08/28/2006: "me and BC: the continuing discussion"
I'm still waiting to hear back from the recruiter in Vancouver. Meanwhile I'm doing what I do best - be over-the-top enthusiastic about the whole prospect. (I've gone way past due diligence in regards to the town itself at this point. Now I need some company info.)
Jannette's friend, posting as happykat in the previous post, brings up some very interesting points, considerations, and suggestions. She is entirely right when she says that moving out West is a HUGE event, and thus I am going to foster any and all feedback on the issue I can get. To that end, let's go over what she brings up.
First, let me reassure everyone that I am not going to take this move lightly, as I fully realize that I will be taking Jannette away from her network of friends and family, taking the kids away from their friends and our extended family, not to mention removing myself from the sphere of influence of all my family, friends and acquaintances. If we don't think that moving will provide the same quality of life, then we'd have to figure out if the opportunity is worth the sacrafice. For one, we'd have to be able to afford to come back to visit family, or bring them to us. That much is paramount.
Both happykat and Jerry have observed that I've been searching for something over the past few years. The question does have to be asked; will a job significantly like other jobs I've held be a part of what I'm looking for? In all honestly, the work in Nanaimo will likely be very much like what I was doing in Woodstock. Mind you, I *was* happy in Woodstock, and moved only because we thought I should be closer to home. The position in Nanaimo may have the additional aspect of supervisory/leadership roles too, which would be great.
All that aside, I wonder if I've been looking for fulfillment through my career, when it's my personal life that needs the change. That's certainly what the enthusiasm for this move feels like. I have noted previously that I've come to realize that I have only one friend locally (the other one moved to Ottawa recently). Despite the fact that I'm now involved in the Green Party, a biofuel group, and a cohousing group, I still haven't made any true friends - just a lot more acquaintances. I would hope that some would eventually become friends, but thus far that hasn't happened. Would a fresh start help? Hard to say - I haven't had to do it before.
All of this has shed some light on MBET as well. If I'd move for this job and not do MBET, what does that say about MBET? I think it means that MBET is a means to an end, just a different path to search down, not an end unto itself. If I really want to do something different career-wise, MBET is a good way to make that change. It could easily catapult me over my existing resume into other opportunities I could only dream of now. However, if I've come to terms with moving and doing without another degree, why can't I do without and not move?
The answer is, I can - for the most part. The problem lies with my work experience - it's with products and companies that aren't well-represented locally. (Although I've lived in the same house for 6 years now, I've NEVER actually worked in the city I live in until I started doing contract work.) Ditto with the kind of work I'd like to get into (green technology) - not well-represented. So while there is one noteable exception (which I already have been looking into), to find a local company that likes my work experience is simply very, very unlikely. In any case, if I can find a company and position that provides some growth, both personally and professional, I could be happy doing that and foregoing MBET.
Now that I write that, the lack of growth and professional career progression is what's really turned me off from the work I was doing. I found myself applying for the same level of jobs I have been for the past 5 years, with no additional seniority, responsibility, or roles. Nanaimo has those opportunities (at least, to speak with the recruiter), which in conjunction with my enjoyment of my job in Woodstock leads me to believe I'd be professionally happy there. If I wanted to do the same level job all the time, I'd stick with being a contractor. However, I want to grow. I WOULD like to take on some leadership roles. I'd like to try some managerial stuff. I think it comes down to the fact that I like to learn, and that can only happen through change. If my professional role never changes, I never learn, and I become dissatisfied.
OK, getting back to happykat's tome: risk. To quote, "Moving your family to a job at a company you've never worked at before for a boss you've never worked for before and coworkers you've never worked with before is (in a word) RISKY." Yes, and no. I've actually only ever had ONE experience where I did not mesh well with the company. (And now I know what kind of company to look out for.) Every other job change I've had has been relatively positive. Some workplaces were more fun and "open" than others, but only the one had any negative impact on me. I would be much more worried about having to pack and move, how our cats would do on the flight, finding a rental home, making new friends, learning the town... all that would be more worrying than whether my boss turns out to be an asshole. Besides, that's where the interview and a "feeling-out" period come in.
Remember last year when I nearly moved out to Calgary? I wanted to go out there and work for 2 weeks with the company before I committed to anything. That obviously never happened, simply because they wanted a 3 month contract instead, which lead to the scrapping of that particular opportunity. However, the same thing would apply here. Three weeks or a month seems a bit long to me, and I doubt any company would accept that. Should it not work out, they'd have wasted more than a month and still have an open seat. Two weeks should be long enough to get the feel for how things really are in a company, and to get a good feel for the town as well. That is what I would aim for. And to be honest, I'd do that BEFORE accepting the job offer - sort of a conditional acceptance. Even if I have to pay my own way there and back, it would be a good piece of insurance to invest in.
Ah, now we're to the interesting part - not selling the house if we move. The idea was, in essence, move, but keep the house and rent it out. The rent from here will cover our rent there, and should things tank out West, we'll have a home to come back to in familliar surroundings to regroup, and I can do my MBET. I like it. It may make things a bit more complex, but it will actually alleviate some stress if it comes time to move. Instead of having to find a buyer for the home before we move, we'd just have to find a renter. Of course, we would also have to find someone willing to manage our property for us. And assuming all goes well and we don't come back, we'd have to find someone to list and sell the house for us as well. On the upswing, we'd get the benefit of another year's worth of appreciation - which I've been told can be on the order of 15% in this neighbourhood. Nothing to sneeze at, to be certain. Either way, another piece of insurance to keep in mind.
This is great. Keep your thoughts coming - I'd like to thoroughly think this through before I'm staring down a decision that has to be made. Unfortunately, I can't discuss any of this with Jannette. Unlike me, she doesn't like to think about opportunities before they happen. I think she doesn't want to get any hopes or expectations up and have them dashed. Me? If it doesn't happen I will be disappointed, yes. But I will live, learn, and be enthusiastic about the next opportunity. That's who I am.
So - comments, questions, criticisms, points to ponder, suggestions - bring them on!