So company A in Minnesota, let's call them Ciber, wants me to join them. They have sent me an offer letter (a very nice offer, considering the cost of living out there and other things), and they want an answer Real Soon Now. Company B (InterSystems)in Cambridge, is very interesting to me, and on Friday seemed like they would be willing to try to move quickly to determine whether I am a fit there. MIT is also in the mix here somewhere, with a faculty liaison type position they are looking to fill for Open CourseWare.
I want to stay in the Boston area, if possible. I have decided on this. But I cannot stay here without a guaranteed job, when there is an offer in Minnesota awaiting my acceptance. So the trick is figuring out my risk threshold, in terms of making Ciber wait for my response.
There are a couple of parameters to look at in the process. Parameter 1: what I do between now and Wednesday at 10am.
Scenario 1: I tell Ciber I have an interview Wednesday morning, I need to take it, because this is a huge life decision. They can't begrudge me this much. I go to the interview Wednesday morning, nail the interview, and ask what kind of time frame I can expect for a yes/no response.
Scenario 2: I sign the papers and send them off tomorrow, betting on the fact that the Ciber guy I talked to Friday said words to the effect of "We need to get the ball rolling. Send us the papers and if you change your mind, we can always void them." He may have been betting on that 95%-likely-to-accept figure I gave him... Which is starting to look like 75%.
Scenario 3: I call up Ciber and ask for that "we'll let you void the contract" clause faxed to me in writing. Possible bad outcome: they look at me like I'm crazy, and I can hear the sound of the stare oozing out the holes in the telephone. And I lose some esteem with (still likely) my future coworkers. I don't think it's likely they'll go for that idea.
Parameter 2: What happens after the interview.
Scenario 1: InterSystems says yes or no. End of conundrum, modulo MIT surprising me.
Scenario 2: InterSystems drags its feet making a decision, or says "we need you to wait to meet the founder, but you're likely to be good." This is where bird in hand vs. two in bush theory comes in... How many birds are actually in each location? What are the chances of bagging those juicy pheasant in the bush, letting me avoid eating the, um, chicken in hand? Or is this actually a pheasant in my hand, and I'm just not letting myself see it because there are things I don't want to lose here, like my friends and my gaming runs?
Ok, so enumerating parameters and scenarios is turning into a dead end kind of thing... It looks a lot more linear than I expected, actually... For a while I was seeing this infinitely branching possibility matrix for the next couple of days, but really, it's pretty simple.
I need to talk to Ciber, I need to tell them I am giving this local company a chance. I tell them I owe it to myself, and to my future, to go into this big decision with as much information as possible. I go to the interview Wednesday morning and tell them my time is running out, as I'd like to either mail out my acceptance in the evening, or give Ciber my regrets.
If InterSystems can tell me that the only thing between me and a job is meeting the founder, I think I can take that as an acceptible risk, telling Ciber "I'm sorry, I can't accept a job at this time. I hope we can part at this time on friendly terms, as I really was looking forward to working with your team. However, InterSystems is a company uniquely positioned to leverage my background in business intelligence software, and I really feel like my usefulness here in Boston yadda yadda..."
Of course, I still need ot figure all that stuff out. The interview Wednesday morning will be as much about me figuring them out as vice versa... I also need to figure out my priorities on staying here vs. going there. Pros to leaving town: fresh start, new people, more socially conservative people, big fish in small pond at work... Cons: more socially conservative people, new people, fresh start.
Mmm, Schroedinger's life. I guess I should ask for a deadline from Ciber so I know when the waveform will collapse.
How far backwards will they bend for me? I don't want to play that game, I just want my life to come out optimally. On the other hand, I've tried optimizing my life before, and that just turns into too much inaction. Sometimes you just gotta jump in, take the chance. Or else you miss the chance to fail. And in failure comes the greatest lessons. Ooh, aren't I deep?