I think I've just surfed the Luck Plane.

The day after I arrived in Seattle, my manager called me and asked me if I would have time later to talk, and that it was very important. Now, anyone who knows me should know what that kind of statement can do to my heart rate and general feeling of well-being. So, as calmly as I could, I asked him if it were anything bad. He said, "no, not really", but he refused to elaborate further and simply said he'd call me at 14h00 his time and that I should plan to be somewhere private for the call.

The hour that passed after that was pretty much a big bright blur, as I tried to figure out what he could possibly want to tell me that he didn't want to tell my other teammate who was present, and that he couldn't tell me on the first call. I joked with Trell about it being my notice that I was being encouraged to seek other opportunities, but it was in the context of "ha ha only serious".

At the designated hour, my manager called me, and I dutifully sequestered myself by the stairs away from my team, and he informed me that in approximately one hour, the rest of the people at the Eastern Distribution Center in Bensalem, the facility at which I'd been working for the last seventeen months, would be shut down on or by 2006-03-30. The entire
operation was being relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, and outsourced to a firm specializing in logistics and distribution. T-Mobile already had an arrangement like that with another firm, ATCLE, located in Fort Worth, and so this wasn't really a shock for the company, though it was probably surprising for everyone working at the facility.

Actually, it probably can't have been too much of a shock, really. To get into August and not have a lease signed for the following year haed to tell a few people that something wasn't on the level. We still had sprinkler system issues and an ongoing battle with the landlord over who was paying for what. I don't think anyone really got caught too much by surprise by this, though I'm sure a lot of people were disappointed that it turned out this way. Shortly after the public announcement, the general manager of the facility sent everyone home for the day.

At any rate, this announcement took everything that had come before it and threw it all into overdrive. My manager and I had agreed in the past that I really had no promotion path in my current team. The group simply wasn't big enough to support two people at the Team Lead level, and I was as close to that as I could get without being one, and the current team lead wasn't going anywhere any time soon. Add to that that I was on-site and not in a corporate center, to get into another team, I would have to move anyway, so I had already geared myself up for the eventuality that Jessie and I would probably be moving to Seattle some time in... oh, say, 2008 or so.

The announcement that they were closing the EDC meant that I had seven months to find another position in the company or risk being relocated to Atlanta. Nothing against Atlanta, but... I don't think the culture would have been good for either Jessie or I, to say nothing of the weather.

Now, when I initially applied for the position in Enterprise Monitoring, I didn't know that the EDC was closing. I found out after I got to Seattle that this was going to happen. So, suddenly, I had a lot of pressure on myself to do really well at this interview. Before I left, the HR rep with whom I'd spoken had suggested that I could interview on week one and have an answer by week two, and suddenly that sounded like a really good idea. If I was going to get the job, I wanted the peace of mind as soon as I could have it. If I wasn't, I needed to know so I could start looking for alternatives.

I got the job pretty much as soon as I walked in the door.

To be fair, it didn't go quite that quickly. I showed up on-site for the interview, waited for about ten minutes for the hiring manager to come downstairs, and then chatted with him as we returned to his cube. I then had to confirm that I wasn't just fishing for a means out of the EDC and that I had in fact applied for the position before I knew that the EDC was closing. That established, he said that he was very excited to know that I was interested and that he was hoping to be able to convince me to follow through on my expression of interest. We talked a bit about my background, he showed me some of the tools of the trade, he introduced me to some of the people with whom I'd be working if I took the job, and then he sat me back down at his desk and said, "Can I be honest with you? I want to give you an offer letter".

The whole interview took maybe half an hour, and most of that was meeting people.

Now, this is by no means a "done deal" yet. He has to get signoff from my current manager, then he has to go through a complicated process of dumping numbers and information into a spreadsheet that the company providdes to make it easy to determine compensation offers, which will ultimately spit out a single number at him which he will then ignore. He's then got to get me an offer letter and suggest an amount, which may or may not be sufficient to justify relocating to Seattle. It could, in theory, still fall apart at any point up to me signing off on the offer.

I figure the only way I'm not going to sign is if he tells me I have to take a pay cut to move. I don't think that'll be an issue.

He also asked me about timeframes, and I told him that I had a house to sell. He said he understood that, but still wanted to put in for "as soon as possible". My current manager asked me to give him two weeks, but outside of that he said he was fine with whatever timetable I could set. I really can't do anything until I get back to Philadelphia, so that means at least a week-and-a-half from now before I do anything at all.

So... what does all this mean? It means that very likely, in the next few weeks, Jessie and I"at least"will probably be moving to the Seattle area. The job is in Bothell, so we'll look for houses in the area, though we'll probably start with a six-month lease on an apartment and go from there.

Now, why does this count as surfing the Luck Plane? Simply put, timing. You see, originally when I was looking at moving to the area, I told people that I was willing to pay for my own relocation, and I was and am, but I wasn't looking forward to it. It's an expensive proposition. However, because of the closing of the facility, upper management offered, or at least I think they offered, to pay the relocation costs of people who took other positions in the company as part of the employee retention program. This means that, if I wheedle and beg and sweet-talk enough folks, I may get to move on the company dime. The Suits really are pickin' up the bill, or so goes the theory. I won't know for sure until I get back to Philly and ask on Tuesday of the Employee Assistance Program folks that should be on-site to help people transition through this difficult period of readjustment.

Oh, this is going to be so difficult for me. Toolset development. A UNIX desktop at work. A private cubicle. Sure, that last may sound like I'm setting my sights too low, but share an office with my current coworker for a week and you'll understand why this makes me happy.

You can just visit, but I plan to stay.

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