Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Letting Cats Out of Bags

Someone's been quite absent from the blogosphere lately hasn't he? There have been a lot of crazy transitions and changes happening for me lately. There. That's my excuse.

In September I started a new job with a respectable local CPA firm. It also happened to be one of the largest firms in Southwest Louisiana. After a few short weeks there I was feeling very uneasy - like something about the job just didn't make sense for me. It didn't have too much to do with the firm itself, and certainly nothing to do with its managers or employees (I really liked everyone I worked for and with), it was more of a gut instinct that the position just wasn't right for me.

I was talking to Joe (Yarn) last night and mentioned that because of some recent changes (I'll get to them in a moment) I have started to feel more like myself than I have in a long time. For instance, ever since we left New Orleans I lost the passion I had for a number of things like reading, watching movies, and blogging. During our entire tenure in Portland this feeling persisted. I thought that the move back to Louisiana would satisfy whatever feeling of unease seemed to be causing this, and while it did to some extent, I knew I wasn't back to 100%.

I was working at the firm mentioned above on the morning of Monday, October 9th when i received an e-mail from one of my bosses back in New Orleans. Her message was unsettlingly cryptic, reading only:

Hi Luke:

I hear you and Lindsey are setting up home in Lafayette. When you get a minute I would appreciate if you could give me a call.

Thanks [name redacted by editor]

I had no idea what to expect. I then spent a nervous five minutes pondering the various reasons she might have for writing to me. I decided to go ahead and call lest the suspense kill me outright.

It turned out that during the previous week the administrator at the New Orleans firm received an e-mail from me indicating something to the effect that I really missed my old job. She passed the word onto a few people in the office including the partner who e-mailed me. This was interpreted to mean that I might be interested in a job change.

It turns out that the New Orleans partner is in regular contact with another woman who is a partner at another very large local CPA firm in Lafayette. They worked together years ago and have remained friends despite the fact that they work in different cities. The New Orleans partner mentioned to the Lafayette partner that I had worked for her at one time, that she liked me and that I was back in Lafayette. This was the purpose of her e-mail to me. She wanted to arrange for me to meet the Lafayette partner.

Long story short, I interviewed with another firm and felt confident that the opportunity would be a good one so I took the position. I left the first firm on October 20th and started at the new firm on October 30th.

This brings me back to my comment to Joe (Yarn) about feeling like myself again. In the last two days since I started the new job, I feel better. I feel a lot better. I can't explain it because I don't understand it, but there is something about this job that feels very right. It feels so right that all of those things I have always loved but had lost the passion to pursue are beginning to appeal to me again.

Hence my return to blogging today.

Furthermore, there have been other reasons for my lack of blogging. Lindsey and I bought a house in Lafayette in September and I have been very busy performing and enjoying various household tasks which I never imagined myself enjoying. Yes, I spend a lot of time pondering the lawn. I spend a lot of time working on the lawn. There are a number of projects both large and small going on which will have to wait to be shared until later when I can give them their own posts.

Finally, I started what I suppose can be called a "Civic" group, or perhaps a "Social networking" group. It is called the Young Professionals of Acadiana and I haven't mentioned it until now because I wanted to see how things went with the formation before making further announcements, but Scott had the decency to mention it over at The OTR Institute which has inspired me to break the news here as well.

Young Professionals of Acadiana Logo

To give you a little back story about the group I am going to reproduce some of the information I have written on the group's MySpace page. You are welcome to go over and read it on MySpace as well. You are also welcome to become a friend of YPoA if you like. Simply send a friend request and I will accept you with open arms immediately.

Here is a fairly good description of the group and its purpose:

Inspired by the successful and still growing Young Professionals of Portland we have decided to establish The Young Professionals of Acadiana because of a growing need in Acadiana for a place where young professionals can connect with each other in order to cultivate career-spanning business and personal relationships.

How old is young? Young Professionals of Acadiana should be of any age, we don't have a specific age range. We only ask that you be active, interested and enthusiastic about your career.

Young Professionals of Acadiana events will be social in nature only. There will be no sales pitches and no mind numbing seminars.

With the exception of your drinks, our events are free. There are no membership fees and no requirements for attendance. Come as often as you like, or whenever you can. Young professionals are always busy, no need to add one more obligation to your schedule. All we ask is that you attend in business (including business casual) attire and come ready to have a good time and meet people.

With all of the young professionals in Lafayette, we see a need for an organization that can pull everyone together for drinks in an environment that will facilitate conversation. We will get together on the Third Tuesday of every month at a different bar.

The sole purpose of this organization is to further young professionals’ careers and help foster an atmosphere where good friendships can be made. If this sounds like something you are interested in, please drop by the bar specified on our website around 5:30 pm.

The Young Professionals of Acadiana will meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at a local Lafayette hot spot. Hope to see you there!

So, that has taken up a lot of my time lately. So far everything related to the group has been done by me alone. It's not a ton of work, but when added to a day job and working on the house I've been pretty busy. Thankfully I have been able to form a Board of Directors for the group which will allow me to delegate some responsibilities to the VPs who make up the board with me. Our first board meeting is this Friday, November 3rd. I can't wait.

As for the development of the group, we've done well so far. The group has 100 friends on MySpace. We held our first monthly event on October 24th at City Bar Downtown in Lafayette and I feel that it was a great success. There were 20 people there and we had a very good time. Everyone seemed comfortable and friendly. We were able to meet some new people and have a few drinks. You can look here for a few pictures of the event.

I'm very close to having an announcement ready for our November event, though I still need to work out a few kinks with the bar at which I hope to host it. I am also proud to announce that our December event is already scheduled, and there will be FREE FOOD!!

Hopefully the group will continue to prosper and will become an important part of the Lafayette business and professional landscape. Our eventual goal will be to have a lasting impact on the professional community in the area. I will certainly keep everyone updated as more information is available. There should be a Young Professionals of Acadiana website available very soon.