make better_mistakes

Contracts and Tethers

Contracts end. Sometimes they end a little more abruptly then one might like.

I was working as a production specialist at Microsoft until recently. Nine days ago, at a Monday morning one-on-one, my manager asked me if I wanted to be doing the work. I don’t make a habit of lying, and I had to say “not really.” In the conversation that unfolded we determined what I would do to wrap up my work that day.

I had been contracting there for three months, and regrettably I wasn’t a good fit for their culture.

Unfortunately, that pulled the plug on my household’s primary source of income. We have some savings, but my partner has been struggling in underemployment for the past year. Realistically, it will be months till I find another job. It could be longer.

We had been talking about going to China to visit my brother and his wife for a few months centered around the 2013 Chinese New Year. Now we’re talking about early December 2011. On Monday my partner sent out her application for a new passport.

The states are expensive. At the same time, work is scarce. Knowledge workers like myself can sharpen our tools anywhere. I’ll take the winter in Guangzhou over Seattle this year, and we’ll see what I can find after a few months of studying and vacation.

While I was a production specialist some days just felt like slow-moving mistakes. On one level, paying for Seattle while we have no reason to be tethered here feels just the same. I don’t know if China is the right path right now, but if it’s a failure it will be a fast one.

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