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Yes, we moved. Again.

And the reactions we’ve had from strangers, friends and family convinces me of this: This is the new face of America, yet many don’t realize it yet.

Leaving Portland, OR. (Kathleen Kenna)

Reaction #1: “You two move a lot.” (Colleagues, friends, one government official.)

Our reaction: Work.

We’ve moved a lot for work, from one country to another, from one continent to another, from one state/province to another.

Both of us have moved about most of our lives. We’ve moved for school, jobs, love.

Reaction #2: “Why can’t you stay in one place? What is it you’re looking for, exactly?” (Family.)


Reaction #3: Employers want stability; you’ve moved a lot. (Job counselor.)

Well, frankly, stability is over-rated. Having been a vocational rehabilitation counselor and job counselor for 5 years in two states, I’ve met hundreds of Americans and immigrants/Green Card holders who have moved a lot.

For them, for us, moving is a fact of life.

Many stay-put Americans don’t see/don’t want to see the fallout of foreclosed homes, bankrupt businesses and laid-off workers in this country. They don’t see families begging on the streets, in this, the richest country on earth.

(Sorry, but I cannot get accustomed to seeing parents with small children begging in high-income cities here. It breaks my heart.)

Where do we think people go when their home is foreclosed? When tenants are evicted because their landlord “lost” the house to the bank? When employers kick workers to the curb?

In job counseling, we estimate there are 25 million Americans out of work. That doesn’t begin to cover the under-employed.

As a job counselor, I was sensitive to people who don’t stay in one place all their lives, suggesting to them that moving to seek work, for example, shows flexibility and willingness to accept risks.

Caution is so last-century

As an employer (I’m developing a small business; I’ve been a corporate manager), I prize flexibility and curiosity over stagnation. Staying put suggests an inability to tolerate change.

Caution is so last-century. Listen to all the rhetoric (if you can tolerate it) in the U.S. presidential election campaign. Dramatic change is coming, no matter who is president, no matter which party controls the Senate or House or both.

These changes will affect all of us, inside and outside the country, immigrant and citizen, worker or unemployed, all ages. (I’m optimistic about some of this change: I believe it will mean more jobs. It must!)

One last hike on a favorite trail at Forest Creek. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

Yes, we’ve moved again, seeking work.

To us, this means opportunity. I’m grateful for the new contacts I’m making, for my new counseling studies, and for improved strength. We’re both grateful to have the financial/physical ability to move — indeed, we feel very fortunate for this. We’re thankful to find an affordable place to live, and to be welcomed, warmly, into a new community.

The strong 20-year-olds who helped us move from the north of Oregon to the south said they’re seeing a lot more Americans on the move, mostly for work — job changes, job loss, job opportunities. They said they’re doing far more cross-country moves than before (they were moving several families, from Oregon to California to Oklahoma).

We celebrated their increase in business — success in a wounded economy.

This is the new face of America, after all the job losses, foreclosures, cutbacks and bankruptcies in the worst recession the U.S. has endured.

We discussed reactions to our latest move, and after the last bin was unloaded, manager Adam Todd responded with a shrug: “I move every year,” he said. “No big deal.”

This from a committed entrepreneur in his mid-20s, building a business.

Of all our moves in this country, BTW, this company was the best: Portland’s Best Movers. It was the first moving company we’ve hired that was honest, friendly, and dependable.