Flippantly – and surprising to no one – I began 2016 determined to say “yes” to more opportunities that come my way, because: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
That’s what my recent big-boy thoughts have been about.
The week of my birthday was amazing and fun. I also had a good week of reflection and job prospects. The most promising was with Target, the outcome of which I recently chronicled in The Great Job Hunt: Redux.
That said, the week after my birthday started out all sorts of rough when I learned that Monday that I wasn’t getting the position at Target.
Add to that, the couple of traveling nurses renting my condo in Seattle weren’t going to stay until October of this year, as they had previously committed.
Suddenly, the opportunities that had recently been pointing toward replenishing my coffers while also capitalizing on my self-sustaining Seattle condo endeavor had dried up. It’s a bummer, too. I have been holding onto the condo under advice from a couple of real estate pros in Seattle until a few things transpired in the market. Those things are on the horizon and doubling down on payments, if not even tripling down once I didn’t need to use that rental income to pay my Portland rent, would have put me in a great equity position once the nurses moved on in October. The benefit to holding onto it were substantial, along the lines of an additional $25k in equity, minimum. That ain’t chump change.
Days after that disappointing news cycle, a head hunter in Seattle reached out to me again about an opportunity there. It was his second pass at me, I had actually thought or assumed that the position was filled. Originally, I had opted-out due to the fact that relocating to Seattle would be overly complex since I had a place in Portland until November and my Seattle place was presently occupied. The last thing I needed was a third residence.
But, the EVP of this company kept focusing back on me…so the recruiter put out a feeler.
It’s all about timing, some times.
I decided to make a quick day trip up to Seatown and have a talk with the guy.
It was a good talk. I think I would work well with this fella. The product…I think I have a lot of friends who would be excited about the merchandise, but for me, the satisfaction would be strictly people and numbers based. Which is fine. He told me that he wanted to see me again soon and have me (and the other final candidates) meet at least one other person involved in the hiring decision.
Interesting timing, just as I had been considering yielding to parental advice and selling the condo. If for no other reason than it would provide solvency for a good chunk of time. The nurses would vacate at the end of Feb; I could evacuate the furnishings, perhaps stage the place and get it cleaned up and on the market by the second week of March. From what I hear of the movement in that market, I would probably complete escrow by the end of April and be breathing easily by May 1, if not sooner.
Depending on the timing.
Additionally, I got kind of good at investing and day trading during my time with Seattle Coffee Gear, so I could actually sell the condo and walk away with enough equity to generate some respectable income through investing until I had to put funds down on a new place here in Portland, should I choose to assume that risk-slash-frustration that accompanies investing. I was thinking my house hunting could start in August and by the time I found a place and went through escrow, I would be nearing the end of my lease here in the Pearl.
Timing would or could work well.
Quick side note on the basis of my reluctance to sell in the first place. It’s two-fold:
First, I’m looking for work, if that called me back to Seattle, my $1200 mortgage is way cheaper than renting in Seatown…studios can run $1500, easy. One bedrooms? You’d be lucky to find a nice one bedroom for $1800. Even with the crazy 50% jump my HOAs took for 2016, my existing all in cost of shelter in Seattle was a deal.
Should I end up returning for a job, that is.
Second, when I originally moved to Seattle, I never looked at it as a permanent relocation. It was a means to an end when my job moved up there and my choice was to be unemployed during the Bush years with 10% of the rest of Oregon keeping me company in the bread line or be employed in a new city. I chose the latter, obviously, but considered moving back to Portland a foregone conclusion, therefore also considered keeping my house here. After discussing it with my family, I decided to do the easy thing and sell it. Macy’s was paying the realtor fees, so it was an easy as well as cheap plan. Unless you consider the fact that I am back now and that house has doubled in value thanks to Portland’s housing market.
The point is, my condo in Seattle has equity for a couple of reasons; specifically, I put a good downpayment on it and I’ve been there for eight years now. The value on it as of Fall 2014 was about $50k more than I bought it for, so most of what I was pulling out in equity was more what I had put into it via my downpayment and the basic principle reduction of paying extra payments over the years. Not a great return on my investment. Holding onto it for another year or two wasn’t going to see it’s value magically double, but it would – according to my advisors – likely see that extra $25k in equity manifest. At a minimum.
