... and I feel fine!
I will go to the day job as a call center manager for the last time today. On Monday, I start my new full-time position with Blog Talk Radio as Political Director and will provide full-time commentary through my blog and my new daily BTR show. The phrase "dream come true" is hackneyed, but in this case the cliché applies.
I have worked in the burg/fire alarm industry for eighteen years, starting in late 1988 as a night shift operator at a Honeywell central station. I took the job after working at Hughes Aircraft in Anaheim Hills as an editor and tech writer for the Technical Publications group for almost four years. It had been my first career, and I loved the work -- even if the writing was dry and repetitive. It allowed me to build my skills, and I would have cheerfully done that work for as long as they let me.
Unfortunately, glasnost took its toll on the defense industry, and I was invited to explore exciting new opportunities ... like unemployment. After trying to land a new gig for a couple of months with no success, I drove a cab for a couple of months in Orange County, CA. It took me two months to decide that I'd rather live, so I took the job at Honeywelll only until I could find my next technical writing gig.
That's why I've often referred to my work in call centers as my accidental career. I moved up quickly at Honeywell and went into management less than four years later. In 1997, I left Honeywell to run the call center for Medical Eye Services, which was a mistake on the part of both parties. Within six months, I left Medical Eye Services and California to run the central station for my current employer. It turned out to be the best move I could have made, and the 9.5 years I spent there was a blessing for me and my family. They have treated us wonderfully and with generosity.
So why leave? I finally get to make a living out of writing -- and not just creating and editing operator manuals and repair procedures, but my own writing on my own topics. I have the opportunity to work with a great new company with an exciting product, and I can work with other writers and bloggers to help grow both BTR and the New Media which has already democratized the American debate. Even my current bosses -- two of the most reasonable and ethical men with whom I have worked -- told me that I could hardly pass up this chance.
Why not name the company? I have always wanted to keep a bright line between my politics and their operations. Customers might have issues working with someone who strongly advocates any kind of political point of view, and I don't want them to suffer for my passion. Also, I had tried to steer clear of any political discussion at work, and discouraged any conversation about my blog or radio work. The most gratifying moments of my final weeks have been when two co-workers asked me, after the announcement of my departure for political commentary, which party I supported and whether I was a conservative or a liberal. It meant that I had succeeded in that separation.
So today I close out a long and positive chapter in my life, and on Monday I open a new chapter. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity, and I'm grateful to all of the CQ community who makes it possible. I will tell you, though, that I will miss the old job, mostly for all the great colleagues and fascinating challenges we have faced. It's been a great ride for a temporary gig.