Hoo boy. Some big changes lately.

I received formal notice from my company that as soon as my fringe account is paid out, I'll be laid off. Well, they call it a "furlough" for obscure legal reasons, but it's the same thing.

The last six months have been a complete bloodbath across the entire industry, and enough people are willing to work far below their qualifications for far below the formerly standard salary ranges that it's starting to put some serious pressure on everybody.

Right now, there are guys with 25 years of experience working entry levels for half of what those entry levels were making a year ago. The best I can do as far as an analogy goes is imagine if the financial industry was suddenly hurting so bad that senior account executives were suddenly forced to take jobs as data entry clerks making minimum wage.

It's a perfect storm of industry slump, the people working in that industry being so hyper-specialized there's almost no possibility for lateral movement, and immense personal pressures caused by those people living the high life for too long to give it up even temporarily.

So rather than stress, I'll be taking a bit of a break. I'm tired of the travel and I'm tired of the pressure. So, having ratfucked away enough money in the mean time to be comfortable for the next two years or so, I'll be puttering in the garden, raising a dog, and perhaps finishing up a few odds and ends at a local institution of higher education.

In happier news, for the first time since I left home as a surly teenager, I am in a position to be a responsible dog owner, so I am jumping at the chance. No more coming and going all the time, no complete shit schedule, no doggie psychological warfare with Big Master gone for a month and home for a month.

The Mrs. and I went to the shelter yesterday to interview some candidates, and this morning we head back down to bring home the winner. He's an 8 month old mutt with some very obvious hound blood in him. If I had to bet, he's hound, terrier, and cattle dog. He reminds me an awful lot of the kind of dog you see across Southwest Asia.

50 lbs of furious wagging, and it looks like he'll hit the high 50's before he's all done growing. Excellent demeanor, interested in humans, no barking or nervous behavior even in the shelter, zero aggression of any sort. I suspect he'll be a pretty good dog.

So I'll be occupied for a while, messing with the dog and digging out the back yard some more. There are six varieties of heirloom tomatoes, three or four kinds of peppers both bell and hot, and a burgeoning herb bed that is already giving me some very pungent basil, rosemary, sage, and mint. I'm going to try for coriander, lemongrass, and basil when I can find some. I hope to put down some onions and possibly some potatoes as well this year, so I can grow my own curry.