When Black Friday Comes

“When Black Friday comes…I’ll collect everything I’m owed… and before my friends find out, I’ll be on the road…”

Friday was my “black Friday,” as in that’s when the money got locked in. And here’s how much I’ll be making!

It’s somewhere on that table! Talking salaries is taboo, of course… but as a soon-to-be gov’t employee, my salary is public knowledge. It reminds me of when Jen and I got our first house. My BFF, Daniel, asked how much we paid. My wife grew up in a family where money affairs were private, and I didn’t know the social mores about mortgages (having never had one before!), so I told him we weren’t sharing our home price with friends… he laughed and said “dude, it’s fine. I’ll look it up next week on Zillow. House sale prices are public info.”

There’s a salary range in the job post, and a bureaucratic process. After getting the job, you wait (the #1 quality in a FS applicant is ability to wait). Then a salary offer comes, according to a formula that places you on the spreadsheet above. Then you respond in writing, “I can haz moar money, plz?” And they adjust your entry salary according to some esoteric SOP.

Send this to the registrar!

I’m still doing time at my current employer, so in between patients on Friday, I wrapped up the salary adjustment process with State. Then I stayed late in the clinic to teach an 8yo kiddo how to use the new inhaler I’d prescribed – I’m always happy to do that! Then I met up with my dad and went to see Steely Dan.

Only, Steve Winwood no-showed

The opener was jazz-rock band Snarky Puppy, who made me an instant fan for life. Steely Dan lived up to their legendary reputation for perfectionism. It was a night of incredible music, and I was deeply grateful to spend it with my dad, who gave me my taste in music, and who is always great company.

The night before Steely Dan, I went with my brother, Cody, to see another intense band, mewithoutyou.

Both concerts were fantastic! And bringing it back around, I didn’t buy a single tee shirt at either one because my new salary is a bit of a pay cut (I’d love to see Jen’s eyes roll at me buying more band tees).

We’re going to miss concerts. We’re really going to miss living so close to my dad and brother. And our favorite parks and hikes and restaurants. We’re going to miss our friends. I remind myself that we’re not swapping a bad life for a better one… we’re giving up a great life, for a different great life, in the hope that we grow along the way, and someday look back and say “yeah, we’re glad we did that!”

According to the manual for this early part of our journey, it’s normal to be asking ourselves, “Will I do well in the assignment? Will my family be happy? Will my extended family understand, support, and stay in contact with us? Am I doing the right thing? Is this who I want to be? Is this right for us?”

So I guess we’re normal. We’re definitely asking ourselves those questions, salary notwithstanding. But in the words of Steve “too cool for Portland” Winwood,

When life is too much
Roll with it, baby
Don’t stop and lose your touch
Oh no, baby
Hard times knocking on your door
I’ll tell them you ain’t there no more
Get on through it
Roll with it, baby
Luck will come and then slip away
You’ve gotta move bring it back to stay
You just roll with it, baby
Come on and just roll with it, baby
You and me

P.S. Congrats to Nick and family on their assignment to Mauritania!