View from the Porch – Time for a Change, Spring and a Job

View from the Porch – Time for a Change, Spring and a Job

Don't even try talking to me before I've sucked down a couple of cups of coffee. Coffee must be sucked down while I'm out on the front porch, with a cheap cigar.

By 6:30 this morning, all four of the bald eagles had drifted up the river to their sitting spot below my house. This woke up the geese and ducks and got the crows all worked up, like usual.

Unidentified song birds were heard and more were already raiding the neighborhood feeders. A small swift predator bird slashed through the trees. No squirrels yet, but the mother/child feral cats my wife has been feeding and are living under our deck came out for their morning breakfast. They are infinitely curious about the other animals that walk in and out of the back door and it's just a matter of time before they come in to check it out, I think.

And this will be the last time I mention any of this on a weekday.

Last week I applied for a job, starts out freelance with the conversion to full time if I'm liked. Being liked is a given.

One of the reasons I haven't written down anything this past week is because my head-hunter, as much as I like her, committed a grave mistake.

For nearly 20 of the 30 years I've been in the graphic arts industry I've been a freelancer. When you've freelanced for this long and have pitched as many jobs as I have, when you pitch a job you want a very simple answer. Yes you got it, no you didn't. Hoping on the front end and dwelling on the back end amounts to nothing. You learn not to do either. If you get it great, if not, on to the next one.

Three times in the last week my head-hunter contacted me to let me know "things are looking good," "you're still in the running," "she's leaning toward you."

Stop it, stop it, stop it, either yes or no, skip the updates.

Out of the ordinary, this got me dwelling on the job to the point where it became difficult to concentrate on much else. The reason for that is because the last three years lining up work has been a bitch. It's been a bitch for one reason alone, I'm 57 years old and nobody hires 57 year old men for shit. Plenty of minimum wage part time jobs out there for us, but that's pretty much it.

I can already hear the rumbling, that's not true, you haven't tried hard enough, you need to go back and retrain… if that's what you're rumbling about it only tells me this, you don't know or never talk to guys my age.

I was lucky to interview with the woman in charge of the graphics department. The lucky part was that she appeared to be in her late 40's. There's nothing more frustrating than having to interview with someone that could be your kid. You know you are completely wasting your time.

Towards the end of the interview she asked why I would consider giving up a long freelance career and take a full time job. I told her how freelancing has changed, that it's next to impossible to get to anyone without going through a head-hunter. I told her how I've had three head-hunters in the last three years tell me that I'm too old for the graphics industry and I should find something else to do, they won't even submit my resume.

I told her how one head-hunter looked through my portfolio and said, "based on your portfolio, there's no reason in the world why you shouldn't be working." Then she read my resume and said, "you have to dumb down your resume."

The woman I was interviewing with looked stunned, "so you're telling me that if this job ever goes away, I'm effectively screwed?"

"Well, yeah, pretty much," I told her.

I think that last conversation with her is why I got a phone call on Thursday letting me know I got the job.

I have noticed that there is a certain attitude appearing amongst those that are older and doing the hiring. A real "fuck the kids" attitude has appeared. At a freelance job I did last year I mentioned to the supervisor that the handful of freelancers brought in for the project averaged 50 years old. "I don't hire kids," I was told, "they don't know shit, won't get off their damn phones and whine too much."

Bravo, bravo I say. A shame there aren't more that age around doing the hiring.

So here it is, meteorological spring, signifying change. Soon green things will be sprouting out of the ground, fish will be moving on the river and creeks and I'll be out there finding both.

The new job starts on Monday. If it does wind up full-time, that would be the first full-time job I've had since 1995. Talk about change, but it will be nice to let someone else deal with my taxes, pay for most of my health insurance and finally the self-employment punishment tax will be gone.

But the best part, aside from working for what appears to be a pretty outstanding company, is that the day ends at 4:30 PM. To get home I have to drive over three rivers. All hold fish worthy of pursuing. The last three hours of daylight during the warmer months is my favorite time to be out fishing.

Maybe I'll just change the name of what I tried to do with this.

View from the River — has a nice ring to it.

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