Good jearb, Howie!

News item: Howard’s value’s going way up There’s a lot going on in our little Midwestern life.


Howie found out in June that his job would end in May 2007, when Moore Wallace’s programming department is consolidated to the company’s Wisconsin headquarters. He was offered a position there if we wanted to move, but we love it in Central Ohio and don’t want to be uprooted. Besides, the company has changed hands a couple of times, had numerous layoffs and proven they’re not stable for their employees; why would we sell our house and leave our friends and family for this company, just to find Howie’s job had been downsized?

Howie hit the job trail and had good interviews. One went particularly well. It was for an out-of-state, privately-owned direct mail company who wants to open a remote programming office in our town. No move would be involved.

The guys were both hired by Freedom Graphics Systems. That’s right, Howie and MIke both have new jobs! Freedom!

They’ll do the same type of work they do now, programming direct mail pieces using GMC PrintNet. Right now, it’s just the two of them, but the company plans to bring on a couple more programmers once everything’s in place.

The new company wanted them to come out to Illinois to see the production plant there and formally receive their offers. So, on August 24, we headed to Illinois along with Howie’s co-worker and his wife. We wives tagged along — didn’t even have to hide in their suitcases. We all had a great time. Jackie and I talked a lot, laughed a lot and explored the pretty town of Geneva while the guys were at the plant. We even found a Caribou Coffee shop right downtown. Friday morning and afternoon. Ahh, the comforts of home.

Friday evening, the company took us out to a nice dinner at Keywesters. Oh. My. Gosh. What a dinner! I had filet mignon and huge king crab legs. Howie had a lovely New York strip steak. There were appetizers and dessert out the wazoo. The diet fell by the wayside that weekend.

We ended up staying an extra night so we could relax and explore a bit on Saturday, then headed back to Ohio Sunday morning. None of us wanted to turn around and make an 8-hour drive home after all the activity. It felt good to relax Saturday night and sleep in a little Sunday.

The guys turned in their notice in the morning on Monday, August 28, and were escorted out of the plant shortly thereafter: company policy when someone goes to work for a competitor. Thank God, Freedom Graphics put them on their payroll right away, so the guys won’t have any lapse in pay to worry about. We do have a one-month lapse in all insurance coverage until the new plan picks up October 1, but it could be a lot worse!

The week after we returned was a busy one, contacting realtors and property managers about available office space downtown. Mike didn’t have a preference where in town they worked, but Howie likes downtown and plans to walk to work, so we limited the search to the downtown area. The guys checked out several available office spaces in town. We wives went along on these forays (do you sense a theme here?) and I took photos to send along with the data to corporate.

Corporate went with our first choice of office space, a neat storefront location right on our town’s Courthouse Square. It will be especially nice come Christmastime, when the square is decorated for the holidays. There are windows in the interior walls, bringing natural light into the back of the space. They’ll have their own private bathroom (that’s me!) and a ktichenette for a coffeemaker and microwave, maybe and definitely a little fridge.

By the way, they’re thrilled they’ll have their own coffeemaker. They didn’t have coffee pots at their old job. That should be a Federally-mandated requirement for employers, especially for their programmers. 😉 They’ve already gotten a coffeemaker and a grinder. Howie insists they’ll have fresh-ground coffee beans. That’s my guy!

I’ve told several people that, though the guys are working for a very large independently-owned company, it feels more like a small business startup. All four of us have enjoyed being scouts and finding a place for the guys to call “home office’. There’s a sense of ownership. What they’ve suggested and requested matter, something most folks coming from a big corporate environment don’t enjoy. Morale was pretty bad at their old company, and this is such a welcome breath of fresh air.

The guys hope to have things set up next week. The company is sending furniture from their own office furniture stash and computers will be ordered and sent here. They’re just using Jack PC’s. The computers the guys will work on are housed remotely in Illinois (they’ll have their own dedicated server), but the guys will plug their input devices, speakers, monitors and USB devices into the Jack PC panels here. Ain’t technology grand?

The week after next, they’ll likely head to Illinois for a week’s training. I wish Jackie and I could tag along again, but I think it’s out of the question this time. Oh, poo! Except for my trip to see Lisa in Louisiana back in 2003, Howie and I have never been apart for more than a couple days. I’m going to miss the guy a lot.

I think that’s about it…Sorry we waited so long to update you. It just seemed like there was so much to tell, I didn’t know where to start. I’ve got a new job I’ll be starting in another week or so. I’ll write a separate entry about that.

Great jaerb, honey. I’m so proud of you!

This entry was posted in Family.

2 thoughts on “Good jearb, Howie!

  1. That looks like a big place! I’m so glad they found it and glad the company agreed they liked it also. How soon do they move in and hang their sign?

  2. Since Howie has always been priceless, this is just late recognition! Tell the guys to make all their requests now! Companies tend to be very earger to make you happy when you first enter and then start crunching numbers and getting harder to get things after a while.

    I love that you went from the possibility of having to move to being close enough to your home for Howie to walk to work!

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