Deliverance…

May 4th isn’t a day particularly noted in the annals of world history. To me, though, May 4, 2011 resounds with just as much meaning as July 4, 1776 or October 14, 1066. May 4th, you might remember, is the anniversary of my deliverance. It’s the day I got the long sought after call to end my long, unhappy exile in Memphis and return forthwith to my right and proper home in the great State of Maryland. I may have spent happier days, but I’m sure I can’t remember when.

It’s been a turbulent, chaotic, and altogether expensive year setting things right after they went so badly wrong, but I don’t begrudge it an instant of the aggravation or expense. It would have been a deal at ten times the cost as far as I’m concerned.

A year’s distance has softened the worst of the hard edges that surrounded my departure. In fact, some parts of my time in Memphis I can even look back on fondly now. Knowing that 90% of my problems there were attributable by a single individual is still a bitter pill to swallow. Then again, if it hadn’t been for that narcissistic prima donna I might be in Memphis still, rather than having fought my way back to the shores of the Chesapeake.

Every time I’ve gone away I’ve always managed to find my way home again. This time I’ve landed where I belong and it’s going to take a pry bar, a court order, and high explosive ordinance to get me to budge.

Just like that…

I’ve had nine months to think about what this post would look like, but surprisingly it’s not one that I started working on in advance. Now that the day of jubilee has arrived, I find myself at something of a loss for words. How do I sum up the experience that has been finding my eject handle? Is it defined by the statistics? 273 days on the hunt. 91 days of frozen time. 385 resumes submitted. Sometimes I felt like I could count off the hours of each one of those days. Almost a year of complete confidence tempered by false starts and rejections. And then moments of unadulterated joy. Whatever the moment is, it’s not defined by the statistics.

I’m feeling very conscious of those who made the jump before I have. Of how much I miss them and how much I’ll miss a few of those I’ll leave behind. I’m conscious now more than ever of home, of family, and of friends from whom I’ve been too long separated. They say you can’t go home again. I’ve been away long enough to know that everything has changed – and that nothing that matters has really changed. I’m coming home and I’ll take it as I find it, changes and all.

There is plenty of time to go into specifics later. For now, let it suffice to know that tonight I will sleep the sleep of the vindicated. My great experiment in Memphis is drawing to an end. I’ve survived my ride on the crazy train. And I’m coming home.

When I sat down to write, I thought this post would be a valedictory. It seems my nerves are still too raw for that kind of triumphalism. Give me a day or two for the reality to sink in, though, and it’s a fair bet that you’ll be reading posts with some serious swagger.

0703…

That’s the time I’m going to officially commemorate as the moment of my redemption. The exact time when my voice from the wilderness was heard. Precisely when the shear volume of resumes I’ve loaded into the system broke through the morass (385 if you’re counting). That’s assuming, of course that I pass through the last widget in the process. I’m now in a period of HR purgatory between receiving the official tentative offer of employment and the official final offer of employment. This is the land of voluminous paperwork, of validating security clearances, pay-setting, benefit determinations, and yet more waiting. It’s the last moment for things to go horribly wrong. You didn’t think this was going to be a post about unbridled joy and optimism, did you?

I’ve waited for this moment for the better part of a year. Poured untold hours into crafting the perfect resume. Cursed fate for dragging this process down into the interminable frozen springtime. And now that it’s arrived, I can barely breath it for fear of it breaking apart at this late hour. This is a moment of hope beyond hope… and it is so close to reality and yet still painfully just beyond reach.

91 days…

The post I was set to bring you tonight will not be appearing because the subject matter went and changed on me between the time I started writing and the time it was supposed to post. Instead of another rant about the Army personnel system, I bring you tidings of great joy. The 30-day civilian hiring freeze is over – ending its 91-day reign of terror. Don’t believe, me? Check out the Civilian Personnel website for yourself.

Aside from the system not being at a complete standstill, I’m not exactly sure what the great thaw really means yet. I know that it means that personnel offices now have a 90 day backlog of hiring actions to clear and that’s never a quick process even under the most optimal conditions. I don’t have much faith at this point in any of the possibilities that looked promising back in February. Expecting magical reanimation of things just as they were at the moment they were frozen back in March seems about as likely as breathing new life into Walt Disney’s frozen head. Sure, it’s sounds possible… maybe… but not very likely.

What this probably means is that at least now there’s a fighting chance at working through the nomination-interview-hiring process to the point where a job offer is at least a possibility. So now it’s a mad race to spool up and flood my resume back into the Army system. Nothing like being back at square one.

#3…

And so we’re moving along tomorrow to interview #3, which is a good thing. Of course it’s also an Army job, which means it’s probably subject to the hiring freeze just like the others. That’s the part that’s less than good. In keeping with my casting of the wide net, I can only speculate that the more interviews I have between the now and when our dear friends lift the freeze, the better the opportunity that one or more of them will come in with an actual offer in the fabled land beyond the human resource permafrost. If not, getting the occasional interview gives me the illusion of actually making progress. In the absence of actual progress, I’m good with the illusion… for now.

P.S. Selecting officials, if you’re poking around the internet doing an informal review of names on your referral lists, please take note of the single minded determination I’m showing at achieving this objective. It’s this kind of fortitude and commitment to mission that I can bring to your office and put to work for you.

Day 75…

We are now at day 75 of the thirty-day hiring freeze. Surely we’ve attritted off some of those overhires by now, right? Seriously, we even have a budget for the rest of the fiscal year now. So, come on already Overlord of Personnel. Let’s get the hiring process thawed out.

I haven’t racked and stacked my list lately, but the total number of resumes released into the wild stands at 335. I’d estimate that about a third of those are still in the “open” category. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 are sitting on the desk of a real human being. I’ve had two interviews for positions that are “frozen” and have another one coming up later this week. I didn’t particularly want to go outside of DoD, but they’re making it very hard to show the love right about now… so Treasury, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Coast Guard, FEMA, and a host of others are being fed into the mix as of about two weeks ago.

My search grid now extends from Philadelphia down to Richmond and from the Shenandoah Valley east to Norfolk. Like Grant contemplating a similar piece of real estate, “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.”

Such is the ferocity of my desire to catch the last train out of Crazyville.