August 19, 2009: Big News and SpiceCorps Philly

This morning started uneventfully.  Got up, started working for a few hours.  Nothing special.  Seemed like it would be a completely normal day.

There was a big conference call at work today.  Normally I skip any of these big organizational calls as they are always just for the employees and have no meaning to a consultant but today’s seemed like it might apply to me as well so I attempted to get on to the call.  There was some problem with the phones and I could not get on.  I am assuming because too many people were dialed in and the system was saturated.

As soon as the call was done I got an instant message from Antoni – our entire organization within the company is being relocated to Dallas (Irving, actually.)   This isn’t a warning this is the announcement.  It’s happening.  Most of us had not even heard the slightest rumblings of anything like this.  Completely out of the blue this came.  I had absolutely no idea that this might even be considered.

So today went from drab to panic in an instant.  Luckily a second conference call was set up just for our smaller “family” within the organization that would have our higher ups giving us some more direct information.  I was sure to get on to that one right away before there were any problems with the phone lines.

The basics of the call were that we don’t have any really solid information yet except for these things: the team functions are being relocated to Irving and none of our job functions like we do now will remain in the New York or Toronto areas where we have always been based, all jobs are being redefined so there is no carry-through of our current roles to any new ones and we all have to get our resumes ready and reapply for our current jobs (they aren’t officially our current jobs so technically they call it applying for new jobs as our old ones have gone away.)  There are some jobs staying in New York City but they are new roles that are very much unlike what we do today and there are not very many of them.  It will be roughly six weeks before the new job roles are officially posted and until then we are all just going to sit in the dark wondering what is going to happen.  No guarantees that we will have jobs in the new set of roles so we are left rather “hanging” until they get that done.  Then it will take some weeks before they make decisions.  So the final decisions, if they manage to stay on their own schedule, will likely be around late October or early November.  That is a really long time to wait just to find out if we have jobs or in want region of the country.

The mood at the office is, understandably, a mix between panic and depression.  Most people on the team have never seen Texas and those that have mostly are not too happy about having to move there.  This is not a small move and no one is getting relocation assistance – we have to apply for the jobs in Texas as if we were Texans and then move ourselves down there.  That makes it that much more scary.  Most everyone has well established lives in the New York and New Jersey areas so this is a major change.

Luckily for Dominica, Liesl and I we have been talking about Texas for several weeks really seriously and our families are already prepared for us to move down there and we have lots of family there already as well.  Not the move for us that it will be for everyone else.  But we have a new house that we have been in for under a year and now have to figure out how to sell quickly in a bad economy.  It is going to be tough.  The Lord will watch over us, of course, but we are going to be worrying about it anyway because we can’t help it.

We have been in the house for nine months and the move cannot possibly happen until December at the earliest which puts us at around fourteen months in the house which is not nearly as bad and, in reality, December is probably really, really early because big companies can’t turn around on things like that that quickly.  And at this point we have no idea if I am even eligible for a position down in Texas or if I would want one if it was offered.  There are some positions in New York but they do not sound very good, but we do not have any details on those either.  Basically we completely in the dark and the only thing that we know is that we need to “batten down the hatches” and prepare for the worst and we need to stop doing any work on our house because we have to assume that we have to sell it rather quickly.

It is really awful to think about all of the work that has gone into the house already (I’m sure that my dad is really thinking about all of that painting that has been done already!)  And the cabling that we just did the last few days!  We have been buying cable and other stuff for the house just this week.  We have furniture in our basement den meant for our “new” theatre room which we have never installed and now never will.  We have now purchased that furniture just for the joy of packing it up and shipping it somewhere if we end up going to Texas.  Dad has just finally gotten the bulk of our stuff down from his place too and another load is scheduled for this coming weekend.  We are scrambling to figure out what to do about all of our stuff in storage.  Where should it go now?

I’m sure that everyone on my team at work is getting their resumes sent out in droves.  Since the company is requiring everyone to have an up-to-date resume in order to apply to stay where they are even the laziest and most reserved people will have it all ready to go and, once you do that much work, you send it out.  Especially when not sending it out could very easily mean a lay off, taking a completely different job role and/or being relocated at your own expense halfway across the country.  There is a lot of fear in the air.

I only had so much time to worry about it today, though, as this evening is SpiceCorps Philadelphia’s inaugural event in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.  For that I left Peekskill at four in the afternoon and drove down across New Jersey in horrible traffic.  It took me three hours to get down to Blue Bell – much longer than anticipated.

SpiceCorps Philadelphia had a nice turnout.  We had a great meeting space provided for us at Turnberry Solutions and nine people showed up for the event. That was about the same size as the Upstate New York event in Rochester.  It was a good group and the meeting went well.  Definitely less discussion than we’ve seen in other groups but with fewer people that can happen easily.

I gave a quick presentation on open storage and specifically on using the HP Proliant DL185 G5 and OpenFiler appliance for a large NAS / SAN solution.  That went well.  I am giving the same presentation, but with more time to prepare, next week at SpiceCorps NY in Manhattan on Thursday.  I would have had more time to work on it today but recent events rather caught my attention.

After the meeting, four of us went out to Houlihan’s near the place where we had the meeting and got some late dinner.  Stuffed mushrooms and fish tacos for me.

It was just after ten when I headed out for home.  I tried taking the northeast extension rather than the route through New Jersey on i95.  I missed my turn for i78 and ended up taking i80 which, altogether, didn’t get me home until two in the morning!  What a long day.  Hopefully some more information tomorrow.

During my drive today I managed to finish reading, via Audible on my iPod Nano 3G, “The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge” by David McCullough.  I am really glad that I got a chance to read this book while living and working in and around New York City.  That my office is right at the base of this famous NYC landmark makes it that much more special even though I have never driven across it.  I will probably make a point of doing that now before I leave the area.  I would really like to walk across its world famous promenade – still the only one of its type ever made.

I finished the book just before driving across Bear Mountain Bridge into Peekskill.  I did so just after reading the bit where they mentioned that the cables of the Bear Mountain bridge were made by the Roebling Family who also built the great bridge itself.  So much of the history of this particular book intersects with places and bridges that I have grown up around and now live so near.  Roebling the elder (John) did a number of bridges around New York like in Niagara and in Pittsburgh.  All places where I have lived.

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