My contract has been renewed for the next quarter. That means I’ll have worked eleven months here, making it the longest job that I’ve had since moving out to the Bay Area, the most stable, and generally the most kind to my budget. The tech writing contract last year paid more, strictly speaking, but didn’t handle taxes or provide benefits. I’m still hurting from my two 1099 tax term years; my savings is a quarter of what I’d like it to be (and probably a third of what I need it to be) before my next period of lack of work and my credit card debt is, well, in the inverse state of my savings.
At the end of this next quarter, if I let the automated payment plans I have run without extra additions, I’ll have at least doubled my savings and chipped away some—not nearly enough, but some—of the credit card debt. If I can pump in some extra, of course, all the better.
My boss would, I gather, like to be able to keep me indefinitely, but there’s a company limit on keeping contractors: twelve months. If I’m lucky they’ll find reason to renew my contract for the quarter after this and let it squeak past, pushing me out to 14 months, but at that point they’ll likely have to either make me permanent or let me go. So.
Part of me is wondering if I should be abstractly planning to move (which I wrote about earlier), and that part of me is the one that keeps idly collecting information on both locations and individual apartments around the Bay Area, within moderately reasonable commuting distance of the corporate campus. Everyone needs a hobby, and mine appears to be visiting apartment complexes.
But, part of me wonders if I should be abstractly planning to move out of the Bay Area if the contract ends and nothing else shows up pretty immediately. As much as I love this part of the country, it’s just so expensive; in Portland it wouldn’t be difficult to find a place of my own whose rent and utilities came to about my share of the house costs now. (And Portland isn’t the cheapest place to be in that neck of the woods, although it’s far from the most expensive.) While I love the Bay Area, I think it’s more a love for the west coast. I’m attracted to both the northwest and the southwest for different reasons; from a practical standpoint, northwest is the better direction to go.
Of course, moving to some new city without a job and without the good grace of friends like tugrik is pretty risky, unless you move somewhere that’s really cheap—which of course is likely a sign that there aren’t any good jobs to be had. (Damn you, market forces!) This is why I wish I had sufficient chutzpah to go into business for myself, but so far, I haven’t been able to summon sufficient drive to pursue that—I need to be in a place where I’m going to be able to find work that pays the bills and leaves me enough left over for coffee.
So, for now, this all remains abstract. I’m just keeping in the back of my mind that it may become more concrete in a hurry in, say, 4-6 months.