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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Taking back control - An Update

This is an update to the post Expat life can be a bleepedy bleep.  It can be read here: http://expatchapter.blogspot.com/2014/01/expat-life-can-be-bleepedy-bleep.html

Uncertainty with a family in tow is beyond stress.  In this case that uncertainty which began on the first of November had almost become paralysing.  In the span of 3+ months we were preparing for a move to Norway, pushed to move to the dirtiest city in the US (which was never going to happen), talking seriously about Oman, decided to move to Houston... and then not to move to Houston.

The one thing that was certain was on January 31, the lease on our company provided house would expire.  In early January I was told that jobs at my level were scarce due to current cost reviews and if I did not accept the dirty California city job and/or find something else, the family would be sent back to Canada and my employment terminated.  

Mid January, I was told the family would be moved into temporary accomodation and our things moved into storage.  At that point I felt the need to push back.  "Ummm no sorry, that's not going to happen.  Find me a job, tell me where we're going, then we will move.  Get a plan together."  Amazingly it bought some time.

In late January a decent offer for a 20 month role was made in Houston.  Ok...lets get our questions together and get them answered...looks like we're moving to Houston.  There are worse places in the world.  

Thoughts of what this new life would look like became impossible to suppress.  I'm going to move to Houston and sit in traffic.  The car will be nice but it will be parked on a freeway.  Days will go by where I come home after the kids are in bed.  Another 6 months of transition coming for the family, and then in 20 months we'll do this all over again.

Time to take control of the situation.

The questions about Houston would never really be answered.  I suppose a combination of expectation that I would just take what was offered and lovely HR people strangled by processes preventing them from doing what mattered.

"Show me the termination package.  Make it so we can stay in Perth.  We're not getting on an airplane."

After 3 weeks of back and forth I signed a termination package.  In the middle we were moved to temporary accommodation and had our stuff moved to storage.

Uncertainty OVER, time to act!

In 2 weeks we:
Found an awesome house North of the CBD at a reasonable rental.
Found a job with another US company in the middle of an aquisition integration in Perth
Had the visa transfered to new company
Bought a second car 
Got Olivia into a new school.
Moved into the new house.
Started to relax.

In all I would work for "The big red machine" for just under 9 years.  It's a company filled with talented wonderful people who I will miss dearly.  As much as this process made the company seem evil, it's hardly the case.  More-so a case of  bad timing and a few bad apples in the mix. 

Time to go back to enjoying life and putting the focus back to the family.

Owen at the new house