I got hooked up with this via the gal who sits next to The Wife at her State job. Her husband works night shifts down at the train station and they suggested it might be something for me to look into. He says that most of the guys are in their 30's and 40's (I guess the railroad doesn't like to hire young guys for these gigs) and have college educations. He also says it's not particularly stressful work (especially not intellectually), with a lot of "waiting around" time. This translates to me to being an opportunity to read/write AND not be "burned out" for doing editing projects for the new manifestation of Eschaton.
At the same time I'm taking a serious look at being a "freelance tech" ... The Wife came up with this idea (from an article she'd seen in the paper), and from a market standpoint I think it has a lot of possibilities ... after all, there are 660 units in my building alone, and the area where I live has a population density (mostly Yuppies and upper-income types) only exceeded by parts of Tokyo ... in other words, I could focus on a customer base within a handful of blocks away from home and have more than enough business. I even grabbed up a domain for this ... ThatTechGuy.com (there's nothing there yet, heck, it doesn't even have a DNS pointer set up). The advantage of this is that I could build it "on the side" and give it as much time/energy as it demands.
I'm still going to be developing book projects and designing/editing books for Eschaton, which will give me my "intellectual exercise" that the railroad gig (if that comes through) wouldn't. From what the guys at Telepathic Media indicate as far as what their internal sales have been, the book gig could also grow into a full-time thing for me in a couple of years.
I am also looking at yet another "fresh start" with Unicity. That has been so frustrating over the years ... my last "fresh start" involved a 1,000-piece mailing that I did in my building and immediate area the first week of September of 2001. Yep. My mailing was hitting the mailboxes right about the time those airplanes were hitting the World Trade Center ... needless to say, that got universally over-looked in the chaos of the time. In the meanwhile, Royal Numico (the Dutch nutitional products giant who'd bought Rexall the year before) decided that it didn't want to be so involved in the US market, and sold off everything they'd bought over here ... and just last Fall the company changed hands, now being privately held by two of the previous Enrich/Unicity execs. There is a whole new "re-launch" going on now (with the very lame tag line of "The Make Life Better Company"), with some new products, a new comp plan, and a whole new look-and-feel. I wasn't able to get out to one of the "events" (Seattle 2/21, Atlanta 2/28, and Long Beach 3/6), but I'm waiting to get the new "stuff". I've developed a mailing list of all the people I've bought stuff (primarily those Pokemon cards) from on eBay and I'm going to be doing a mailing to that once I get something to send out (I've been working with a dwindling supply of promo tapes from 7/00!). I'm also going to do another mailing to the salons in the area (of which there are zillions), my small on-going customer base is from one mailing like this (in the Seattle market) a few years back ... salons being one of the few "retail" environments in which our products can be sold (and we have some fabulous skin-care products ... see http://www.magnificentskin.com/ ... which have come out since the last time I sent stuff out to them).
Anyway, if they offer the Railroad gig, I'm going to take it ... worst comes to worst (and it kills me to say this), it's a nice solid Union job with benefits, etc. that I could do for the 20 years that separate me from "official" retirement age. I prefer to think of it as a 4-year "bridge" that would let me get The Girls old enough to get themselves to school (#1 is 8 and #2 is 4 ... I figure that by the time they're 12 and 8 they can negotiate the one-block walk to school themselves!) and to build these other things on the side. My career counselling folks are a bit worried about what this will "do to my resume", and I still hope that somebody will hire me to promote/edit/publish/develop something in a nice comfy office on North Michigan Avenue one of these days, but in the meanwhile, "it's a job" (assuming they don't throw me out for being too damn educated to walk a railyard).