Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alright.... now what?

A brief recap:

In the past year, my life has been mostly without structure. It was around this time last year when I learned that FLO TV's days were limited. I was offered a generous severance package to leave the company early. Given my area of responsibility and its relatively high level of importance, I viewed their willingness to let me go as a strong indicator that I ought to take the money and move on. So I did.

Having not taken more than 9 or 10 consecutive days off from work in the decade leading up to that point, I made the decision to not immediately jump back into the workforce. Instead, I used the money to travel and sustain myself while I took some time to unplug. Sure, I could have found another job and used the severance money to pay off the my debts. That would have been a smart, safe decision. But that's not to say  I regret the path I have chosen. I enjoyed my time off. I learned a lot about myself.

After a few months without any income other than poker winnings, the time had come to start formulating a more structured plan for the future. I briefly toyed with the idea of starting a business, and even put a few meetings together to explore into the details. It became clear that in order for my idea to succeed, I would need to be ready to scale up quickly. As such, I would require a large amount of capital to assemble the proper resources. I became aware of complications pertaining to intellectual property and possible patent infringement. Given the variables, I finally had to admit that the risk outweighed the upside. I still think the idea is viable, but having weighed the pros and cons I decided I was not ready for the massive undertaking at the time. 

At a point in life where most of my peers were starting families and bound by such responsibilities, I found myself unrestricted. But even while working in stable conditions with good pay, the high cost of living in San Diego had left me without the means to do much international travel. So with the lump sum paymenty from Qualcomm, I took a piece and went on vacation for awhile. I enjoyed every minute of it. But, I wanted to see more of the world. It knew it would be far easier if I had a steady income. So I looked at the opportunities to work abroad. It turns out they are plentiful. I finally decided to head east to teach English as a second language to students in South Korea. This happened right around the time they changed their immigration laws. The mandates now require that any foreign national be denied a Visa if they have a criminal record of any kind... even a misdemeanor. With a DUI on my record from 2005, my plans to move to Korea quickly fell apart. So, I began looking into other countries. I still focused on Asia because of the higher pay and low cost of living. I got together with a recruiting agency and found placement in Shanghai, China. I gathered all the necessary documents, passed all the interviews, and even set a date to move...October 2011. I would stay for at least one year. I could hardly wait.

With several months until the start date and the last of severance package money spoken for, I needed to find some work. I didn't even really care what it was, so long as it gave me the opportunity to pay down some debt before leaving overseas. On a whim, I got the job at the Mirage and moved to Las Vegas. I then landed the job at the World Series of Poker on top of that. Things were looking great. I would bust my ass for a couple of months, sell everything I owned, pay of the remainder of my debt, and move to China. Everything was falling into place.

So now what? With my condition and the likelihood of surgery looming, I have had to postpone the China trip indefinitely. It also has become apparent that I am not comfortable surviving on the modest pay that I've been able to earn since moving here. It was only meant to be temporary. So... somethings got to give. I need assurances that I have potential for upward mobility in the gaming industry, or I need to stop wasting my time. It would be easy to get stuck in Vegas. This living is cheap, but so is the cost of labor. Living hand to mouth is nothing new for me....  but it not something I have any desire to continue. 

I suppose this is just another of life's little challenges. I am trying physical therapy to help with the injury. I feel like it might be working but its too soon to say. I know my strength on the right side has partially returned... but my the numbness in my fingers and arm persists. Decision time will come soon. I'll continue with the therapy for a few more weeks and then get another MRI and EMG test done. The results will clearly show if I am improving. If not... I will bite the bullet and get the surgery. My lease is up here at the end of October. I will have a decision before then. If I have not improved, I will pack my things into storage and return to San Diego for the surgery and recovery.