Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Anticipation is everything"

My boss left me with those words yesterday afternoon.

The day before yesterday I had spoken to a task force at the state legislature about broadband deployment & adoption. My talk was very well received, and that afternoon my boss came into my office, sat down across from me and repeated what a good job I had done.

Then he told me that I my efforts might result in a new opportunity for me. I tried to prod him for more information, but to no avail.

Yesterday he gave me a summary of a report and asked my opinion about whether we should purchase it. I read through the summary, consulted with a co-worker and replied that I thought it was a good investment for us to make. He thanked me, and on his way out I asked if this was the opportunity he had mentioned the day before. He replied, “No,” and he grinned his final words, “Anticipation is everything.”

This makes me speculate that this might indeed mean a new job. Maybe a raise! My runaway imagination is now running wild (as it is wont to do).

I started work with the state six years ago, having moved to Nashville after wrapping up a 29-year white-collar career with Bell Atlantic (now part of Verizon), then spending 18 months playing music professionally. Imagine a 53-year old man touring the US with a country-rock band, driving 7,500 miles crammed into a 1991 Econoline van with six other people, pulling a 2,000 lb. trailer laden with instruments and luggage, driving 19 and 26-hours at a stretch. Playing music for a living (well, not “quite” a living, but let’s say a ‘career’), writing a book about my experiences while living a real-life Odyssey – an internal journey of self-discovery wrapped inside an external journey across the country. I learned that my keyboard chops were up to world-class standards at the same time that most of my Bell Atlantic cohorts were settling into their comfortable front porches after having secured financial security for life. I gave it up for love (another long story for another post).

Then reality began to set in. The purchase of a house required a regular income, and one thing I had learned so far about the music business was that even the best players were unable make a living in Music City by playing music. The key to a successful music career is called “day job.”

So began the job search, my first since 1969.

After nine months of intensive searching and increasing desperation, I began to wonder if I would soon take my place alongside the kids bagging groceries at Kroger. Then one day I noticed an ad in the employment section of the classifieds. A state agency needed someone with telecom experience, and I knew I was their man. It would mean a $32K cut in pay from what I had been making in 1998, but it was a Helluva lot better than any alternative that had presented itself up to then.

There was a lot to learn, but I absorbed it easily and began applying my writing and computer skills to the job, settling into a relatively unchallenging job and riding out long periods of nothing to do by inventing challenges for myself.

The task force presented me with a rare opportunity to demonstrate my public speaking skills and ability to summarize complex information for executives.

So what could this new opportunity mean?

Like my boss said, “Anticipation is everything.”


Genevieve said...

I hope a new job is indeed in store for you. I have lots of admiration that you found a good job at age 53. If not exciting and lucrative, at least it seems your job would be stable and adequate. Better than sacking groceries at Kroger, for sure! And now through your own initiative, perhaps you'll move up or into a new area. Well done.

And if this doesn't pan out, at least you know that your abilities have been noted and perhaps there will be other opportunities.

I wish I'd stumble across a job that was adequate and stable and better than sacking groceries. With my husband retiring this fall, I really need to find some decent employment, but Hopkinsville doesn't offer much.

obxbill said...

I hope that the opportunity is something too!!