Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Scary as it May Be, the Path is Right

Things continue to shuffle along on the job search.

Last week I had three phone interviews and two in-person interviews. It suffices to say that the combination of this and a busy work load has left my mind a bit on the crisp side.

The National Search

Things have progressed to the point where the potential number of out-of-town in-person interviews exceeds the number of days with which I am comfortable taking off. It's gratifying in the sense that I have generated a lot of interest, but it's also frustrating that I can't explore my options to their fullest. It's a two-choice dilemma I didn't anticipate when I started this job search.

The big software company in the Pacific Northwest has gotten the green light from its legal team to invite me out to their headquarters for a day of interviews. I fly out this coming Sunday afternoon. I plan to meet with some friends who at one time worked for my ex-employer. They have expressed a strong interest in helping with getting oriented should I get an offer and take it.

Tonight I learned that I have made it to the third round phone interview for another big company in the Pacific Northwest. They have asked me to get back with them for additional phone interview times. If I clear this hurdle, the next stages are a work sample and then the on-site interview.

I had a short initial phone interview with a company in the Silicon Valley that is a subsidiary of a really big internet auction company. It went really well, but I have no idea what the rest of their recruitment process looks like.

I've also reestablished one of the contacts that I have out on the east coast to see if there are any consulting roles that might allow me to travel between there and here during the week. This is my good faith effort to see if there are any feasible Far, Far Away Lite jobs out there for me.

The Local Search

On the local front, I had a second round interview with an independent software vendor on the northeast side of town. The first interview had gone well, and this one was to be more technical. The guys who were assigned to interview me were just downright obnoxious. I know that some companies use stress inducing interview techniques to see what you're made of, but I don't think this was the case. It was just their personalities. I also spoke again with the guy to whom I would be reporting, and he sounded like he was concerned with whether I would be willing to take on a maintenance programming role. I left the office with a bad set of vibes.

I spoke with the manager again by phone on Friday to clarify my understanding of the position, and the more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a backward move. I was going to be taking on the role of cleanup guy for legacy code. Moreover, I learned that maintenance developers didn't usually migrate into the head branch group.

Today, the HR guy called me to tell me that the were going to give me an offer and said he was sending me the paperwork for the offer. I told him that I don't accept offers without sleeping on it, so I would need time to look at the fine print. He agreed to accommodate me on that. The salary was well below what I was hoping for. My pay would go up only a few K from what it is right now. They said they would sweeten the deal by expensing the cost of COBRA coverage until my benefits kicked into full gear (90 days on the job).

I had an IM conversation with my wife this afternoon on the offer and said that I didn't think I was going to take it. She wasn't happy. She hasn't been happy at all with me the past week. The high frequency of evening phone interviews probably doesn't help.

When I talked with her on Sunday night about my travel itinerary for next week, she gave me a facial gesture that was far from enthusiastic. She whined about having to fend for herself with the kids for two days in a row.

She's also been reminding me that she doesn't want to move, saying that she fears we will get out there, I will be unhappy with the job, and she will be all alone, without her support network.

There is a growing strain of outright unsupportive behavior from my wife, and it's been disheartening. I can understand the fear of change, because I've not been the most adaptable person in the past. But we're barely making it here, and we live in an area where it's hard for me to increase my earnings in real terms because the demand for my skills isn't there.

I am reminded of a comment left by Dad's Life blogger John writes:
I am watching intently to see how you handle your self-imposed deadline. For me, deadlines have come and gone, but have always caused me to make decisions about how to move forward. As your two issues progress, I can't help but be reminded of my father. Many times he had opportunities to move ahead in his career, and just as many times he was stymied by my Mom's refusal to relocate from their house. PERIOD.

My Dad is old now. He's an old and unhappy man. He has regrets. And I know that not pursuing his opportunities are on the list of regrets. Yes, relocating a family is difficult. But through communication and sensitivity it can be handled.

Don't throw away your opportunities to make life better for your family based on one person just saying she won't go.

In the back of my mind, I have been worried about becoming that embittered man because I feel like I haven't been operating at my full professional and creative potential. The interest from nonlocal employers has been a stark reminder that I have a lot more opportunities than I originally realized.

I think her resistance is more than her just losing her preschool friends. Seven years ago, she was able to leave a set of friends behind and move here to be closer to her very best friend. And two and a half years ago, she tried to get us to move to a new subdivision where her friend was thinking about moving to.

That dynamic surfaced again this week. Her friend has been overseas since Wednesday of last week and won't be home until Monday. They have not been able to converse by phone because the long distance rate is very expensive. On Sunday, she said she has been really grumpy lately and wondered if it might have something to do with her missing her best friend.

I think deep down, she is running into a two-choice dilemma and would rather have me sacrifice my own growth to preserve her level of comfort. I believe that she has an emotional connection to that friend that is fundamentally stronger than her feelings toward the marriage or me. But she can't bring herself to admit it because it would run the risk that I might not want to live under that situation, so she maintains a fog of ambiguity.

Up until recently, she could get away with that because I didn't have the backbone to preserve my integrity. Things have changed over the past year.

As I face the two-choice dilemma of my career path, my wife is being pushed to face a dilemma she's been dodging for a long time with regards to our marriage. Some might look at this and ask if I am behaving recklessly. Admittedly, this is a scary space because I am in uncharted waters, but I think that based on my reading of Passionate Marriage, I am definitely on the right path.
Differentiation take resilience and motivation. Don't expect your partner to support and encourage you onward. Your partner will always "be there" for you, but not the way you anticipate. He will be stimulating your development -- but you will probably wish he wasn't. Murray Bowen noted that the differentiating spouse is not getting anywhere unless the partner is saying, "you're ruining everything":
When someone attempts to be more of a self in a relationship system, the absolutely predictable response from important others is, "You are wrong; change back; if you don't, these are the consequences!" In fact, if such responses do not occur, one's effort to define more of a self are probably inconsequential.
(Schnarch, p.375)
blog comments powered by Disqus