The Keg of Glory

North by Southwest

The flight(s) up were catastrophic in a lot of ways.

The first one was hours late. Then, the pilot decides to head north to get out of the way of some weather – adding another entire hour to the flight. Then, after running through the airport like a fucking marine, bag over my head, knocking two people down on the people-mover (yes, I really did), and almost getting arrested for breezing through a checkpoint, Southwest decides it suddenly reveres punctuality – my flight left three minutes ago.

To my displeasure, the guy at the counter, he was an optimist. To his displeasure, I wanted nothing more than to destroy an optimist right then.

My next flight was also delayed a bit more. Finally, I made it in with enough time to say “hi”, undress, have mind-blowing sex with H, and go to sleep.

The Pit

I wake up, dress, and get shuttled over to the building for my interview. It feels like old times, S at the wheel, me cracking jokes in the passenger seat. That nostalgia ends when I get dropped off at the building, when I realize that I’m actually in Austin, actually about to interview for a job in the IT field, with a company who’s entire purpose is the IT field, filled with employees who’ve focused solely on the IT world to make money.

I feel very, very out of place all of a sudden.

Luckily, I don’t have to talk much for the first part of it. I don’t actually talk at all for the first half hour. I meet with the VP, and he tells me all about the company and shows me the product they’ve built. I sit there and let the palms of my hands sweat. The intro talk goes for so long, I’m honestly not nervous any more at the end of it. I’m actually sort of impatient and bored – it’s early, I didn’t get enough sleep, and I’ve just been informed that I’ll definitely be here by 11:30, when they take me to lunch.

After I talk to three more guys and get thrown in the Pit, that is.

Yeah. That’s right. The Pit.

Weird as it is, I perked up a lot at the mention of the Pit. It was what I was looking forward to while sitting and talking to the other three dudes, all of which asked me pretty much the same things. The first guy, who currently hold the only position in the department I’d be working in, I really liked. I don’t dislike the others, but I seem to be able to talk to the first one more easily. (I still know what his name is, if anyone can believe that.) The questions and people go on for hours. I sit in a room, they shuffle in and out, looking at my resume, asking me stuff.

Finally, the Pit.

I am led to a room in the corner. There are four people here, in different corners of the room. They set me up a chair in the middle and against one of the walls. They are the geeks – the developers and QA of the actual product itself. I know this crowd. This is the sort that all go back aways, and speak with each other without words. The sort that we used to be at the R&D department of EBI.

One of them pipes up with “Please, have a seat. By the way, do you konw what the air-speed velocity of an unladen…”

I cut him off, instinctually, with a rapid fire “African or European swallow?”

I do this before I realize what it is I’m actually saying.

Everybody laughs, I can see that “Oh, really?” look in the pitkeepers’ eyes, and they all swivel the chairs completely around to face me.

In my opinion, we actually got along more or less fabulously in the ol’ Pit. I’m sure I didn’t answer some things to their specs, just like I’m sure they just threw shit at me to figure less about what I knew, and more about how I’d respond to that which I didn’t know. It just felt good in that room, and at the end, I got to ask one of the devs how Quake 4 was.

Lunch was more or less uneventful, and less formal. There were a few Q’s thrown at me to make it seem like I was still under the microscope, but mostly they just wanted to know what the whole hurricane business was like. I indulge everyone with many stories, and they hang on my every word. I forget I’m interviewing, at points, which I probably shouldn’t've, but fuck it. They pretty much had an idea of whether or not I’m what they wanted, at that point.

After lunch, they took me up to the building, figured out that the guy who was supposed to do the closing bit was busy, so I got shown right back out where I stood and waited for my ride.

I was upset and depressed from here on out – it was closing in on two o’clock, meaning I had time to smoke two cigs, pack my shit, and get back on a (late) plane. I want to hug H, and tell her everything’ll be okay, but I’m not really around long enough. I was way less stressed – the work was over, and I’m not sure what the outcome would be, and more than a little intimidated by the job itself. I held her on the way home, I got to the Park’N'Ride, drove to Houma alone, and went to bed without dinner.

The Keg of Glory

I work mindlessly most of today. I field a couple more interview calls. I am thinking about what I want, and if yesterday was even fruitful. People call and ask me how things went, and I answer, honestly, with an “I don’t know”.

Then I get a call. Its the VP. He’s makes me an offer. We get around to money, and he throws a figure at me. A big figure. Bigger than I’ve ever made. Significantly.

Up until this point, I had been spending countless hours on the phone with TG, and he’s a Genius when it comes to this stuff. Yes, with the capitol “G”. He outlined exactly how this would all go, blow by fucking blow, and so far everything was a carbon-copy of what he said it’d be – even in the correct order. To that end, I had something of a “script” to go by – and a very intricate and detailed script when it came to the monetary argument.

So, while holding my breath and hoping to $diety that TG is as right about this as he has been about everything else so far, I follow the script to a “T”.

I stonewall the guy.

That’s right. I said nothing for about twenty of the longest seconds that exist. After which, I reply with the next heavily scripted answer: “I think I might be able to make that work.”

To my absolute fucking amazement, he begins talking. It’s like I turned on a faucet. He’s talking to me – I think – but he’s also very much alone in this conversation. He raises the figure no less than three times while I just stay on the line, saying nothing. (I’m silent because I actually can’t really breathe, but in retrospect, I think he was under the impression that I was still haggling.)

