Yes, New Mexico.
It’s definitely unexpected.
Tell me, then, how this came about.
After several years of being a contractor with military organizations, I wanted a job that offered more stability. There was the Great Offer of 2009 from a large international consulting firm for which I would work with a variety of defense organizations in the greater Washington, D.C., area. In the end I declined the offer because there wasn’t a way to continue supporting existing clients in the Army and Navy. At the time, I believed the right thing to do was honor my commitments to my clients.
As something of a consolation I relocated to Colorado in 2010. The move provided a chance to tend to my personal life after years of moving all around the country for professional advancement. For the first time I lived in place where I had long-standing friendships and stepped into a wider community, making many new friends. The move took me out of a remote area in southern Maryland and put me in a major metropolitan area where I thought my chances were significantly better for finding a job or more well-paying clients.
Things didn’t work out as I’d planned. The Great Recession hit the Denver area with a punch.
Last spring when it didn’t look good for finding a job in the area, my plan was to return to Washington, D.C., where it seemed there were better opportunities because of my background working with the military. When my lease was up, I was ready to head east. However, during the very week I moved out, an opportunity to do consulting work for a local aerospace company emerged. It was essentially a sure thing, merely a matter of a few weeks. The client thought we would start about the first of July.
Shew! Just in time!
I was able to stay in Colorado’s High Country for a few weeks while I waited for the client to return from her European vacation. Only, she never contacted me upon her return. I called. I left one or two emails. No response. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
When it was time to check out from my Rocky Mountain aerie, the only option seemed to be to follow that original plan: return to Washington. At the end of June, I was driving east across Colorado’s eastern plains in 100-degree heat with two cats.
We got as far as Kansas City before needing to stop for awhile. The older cat, a renowned traveler, hadn’t been doing so well for months as kidney disease took over his system. When we got to Kansas City, it was obvious we needed to stay put for awhile, besides, that was as far as God’s provision permitted. While there, in the city where I’d lived for many years, the aerospace company called. Things were moving forward on a consulting contract. It would be a week, two at the most. It was time to turn the car around and, in late July after a couple of weeks in Kansas City, I drove west across the Kansas plains in 100-degree heat, this time with only one cat.
At last! You’re back in Denver. You’re ready to start working for the aerospace company.
Not quite. In the process of obtaining approvals for the consulting contract, the company decided to create a full-time position, requiring processes and postings. And time. But, time eventually ran out on the stay in the vacant rental house where I was staying in the Denver area.
Just when I needed to leave the house an opportunity emerged to house sit in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a whim. A complete whim. At that time, I had enough money for a tank of gas, all that was needed to get there. In mid-August, after several weeks back in Denver, I drove south along the Colorado Front Range, Timothy the cat in tow.
While in Santa Fe, I looked for jobs, figuring that if I was there, that’s where I should look. Unlike the similar job search effort in Kansas City, within a week or so of applying for a position in northern New Mexico, there was one email, then another.
In late September, the manager from northern New Mexico contacted me. He was still interested. Was I? I was. Would I come in for an interview? Of course. Two weeks after the first interview, I was back for a second round. That’s been three months ago. During the interim, the company did an extensive background investigation in preparation for a security clearance. An unnerving experience, and I have a squeaky clean life!
But, in the end, everything checked out and the company made an offer in December, but it’s been another month to finish final steps in the process.
The new job is, by far, the best of the lot in the two years of looking. It’s a perfect fit for my professional background and experience. The people I’ve encountered at the organization, and with whom I’ll be working on a daily basis, are thoroughly enjoyable.
We tend to think that planning and goal-setting get us where we need to be, when, in fact, much of our lives turn on whims, or at least what seems like a whim.
You’re right. We step into entirely new experiences that change our lives in amazing ways, all because of what seems like serendipity. This has certainly been my experience. The job in New Mexico is but one recent example.
Now that an official start date is set, I head south to New Mexico this week … to a new job, and a new home, and a new chapter. It is more than I could have planned for or imagined. All because of a whim, and a lot of prayer.