Sunday, March 19, 2006

Another week goes by ...

... and I fall behind on my writing. Once again, procrastination sets in. Not that there are not enough legitimate reasons (or excuses) why I haven't written, but I shouldn't be making them. There has been plenty of new news for the week in my own life and in the world at large to fill many pages. I won't take the time now to write it all, although I would like to say a few new things now.

1) I have been at my new job for just one month as of this coming Monday. Although I haven't built up the timeline of how I got to this point, here is a small recap without the full story. I started at my current job on February 20th here in Cincinnati, working for an employer for whom I have previously worked. How I got back into this unnamed company is a long enough story in itself, but I had not worked for the previous eight (8) months prior to being reemployed. In case you haven't gone without work for very long in your own experience, eight months is every bit as long as it sounds. Getting back into the working swing hasn't come easy, but I hope to reinvigorate the attitude I used to have before my last job bruised my spirit.

To build up my image as a "loser" this marks my third job in three years. First, I moved to Cincinnati in late 2003 to start the first job, which I then ended up leaving after only nine (9) months. Second, I started the second job in late January 2005 (a three+ month gap in between for those counting) and lasted there only five months into June. I resigned from that position after experiencing the first "harassment" of my career and being torn down for my purported lack of ability. Third (and finally, up to present), I returned to the employer I had before the move to Cincinnati. If you can connect the dots from other clues about me elsewhere, you might even know who this employer is ... I won't name the names to protect the innocent.

The most important thing to know for now is that I started with this employer right after college, thought I might have a long career there, and lasted there for five and a half years. Stability has not defined my career since 2003, with the too frequent changes in jobs. I blame myself for most of my discontent because I really cannot blame anyone else for making me who I am. My biggest hope now is that I can find enough happiness where I am in my life to establish a lengthy career with my current employer and then to move into the "next phase" of life on my terms (and that is not necessarily retirement ... more like a "second career").

2) Well, I guess I wrote more than I intended to write in point #1 above, so the rest of it will have to come as quickly as I can write it. I hope to make an entry in my other blog before calling it a night, so this needs to be concise (wish me luck).

- The NCAA Basketball Tournament is happening (in case any of you reading this in the US lives in a vacuum). There have been some notable upsets so far, but, by and large, the favorites are surviving this year's version of "March Madness." I am one of those foolish people to fill out brackets hoping to be successful as a prognosticator, but I have picked anywhere from 90% correct (in one fluke of a bracket) to about 50% right in my worst one (my "upset special" bracket). This tourney won't be over for a few more weeks, when March turns into April, but the ultimate champion has to be strong (and lucky) to be the victor.

- The fact that the preceding bullet point was sports-related is telling. I have ignored the ongoing war in Iraq, the pathetic approval ratings of our sitting President, the general state of the U.S. economy, and countless other topics I could be choosing. Why? Well, once again, any path that leads me into a political discussion is probably not fruitful for a "short" post like this one is supposed to be. That's not to say I'll never talk about those subjects, I just won't be tonight.

- I mentioned not talking about the economy, but I do find one economic point very interesting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (which most people reference just as the "Dow") is near a historical high point once again. The highest close in market history (as best I can find it) was in January 2000, in a very different pre-September 2001 world, when the top closing value was 11,722.98 on 1/14/2000. The very fact that we are now above 11,000 once again, closing at 11,279.65 this past Friday, 3/17/2006, is proof enough of renewed interest in market investment.

Are we heading towards another "bubble" of the market and a correction of some sort? I don't have the answer, but it certainly doesn't seem to be coming from unrealistic expectations in the tech sector, like it was back in 2000 and 2001. Are stocks overvalued right now? Some may be, but profits for many major corporations are hitting all-time highs. Mergers are happening all over the place, and the big just keep getting bigger. If you haven't had your money in the market over the past few years, you missed out on a tremendous recovery. Interestingly, most people came in at the previous high (yours truly included, unfortunately) and then left during the down period. Staying the course, as painful as it may have been, was the right choice. Historical performance should be enough proof for non-believers that the long-term is the prudent strategy.


That's all for now ... until I write again, signing off.

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