At a minimum.
No more comforting words than those when considering a return on your investment, eh?
The other consideration here was my growing frustration level with relying on others for my income, I’d definitely gotten burned by incompetence a couple of times over the last few years. Also, I was definitely growing weary of interviewing with people that I suspected wouldn’t hire me simply because my resume was longer than theirs. A secondary use for that equity would allow me to strongly consider starting my own business. I’ve kicked it around for 15 years now. Part fantasy about being my own boss, sure…but why not work on making it a reality? I know after the last couple of years, that retirement in it’s strictest sense is not for me. Being my own boss with a semi-turnkey business would be a good alternative to that and still get me out of corporate retail by the time I was 50, so a good potential win-win.
Of course, I would need to meet with a CPA prior to pulling the yes-trigger on this, just to make sure I was set up to use part of my capital gains for funding a business endeavor. So there was that X factor. Feel free to chime in with advice if you know anything about this…really!
Perhaps most flattering in this thought process was revisiting a conversation I had had last year with the Filipina Fox and her hubby. They had mentioned stepping out of the housing market and using their downpayment money to augment my startup funding. They also had familial connections that would potentially participate in the start up financials. I can’t tell you how simultaneously rewarding and terrifying it is to have someone give over that level of trust to you. It was humbling and awesome at the same time.
So, I also had partners if I said yes.
Yes to Oregon.
Yes to small business ownership.
Yes to those partners.
Yes to selling my condo in Seattle.
And all I had to do was put a period at the end of the “No more Seattle” sentence.
What was my hesitation?
Having thought about that question for a few days, I’m not sure there is an actual hesitation. It’s more likely just a matter of wading through this present limbo regarding the open job opportunity there.
It’s coming back to timing.
But this time, I’ve no vague apathy. I’m impatient to make a decision. The invite for the second/final interview came and I’m set up for another day trip this coming week. I would imagine that the EVP wants to get a job offer out before he leaves for vacation the following Monday. He’s gone for two weeks, so his return to the business and my presumed start date would be right around March 1st.
The timing worked for lodging in Seattle.
If he said yes to me.
If I said yes to him.
And I said yes to Seattle again.
There’s a lot of comfort in being a part of someone else’s risk and having that support, to be sure. However, now that feels like I’m saying no to myself. Which kind of conflicts me. So, Neurotic Xtopher gets to work and starts mentally spinning plates, each one a different variable in this big decision.
Then I get a call from a company here in Portland that is interested in interviewing me for a position.
But I’m just going to try and keep them all spinning until the end of this month. I figure, the real drop dead date here is February 28th. That’s when the nurses move out. A lot can happen between now and then.
Interviews on Tuesday in Seattle next week and Thursday here in PDX. I’ll figure out what the next steps are for each shortly thereafter.
Dusting off my business plan and giving it some tweaks. Doing some research into particulars of timing and execution.
Determining the validity of using part of the proceeds from my condo sale to fund a business…
My big hope in this…inning of the yes game? That I get the job in Portland.
Then the condo gets sold. Most definitely a yes there.
I say yes to buying a new place here in Portland sometime this year. I think the Silver Fox secretly wants me to buy a two bedroom so he can move into my place in his dotage, whenever that might be. Hehehe. That’s a maybe yes, but I owe him big so it’s something to consider. Plus, he has the coffee maker I want, so there’s that added bonus.
I look at whether saying yes to this business start up is the best idea. Is it viable? Yeah, it is. Would starting a new job, buying a new house and starting a small business all in the same year be hellacious? Absolutely yes. But, theoretically, I would have partners. Definitely, I would have my friends and family around to support me in this effort. Plus, it’s a nice busy offset after being decidedly underemployed for nearly the last couple of years.
Maybe those Seattle plates spin.
Maybe they fall.
If they do fall, there’s a whole set of new plates here in Portland that I can get spinning in short order. Yes?
We’ll see what the end of the month brings.