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The New Easterner

My Programming Autobiography, Part 9

By Rex Goode

The Out of Towners

Turning down the transfer to Anchorage earned me a lay off. I was unemployed a couple of months. It didn’t look very promising to get a new job at that time. I always seem to be out of a job in the middle of recessions.I expanded my job search all over the country. I got a call one day from a headhunter looking for a Sybase DBA who would be willing to relocate to New York City. The idea intrigued me, even though I was pretty certain I didn’t want to raise my family in the city so nice they named it twice. I had all of the prejudices of anyone raised in the West.

Yet, the salary was beyond anything I ever thought I could get. It came with an allowance to rent a flat in the city so my family could live somewhere else. I would work on the weekdays and take a train home on the weekends. It sounded pretty good. I had already done that kind of thing working in California. The headhunter practically guaranteed that if my claims on my resume were true, they had a place for me. I don’t remember why it didn’t work out. It had something to do with not being able to figure out how I would pay my rent and feed my family before the first paycheck.

The second opportunity was with a Great Lakes region manufacturer. I was to fly out for an interview that they would pay for. I got on the plane with my luggage and got off of the plane while my luggage landed somewhere else.

I made it to my hotel, wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Early the next morning, I got up as soon as the airport opened to get my luggage. I didn’t have time to wait for them to deliver it. I changed into my extremely wrinkled suit at the airport and headed to my interview.

Even though I explained why I looked like I had slept in my clothes, the interview didn’t seem to go very well. They just couldn’t seem to get over my appearance.

I left the interview feeling dejected, but didn’t really have time to mope. I had arranged another interview for another job on the east coast. I got a taxi to the airport and went to check in.

Another weather front was coming in and my flight was cancelled. I asked for a room in a hotel until morning when they said I could flight out. They said they didn’t provide hotel rooms for acts of God.  I said something like, “Well, if God were here, would you give him a hotel room?”

They did say they would get a shuttle to give me a ride to a hotel, but paying for the hotel would be my problem. I had no credit cards and very little cash. I pulled together every dollar I could find and had just enough.

The next morning, I flew to my other interview. It went very well. It went so well, in fact, that one of my interviewers from another branch of the company asked if I would come down to her city for an interview the next day for a job there. She would arrange for travel and accommodations. I agreed. I stayed in a grand hotel room that night and went to the airport the next morning.

This time, my flight was cancelled for some lame reason. I think it was something like underbooked. “But,” the ticket agent said, “you can get there if you take a taxi to the train station and a train to your destination.”

Of course, they weren’t going to pay for that either. I called the potential employer and they set it up. I was traveling from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. I expected a train ride through cities and farmlands. Guess what? No farmland. Only the megalopolis of the Easter seaboard.

Up to that point, with this East coast company, I had been smugly saying that I would have no problem living in a big city. After all, I lived in Portland, Oregon, a metropolis in its own right. No problem!

The interview there went very well. When it was over, my flight home was already waiting. I asked if they would call me a cab. She said, “Oh just step out into the street and raise your hand. A cab will pull up.”

Well, that was a totally foreign concept to me, but I tried it. Nothing.

I went back in and said, “The cabs are ignoring me.”

She motioned to one of her subordinates who went out, raised his hand, and voila! A cab pulled up.

I had never been in Washington, DC before, but I have a really good sense of direction. So, when the cab driver headed east, north, west, and then south, I was certain he was going in a circle. What I thought would be a twenty-minute cab ride ended up taking about an hour. I had time to run and catch my flight, just.

One of my favorite all-time movies is The Out of Towners starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis. I felt I had lived through it.

One week later, I got a phone call offering me the job just five minutes after getting another job offer in Columbus, Ohio. I had two to choose from. After the experience with the cab, I figured that Columbus was more my speed.

To be continued in The Giant Mutant Prairie Dog From Hell

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One Response to “The New Easterner”

  1. Rex Goode » Prone to Wander said:

    […] be continued in The New Easterner Like Unlike Posted by Rex Goode under C and C++,Career,Creativity,Family,General,History,Sybase. […]

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