06/23/2005: "two nice pick-me-ups"
Ah, there is a God. While it's not a trivial task to rely on faith that I'm going to get in the Masters program (and be able to not only pay for it but still own my home and eat and all that), today has been a good day for feeling better about my whole situation. My letters of reference are coming along quite nicely (extremely nicely in one instance), and a plan of action is now in place that numbers the days I have to put up with the mess that I call a contract.
Yes, I have a plan. Thanks to all that provided feedback, it was quite valuable. It directly inspired my plan of action, which I have started implementing tonight. First, I have decided that I will work where I am now only until September 2nd. That is the day before my extended family (including my immediate family, kids and all) head off to Florida on a one-week vacation. An excellent transition time, if I do say so myself. The contracting company that I've worked through before has now been informed that as soon as I'm back, I'm available, September 12th. So this means that my days where I am now are numbered (at 49, actually) and the contracting company has more than two months to figure out where I'm going to be going come September.
What's even better, this still allows some flexibility for school. Assuming I get into my program, I will simply cancel my availability altogether, and go from work, to vacation, to school. If I find out that my application has been declined, my availability will be moved up to one week's notice, and the next contract that comes my way will pull me out of the dismal place that I'm in now. It's a fairly simple yet effective plan that gives my life (and wife) some stability, yet provides the end that I crave. I also allows two months for a miracle to happen that would make me want to stay where I am. I won't say it'll never happen... I'll just maintain that it's unusually unlikely.
Speaking of school, my letters of reference are also giving me a pick-me-up. I mentioned before that my most recent boss (from my full-time position, before I was laid off) had agreed to give me a letter of reference. However, he had just started a new job (working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day) and has very little time. Thus, he pretty much wanted me to write his letter for him, and he would sign it and send it back to me. I e-mailed the text of the letter to him a while back, thinking that he'd make some additions or edits, but to my great surprise and glee, he simply signed it! As I have to hand in all reference letters in a sealed enveloped that is signed across the seal, I had to print it out for him and mail it off so he can sign it. That's been done, and I hope to get that letter (and it's a good letter) back from him by mid next week.
On an even better note, I finally talked to my former professor that had also agreed to give me an academic letter of reference. I talked to him yesterday, and asked him if I could come by today to pick the letter up. He wasn't available, but simply stuck it on his door for me. When I opened it I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had included a photocopy of the letter for me to read. I was almost shocked to read it - it was GLOWING! My wife read it to me as we were driving home, and I'm sure I had a shit-eating grin on my face. I was kind of worried about this letter of reference, as it's been 8 years since I worked with this professor, and I had no idea how he thought of me as a student. Turns out he not only remembers me, but remembers me fondly, and his letter is a resounding endorsement for my application. Woo-hoo!
All in all, I'm in much better spirits. A plan is in place for my work transition, and my Masters application is shaping up quite nicely. A little bit more time, and a little bit more faith, and we'll see what happens.