I had a bittersweet lunch today. I got to see some old friends from my old team and enjoyed visiting very much. The occasion was both uplifting and sad. My old Cthulu buddy has taken a job at the University of Wyoming, and we were gathered to bid him farewell. Seven years of restructuring and cutbacks had taken their toll, and he decided on a preemptive strike.
He said one thing that was very interesting. He told me that the further away from Austin he interviewed, the more his experience at ALE carried weight. Local employers treated him like damaged goods for having worked there so long. But people who weren’t intimately familiar with how the company works still respected the brand and the people who had helped build it. That may be something Suna and I should consider carefully.
The rest of the team is surviving on the block, although there were some noticeable absences. The team has been merged into an offshore management structure. My understanding is that this move has only bought them a little time. They are still not allowed to backfill any voluntary departures.
All-in-all, I am glad that I escaped when I did. I am glad Cthulu’s Bane is making his escape, too. For the others, I am hoping that the extra time buys them a chance to order their finances and escape on their own terms.
At the lunch I was asked if I would return to work at ALE. Not as an employee. There is no future there, only the illusion of one. I much prefer the clarity of contract work to the cynicism and disillusionment that kind of environment engenders.
At least the visiting off-shore manager I met there picked up the tab. He seemed really nice, too.