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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back Among The Gainfully Employed

After a 3 month (almost to the day) period of unemployment I managed to land a new day job as Lead Electronics Department Supervisor III at a new WalMart superstore that's still under construction. My official hire date was the 23rd of this month and I spent Thursday and Friday in orientation and staring a computer screen going through training modules.

I spent the last 5 out of 6 years working in the security field as you might know if you'd read some of my earlier posts, but my last security gig was incredibly boring and I just had to get out. It was a dead-end. Wages had been frozen at my site for at least a year with the signing of a new 5-year contract which could, in theory, have frozen wages for the entire length of the contract (by my calculations the contract was worth $3-5 million to the company I worked for). This was also for one of the biggest companies in Oklahoma (the outfit we did security for) and for one of the biggest security firms in the United States (the company that I actually worked for). Both of them are around a billion-dollar-a-year companies so I really thought they might have been able to afford a paltry $0.50-1.00 per year for the folks tasked with guarding their stuff.

In addition, I wanted to get out into a more professional and more white-collar field. My background has pretty much always been in the white-collar and professional areas except for when I was working security. I loved my job at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and felt there was always a way ahead there (we were actively encouraged to apply for jobs at the Lab which we thought we might be qualified for), but that ended when a new company took over and started making changes and replacing the "old guard" with their own people.

So, I'm learning how to be a WalMart department supervisor and am on a management professional employment track. It certainly looks like it's going to be a challenging period ahead of me and I'm looking forward to it.

The most important part of this new day job is the regular paycheck and the benefits. I'm not getting any younger after all and those benefits look awfully good (as does that regular paycheck). Unemployment in a downturned economy is never a good experience, but I count myself lucky that my own period of unemployment only lasted 90 days (and part of that time I made some money on the side doing business paperwork for a friend who runs a roofing company here).

The next few weeks look like they're going to be interesting and intensive as we're already about 3 weeks behind in getting the store up and running.

I like a challenge. I'm looking forward to this one.