Weekly Writing Challenge: Starting Over


This used to be such a bustling business. We were so busy we had to recruit young people from countries like Poland and Mexico and call them interns to pick up the slack and we were still working mandatory overtime.
But that was before every home had a PC; before kindles and I-pads were even a dream (except to maybe Steve Jobs). The magazine binding business was a bustling profitable business; before.

the crash and all the little specialty magazines folded. The big guys like Architectural Record dropped page counts when houses stopped being built; and when Architects were laid off in droves subscriber counts plummeted.

Before the Internet became standard and people decided they didn’t need one or two magazines to tell them things they could find with the help of a keyboard and a search engine. And now so many (who can afford them) carry “readers” with them and so many more of us have our smart phones. With these electronic devices we have the power to access beautiful digital images and text from AARP to Zoobooks with a swipe and a scroll.

I’ve been associated with this business for most of my adult life. I’m coming up on my 20th year back here in this bindery and the writing is on the wall. There won’t be another 20 years for me here. And at 50 I have at least 20 more to go but I don’t think this business as I know it will be here then. I am not sure we will be here tomorrow from the way things look.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to wish my job away. I have many benefits including health and life insurance that would cost me dearly to replace. I have already done the math. I get discounts from many of the company’s I do business with like my cell phone provider and my auto insurance. Without this job those things will cost me more and I will have a whole lot less money.

But I am also watching benefits being chipped away. Since January 1st I have lost 2 days of vacation and the company match on my 401K. To me the loss of that match is more telling than the dividends they sent home to their investors last quarter. I also got a raise which seems to contradict everything but it was nice and for the rest of the week I was more focused on my job than starting over.

But the time has come. At 50 years old my clock is ticking. I have to get retrained not only in a different job but an entirely different line of work and then find a job to match my new earned skills. I figure that’s a two year commitment, at least. I can’t waste too much more time.

The time is right for me to start over.

It’s a scary proposition and the photo I chose to accompany this post illustrates that. It’s early autumn like the season of my life that I am in. The road curves so that you can’t see where it’s going. It looks like it may be going up but you can’t tell if it’s a steep incline or just a hillock in the road. There’s some sun peeping through the trees but you it’s hard to discern if it’s coming out or going in. Either way it’s not blinding and the road seems clear…so far.

Starting Over not knowing what's around the bend

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