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06/15/2005: "gotta get back to the positive"

Geez, I was so focused on venting about the state of my current contract that I entirely forgot to mention the positive stuff. Namely, I had an interview last week (Friday, to be exact) that went very well. Nothing's guaranteed at this point, but at least the opportunity is nice.

As I mentioned, the interview went very well. I had a good rapport with the interviewer, were seeing eye-to-eye on many things, and generally had a very open and relaxed discussion. Unfortunately, neither the interviewer nor myself are sure that we're right for each other.

The job is in the automation industry, making custom machines for manufacturers worldwide. On his part, he was hoping to find a senior designer with 5-10 years of experience. That's not happening, so his next option is to consider a designer that would be considered "junior" (as I would be, having only months of automation experience) that can learn quickly and get up to speed in a minimum amount of time. While he likes what he sees about me thus far, it's far from guaranteed that I'm what he wants.

On my part, I have two issues with working for him. Neither of them deal with him or the company. From what I saw at the one-hour interview I had, it's an excellent, progressive company that knows what the heck it's doing, and he's a manager that honestly worked his way up from the shop floor to where he is now, and knows that there is life outside of work. The issues are that the job is in the automation industry, and it's a good 35 minutes away by highway.

As far as commutes go, 35 minutes isn't bad. However, that's 35 minutes going with the huge influx of traffic heading to and from Toronto daily, and I'm sure that will expand to 45 minutes or more during bad weather. In short, it's 90 minutes of wasted time every day. There's also the expense of a second car to think of. Sure, I have a free car just waiting to be used, but it needs to be insured, fuelled, fixed, and maintained. Unless the remuneration they're offering can match what I'm getting locally after vehicle expenses, it would be a losing proposition to commute there every day.

The bigger issue is automation. I have nothing against the industry, but the fact of the matter is that it's an industry I haven't worked in very much at all, and the prospect of ditching all the work I've done in the two industries I have experience in - consumer product design and heavy mobile equipment design - for a fresh start isn't exactly something that gives me warm fuzzies. I really need to pick an industry and stick with it, which is proving to be difficult right now. (I want consumer products, but will go back to heavy equipment for the right company.) Starting over, likely at a starting salary, would be a pretty iffy proposition.

In short, I'm not going to work for them unless I know that I will be happy staying there for years and years. For once I'm not worried about if the company's going to stick around - they have clients worldwide, are doing some amazing things, and have been steadily growing - I'm more concerned about finding myself in yet another "OK" job that makes me idly think about going elsewhere in a couple of years.

In any case, the story here isn't over. I still have to talk turkey with the manager, to see if we're at least in the right ballpark salary-wise. If we are, there will be at least one more meeting. What comes out of that is yet to be seen. Again, the opportunity is nice.

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June 2005

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