I received an interesting email today from a reader “Freemon” regarding the trials and tribulations of his engineer on the move friend “Bobo”.

“Freemon” writes …

The following is an email I received from a fellow engineer. It pretty much summarizes the times.

My Florida nuclear power plant work ended sooner than promised, so I networked my contacts and in 6 working days landed 2 solid offers. Yep, it’s moving time again.

I’m flying to Vancouver CA to work for 3 weeks, then flying back to Florida to move my stuff to AZ. I’m driving my truck the southern route – New Orleans, San Antonio River Walk and Alamo, Austin City Limits, etc. Should be in Phoenix the last few days of 2011, which gives me just enough time for a round of golf and a hike up Squaw Peak. Then I’m going to Nevada for my next job building a new gold mine.

Let’s see, that makes 4 states, 3 companies, 2 countries, and 5 different job-sites for me in the past 11 months. Pack-and-move and pack-and-move and pack-and-move. My world is spinning faster and faster and I can barely hold on anymore. I’ve rented my house, sold all my furniture, dumped my camping gear, and given away my t-shirts, and now I live out of cardboard boxes.

Anything I buy is too much trouble to drag around. I have simplified so much that all I own anymore is a cell phone, a laptop, and an email address. Travel light, move fast, and stay alive. There’s no middle ground anymore.

There are thousands of starving engineers, spun out into a ditch, unable to make that next move, meet that upcoming deadline, or attend tomorrow’s meeting. So I travel light and move fast. Very fast. Always faster than the last time. Always faster than the next guy. Always jumping higher and farther and better than ever before. One day I’ll just burn up, spin out, or perhaps just give up. But not just yet. Somehow, somehow still, I keep missing career death with that one well-placed contact. With that one quick jump, with that one flexible move, lucky me, I just survived another crash.

And, extra lucky me this time — the nukies downsized me in November but paid me thru January, and by next week I’ll be polishing gold nuggets in my hotel room in Vancouver. Double-dipping sweet!

So tonight I’m heading to Wal-Mart to buy a trench coat with deep pockets, extra sunglasses, and a 10 gallon hat. While you are sitting in your cubicle smothered in paperclips and yellow stickies, I’ll be surrounded with tons of gold! I’m sure they won’t miss an ounce or two every now and then.

And, so I spin, faster and faster, around the world. Where it stops nobody knows. It’s either spin or spin out in this business anymore.

Another job, another state, another company, another promise, another airplane flight, another hotel. What day of the week is it? Sorry, I don’t have a clue.

All I care about now is that this new job is good. I work 6 weeks on and get 2 weeks off. Free airplane, hotel, food, car, etc. They pay for everything. Even overtime. See you on Squaw Peak every day for 2 weeks about mid-February. Or perhaps Hawaii, Mexico, or wherever the plane lands next.

It looks like I’ll be living in hotels until the sky caves in, so if anyone needs any towels, shampoos, or soaps, just let me know.

Hey, Freemon, you can certainly understand. What a fast unstable world! You can do anything you want with this letter, but please change everything that identifies me with it. Thousands of engineers like us are stuck in this spin, and the corporate spin of “America needs more engineers, blah blah blah”

We have thousands of engineers too many. We need a stable economy!

That is a slightly edited version (corrected grammatically only) of a version on Freemon’s website Market Place of Ideas website Bobo’s Travels

I cannot confirm the accuracy of the post, but to me it rings true.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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