A new chapter in life

When I last walked out of an office where I was employed in a full-time permanent job, Hilary Clinton had just been appointed to a high-level Administration position–heading husband Bill’s health care reform initiative in 1993. Sinceblog-graphic then, I’ve done a lot of interesting things: I was a full-time, stay-at-home dad with my two young kids for several years; worked part-time at the Northfield Public Library, ran a sideline beekeeping business; became a volunteer community energy activist, helping form and run RENew Northfield while schlepping mail for the US Postal Service as a casual employee, then working at St. Olaf College’s Rolvaag Library; and enjoyed several years of working as an energy and sustainability consultant through my business, Sustainable Community Solutions.

Well, several months ago¬† Captain Anne of the Good Ship Anderson/Larson politely pointed out that my Sustainable Community Solutions income seemed to be tracking the Dow Jones Industrial Average and our college and retirement savings account balances. She noted that this was clearly an djiaunsustainable trend for our family economy given that our daughter Maia wants to keep attending college at Grinnell, our son Jakob hopes to go to college in about 18 months, and we all like to eat three solid meals a day and sleep under a rain-tight roof. She suggested, and I agreed, that a regular paycheck wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Sustainable Community Solutions isn’t going anywhere (I’m going to continue to do a bit of consulting), but a job search was clearly in order.

Thus it was that I found myself going to work on Monday, February 23rd, at the Dakota County Community Development Agency, employed as a Weatherization/Rehab Specialist. I’ve enjoyed my first several weeks on the job, with a highly professional and motivated group of coworkers, interesting and challenging work, and the prospect of a regular paycheck once again. I feel extremely fortunate to have found a good job at a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing jobs every month.

My only regret in taking the job is that I’m out of Northfield Monday through Friday during the work day, and I inevitably will be a little less connected to the community than I have been for the past 15-plus years. I’m also less than crazy about commuting 29 miles one-way to work (I need to have my car at work every day to travel to homes where I do weatherization energy audits and post-weatherization inspections). However, as soon as the CDA finishes installing an employee exercise room with showers later this spring, I’m looking forward to getting LOTS of bike commuting in, leaving my car at work overnight most days.

The long and winding road continues to unfold before me…

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