June 9, 1998

The following letter is to my friend Dane who just moved to San Antonio, and is currently battling his parents to move back to his hometown, Biloxi, Mississippi. Where we both lived for many years and met each other.


The way I’ve figured it, from what you’ve told me last night on the phone and in earlier emails, you’d be making $6.50 an hour working for your friend at CSP. Now, without any overtime, you’d be making $12,480 a year – before taxes. That figure has you working forty hours a week every week all year. Now, lets say you work those forty hours a week plus another twenty hours in overtime a week. You’d be making time and a half in overtime – $9.75 an hour. Now, if you worked twenty hours of overtime every week you’d make an extra $195 a week. Which, all in all, would give you $21,840 a year – before taxes. That’s saying you work your regular forty hours a week AND work twenty hours in overtime (four hours extra a day) all year. Which is damn close to what your friend who’s managing the place is making. So, they’d probably end up putting you on salary before your first year’s end. My only question is, say you move there and they put you on salary for, say, $22,000 a year. Then you go to college and finish whatever degree. If that degree is in computers, do you plan to stay in Biloxi and work? And if so, where? If that branch of CSP is only paying $24,000 at the top (your manager’s salary), then you’d be smart to move out of state and work somewhere else in the computer industry for close to at least $30,000 a year – probably more. I’m just saying, if you’re just planning to move there to “go away” to college, that’s one thing. But moving there to live your life is another. The only computer jobs I can really think of in Biloxi are: owning a shop like CSP (which you have to factor in capital, money you’d spend to open your own busines), working civil service on Keesler, or working at a casino maintaining their LANs. I have my doubts that any of those would pay near the salary of a company strictly in the computer/telecommunications industry or whose interests are largely impacted by the number of computer professionals in the market. If you plan to “go away” to college, in my thinking, it would be best to go to a college in an area where job opportunities in your chosen profession are abundant. Otherwise, it would be like going to Indiana University to study surfing, when you’d have had a much better chance at obtaining a job surfing, in a hypothetical world, had you attended a college near the ocean – say, Santa Monica University.

I can understand that feeling of being alone and wanting to move back to where your friends are, if only for college. I’ve been alone, away from old friends, longer than you have, and, even though I think about them and those wonderful days past everyday, at the same time I’m looking toward the future. And everytime I think about moving back to Biloxi, I think about both the pros and the cons. Socially, I’d rather live there because that’s where my friends live now. Professionally, I know the move would only hurt my future career ambitions seeing as how I don’t want to be a poker dealer just yet. Living anywhere, just like living there, you will make friends. I know it’s hard as hell, I’m living through that right now, as you are, and I’ll be living through it again soon.

It all comes down to what is most important to you: the here, now, and the past or your future – immediate and long-term.

Best of luck in your decision,


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