Free of the Gray Cubicle

Tennessee Update: Last week, I mentioned that I needed to reveal my plans to move to Tennessee at work sooner than I’d planned. My ultimate goal was to get permission to take my job with me when we move, and get a letter to that effect for our lender.

I was to participate in a meeting on Monday with my manager, and I planned to talk to him about it afterward. I didn’t think the meeting itself would have any bearing on our discussion. But it turns out it might have. Because one of the client folks in attendance was the guy who controls the funding for my project–and who, in his typical fashion, went a bit off-tangent from the planned discussion topic.

But this was a particularly good off-tangent, because we got a bit of insight into his plans and vision for my project, and it was a lot more expansive than I (and probably my manger) realized.

So when I met with my manager after the meeting, I think partly he was relived I wasn’t giving notice of quitting. Thing is, I started putting this into motion a year ago, when another team member quit–the only other person who really knew anything about our web app from a development standpoint. I was given some of his responsibilities at that time. I knew more compensation wasn’t forthcoming, so I asked for part-time remote work, and our manager said “that shouldn’t be a problem.”

So I started off with asking how he thought my remote work arrangement had gone, and he said, “It hasn’t been a problem.” I then asked if I could go full-time remote, and his response was the same as last year’s. Then I revealed why I wanted remote work. I told him I think our employer is a good company to work for, and that I believe in this project and want to see its success. I assured him that I could return to Dayton regularly to check in in person–especially since my parents and daughter will still be in Ohio.

And he said, “That shouldn’t be a problem.”

So, huge relief!

I needed to get the letter for the bank from HR, so I went to see our HR Director the next day. As soon as I told her my plans, she was immediately intrigued. How were we going about having a house built from 300 miles away? Who’s our builder, and how did we find him? How did we find our land?

Turns out she wants to build a vacation home in the area. And was super supportive of our move!

So it’s official, I’m free of the gray cubicle… and still employed! Everything worked out as well as it possibly could have.

My husband called the builder to follow up on our schedule. The builder is ready to go as soon as our loan closes, so now we’re just waiting on the bank. Obviously, we’re not going to hit his original projected start date of August 20 (I didn’t really expect that anyway), but hoping we’ll be able to soon.

What I’ve Been Reading: the novel I started before last week, very slowly. So I’ll discuss a nonfiction book I read a few weeks ago, Set For Life by Scott Trench. The author is in his late twenties or early thirties, and this book is geared toward young people who are just getting started in their adult lives. I actually bought it for my daughter, who turned 23 a couple weeks ago, but read it before I gave it to her. It’s a good overview of some financial habits to develop, and ways to save money, and invest in real estate by starting with “house-hacking,” or buying a duplex and living in one side while renting the other, thereby keeping your housing costs very low (if not zero). All of his suggestions may not be for everyone, but it’s a great starting point for coming up with a plan that does work for the individual. It’s well-written and very accessible, and I would recommend it for any young person who wants to get a grip on their financial life fast.


What I’ve Been Writing: Finally finished the How to Write Villains workshop! The Week 7 lesson was interesting in that it went over villains that readers love, villains that people love to hate, and villains that people fear–and broke down what goes into creating these types of villains, and what makes them work (or not work). Was the workshop worth the $97 price tag? Personally, I have taken plenty of online workshops that were three times that cost, and the material in this one was just as good as those workshops. But YMMV. More info on the course can be found on Holly’s shop site, for those interested. (And no, that’s not an affiliate link.)

Now it’s time to get back to my novel. I’m once again going to start with baby steps. One commenter a few posts back suggested 100 words a day, and that sounds like a good, easy start, so that’s what I’ll go for. Normally, I give myself a day or two off per week, but that’s such an easy target I don’t think that’s necessary, so… we’ll see how it goes! A whopping 700 words? Once I get going, I can write that in one night. But getting (re) started is the hard part, so you never know!

What about you–have you done anything lately where you weren’t sure how it would go? How did it go? Have you read anything good lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might be working on, whether writing or something else? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.


7 Responses to \

  1. Yay for best outcomes! I’ve always been a decisions-by-instinct kind of gal. And I’ve been lucky, mostly I’ve had a good outcome. Retiring a little early was my latest don’t-know-what-I’m-doing decision. It’s been mostly good, but I do need to start selling some books. Of course, that also means I need to write more. LOL.

    Like you I’ve instigated some new goals and so far, I’m accomplishing them. I’ve got a word count per day but I don’t stress if I don’t get that number in a single day. Instead, I aim to fulfill the total for the week. As a result, I’m making good progress on the prequel novella. The progress on the outline for my next book isn’t as far along as I’d like, but it’s coming.

  2. Congratulations on keeping your job and working it from afar! I’m so jealous! How I would love to not have to walk into the coal mine of my place of employment every day!

    Speaking of… a week ago last Friday, when I wasn’t at work, my manager announced to all my co-workers that I had complained about them to her and was tired of doing all the work while they socialize. What she said was true, but it didn’t sound like she handled it very tactfully. When I found out that same day, I wasted an entire weekend worried sick about it. But Monday morning, several co-workers got together with me to figure out what they can do to share the work load with me. It all turned out ok. Nobody hates me and no one put a contract on my head.

    Continued good luck with your house building! I love to hear about the progress.

  3. Lynette – congrats on retiring early! And on meeting your goals – keep it up!

    Thanks, Fallon!

    Chris, I am really blessed to be able to work remotely! And wow, hearing about that meeting must’ve been awful – so glad it worked out for the best!

  4. Yay, on keeping your job and working remotely! I know that was a huge concern of yours. Now it’s no longer a worry, right?

    And Yay, on (re)starting the writing. I need to get back to mine, too. I was going to do that yesterday, opened the document and was reading to get back into the story when Hubby called with another house emergency. I knew it was too good to be true! I think any kind of writing goal will just have to be put on hold until the old house is SOLD. Or at least finished with being fixed up (which is costing us a small fortune!). And then maybe the vacations need to be over, too. Got DragonCon coming up next week, and our Orlando/Cruise vacation in Sept/Oct. After that, nothing. I probably won’t know what to do with myself!! Oh yeah…write!!! 🙂

  5. Congratulations on your ‘move’ to 100% remote! I can’t imagine working without my computer — and I’m retired. Had to laugh at the advice to ‘house-hack’. We bought a duplex and hoped we’d pay it off someday. Result? We could pay for our daughter’s college after a decade or two. Re the writing, good progress. I did use that ‘100 words a day’ since we spent the last two weeks in Canada, and happily can report hitting an average of 300 a day. So you just never know. Let those fingers fly! Have a great week.

  6. Stacy, hope you get all that old house stuff taken care of soon, so you can get back to your writing! And enjoy your vacations!

    Beth, thanks! Gotta love rental property, huh? Our apartments paid for our daughter’s college, too. I think it was your comment that suggested the 100 words a day. So far, so good!