Why Here, Why Now?

This is what I do...

Me moving to Portland has come as a shock to some people, and that’s understandable. Boom, guess what, Tim’s moved 1800 miles away. More than a couple of people have done a pretty good head-spin/bug-eyes move upon hearing this news.

We’ve lived in the Midwest our entire adult lives; we’ve lived in Chicagoland the last 14 years. Why this city? Why this job? And why now? There’s a reason that goes beyond the obvious that may help people understand.

Meg and I have planned on moving west for some time. As this blog’s description states, we were planning to head in the general direction of north-central Colorado. Away from the Midwest, away from flat, away from cornfields and pig farms. Towards mountains, towards forests, towards outdoor activities and awe-inspiring wilderness.

But in planning this transition, it was always assumed that I would have to switch specialties, switch jobs, and possibly switch careers entirely. And along with that switch would be a significant cut in pay. Like, 50% or more.

This was going to force me to re-train, possibly pursue a Masters degree, and hit the job market looking for entry level positions with no experience. It was going to put considerable pressure on Meg to be our bread-winner while I got to the point of being gainfully employed in our new location.

The reason that we were thinking this way is that the programming tool in which I specialize has a very narrow and specific set of functions. It is also ridiculously expensive. For that reason, only large corporations use it; most of them clustered in just a few major cities — Chicago, New York/New Jersey, Atlanta, Dallas, and the Silicon Valley. Nobody in Colorado, and to my knowledge, nobody in the Pacific Northwest.

Turns out, I was wrong. And the opportunity for a full-time job in my area of specialty, at a market rate of pay for my work, in a place where Meg and I *want* to live means our empty-nest financial situation just improved substantially.

If the job were a year ago, or in Salt Lake City, or it was just a contract position, I wouldn’t be here. All of the pieces happened to fall into place, and though the decision was agonizing, it was the right thing to do.

*     *     *     *     *

On October 19th, the Senior members of the STCE marching band will be honored with their parents before the football game. Names over the loudspeaker, pictures, the works.

I will be in Portland, and because we made these arrangements before we knew about this event, Meg will be here visiting. Thomas won’t have his parents with him.

Fortunately my parents are available, and are thrilled to step in for the event. But when I got the email and realized what we’d done, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

I knew being away would be hard. But I didn’t know what ‘hard’ meant until this.

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