Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jumping Tracks

So its been a year and 5 months since I started applying for jobs and wouldn't you know it, I'm still unemployed. I've therefore decided to channel John McCain and temporarily suspend my campaign for pres.. I mean for gainful employment. Like McCain, I am not calling off my campaign, I'm just shifting my attention to more immediate concerns, namely, our meltdown in my family's financial sector. I have decided that to rescue my families financial crisis it will require a quick infusion of capital to stabilize things and prevent a run by all the creditors on our bank account. My economic advisors have advised me that even though this is not a long term solution to our financial problems, it is a necessary step to restore confidence in my families financial system.

In all seriousness though, I've scaled back considerably the amount of time I spend looking for jobs that eventually will either ignore me or reject me. Instead, I am continuing the subbing, but also added side jobs like installing sprinkler systems, refinishing hardwood floors, and tutoring. What has surprised me is how lucrative the field of tutoring can be- I put a few ads on craigslist, and I already have 7-8 regular clients (1-5 times per week) just 2 weeks after I put the ads up. My schedule is now full.

I'm not a big believer in things happening for reasons- if your dog got run over, it was an accident. God did not plan that. If you lost your job, well, life just sucks sometimes and you just have to pull yourself up again- God is not out to get you, and I don't even think he made you lose your job so that he could teach you neat things about patience. What he does do is help you take the random crap that happens to you and make you grow with it.

However, my job situation is.... a little weird. Lets face it, the unemployment rate for physics phd's is like 1%. Nearly everyone gets a job after they graduate with a physics phd. Am I broken? Could it be that God is causing this to push me in another direction? Does He do that? I didn't think so, but, I have been known to be wrong.

I few months ago, I had this idea pop into my head for a business. When I first thought of it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. That first night I layed in bed for hours thinking about it before finally coming downstairs at 2 in the morning to do a little internet research on it before I could go to bed. It was all I could think about for days. I went on vacation to Seattle, and after being distracted by a potential job offer there for a week or so (and one in Orem), I'm back thinking about it because a friend in my ward I had talked to about it brought it up and told me a business associate of his wants to do something similar- except he wants to handle all the advertising for the company. This same friend told me he could think of a bunch of people who would 100% be customers of this company. Another friend that same day told me he knew people who would definitely spend thousands of dollars with our company. Again, I can't stop thinking about it.

The problem is, I've run some numbers, and the only way for this company to be profitable is for it to become Walmart sized with revenue streams of billions of dollars. Thats just crazy talk to think a guy like me could start or handle something that big. Maybe Walmart is a stretch, but it needs to be big to work- not big at all at once, I mean it will have time to grow over several years, but the model works best at large scales. But people don't come out of nowhere with no money and start a company as big as Google. Do they?

So thats my dilemma. I've got an idea I think will really work. I've got life circumstances that seem to be pushing me to make my own success rather than working for someone else's success at an established company. If all continues as it seems to be developing, our financial situation will stabilize with these odd jobs and tutoring. But I keep running up against the wall of thinking that this is too big for me. I've never run a business. Its just too big. Could I really do it? I don't know.

But I've decided to make the initial steps. I know someone in the industry in question, and he has agreed to meet with me and go over my ideas and business plan. At least then I'll have a professional opinion on whether it is even feasible. I'm going to talk to the advertising guy and see what his ideas are. I'm going to talk to another guy I know who runs his own company and pick his brain on the ins and outs of employing people and moving materials and getting labor done, and how those all might apply to my idea.

After all that, if I get the green light from these people, and possibly Jenny, you might be reading the ramblings of the next Henry Paulson. He is bald, after all.

Or, in a few months one of you will ask me "what ever happened to that idea...", and I'll stare blankly at the screen and type "what idea?".


jenn w said...

Do it.

randy said...

Maybe you're part of the 1% that refuses to move to Texas. ;-)

Would you really be in this position if you'd been open to the whole country? Who knows, but in today's market, limiting yourself geographically can be a killer.

However, if you feel that you're being guided by the Spirit, by all means go with it!

Nick said...

The last 6 months or so I've been looking everywhere- I even applied to jobs in MA, NY, SC, FL which were right down there with TX on my list of "don't want to live there"

Liz said...

is it Spanx for men? Ray needs some serious help for his thighs!

Nick said...

So I talked to the lawyer I know who handles the legal aspects of projects like mine (he also happens to be my bishop), and he semi-agreed with my initial assessment of whether this would work or not: if it is such a great idea, why isn't someone else doing it? He went one step further and said that other people have put forward business models to investors and come to the conclusion that it wouldn't make enough money to justify the cost.

But... he also said that some of the legal issues concerning what I want to do have not been settled yet, and that those who are well positioned when the law is settled will be the ones to make the money. He also told me to write up a list of the legal questions I had and he knows someone at work who can answer them all and decide whether or not this is even a possibility.

So no green light, but no red light, just a proceed with caution.

Next steps: 1.)Get legal questions clarified by other lawyer. 2.)Talk to a banker who can tell me if banks would partly fund what I want to do (the bishop said usually not, but to make sure with a banker). 3.)Make a business plan with real numbers and show to someone involved in funding things like this. 4.)Stop dreaming and redouble job search efforts.

Cabeza said...

As I've been following this post, I just realized that a while ago I mentioned the possibility of having contacts at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and I never delivered on them. I just re-emailed the guy that I had talked to before and asked him to send me the contact information for the people he knows over there. Hopefully I'll have a lead for you soon.

Also, have you tried creating active search agents on ? It's a handy tool if you're looking for government jobs (and it sounds like right now you're looking for any jobs). They aren't just for the DC area, either. You can find jobs anywhere in the US with that site (and sometimes outside of it).

Good luck.

Cabeza said...

The guy at my work is going to do us one better and hand-deliver your resume to his contacts at NAVAIR and ONR.

Email me your resume and I'll pass it on to him.