Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Not Rocket Science: Week 42... THE END!!!

In the world of finding a job... I found one! Monday I was offered a job and Tuesday I accepted it. It is a contract position which for me means that I will only have work through the end of April. They could easily extend the contract or they could hire me as an actual employee. "They" by the way is Kohler Engines. Kohler is famous for bathroom fixtures, but also has a thriving division of several hundred perhaps even a thousand employees that build engines and generators. I will be doing finite element stress analysis for concerns like wind loading on engine covers and skid structural optimization.

The job is local so I will be living at home with my parents at least through April. I am not allowed to discuss "directly or indirectly" what my salary is, but I have a masters' degree in engineering and using Google you can figure out what that means. I also signed at least two different documents saying that I will not share proprietary information and that things I create while using company owned equipment or time is not mine. So I am not sure if I will be able to write any more finite element tutorials using screen shots from work (of course I would never write the actual tutorial on company time, but I would have to take the screen shots at work) but I will figure that out in due course. I am disappointed that what I create will not be owned, even in part, by me. That is going to warrant a blog post in the future.

57 weeks after graduating with my masters' degree I have an engineering job, and only temporary one at that. Wow, that is not how I expected things to happen. It still does not feel real yet. As I write this I haven't actually been to work yet. As you read it I will be at work (and you will probably be at work too, shame on you for not working). In part, until I get that first paycheck I probably won't feel like this is all actually happening.

I don't want to dwell on having an engineering job just yet. After all it is temporary and in May I could very well be out on the street again. I also haven't done anything yet. Finally, I will not place all of my self-esteem and value upon the fact that I have a job doing what I want to do. I learned through unemployment that I have to value things in my life like relationships, health, and my time, not just what I do for 1/4 of the hours every week.

Unemployment taught me that my life "situation" is a whole lot more fragile than I knew. Hopefully you never experience living on credit cards, and if I wasn't so proud perhaps I would never have experienced it either. For the next several months I expect to have more revelations about what unemployment meant to me. So stay tuned. I feel no one can ever fully appreciate a situation until after it is over. Only then can we view the event or events with more objective eyes.

I had a great week running! I ran three workouts plus a 20 miler. I ran a total of six miles faster than 5:10 per mile pace, which is more miles at that pace then I have ever run in one week before. As part of that I ran a 4:56 mile in practice and two 5:00 miles. A 4:56 is the fastest mile I have ever run in practice. I also ran a 6.6 mile tempo and did some strides which puts my quality at the end of the week near 13 miles, which is a much larger amount and percentage that it has been in months, perhaps even a year or more. My total for the week was 101 miles, my third consecutive week over 100 miles. Needless to say running is going very well. I hope, and I feel from fall of 2009 experience, that my running is going to continue to be on the up and up. A job adds stability and routine and I do well when I have a schedule to follow. Which is to say I feel my life is more productive when I have some demands on my time, up to a point. But I can't imagine how working 40 hours a week will demand much of my time. I've never had a job that is only 40 hours a week. School and Boy Scout Camp always seemed to be 60+ hours a week. Who knows, maybe my mileage will get up to the magical 130 miles a week? (I tired about a year ago and ran myself into the ground for a 127 mile week.)

I am also writing another book.  It is about new college graduates and trying to find a job in this economy. While we have officially recovered from the recession, we are having the worst recovery from a recession that I have ever head of. So many things are changing that many of the expectations that younger people have, or did have, are naive and unrealistic. For example, people are living longer and due to the recent economic problems many people close to retirement chose not to retire so that they could earn a little more money to ensure their lifestyle in retirement. Thus jobs are not opening up as quickly due to retirements. Another example is the growth of less developed countries and the relative economic stagnation of developed countries. We are not building and constructing like we have been the last 60 years. Almost everyone in the United States has a cell phone and a house and a car that they drive on paved roads. The markets for those things are pretty saturated compared to a place like China or India.

I am up to 13,000 words with no clear idea how big it is going to get. The goal for this book is to get it taken up by an agent who gets it taken up by a publisher who prints a few thousands copies. Hopefully that will means things like Barnes and Noble and fan mail from people who were helped from reading my book. It's not about the money because I just got a job! Also, if this book has any amount of success and I write a second book in the future I can likely expect a pay check from that. I would rather help 5,000 people than get a $5,000 check.

How is this book going to be different than just reading the last 57 weeks of my blog? First, it's going to be far more organized. Second, it's going to include information that is not on my blog such as research and examples of other people who have encountered unemployment after graduation. Third, I'm going to address the mental aspect in more detail that I typically do on my blog. For example, everyone who regularly reads my blog or knows me knows that I love to run. I'm really going to try and explain that because I feel it is a critical aspect of my mental health during my 57 weeks unemployed.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning and congratulations on the job! I hope it turns into a permanent position for you, and that you will find the work interesting and at least somewhat fulfilling. Unfortunately, very few of us get to spend our wage-earning hours doing something that plays at the passion within us. Also, it is standard that employees sign a confidentiality agreement that includes "not owning" any ideas that are "yours" where you cannot use them for other purposes especially at competing companies. Just thought you would want to know. Enjoy the experience, work hard, be patient, be humble, show up early, stay late, blah, blah, blah. All of this will help lay the groundwork for the rest of your career(s). Much love to you - one of your relatives who also lives in the Midwest who has signed numerous agreements such as the one you signed. :)

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