Today, though, I got up to go to a meeting of the Professionals' Network of Tampa Bay, a group that's essentially a support and networking group for out-of-work professionals. (I kept thinking of it as "DotCom Anonymous," although they had a lot of non-IT folk there, too.) I wasn't quite sure what to expect but they do seem to have their act together; it's possible they might prove useful in networking--although only around this area, of course. Interestingly, I met someone there from Intermedia, and not just anyone--a guy named Bob Hardie, one of Intermedia's original employees and a top-level exec. Something like the Director of Operations. ("I'm the one some people blame for the buyout," he said cheerfully. I don't know how culpable he may be in engineering that particular end, but if I were looking for scapegoats to blame for how the company got to a point where it had to be sold, his name wouldn't have occurred to me.)
After that, I did another Stupid Moneyspending Thing™--I went to Mel's Hot Dogs, I'd guess for the first time in at least five years. Mel's is a kind of Tampa area tradition, a Chicago-style hot dog place with great quality, in its own junk food way, and a whole lot of character. There's a place near where I live called the Maxwell Street Grill which comes close--their hot dogs are just about as good, but Mel's dogs have better buns, come with better fries (Maxwell Street's fries just aren't any comparison), and come with cole slaw. It's good to find the place again, although I'll probably end up at the Fox and Hounds Irish Pub more often. At least when I want to pretend I have money.
I came home to find email from the Kelly Services IT person asking for my references (this in relation to the contract position in Largo I've mentioned), and later got a call from another recruiter about a potential technical writing position, also a contract, in St. Petersburg. That one strikes me as a bit more of a longshot only because my background is more web development.
It's bizarrely amusing, isn't it? I've tacitly assumed I'd spend the next two months unemployed (even though I'd dutifully send out résumés as prescribed by the unemployment office) and find myself cruising out to California by mid-October. And here I am, after months of looking for work just as hard as I have been these last two weeks and getting nothing, with two nibbles in the local area.
Of course, they're both contracts--that means they'd just delay a potential move, not forestall it. Getting one would mean I'd head out with either more money or less debt (or both). And getting either, or any yet-unknown ones, is far from a given. The move in with my friend by the end of September is the only given now
On the other hand, I might end up with a contract job that went permanent, forcing me to worry about how to stay now that I'm warming to the idea of leaving. Not that staying isn't objectively easier, it'd just be--well--anticlimactic.
...and on the, ah, other other hand, the friend I'm planning to move in with has been getting progressively unhappy at his job and, over the last couple weeks, has graduated to getting progressively furious. To the point where it sounds like he's getting serious about just quitting. Which could make me scramble to change all of my tentative plans, no matter whether I end up on the other side of the country or just the other side of Tampa Bay.
Wouldn't that be ironic.