Posted by: Rob | October 21, 2009

The Job Track, Part 3

Wow, this is taking a lot longer than I initially figured it would to work out something.  Anyways, continuing on from Part 2.

In the background of all this, another factor was in play. Our site had been fingered to become, nearly lock, stock and barrel, part of a new joint venture company. Spinning off from the corporate parent into a separate and stand-alone enterprise, it had all the appearances of making the jump to a mega project pretty much impossible. It’s a good thing we were being accorded a retention incentive over the next three years. That was going to have to be my trade off for staying put.

To top it all off, another of those old “circumstances” came into play. Earlier, a colleague had resigned and by mid-year no takers had been found to fill his role. It was an important one too, part of a team responsible for about $60 million in projects.

Looking around, my leader couldn’t help but notice my now staying put ass and decided to discuss this “opportunity” with me. I pretty much had no choice but to accept the offer of this new job. I figured, “What the hell?” It was going to be something new to learn, technology-wise, and, in the high profile major project work sense, it was about the only “game” on site. The only downside? It counted as a “move”. My “time spent in current job” re-set back to zero in mid ’08.  This becomes relevant in a bit.

But, the JV deal fell through. Not only that, those of us who were headed for the JV had been immune to the 10% work force cuts at the parent in late ’08. When the deal fell through, that immunity was gone. Any of us could become a part of the “ten percent”. I was panicking slightly, and scrambling to cover all potential bases.

Among other things, I dashed off an e-mail to AJ, asking if the offer (and the job) was still open. It was.

When I called my leader into my office to chat shortly after all this transpired, he looked to be filled with trepidation. I was not sure why as I went ahead and launched into an explanation of all the reasons why I was having (yet another) change of heart about the Middle East job. While not exactly thrilled, he was relieved. It seems he had feared that I wanted to “express interest” in a separation deal. On the subject of a release to transfer to the mega project, however, no promises could be made.

In the meantime, my leader announced his retirement. He was, it turned out, part of the 10%.  Hopefully it was voluntary.  A project manager in my group was tapped to take over the group leadership role and, as he started transitioning in to the leader role, we discussed my mega project ambitions.

“You backed out of taking this assignment a few months ago, didn’t you? What has changed to make you want to go for it now?”

Ann and Dee now had their PR cards and in doing some research into the conditions for keeping PR status, we found that the PR holder had to be physically present in Canada a total of three years out of five. (Bummer!) Unless the PR holder is absent from Canada while accompanying their Canadian spouse for overseas employment. (Shaaaaa-wing!) This time out of the country while accompanying their spouse actually counts toward the time physically present in Canada needed for PR status renewal (every 5 years).

And so, the dance was under way again. After a bit of consideration my (new) leader said it really wasn’t possible for me to leave. Local resourcing was a problem. The project I’m currently on was too important to the business and the site. I’m already the third person in my current role on the project due to maternity leaves and resignations and the project is not at a good place for a hand off.

I accepted these arguments without rebuttal.

I thought about it for a night and a day.  I recalled all the times I had taken what was offered and what was good for the company (and not all that good for me).

I went back to see him. I had to explain further, that this overseas assignment was more than just an exciting and engaging, not to mention exotic, opportunity. I said, “This opportunity is a keystone to my exit strategy.” I went on to say things like, “I don’t think I can gut it out here for another six years.”  I allowed that, after leaving, I didn’t really expect to come back to this site.

He was remarkably sanguine while receiving these rebuttals and counter points to his previous closing the door arguments.

He pledged to see what he could in support of my cause.

Good deal.

…to be continued (and hopefully concluded).


  1. “Hopefully it was voluntary.”

    my dad retired ‘voluntarily’ at 55. the year his youngest started university. he was told that if he didn’t accept the offer, a young engineer, married, new baby, would be getting the axe…

    there’s voluntary and then there’s ‘voluntary’.

  2. man, this is like a soap opera. on the way in to work today, i’m buying some bon-bons. because, sure as shooting, i’ll be curled up here tomorrow waiting for ‘my story’ to show its next episode.

  3. […] October 22, 2009 The Job Track – Conclusion Posted by Rob under career | Tags: Careers, Exploring myself, Relocation | Leave a Comment  Continuing on from part 3. […]

  4. rob, i had to stop reading after the first para mate… too much like my own work… exit strategy!

    btw – you must find a way to make it to the 2010 Oslo blogest, it would be great to meet you and the family and offer some additional Canadian hospitality in a foreign land… just remember, it is v expensive here so you will need to first rob a bank!

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