Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I started the day with a feeling of trepidation. My angels had the day off from school yesterday and so when I spent the day passing the time on frivolous activities, I felt no guilt. But today, I awoke with a lack of desire. Although my job search had gone better then the previous instance 5 years ago, I still had an uncertain future. Feelings, but especially questions, are dismissed by my conscious regularly throughout the day. I have spent many hours talking with recruiters,, some competent, some just trolled the internet and attempt to play matchmaker in an attempt to generate brokerage like gains through relentless internet browsing. But tomorrow was going to be different…

I spent the morning returning emails, acknowledging and acting on “ticklers”, and eventually exhausting my course of action before mid-day. Even the errands I concocted to flit away the time under the guise of necessary upkeep of the household, took far fewer minutes than even the shortest estimates.

I spent the after noon coming close to completing an semi-valueless task, namely Super Paper Mario on the Wii. After the kids came home, I again took another pointless phone call. At dinner, I made each of the girls something for dinner and preceded it with reviewing their homework and initiating their attention to it. After a while, the evening had passed with no more pomp and circumstance than putting the plates in the sink.

I ask my eldest to take a mid week shower. She is now 11 and the effects of gym class today were uncharacteristically noticeable. I asked my younger daughter what she wanted to do. She surprised me. She also wanted to finish the quest laid forth in the video game. So we scampered down to the basement, both of us grateful for the avoidance of boredom.

In the time that followed, we completed our quest. It was so mesmerizing, that we had no concept of time. The girls hit their beds a full 90 minutes past bedtime, pleasant and content. Later, I reflected that it may have been the relief of completion, but then I realized how much I enjoyed playing with them around.

I picked up a book and headed upstairs, knowing that I had once again

As I read, I contemplated very briefly the next day. I would travel across the country for a job interview in an area that would cost twice as much as my current one. Sure, it would be a severe step up, most cities would be though. I lived in an old city, one that has seen its prime pass decades before. So long ago it was before I was born. And now the last vestiges of hope were bleeding out, and all that was left was either the desire to leave or the fear departing for unknown territory. In my case, both.

The next morning I head to the airport, being already packed and ready as I always am. My travel “kit” still ready to go from trips past. Just add clothes and go. Efficient and always carry-on luggage. Except today. Passenger bags the size of small children were the rage today and my bag was unable to find an overhead home. Normally, it would be relegated to “gate-check”, but not this time. Passed back to normal bag check and sent to my final destination. I had a brief thought of losing it, followed by a quick run-down of a back up plan. But then I let it go, content that I had been through that scenario before and had managed to show up at the meeting the next day fully attired and no one the wiser.

As I type this, the elderly couple next to me gawks with interest at my laptop. As if it was some sort of rare item that only the rich would carry. But there interest quickly turns to boredom and returns to soduku. Despite all I have going for me, and this subtle reminder that live has not passed me by, I begin to dwell on thoughts of the interview. Why did they fly me out on the cheapest flight possible, with 1 stop over 2 hours out of the way, when I am interviewing for a VP position? I say this without ego, but rather concern. I am a no frills guys for the most part, appreciating the functional over the flashy and the eclectic over the expensive. But all things are indicators of the thoughts behind them. I am paying for the hotel on my credit card, and then turning in a reimbursement form to be repaid. Same for the cabs to and from the airport. When I query friends that have interviewed out of town, they all tell the same tale. Everything was paid for in advance. I cant help but worry about what this tell me. The company is a high tech west coast company, that has enjoyed rapid growth and been a wall street darling as of late. Am I to arrive only to find that everyone is a VP and the title is meaningless?

I write the prose with more time and thought then I usually spend on a blog entry. Because I have the time to, I assume. But it does make me think how little respect I give the statement “If I only had more time.” A fools statement. Without the pressure of time to force us to prioritize what is important, our lives would be spent of frivolous time-wasters and pointless upkeep. Just look at the bored teenager or the retired person who has enough money to travel, but doesn’t. No, time is a commodity that forces us to make choices, even when it seems we arnt.

And so the search goes on. Maybe I will be blown away by this company. Maybe I will come away with that “cog in the machine” feeling. Maybe I will like the company, but hate the offer. But I can tell you this. Having a single offer is worse than none. Numerous offers give us choice. Carefully weighing each, we can choose the one that best suits us and our families. With zero choices, you simple continue the process, while remaining in your familiar territory and picking up spare dollars consulting or contracting. But to have a single choice? Oh how I dread that. How does one turn down a lone offer in the absence of others?

I know there is precious little poker strategy in this entry, but life mimics the tables as always. I have had time to work on my game, yet my recent sessions have been poor. I am sure the parallels are there. Starting at hands and seeing the “one correct action” can not be a good thing. No, it’s an indication of lack of substance. I realize why I play in tournaments and not cash games. I have found it difficult to make the better decision in a cash game because the final exit is not on the line. I got felted twice at stakes that were far below my expected skill level. Each time TPTK vs. a SET. Hard to get away from? Not in a tournament. Not for me. But in a cash game, against a shorter stack, TP was gold. I am almost ashamed.

Despite all my talk of not contemplating the upcoming change, I am sure my unconscious does not feel the same. Nor does the wife’s, who has had some bad dreams this past week. I know change is coming and I should feel grateful that it will kick me out of my complacent acceptance of the depressed city I live in and again light the fire that only change can bring. But its harder than it sounds. Like laying down TP against a short stack. Even when we think we are beat. Hard to do. Hard to do.

Update: in this evenings Mookie, twice again TP no good against a set. Does everyone have a freakin set out there?!


OhCaptain said...

Heck, I lost to a dominated hand tonight. 3 outers are fun to lose to. Especially when they call your all in. Uggg.

Good luck in the job search. I just took new job at a new place. I'm not a VP, but a tech guy as well.

I know the worries. My old company is in decline. There is hope things will turn around, but its hard to hang around knowing that there aren't a lot of openings for Software Engineers in this hemisphere any more.

This transition for me will be from small shop to huge shop. Let's hope I can shift gears!

jjok said...

I've learned, as a parent, that sometimes the sacrifice is made in taking that one offer.....and taking the chance that it pans out better then it appears.

kids gotta eat? Sounds dumb, but as a dad, sometimes it's true.

Good luck in with the decision and the making of it.

obloke said...

Just about to to start a new job myself after 17 years with the same company, big shock to the system and I have to say that interviewing without a net is not a lot of fun (2 months between redundancy and new job, so you may need to be patient).

As for agencies ride them as hard as they ride you after all you are the fee earner not them
But it sounds as if you are as prepared as you can be, so it must be upward and onward.

Best of luck but I am sure that you will not need it

Jordan said...

"No, time is a commodity that forces us to make choices, even when it seems we aren't."

Great quote, and great post, Columbo. It really hit home. Good luck to you.