Monthly Archives: November 2007

if you’re keen on something, let it go

It’s been strangely quiet on the AXP front, hasn’t it? Well, it’s not from lack of trying. Just about two weeks ago I did some number crunching, and determined what salary I’d need (approximately) to be able to justify moving out West to pursue my long-dormant ambitions of being an automotive designer (with the added icing of competing in a competition to design a significantly more sustainable vehicle to boot). Salary talk is pretty heavy stuff, but so is moving a young family halfway across a continent, so I figured I’d put it out there, and would either get a “No problem! How soon can you move?” or a “Oh, hey, that’s a bit rich. Thanks for your interest.”

Instead, I got a brief, encouraging e-mail, and then nothing.
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work good, commute bad

I’ve only been unemployed for a day and a half (although it’s felt like a week), and I have a new contract to go to already. It starts on Monday, and will be earning me more than I’ve ever made before. Nice.

The downside is that I’m looking at an 80-minute commute, one way, and that’s not taking into account any traffic or weather problems. That is going to suck very, very hard.
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my AXP dream job, continued

The dream is still on, but it’s still just a dream thus far.

I did my “homework”, and decided to give my potential benefactor a call today. We had a great talk, all 45 minutes worth. Most of it was about the combination of design and strategy, but we did get around to discussing what it would take to get me out to work on the team.

There are two factors at play here: salary and timeline. As for the latter, there simply is no chance that we’ll physically relocate any sooner than mid-March 2008. With child #3 due mid-February and the fact that we are NOT moving before Christmas, it’s non-negotiable. That doesn’t preclude me working remotely before then with occasional trips out West, but at the same time there’s no guarantee that the team is ready to start work anytime soon.

The sticky wicket will be salary. According to one online relocation calculator I tried, the new location costs about the same as where I live now. I find that to be total horsecrap, based on what I found on MLS.ca recently. I did a search for homes in the $200-250k range, and frankly was scared at what I found. Starter homes? No way. How about JUNK? One listing – I kid you not – listed a house that was being sold for the land, and stipulated that the house should not be inhabited. Other listings were for sub-1000 sqft homes that… well, that looked like they were well on their way to being sold just for the land under them.

Decent homes? Not sure what they’re priced at. I checked in the $300-350k range, and found some liveable stuff. The $400k+ range certainly has more listings that would fall closer to the “oh, this is NICE” range, rather than just “yeah, this would be OK”. Inexplicably, there are NO townhouses listed. ANYWHERE. You’d think that a place experiencing rapid growth would be all over higher-density housing, especially if it provides more homes on the lower end of the cost spectrum. Weird.

Of course, housing costs will quickly become a large portion of my entire take-home salary. If I can’t find something equivalent to what I live in now for less than double its price, my salary needs are going to skyrocket. (Even at any appreciable fraction over what my home costs now will inflate my remunerational requirements.) So the question isn’t what my salary needs are, it’s how much they’re willing to pay to get me out there.

The way we left it, nothing’s been decided. Based on our discussions to date, it has become apparent that the AXP is not any lightweight competition to enter. You COULD enter a project done on a shoestring budget using equal amounts of fiscal responsibility and genius-level creativity, but you’re not going to win. Any entry in to this competition has to be well-funded with an up-front goal to win, otherwise all you’re going to do is toss money away on a really cool project. If you’re lucky you’ll come away with some intellectual property that could be commercialized, but that should be a side benefit, not a goal. What that essentially means is that the team has to decide whether to step up and really compete, or step back and say, “Hey, that’s a bit more than I can chew on right now.” Go big or go home, truly. If they go big, I might yet move. If not, I’ll probably stay put.

So – more waiting. More thinking and planning. Nothing’s decided, but nothing’s ruled out either. The dream is alive and kicking, but is still in a state of limbo. More updates as they come…

big opportunity, but big move

As of Wednesday night, I’m going to be out of work. I have a few leads that I’m chasing, and of course I’m always actively looking for more, but one in particular has caught both my attention and my imagination.

It could not have come from a more unlikely place – a singular posting I made on a forum many months ago that I simply assumed would continue to be ignored. Well, someone paid attention and contacted me, and is apparently interested enough in me to have floated the possibility of a job offer.

Yes, there is a fleeting possibility that I might get to work on a project destined for the Automotive X-Prize. How cool is THAT??
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