So where IS my head at these days? Where HAS my life been recently?
As I posted yesterday, I’ve been working at a yacht brokerage here in Annapolis. I took the job in November and spent the winter struggling to get the firm’s website up to date. I’ve mostly succeeded, completing a project they’d started in spring of last year and then let languish. But still, dealing with nitpicking and not being able to get sign-off on simple, must-have items is frustrating, to say the least. The combination of an inability to make a decision (or constant changing of minds) on our part and piss-poor communication and marginal skills on the part of the developer the firm had hired way back when made for a painful process through the winter and spring. And I’m kinda over the frustration that has lingered on into the summer, especially since it’s all been 1099 work so there’s no steady pay let alone benefits.
And I already covered the fun ’n’ games I’ve enjoyed as I’ve tried to sell boats in yesterday’s post.
Through it all, I’ve been doing the job-search boogie. I’ve sent resumes out on jobs that seemed like fits in locations ranging from Seattle to Florida, San Diego to Maine. And let me tell you: it has been humbling.
For starters, with all due modesty I can only assume I’ve been subject to ageism. Several positions that were spot-on fits for my experience and expertise never even garnered so much as a “thanks, but no thanks” response. Other places did send that response, which perplexed me because, again, the jobs were something I already had experience doing, and there aren’t a lot of people who’ve done the job of digital director at a broadcast TV station. To combat the ageism thing, I reconfigured my resume with the help of an HR director friend in an attempt to sorta hide my age. But if anyone spends just a tiny amount of time doing the math, they can figure out that I’m at least 50. Well, all I can do is keep plugging away.
One position that seemed a particularly good fit was a marketing manager position doing all the digital media for the New York Yacht Club. Sure, I might have seemed too senior for the job in the hiring manager’s eye, but I explained how, at this point in my life, combining my avocation with my vocation would be ideal. And to be home in New England? Perfect! I even, with the help of a friend, tracked down the communications director for the club who, it turned out, is a fellow Dartmouth grad (a few years after me). I sent him a personal email, which he replied to very soon after saying that were still gathering candidates and to be patient. I’ve still never heard so much as an automated “thanks for applying” response let alone a “thanks, but no thanks” email. And the job is still posted on the NYYC site.
I have made it to the interview stage in a few instances. I did a phone interview with a nonprofit in Florida, and while the thought of living in South Florida generally makes me break out in hives, job was with a fishing- and ocean-centric organization so, again, it was a chance to apply my skills to something of personal interest to me. I did three phone interviews with folks including the org’s president and then…crickets. Not even a “thanks, but no thanks” email (are you sensing a theme here?). That position also remains posted.
I actually made it to an in-person interview with an online-commerce company. That it was located half an hour from my home on Plum Island made it very interesting to me, even if it wasn’t right in my wheelhouse. Could I have done it? Yes. And I believe I’d have done it well. They at least had the decency to inform me that I was no longer in the running. And I got to see some friends back home while I was up there.
Finally, I’ve made it to an in-person interview with a nonprofit in D.C., one that is personally interesting to me given its focus and its activities. I’ll actually be going for round two next week, so stay tuned.
So what does all this have to do with taking to the ship?
Well, one of the factors in my quest to sail away is, like everyone else, finances. I’ve been eating up my retirement fund chasing this dream and, to put it bluntly, I’ve pretty much exhausted that fund.
So there’s that desire-to-eat thing goin’ on. There’s also the desire to be DOING something again, contributing my abilities to something of value. I get fired up when I see a job that seeks to apply my experience set to a topic about which I’m passionate. They’re rare, but as I detailed above, they are out there.
But then I ran into that boat while paddling yesterday and it was clear that he had accomplished what I long to do, and he’d done it with nowhere near as good a boat as mine. No, he wasn’t doing it glamorously, but I have no interest in glamor either. So it’s doable. The question is: do I dare? I don’t have an answer to that question yet.
There’s one other, not-at-all-minor factor in all of this and i all of my life, and that’s the house at Plum Island. My brother has been living there for two years now, most of which I’ve spent down here in Annapolis. None of the work is getting done on the house and I don’t know what my brother’s plans are — mainly because when I ask him, he doesn’t know what his plans are. But we can’t live there together and neither can afford to buy the other out. So we’re in a bind.
The thought of selling the house, of losing the house and losing Plum Island, literally breaks my heart. But I don’t know what other options there are. To that end, I sent my brother a letter last week saying I believed it was time to think about selling the house. I haven’t heard a word back yet.
I’ll be heading north in a week or two (to have my car, still registered in Mass., inspected) and hopefully my brother and I will have that discussion. Like most discussions in my family’s history, we don’t get to the hard topics very well. Instead, we devolve into chats about sports or the weather or other trivial crap. But getting the disposition of the house sorted out would go a long way toward me being able to sort out my next steps, and that would go a long way toward clearing up the taking-to-the-ship question. THAT’S why all of this navel-gazing is relevant.
And I realize that by posting this here for all the world to see I might be jeopardizing my employment prospects with some of the mentioned entities, but I’ve been trying to be more open with the issues and challenges in my life, and this whole ball of wax is THE issue and challenge in my life right now. That’s why I’ve barfed it up onto this page and I guess we’ll see what happens. I will, of course, keep you posted.
And in the meantime, I’m going to try to log some sail time (if the weather here in the Mid-Atlantic would cooperate) and get back to writing in this space about Further (I actually DO have a good story to share about Further…another time) and boats and sailing and boat life. Thanks for indulging me and stay tuned.