seanblacksheep

The first thing you might notice (if you’re a regular reader) is that this isn’t part two of the series on improving your own Commander decks (Part 1 is here!). I’ve had significant life changes in the last couple months that took up nearly all of my time. They were almost all for the better and have brought my personal and professional lives immeasurably closer. I normally keep my hobby and work life separate, but that doesn’t make sense anymore.

This last May, I accepted the position of Finance Manager over at Card Kingdom. I am the head of the Accounting and Finance team for all segments of the business. I first visited Card Kingdom’s Seattle location almost exactly four years before getting the job offer – on my honeymoon. It was an eye-opening experience for me. The location itself was clean, well air conditioned, and designed with a passion for both the products they sold and creating an environment that was a home away from home. Prior to my visit to Card Kingdom, the best game stores I’d seen in my extensive travels in the United States only provided room to play and decent A/C.

My reaction to Card Kingdom wasn’t “this is awesome.” My gut feeling was, “why aren’t all game stores like this?”

SeanWife

I stayed in contact with Card Kingdom, and when my now-previous company announced the 3rd round of layoffs in a year, my wife and I took a hard look at our life and our priorities. Last year, she had quit her job in banking to pursue her true passion and area of study, art, specifically oil and acrylic painting – http://brenaart.com/.

Needle

Even with us taking a significant hit to our income, we were both happier than we had ever been. Exchanging the pressure of a 9-to-5 job for pursuing her passion had lifted a weight off her shoulders that no salary could replace. I was happy to cut my spending on hobbies – even to the point of trying to force Magic to cost me nothing out of pocket.  And since then, it’s clear that tightening our belts hasn’t been bad at all. It was just about prioritizing who we spent time with over what we spent money on.

Seeing this, and reflecting on my own career, I wanted to work where I could enjoy a similar passion for how I spend my time.

CK1 CK2 CK3 CK4

So we had that conversation, and I reached out to Card Kingdom – repeatedly. Anytime I had a significant career advancement or planned a trip to Washington, I touched base with them. Finally, during a trip to Seattle to celebrate my four-year anniversary with my wife, they agreed to meet with me – even though they made it clear that there were no jobs available, they were willing to at least meet after all of my persistence, a review of my resume, and my communications with them. I met with the president of Card Kingdom and my predecessor at the Bellevue Location. We had a nice, long, conversation, and I left feeling comforted that the people running a business that I admired were people I could respect.

The next day, I received a phone call telling me my predecessor had put in their notice to move to an accounting firm closer to home, and a position would be available. One intense interview later (including having to write SQL code on a whiteboard on the spot) I had an offer.

They wanted me to start as soon as possible, so I’d have to move across states in a short period of time.

MOVING ON UP

My first week on the job, I flew back up to Seattle to meet everyone in the office and look for a place to live. The days were spent with introductions, and the nights spent rushing to meet with people to view possible places to rent. Finally, on the second to last day before I flew back, my wife found a place for us to live. Everything was lining up…and then tragedy struck. Within hours of locking in our new home, we got news that a dear family member had taken their own life. We only had three weeks to pack up our current home and move up; as a result, my wife and I couldn’t both mourn properly and get everything ready. I headed back to California alone to deal with getting everything ready. My wife spent time with her family to help support them and be together through the funeral.

 The next few weeks were a bit of a blur, as I tried to focus on getting settled into my new position and managing my team from afar while also getting everything ready for the move. All things considered, this went pretty smoothly. It unfortunately meant I didn’t get to do everything I wanted or say goodbye to everyone I wanted; however, it went better than expected.

Well, right up until we were getting ready to leave.

I had sold my car. We had arranged to buy something bigger and more comfortable for the move up and so we would have a vehicle that was safer in the rain. We had nearly everything in place until the person we were buying from lost the title. They were also moving and had accidentally packed it. The company we were getting a loan from announced they would not give a loan without the title and we were stuck in a situation where we’d committed to buying a car without the means to do so. We needed something to move up with (and for me to commute with) and a short period of time to figure it out.

That is when some of you saw this:

SeanCollection

I sold nearly the entirety of my Magic collection to buy the car. I still have two Commander decks, and I am not getting out of Magic. I had a fair number of people reach out who wanted to help me; I appreciate all of your support and I am continuously amazed at how selfless the Commander community is. If you would like to give or help, I encourage you to contact lross@cardkingdom.com to inquire about the Engage program here at Card Kingdom. There are always people in need, and I’d prefer that any energy and donations that you were willing to contribute go to help those who need it more than me.

CONCLUSION

When all is said and done, I’m now up here in Seattle working for a company I love, in a position I’m passionate about, and I’m closer to family. It’s been one hell of a ride – and clearly my production of content here at GDC has suffered greatly for it. My breakeven idea for the year has gone way into the green (enough to buy a car even), but I will need to go into an extensive rebuilding process; stay tuned on that. 

Thank you all for your patience, and welcome to this new chapter of my life. 

-SwordsToPlow