Hurry up and wait
Monday, March 03, 2014
Well... I kind of have a job, maybe, sometime.
I was offered a job with a non-profit agency that operates bookstores in national parks. They were asked by the Park Service to take over the bookstores in two parks from a similar agency that is in deep financial doo-doo. Only, the request was made more than a month before the other agency was told they were getting the boot. In the interim, that agency borrowed more money to try to keep themselves afloat-- and they borrowed it from vendors who wholesale books to both agencies.
Now they have (not unreasonably) asked to be allowed to continue operating until the end of the fiscal year (Oct 1) to try to earn back some of what they owe so that, when they inevitably declare bankruptcy, they can hurt their creditors a little less. It is to the new agency's advantage to let them do so, since we'll have to continue dealing with those creditors who, even though they will logically understand that there's a new team in town, will nonetheless have a hard time not emotionally blaming the bookstore for them getting stiffed. (One major vendor may have lent them $100K or more, and we don't know if they paid any of it back. ) The Park Service really doesn't want to give them that extra time; they want them out and us in by the middle of May.
So... If we take over in May, I'll start training in April. That was the original plan, and it gave me a nice little vacation between ending one job and starting the next. If we don't take over until October, I'm out of work for 6 months. I can't really afford that since I'll need at least $3500 on hand for moving expenses and apartment deposit (housing is extremely expensive near these other two parks.) And those 6 months are the off season where I am right now, so I'm not likely to find temporary work here.
The latest plan, though, is that the director of the agency I'll be working for wants to go to the new parks in May and VOLUNTEER to try to get the other agency partway out of their pickle. If that happens, I would probably go at the same time and be paid by the other agency. But I don't know if it's wise to work for them since we know they're still going to go bankrupt; it blurs that line and makes it less obvious that we are separate and unrelated. I have no doubt that we can greatly improve on what they have been doing and recover a fair amount, but we can't fix 18 years of financial malfeasance in 5 months. The vendors are still going to get stiffed.
Oh, well. We'll see. One thing that I have decided is that if I do start work under the old agency, I am going to wear the uniform of the new agency, but the employees of the old agency who will be continuing with us are going to get their new uniforms on the day the official turn-over happens. (They don't have uniforms currently, and that's just one more little piece of the problem. They look like cr*p-- teenagers in ill-fitting, rumpled, worn T-shirts, so when you go into the bookstore, you can't tell who works there, and once you figure it out, you don't have much confidence that they'll know anything about the books (and, in fact, they don't. I'll be doing a lot of training.) It just seems like it will be a good visual reminder that the professionals are coming.