me the similarities more than the differences.

One of the most exciting aspects of this is the money. I’ll actually be making more than I was at Thomson (at least salary-wise … I won’t automatically be receiving the bonus structure I had been getting, but my base salary is higher), but considering the fact that I took a 45% pay cut to become a government lackey, I am very happy that my PDE salary has not affected my ability to earn a fair wage.

And that’s just it – now that the family and I are a bit more out of the woods financially (or at least can see the end of the woods from here) it’s not a matter of simply making money for greed’s sake or anything. It’s a matter of being respected, being valued for what one can bring to the table. I had thought that leaving a management level position would force me to accept a lower salary, but thankfully that has not been the case. And while all the newspaper articles talk about how Marketing professionals earn good, solid money, I was in marketing management making less than I will be so very soon.

Another big perk is the ability to work from home – it is HR policy that anyone can set up a regular, once a week work-from-home day, and I am very excited to do just that as soon as my initial introductory period is over. Telecommuting was not supported by the Department of Education, and on the one occasion I did get permission to work from home, it wound up causing a heck of a lot more trouble than I possibly could have imagined.

Will I like this new job? Will it be challenging to me? Will I make any friends? Will I find myself actually enjoying work (a circumstance I haven’t faced for years now)? Only time will tell. But I can say right now that I am very excited to have the opportunity to answer these questions, and so many more.

Wish me luck!

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