We get to a point where I’m at a hell of a “bump”, as it was called, and decide I don’t want to push my luck. I tell him I’d like time to think it over for a few days. I did this to try and give myself some time to hit that other interview I’ve got scheduled, but now that I think on it, it must have appeared to be another haggling technique. I didn’t think about that ’till later, so I’m surprised as he tells me he’ll see if he can’t squeeze “a couple thousand more” out of HR when he sends me the official offer letter.

I went to lunch immediately after. Which was good, because I can’t go back to work if I can’t breathe. I had all the symptoms of being kicked in the balls: the lack of breath, the dull ache in the pit of the stomach, the clammy hands and lack of blood to the face, and the near inability to remain standing.

*****

Which leads me to now.

I’ve just quit my job, and the very next thing I will do once this hits the webwaves is print out that letter, sign it, and fax it in. The VP already knows its on its way. $Boss already knows I’m out, and I’m writing exit and future strategies right now.

I stand at the edge of something incredible, drinking from the Keg of Glory, and seeing an end to my Exile.

And it kind of feels really, really fucking awesome.

10 Comments

  1. Ghetto Said:

    on November 3, 2005 at 2:50 pm

    It’s well deserved, dear. Congratulations.

  2. Stuff Said:

    on November 3, 2005 at 5:07 pm

    Now, if you could just bring the Keg ‘O’ Health with you to Austin, it seems that everyone around here is getting sick. Me, I just have an allergic reaction to an animal that is of the same species that I had previously owned for eight years. Joy. I got to drive to the HEB at 12:35 at night and have the cashier stare at me, wondering how I went about making only my left eye appear as if it was stoned.

    But, back to you, congrats you furry fucker. And kudos on your substantial raise. It’ll be good to have you home.

  3. MiltoR Said:

    on November 3, 2005 at 5:29 pm

    Now THAT’S what I’M talkin’ ’bout, Chief! Not only did you get an initial offer that was more than you’ve ever made, but TG helped you to “bump” it up to THOUSANDS MORE! Congrats, kudos, good on ya’!

    That brings me to my next point:
    Two of us have been fortunate enough to secure a new living in AusTex. What about the rest of us? Here’s what I wish we could do once we can all sit down together: pool our know-how, savvy, and resources and get five more jobs in the bag. I don’t expect the rest of us are doing it wrong, but two of us definitely did something right. And it sounds like MissyG and Gonzo know how to get to an interview (they each got the job on their FIRST interview!), and TG knows how to maximize the interview and “offer” process. Well, let’s have a Workshop, going over what to do and what not to do. Even if they each only know five minutes worth of advice, that’s five minutes closer to PAID. I got an offer at my current temp position at Oreck to stay, but had to turn it down for Austin – they even suggested they would find a job for MissyG if I stayed, and extended an offer to come back if we ever return to NOLA! So, clearly, once I get in the door I know what to do, but I’ve got trouble getting in.

    Lastly, who makes a good sofa? Something sturdy and comfy, but not too pricey.

  4. GonzO Said:

    on November 3, 2005 at 5:52 pm

    “I don’t expect the rest of us are doing it wrong, but two of us definitely did something right.”

    Yeah. I listened to Doug, and apparently can write a good resume.

    And, I agree completely. There should be a workshop, everyone should be able to critique everyone else’s resume and learn how to haggle for money.

  5. adrian Said:

    on November 4, 2005 at 4:53 am

    YES!! Congrats. And kudo’s to TG for his help. Relieved to know that one by one, new Austin roots are being formed. Workshop is a good idea, but I have also found that the more interviews I do, the more comfortable I am in my future ones. Depending on the field of work, you get prepared to answer the same basic questions and are no longer surprised by any wild ones. And G, I’m sure the H magic the night before helped to focus you the next day.
    As for me, I found I had to re-apply and do plenty of paperwork and updating. All fulltime positions are filled till the end of the school year. I am on the District-wide list to substitute. I also interviewed at several schools and was put on each of their “personal” substitute lists. So not only will the District call me to sub, so will these schools. I’ll keep doing this till, hopefully, a position opens between now and the end of the school year. Looking forward to my 1st sub. paycheck next week. yea!!
    In the meantime. I’m trying to follow as many of ya’ll’s blogs to in order to keep abreast of how (and where) everyone is doing. Love to all, miss ya!, adriano

  6. GHOTI Said:

    on November 4, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    “here should be a workshop, everyone should be able to critique everyone else’s resume and learn how to haggle for money.”

    I know a thing or two about those things as well. Kings Point was big on being able to network well. If anyone else wants advice, as Gonzo seems to have made out pretty damn well for himself, Im just a phone call away.

  7. Mensa Said:

    on November 5, 2005 at 10:56 am

    If my name was The Pit, your ass wouldn’t be talking your way outta that shit.

  8. GonzO Said:

    on November 5, 2005 at 11:01 am

    “Lastly, who makes a good sofa? Something sturdy and comfy, but not too pricey.”

    Ni!

  9. toppledgod Said:

    on November 5, 2005 at 11:22 am

    Yeah, so that previous comment attributed to GonzO was a result of him using my computer and me not looking to see if the name field was already populated.

    Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians logged in as GonzO can say ‘ni’ at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

  10. Pounders Said:

    on November 7, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    Congrats G! I was wondering how it went. I’m all set up for Prague now; plane ticket, tution & accommandations paid for. All that’s left is a bag for my crap and the finally day.
    Please don’t ever leave me to my own devices again with free alcohol tho. I woke up in an abanondoned house with a bear suit on wondering ‘How do I get out with no locks on the doors but chains?’ I’ll call ya soon.

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