Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Frayed Knot


There was one loose end I eluded to on my last blog post that I needed to tend to, and I haven't been able to say anything until it was official.

After considerable consideration and even some apprehension...

I tendered my resignation as a motorcycle instructor.




I have been a Team Oregon instructor since 2012, starting my journey auditing range sessions and volunteering to 'throw cones' in the fall of 2011. I don't remember how many weekends I volunteered, but it was more than required, I was hooked and they weren't going to get rid of me so easily. 

I went through Instructor Prep training, then basic training as an apprentice and intern instructor before being signed off as range instructor. I quickly became a classroom instructor as well, after that I moved up to 'mentor' where I coached new instructors on their journey as interns and apprentices. Soon I was asked to take on the responsibility of 'On-Call' support, where instructors in the field would call to report any issues, and had support if they had any questions, or if problems would arise. I overheard a call come in Friday "There's horse poop all over the range!?!" 

Over the past 6 years I participated in demo practices, cornering clinics, Rider Skill Practice courses (RSP), Advance Braking Clinics (ABC), and the new Precision Maneuvering Clinics (PMC), anything to hone my craft. 

Quick Stop from 70mph - ABC (Photo credit Dan Bateman)

Brake and Escape - PMC (Photo credit Pat Hahn)


The Snowman - PMC (Photo credit Pat Hahn)

I contribute everything I've learned to become a skilled and proficient rider to Team Oregon, and I still have much to learn.

So why quit now?

This past year 2018 has been quite stressful, Brandy's boss retired, leaving her to find work. This resulted in having to move closer to Salem to ease her commute, so the entire spring and summer was spent looking at houses, selling our house, packing up and moving. We finally got moved in, somewhat settled and are now enjoying our new home.

However, there was one loose end left to tie up.

We were able to reduce Brandy's commute into work, however that left me with a 40 mile commute each way into work; I guess it's my turn to look for work closer to home. I considered Amazon's new warehouse in Salem, Home Depot's cross-dock center in Salem, even Do It Best and Winco distribution centers are in Woodburn if need be. Maybe something local in manufacturing would suffice, do I even want to stay in supply chain?

I'm a frayed knot

I dusted off my resume, added a few updates, made a couple of changes to shine it up a little and applied for a job posting in Corvallis. Oh great, didn't we just move from Corvallis to be closer to Brandy's work?

Regardless, I applied and waited patiently for either a rejection letter or an interview. Fortunately it was the latter and I was offered an interview. Now to search unpacked boxes for a dress shirt and tie. The interview went well and I was offered the position. Shortly after I tendered my resignation at Lowe's, which was easy enough, but there was one more stipulation.

Since I will be working full-time for Oregon State University, I'm not allowed to teach part-time as an instructor and I had to give up what I loved so much. This was the hardest pill to swallow, but as I mentioned earlier and echo the infamous words of Irondad himself "motorcycling is a journey".

My journey as an instructor was supposed to take me well into and beyond retirement, or so I had thought, but as Yogi Berra stated "when you come to a fork in the road, take it".



No matter how sad I am to give up teaching, what made it worth it is that I am now working for Team Oregon full-time as their new maintenance worker. I'll be behind the scenes, working side by side an incredible team of office staff, site specialists, and instructors. I have a lot to learn the next several months while playing with motorcycles.... I mean servicing bikes, maintaining and painting ranges, and managing an entire fleet of motorcycles, trucks, and trailers. I'll be in and out of the office, working in the barn, or off in the truck visiting range sites statewide.

Talk about a corner office
Team Oregon just had an open house last Friday, welcoming the public to come by and check out the office and operations. I had fun working the event, meeting new people and showing them around.

I officially start Monday morning, it's sure going to be nice making a career out of something I love.







17 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I was wondering how long it would take to get through the university bureaucracy. A career out of something you love. You can’t ask for more than that!

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    1. Thanks Richard, I cannot ask, I'm looking forward to it.

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  2. Sounds like a great gig. And the teaching will always be there. If it's anything like here they're crying for good instructors.

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    1. Unfortunately, I cannot teach, until I retire.

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  3. Congratulations Brad! As one door closes, another opens. Well done for all your service in improving rider skills. I think that 2019 will probably see the end of my IAM coaching and examining. Time to just ride socially and do more with Jennie, our kids and grandkids methinks. All the very best in your new role.

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    1. Thanks Geoff, and thanks to you too for your service.
      Congratulations on your retirement, and an opportunity to spend time with your family. I'm sure you'll always be welcomed by IAM to teach, mentor, and coach part time, and write for the newsletter.

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  4. Nice one! Sounds like a gig that's right up ya alley! Now if I could only find someone to pay me to ride bikes I'd be a happy chap too.

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    1. Thanks Andrew, I sure hope I don't tire of it.

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  5. Congrats Brad! Getting paid to do something you might nearly do for free is my definition of the perfect job. ;)

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    1. Thank you Dave, I don't know about free, but it is certainly nice that they cover living expenses.

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  6. Congratulations - New home, new job you must know how to handle stress!

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    1. Thank you Nikos, I don't know about handling stress, it took plenty of whiskey.

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  7. One door closes and another opens. At least it is still with Team Oregon. Too bad though that you still couldn't be an instructor! I have been teaching for four years almost and this last year proved to be one of teaching and personal growth. I upgraded to teaching classroom theory sessions and teaching a 2 day traffic class of guided riding and hone skills for our newest novice grads. However, it has taken a toll on me physically, I taught about 15 courses this year which are all weekends, consequently I have been burning the proverbial candle at both ends and there is very little spark left in my sparkplug at the moment and it left very little room for riding for fun. I have enjoyed the year, but there was no balance between work/life. All of the teaching triggered off an injury to my knee and I am left wondering about long range plans of teaching the novice course out on the tarmac, unfortunately all the walking has not helped my knee and the prognosis is osteoarthritis and decline of the joint. So as much as I love mentoring new riders, next year may be my last year or reducing my teaching load considerably. This year I mentored about 100 new riders just through the classes I taught, so I'm pretty happy about that.

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    1. Thanks Dar!
      Yeah, I burned out on instructing a couple years ago and had to dial it down a little to balance home life with teaching. Then this year I wanted to teach more, but got too busy house hunting. I hope I found that perfect balance working full-time for them.
      Glad you took on classroom instruction, good for you, it helps connect with your students. Now you just need to find that happy medium as well. Can you just teach classroom? Or mentor new instructors? Thanks for teaching new riders!

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  8. Brad,

    It's kind of an all or nothing proposition. I'm going to dial it back next year, as much as I love it, it has been intense for 4 years and I'm not getting any younger. I actually want to take time and enjoy riding for fun a bit more. Mentoring is wonderful, but at times it's pretty all consuming and wears a person out.

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  9. Awesome, Brad. You get to do what you love, and bonus you'll gain new and helpful skills. I am sure you took the right fork. Good luck with your new job.

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    1. Thanks Sonja, and I too believe I took the right fork for that very reason of gaining new and helpful skills.

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