Thursday, May 9, 2013

Seven Years

Come the end of the month, I’ll have worked at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex and the Idaho National Laboratory for seven years.

I know that, in the long run, that’s not a lot of time. But it is a pretty significant bit of time for me. It’s the longest I’ve ever held a job – and I’ve had a few in my shady career of employment. I’ve never enjoyed a job more, which is even more significant.

This job has enabled us to do quite a bit. It helped us pay for two masters degrees which led me into a part-time job teaching at Brigham Young University-Idaho, which isn’t all that bad of a thing either. It’s helped us pay for a bigger house (but not too big) and the furnace and soon the air conditioning to make it comfortable. It’s helped us provide for three kids, and to have enough to put aside for retirement, and to help out a few others. It’s been a tremendous blessing.

I hope and pray that in another seven years, I’ll still be working here. I like it that much.

As significantly, it’s given me a different frame of reference for life. It’s helped me see that if I want to write novels, I have to sit down and write them, not just sit and wait for the novels to come to me. I’m not published yet, but in the last seven years, I’ve written three novels – practice for when the real one is ready to come out. That’s due a lot in part to the fact that at work I’m doing a different kind of writing than I was doing in journalism, and there’s enough of a gap between the two types that I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m writing a novel. That’s a significant thing.

So what will the future hold?

Still pondering a PhD, though it’s looking less likely that I’ll be able to do the technical communication doctorate at USU. Part of that is because we’d have to move to Logan. I did find out that I’d get tuition waivers and, in teaching classes there, get paid. But I don’t know how much – I’m still investigating – and we’re not sure we want to leave Ammon for Logan, nice as Logan is. That would be a big step – with big rewards at the end to be sure, but I have to measure those rewards compared to what the rewards could be if I continue on the course I’m on now, or if I choose another course (pursuing a different bachelors or an additional masters is not entirely out of the question). Maybe something in computer programming, though I have to wonder if that’s more insane than taking the family to Logan.

More to follow.

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