Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Talks Underway

My mother and I are having some trouble finding employers who are highly interested in us here in the Rio Grande Valley. At the moment, her only offer is for a temp job that pays $7.50/hr. In the end, she would get $50 more per paycheck than she'll get on unemployment. It's a big drop from earning over $9/hr when Panasonic hired directly. Now Kelly Services is "outsourcing", and I use the term loosely, for some of the plants here and dropping wages for employees. Technically, my mom was laid off due to the changeover, although they tried to get her to quit so she would forfeit her unemployment benefits and take back the same job with lower pay. Other companies are making the same move here in the RGV. Yes, there are more jobs in the RGV overall, but there is more than enough of a workforce to keep wages low for the foreseeable future.

In my case, I'm having trouble finding good paying jobs as well. I'm overqualified for some and don't have the qualifications for others. I've managed to hit that sweet spot where I'm useless to everybody. Loyalty to my employer has not paid off for me in the slightest.

So, my mother and I have started talking. We have people who still go up north to work in the summer. Many factories and canneries will be going at full production soon. Two places that are hiring start you off at $6.50 per hour, which is hardly exciting; except that, they are working 12 hours per day, 7 days a week. If you get in, contracts are until September and October. In addition, some places have housing and a bus to and from work. It is seasonal work, but for somebody like me, who at most here in the RGV has earned roughly $16K working about 80 hrs a week at two or three jobs at a time, it's not a bad deal.

For the sake of argument. Let's say that I work until September, that means I would make about $2,600/mo and about $10k for the season. If I can get in with the company working until October, then it's extra cash AND I would qualify for unemployment insurance in that state for being laid off from seasonal work.

I'm not in dire straits here. My wife is working and makes enough for us to get by without having to go on food stamps. But we don't have enough to do some important things like pay off student loans, save an emergency fund, give our kids a nice birthday party, pay for unexpected car repairs, and other things like that. She may be able to become a teacher next year, which would mean an instant increase in pay plus whatever additional pay raise Austin puts out in special session. But, we won't count on that until she has the contract in her hand.

My father will be in town this week, so I'll ask him how job prospects are up north where he travels. My father's side of the family is mostly up in Wisconsin, where I was born. I'm sure they can help me out in finding an adequate seasonal job. Once I get established, perhaps I'll ask my wife and kids to go up and visit for a month or two during the summer. As a teacher, my wife gets paid summers.

There are no concrete plans at this point, talks have just begun. There are many factors to weigh, so we need to think it through. We have limited prospects here in the RGV, opportunity outside of the RGV, and some efficiency in networking once we get there. If I do decide to migrate, this will be the first time I do it in many years. Definitely the first time since I married. Of course, I'll update the blog from up there. One my first purchases will be a Sidekick II as a prepaid service. It's good for taking pictures and blogging. Here is a blog I kept with my old Sidekick Color. So, we'll see.
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