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At long last, I have found myself a REAL job. I am now a Financial Services Representative with Fidelity Investments. My new job is located in about the most picturesque area I could have possibly imagined. It's in Westlake, just north of Keller, between Grapevine and I-35 West. It's next door to Ross Perot, Jr's "house," with a forest on one side and a gorgeous lake on the other. Traffic? There's none. It's as far from civilization as could be, secluded and tranquil. And the dreaded "live in the west, work in the east" problem with the sun always being in the eyes is avoided with this location.

The building itself is a bit like an art museum. There are fish ponds and fountains all around, picnic areas dotting the countryside near the lake, huge paintings, and all kinds of pleasing shapes and textures. I will have my own office space with a gorgeous view of the well-tended wilderness.

I can't tell you what a relief this is, after interviewing for positions in the heart of darkness, downtown Dallas. This location, to me, is worth making $10,000/year less. Fortunately, I don't need to make that sacrifice.

Since the base is so far from anything, the on-site facilities are extensive. There are at least two places to eat, including a fully-catered (by Marriott) restaurant, also with a tremendous view (courtesy of windows that must be a hundred feet tall). I'm sure I'll eat most of my lunches outside in any of the various beautiful spots set up for doing so. On the shore of the lake, for instance.

There's a full fitness facility with more machinery than some dedicated fitness centers I've seen. There's a place to do your laundry and to take showers. There are plenty of fridges for storing your "sack lunch." The parking lot is covered (and filled with Mercedes, Lexuses, BMWs, and other high end vehicles). There seems to be some "feng shui" in some of the outdoor design elements. The dress code is often "business casual," though there will be some formal days requiring suit and tie.

My pay will be substantial, at least three times more than I've ever been able to make in the past, with great potential for making more and for advancing. First priorities are buying a new car (Mazda 3i at the low end, Acura RSX Type-S or maybe even an RX-8 or 350Z at the high end) and finding a new apartment (with a real fridge, a pool, a weightroom, plush carpet, thick walls, a balcony, quietness, a washer and dryer, a round jacuzzi tub, free cable, and, as Bruce Wayne remarked to Vicki Vale, "lots of space"), then paying off the school loan, then getting the IRA going, and then I'm going to think about buying a house. Westlake opens up many possibilities: I *could* stay in Denton, as the commute is really very painless. I could move just south of Westlake -- to Keller, Southlake, Colleyville, Bedford, Euless, Hurst, North Richland Hills, etc. I could even manage south Fort Worth near my father and brothers.

Beyond raw dollars though, the benefits packages are extraordinary. They've covered every benefit I've ever heard of and then a lot more I never imagined. That aspect really sort of blew me away.

The work I'm going to be doing is what I know, what I've been educated for, and what I'm interested in. It will give me experience, certification, and concrete accomplishments, the three elements that have been missing from my resume. And I believe I could have a long, enjoyable, profitable career with Fidelity. Having it situated in a location that looks like something out of a painting makes that possibility much more agreeable and likely.

Searching for a job has been a depressing, soul-crushing exercise, but now that it's over, I can easily say that the decision I made in 2001 to get my life back on track was the right one. I was going nowhere. I wasn't unhappy on a day to day basis, and I had enough on my plate intellectually to keep me satisfied. But the nagging feeling that I was falling well below my potential, wasting my youth, and giving the bird to my future would not leave me alone.

I begin my job on June 21st at 8:30 am. Training lasts around four months including Series 7 and Series 63 Certification. I will spend an all-expenses-paid week in Deerborn, MI. I already have two weeks of paid vacation which I can use any time in 2004, though they ask that I not use it until after training -- after October 21st, then.

Treats? A treadmill. Lots of health food. CDs, games, DVDs, and books I've had on my list since I don't know when. That awesome L-shaped leather couch with three recliners, a massager, and a fold-out bed I've been eyeing for a while (and no, I'm not going to shop from the Ikea catalog -- I'm not my Swedish furniture, but I can use a nice place to recline and entertain). New computer parts (hard drive, mobo, CPU, soundcard, 3D card). A roadbike so I can start doing the long-distance rides with Annette's husband. And, of COURSE, a new motorcycle -- but not until later on. And I'm going to start blogging again, on my own webspace, just like I talked about HERE.