It is long overdue time for my super delayed update to this blog and my obligatory excuse but this time I actually have good reason for real! As of March 21, I left my comfortable position with the University of Oklahoma to take on a new adventure… this time in a whole other state! I accepted a position with a financial services company in the Kansas City, MO area and started on April 2nd. This was not a decision that I took lightly as I did feel like there was much left to be done at OU but the more I considered some of the key issues – underfunded education for my children (see OK Teacher Walk Out), considerable process changes at OU and the state of the IAM program, I decided that the time to make a move had come.
I had been feeling the pain of the tightening budgets in Oklahoma (remember that OU is technically a part of the government of Oklahoma which is broke), lack of potential funding for future projects, and considerable power struggles that are par for the course in higher education, I decided to open myself to new positions… specifically ones that were not in the state of Oklahoma. I was in the running for positions from Palo Alto, CA to Austin, TX to Philadelphia, PA and… two in Kansas City, MO. Turns out that one of the positions in KCMO (as locals call it) had been looking to fill a position like mine for almost a year. After 6 months, the leadership found me and began watching me and waiting for the right time. Finally, they sent their HR team to ask me about the potential interest for the position. In looking at things, the city was only 5 hours away from Oklahoma so I could be close enough to my dear sweet mom and friends should I need them. With the potential salary offered, I could see a great potential to improve our life standing if I played my cards right.
The interviews occurred at breakneck speed. I had a phone interview with their HR person on a Monday. Then, on Wednesday, I had a phone interview with two technical people who I would work closely with. Then, on Friday, I had an interview with the hiring manager. A week later, I hopped in my car and made a perilous drive to Kansas City, MO (in the midst of ice and snow) and did my in-person interview. By the time I left KCMO, the manager basically said “you got the job, we just have to put the offer together.” So I waited and got an offer a few days later. The initial offer was heartbreaking because it was not what I had been told I could get and might not make the financial situation much better. I came in with a high ball offer and we met at almost my offer. The deal was sealed.
The next thing you know, I am working like a mad man to dejunk our house so that the paid relocation movers wouldn’t haul a bunch of junk. My wife and even my kids stepped up and started reducing. Fast forward to 3/26 and I am loading a UHaul trailer with the basic belongings we needed to start life until the movers came. I packed my two oldest kids into the car and I left Oklahoma. I wish I could say that I was a tough guy but I absolutely cried to leave my wife, three smaller children and exchange students at home. I spent the last week of March living like a single dad with two kids until I started my job. There were plenty of ups and downs including the trailer refusing to detach until I hit a bump at the school and sent it soaring into my muffler, ice and snow, flaking nannies and countless other things. However, the tide is slowly turning.
I now live in a house with Gigabit Fiber (unlike my 1 mbps line of sight internet), I have three floors of house space, it takes me less than 5 minutes to get to basic things and only 20 to get to even bigger things in my car. My commute is a bit more grisly as I spend about 20 minutes in bumper to bumper traffic to get into town. However, I can start to see the better school for my kids, the cheaper cost for most basic things, and most of all, a huge opportunity for growth. That’s where I have been and where I am going to be. My family will be fully reunited in June but until then, I feel the pain of a single, working dad with two kids. By faith I persevere.