Cashing in on Karma

I quit my job today.

No, you are not reading that incorrectly. And it’s not a bad thing, either. In fact, it’s a very good thing. I’ll let the dust settle on that little announcement before continuing.

But here’s what I am beginning to believe: I lead a charmed life. Either that, or I am finally cashing in those hard-earned Karma points. Because lately, everything that could possibly go my way, is doing exactly that. I am in an amazing relationship with the love of my life. My football team is the talk of the league thanks to their star quarterback, who not only came back from a serious neck injury but is playing better than at any time in his already-illustrious career. My president won reelection. I recently beat my uncle in back-to-back games of Words With Friends. (Scoff if you will, but this was a huge accomplishment. He’s my toughest opponent by a country mile). There is so much stinkin’ good in my life it’s unbelievable.

I know what you’re thinking. Hold on a second! What about this awesome job in the music industry that you love so much?

It’s gone. History. Toast. Or will be in two weeks, anyway. And I couldn’t be happier.

The story begins way back in June…

I applied for a marketing position with a medical company in Vancouver, WA. The truth is, I barely remember this, but at the time I was shelling out 10-12 resumes a week because my unemployment benefits had just expired. I’d been out of work for twenty months and things were looking bleak. Then I got a call about the music job, aced the interview, and was hired at the end of the month. I was ecstatic! Or so I claimed. The reality is, there were a couple of big negatives that put a damper on my enthusiasm, but I didn’t talk about them at the time because the most important thing was the fact that I was working again. The mean streets would not have Mark T. Petruska to kick around anytime soon.

More on those negatives in a little bit. I’ve got a tale to finish, and it’s a whopper. The type of thing that never happens to me. Only, this time it did.

About a month ago, I got a call at work. I ignored it because I didn’t recognize the number, and the caller left a voicemail. When I listened to it on my break, I was dumbfounded. The caller’s name was S…well, let’s just call him Tiger. Future boss and all. Tiger was calling from the medical company in Vancouver where I’d applied four months earlier. Said they’d hired somebody else for the marketing position but he’d held onto my resume because he liked my skill set and thought I might be an appropriate fit down the line. Well, the marketing person turned out to be a decent enough marketing person, but couldn’t write worth a damn, so the company was looking to create a new position dedicated solely to writing. And would I be interested?

I immediately called Tiger back. This is what I told him.

“I’m actually working now, and I want to be brutally honest. I love the position, and it’s in an industry that I’m passionate about. But, there are a couple of downsides, and they’re pretty big. First of all is the salary. When I was unemployed I came up with a minimum acceptable hourly wage that I’d need to survive on, but once my benefits ran out I became desperate and accepted a job that paid several dollars an hour less than that figure. Adding insult to injury, working in Oregon I am paying state taxes, even though I live in Washington (where there is no state tax, a fact that automatically adds around 9% to your take-home pay). Second, there’s the commute. Usually it’s not too bad (I average 20-25 minutes each way), but have been stuck in traffic for upwards of an hour, an hour and a half, sometimes. And while the work is satisfying, it doesn’t allow me to tap into my creativity as often as I’d like.”

Tiger asked me what my target salary was and replied, “I’m confident we can meet that. As for the commute, you’d be working less than fifteen minutes from home. Taxes would not be an issue. And the job is strictly a writing position, so as long as you enjoy that, I think you’d be happy.”

So I told him I’d love to come in for an interview. It went well, and led to a second, with the owners of the company, two weeks later. They liked me, but needed convincing, so they offered me a project as a chance to prove myself. I had to write two separate articles on sinusitis, utilizing a list of key words and phrases they supplied, maximizing for search engine optimization to achieve a high Google ranking. This is a skill I picked up while freelancing last year, and was one thing I highlighted in my portfolio during both interviews. In retrospect, it was a smart move to teach myself SEO writing and get some practical experience, even though I was being paid peanuts at the time and eventually broke up with my client. Turns out it was good enough experience. I knocked out those articles in an hour, turned them in, they were all impressed, asked for references and permission to run a background check, and on Tuesday of this week I was offered the position of Content Creator. It’s the first time in my life that I will actually be receiving a full-time salary to write, and believe me, is about as close to a dream job as I could hope for. And the irony? I couldn’t find a job to save my life for nearly two years. Now they’re practically falling right out of the sky.

Keeping this a secret for three long days has been torture. I wanted to wait until Friday to tender my letter of resignation and talk to my boss because that would give him exactly two weeks to prepare. Actually, the real reason is, I’m a chickenshit.  I didn’t know what his reaction would be, but pictured the worst. I thought he might curse, yell, throw a stapler at me, and escort me out of the building. Instead? He congratulated me, shook my hand, and wished me well. And within twenty minutes had two candidates coming in for interviews today. I was relieved and impressed, and intend to make the most of my final two weeks here.

By the way, the Buffalo Wild Wings magic continues to work its spell. We went there the evening of my second interview, and for the third consecutive time, a job offer followed. It’s uncanny, folks.

In a few hours we depart for Seattle. Coincidentally, the day I was offered this job, we went up there. And now the day I quit, we’re going there, too.

In a way, everything comes full circle, I suppose. Which is really what Karma is all about.

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44 thoughts on “Cashing in on Karma

  1. You lucky devil! Isn’t it amazing how things work out? Good for you!! btw in your list good fortune, you forgot to mention that your blog is listed on honiebriggs.com under “Follow The Leaders.” I think in the grand scheme of things, that falls somewhere around your Word with Friends victories. ;)

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  2. Mark, what kind of writing education do you have? Obviously you are an author and blogger but do you have formalized training- such as a degree in communications or Engish? I trying to break into the field and have had moderate success, but I’m always interested in knowing how someone else did it. Congratulations! I know you have been wanting this for a long time. Enjoy the good times my friend :)

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    1. Actually, that’s a great question, one that I’d like to address in another post. I started to talk about it here, but was veering off too far in another direction. The short answer is “none,” but it’s more complicated than that. Look for me to elaborate next week.

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  3. Wow, you lucky bu–er! I really want to read your post next week on how you got this training because I too am unemployed & would like to try making a living with my writing. You’re going to have to change your tag line for comments – starving artist will no longer apply. I am so jealous! Congrats!

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  4. Awesome, Congrats! :D I’m super excited for you! To get paid to do something that you’ve been wanting to do is just fantastic.

    And we really need a Buffalo Wild Wings here. Because they’re clearly lucky. ;)

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  5. Okay…are you entirely sure it’s the wing place? I look at this as divine and I see how God is answering my prayers for all my family.

    So happy for you and Tara!! Seriously!!

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  6. Mark, I’m overjoyed for you! This is sounding providential! Things are really turning out well and truly through it all you’ve had an amazing attitude! Congratulations! I think this is so cool. I know you’ll keep us posted how it all goes!

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  7. Thats fantastic news Mark!! It looks like all of our luck is changing, since I moved salons, not only am I paying less rent, I doubled my income. Now, we meed Scott to graduate and get a job so we can all do something fun, like rent a house in Kauai for a couple of weeks. Congrats Marks, i’ll raise a glass tonight for you!

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