Greetings from the Grand Canyon

14 03 2012

So it has been a while since I have been consistently blogging and a lot has changed in my life. I am writing to you from the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona where I have accepted a job working — and living — inside America’s most famous National Park. It was a very hard decision to come here and I still am not sure if I have made the right decision.

The bottom line is I need to work and it was becoming obvious to everyone that it wasn’t going to happen in Panama City. I had revealed my political leanings and championed labor during a state level campaign and for that I was blacklisted, just as my campaign manager had warned.

“You’ll never work again in Panama City after this, John. You realize that.” she said.

But I didn’t realize it and instead continued to apply for jobs and attend job fairs with the hopes that my public community service would be beneficial in landing a job. Ironically, it was my very public service that was keeping me from being employed again.

Frustration began to set in after Sears canceled an interview. If I couldn’t get on at a shopping mall department store, it was truly a lost cause.

It was around that time that a phone call came from Arizona. It was Thom, Jim’s friend from the Grand Canyon, and he was curious as to why Jim did not make his annual visit. I had to inform Thom of Jim’s untimely passing which led to a long conversation. I was glad Thom called, I enjoyed his company. He was a gregarious burly man and very bright. Thom was also a published author and quite the authority on the Grand Canyon, having lived there for more than 30 years.

It was during our telephone chat that I relayed to Thom how depressed I had become at my long term unemployment. I asked him if the Canyon was hiring and he said yes, but added the conditions “could be hard a tender fellow from Florida.”

Of course, I took this as a challenge and when the application arrived in the mail a few weeks later, I promptly filled it out and mailed it back. Having completed so many applications I really didn’t give it much thought. It had become so routine.

But then the email came with words that were almost unrecognizable: “Job Offer”

Surprised by this sudden turn of events, I talked it over with David, who was happy for me. If anyone knew the struggles of the last four years, it was David. The next step was breaking the news to my family and friends. Mom and Dad were very hostile at first, worried that I was going off on some mid-life crisis. Most of my friends were supportive.

“How many times do you get to live inside one of the seven wonders of the world?,” my whimiscal artist friend Paulette asked.

To satisfy the folks, I made one last run at employment in Panama City. With a job offer in hand from a world class tourist destination, I attended the Windham Job Fair at Bay Point in Panama City Beach — just a few blocks away from my house. It was at this job fair where I became convinced I was indeed blacklisted in Bay County.

The human resources manager had a look of distain as she reviewed my resume and application. She was anything but pleasant. When I pressed her about the job opportunities available, she promised to be in touch. Of course, a call never came.

Roseanne, my dear sweet campaign manager, was right all along.

I would never work in Panama City again.




4 responses

17 03 2012
Don Harris

Wow — quite a change of scenery. I hope all goes well. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon once and remember thinking that it would be great to see in in different seasons. You have that chance now!

20 03 2012
Margaret Webster

I hope you don’t mind that I am reading your blog. I go to church with David and during Sunday School he had asked that we pray for you as you get settled in your new job at the Grand Canyon. It piqued my interest since my family is planning a trip to the Grand Canyon this summer. So afterward, I asked David if he thought you might be willing to give us some insider advice on the area since you have shoes on the ground there. He pointed me in the direction of your blog and that is why I am writing this to you in this forum. It sounds like things have been very difficult in PC for you since you ran for office. Since I do not know you personally, I would not presume to offer advice. I have another friend who worked at Yellowstone under similar circumstances – it brought her perspective, peace and wonderful stories. In the end, it was a turning point in her life and I hope this adventure is the same for you. Once you get settled, it would be wonderful if you did have any advice you might want to share about the area – things we should do and things to avoid. And perhaps we could take you to dinner/lunch when we get out there. Thanks for your time and good luck with your new job! Margaret Webster

26 03 2012

Thanks for the kind note, Margaret. I’m already feeling the healing process begin. I will be in touch about your visit.

27 03 2012
Margaret Webster

Thanks – I have subscribed and will be waiting to hear how things go for you through your writings here. I am sure you will have great things to share on your journey.

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