Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gathering clouds

Looks like we're approaching the bitter end at Steve's work. The government has named the new contractor, and with that, Sacramento HQ is moving fast in acting as if it already has nothing to do with the project: scheduling teleconferences not mindful of DC hours, and generally leaving DC staff out of major decisions still left to be made for the closeout. The only other person left in the office just accepted another position, leaving only Steve and the part-time receptionist. We were expecting a drastic slowdown and a trickling out of staff, but when a once-buzzing and vital office is reduced this way, the reality of it is pretty stark. I think it's only a matter of time (though there have been no overt moves) before Sacramento tells Steve they can take over whatever functions he may have filled for closing the project, effectively leaving him with nothing to do. Our hope is that he can last out the rest of the year, and ideally into March, but at the rate things are going I am not optimistic. At almost 60, Steve's getting his resumé together and preparing to play the interview game. If worse comes to worst, just in order to continue paying for the Delaware land until we can sell this house, I will be going back to work if Steve is suddenly let go before he can transition to something else. This is not what we had in mind.

Looks like we are becoming players in this hard economy, but our problems aren't the economy's fault. They all stem from the fact that Steve's company didn't re-bid on the contract that employed him. The national real estate mess is something we must contend with here, of course, but the sale of the house and the move to Delaware suddenly seem to be the least of our problems. The construction industry is completely in the tank, making our potential business like candy to the companies we are dealing with. The hard in-between time, patching an income together for that duration, may be the biggest test.

We head for Delaware today and a respite from these concerns. I'll be posting tomorrow and will try for the rest of the weekend, but we've seen my weekend record is becoming pretty spotty.

Have a good one.

11 comments:

Kat said...

Ralph,
What a horrible situation. I'm so hoping with you that maybe, just maybe, you can hold on until March.

Enjoy the weekend and don't stew, unless it's for Friday's food day!

Ralph said...

Thanks, Kat. We can hope against hope. If Simon Legree weren't in charge of the place in Sacramento we'd breathe a lot easier.

Not to worry, no stews!

Zoey & Me said...

Steve seems too young to retire. I would fly that resume and hopefully he'll make a transition from one company to a new one. It's often better to look when you have a job, then battle the odds when phoning from home. And I suppose there is unemployment to collect. That would hold Steve for a stretch, worst case scenario. But I would start interviewing right away.

Anonymous said...

I hope things work out for Steve. It is a tough time in the good old USA! My town is totally dependent on the auto industry, so you know how things are here! I hate to sound like I see the glass half empty, but is there any hope of a turn around in the near future? I certainly hope so!

Ralph said...

Z&M, ditto on everythjing except "too young to retire." It's not that simple. Steve will really never "retire" retire, like I did. He's not capable of having what he would call "empty days" stretch ahead of him. But he's ready to start pulling back and call at least some of his time just his own. That's one thing. Another is that he can't get vested anywhere. If this job folds at the wrong time he could be literally within days of having five years' vestment, and thus some benefits to show for his time spent. If he falls short, the companmy has indicated it isn't willing to help. Even if it's just a matter of days. I know our problems are nothing compared to others', but this is hard adjustment ot make. He really doesn't want to start building a whole new dareer at the age of 60.

Ralph said...

Anonymous, thanks for your good wishes. I know what you mean, and I thank God we are not dependent here on the car industry for employment, but still, a close-down is a close-down is a close-down--that's what Steve's facing just as much an auto worker. And unlike a seasoned auto worker he may not even have any benefits for to show for his time spent with this company.

Zoey & Me said...

I know, because I turned 60 in December 07, that it's not the greatest time to switch careers. Coincidentally a friend of mine sent me materials today about a solar product he owns to replace those powered by electricity and begged me to work the Central Florida market. So those types of job offers that land in your lap are probably worth more than fanning out all over looking to get that dream interview. I've been in Real Estate for 25 years and feel healthy enough to go another 10 but not under the cloud we're in nationwide. This rebound better come soon or I will be selling solar sheets for lamp posts. hahaha

Ralph said...

Now those solar sheets sound interesting! And I can only imagine what it must be like trying to make a living in real estate these days, especially in Florida.

Steve got a a nibble from his resume on Monster on the way down here to DE. Things look better than they did this morning!

Ravel said...

I really wish I could say something very intelligent about your situation to soothe you both a bit more.
I'll only say thay I'll send you good vibes...

Ralph said...

They're most welcome, friend Ravel. And they seem to be working. Thanks.

Peggy said...

Ralph,
Sorry it's been a while since I've written. It's been a tiring week.

Anyway, I concur with most of the comments here. I'm sorry for Steve, but looking for another job now just might be the best thing.

Love the ham salad recipe. I'm a big fan! And, as you said, it's a great summertime meal.

Have fun in Delaware. It's been really hot in Baltimore these past several days.

Again, good luck to Steve. Tell him to just take it one day at a time. That's really all you can do.

Are the tomatoes still doing well?