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New Employment

Mark Mzyk | November 8, 2009

Life has picked up this week.  I’m joining the daily grind with most of the population again.  It’s strange to find myself beating the sun up in the mornings.  It’s also certain that I’ll start to flirt with sleep deprivation again.  That wasn’t a problem when I was unemployed.

I’m now a contractor with Lenovo, as of this past Tuesday.  It feels good to have meaningful employment once again.  It comes at a good time, as the coffers needed replenishment.  As for details, I’m part of the Advanced Technology Center.  I’m programming Python.  That’s all I can say.  Since my position deals with technology and software that isn’t yet available, I can’t talk about it.

The job is awesome.  I’m leaning in leaps and bounds.  I’ve been taken out of my comfort zone, as this isn’t web programming.  It’s great.  I’ve seen that there’s more to the world than the web.  I’ve been reminded that there are a myriad of problems to be solved with programming and they don’t all involve requests per second.

There are other aspects to this job, beyond technology, that are forcing me to lean.  As a contractor, I receive no benefits, beyond getting paid nicely.  This puts me on the market for health care, and as every freelancer will tell you, it’s expensive.  People don’t realize how much their employers currently subsidize  health care.  I knew my previous employer subsidized my health care, but until I needed COBRA, I didn’t know by how much.  Even with COBRA, I viewed it as a necessary short term pain.  Now I can’t ignore the cost of health care: I have to pay it fully.

Going through this experience, I think everyone should at some point have to pay the full cost of their health insurance.  It would open people’s eyes.  At the very least, it would provide everyone with more understanding of the system.  It would be amazing to see a country in which no one had to worry about health care.  Imagine how liberating that would be.  How many more entrepreneurs would exist?  To be an entrepreneur today means accepting huge risks, including risks to your health if you can’t afford insurance while you start a business.  How would the calculus of creating a startup change if health wasn’t part of the equation?  What innovations are we now missing out on, because of the status quo?

I’m lucky.  I’m in a position to be able to afford health care.  It makes me hopeful that this country passes some form of health care reform this year.  I don’t doubt that any new law will have flaws, but it’s a start, and we need to start somewhere.  I think everyone, whatever political persuasion, can agree on that.

I’ll step off my soap box now.  I don’t want this post to become an argument about politics.  I do however want to document my experiences and my situation.  I have a new job.  For that and all the blessings in my life I’m thankful.

I encourage you to look for me Monday through Friday on 540 as I head to work.  I’ll be in the crowd, slowed to a stop at the Six Forks on-ramp as everyone waits for traffic to merge.  Wave to me, if you catch my eye.  I’ll be smiling, because I have a job, and I love it.