I've never been a fan of paperwork. I'm not even a fan of meta-paperwork. I often mock those I work with for their "logging in to Microsoft Office" every day rather than doing real work. I'm sure there are some people who believe there is value to that sort of work, but I'm not one of them. So when my life is put on hold and I have to wait for other people to fill out, create, modify and distribute paperwork (be it physical or electronic), I get somewhat frustrated.
Let's have a little reminder of some of the facts about where we are now:
• Nook and Chair are engaged • Chair has been working on a job offer in Australia • Nook is living thousands of miles away from Chair • Chair still has a job in Europe • Nook and Chair have no idea where or when they'll get married
So, yeah, lots to do and think about.
The process of my getting a new job has been an extremely slow one. One might even say tedious. After all was agreed upon back in May, there has been a series of extremely frustrating delays which made "getting on with life" nearly impossible.
My new prospective employer had recently switched to a new hiring process, including a new outsourced firm to perform much of the legwork with respect to background checks, paperwork processing (sigh) and more. Unfortunately, it appeared that I was the first person to go through this process, and as such, there were many bugs that were being exposed. This meant that with every step forward, there were several steps backwards.
A few of my friends cautioned me that if the problems were this great before I even started work, I was likely in for a rough ride once I actually got there. I wasn't so sure, I understand how outsourcing is the root of all evil (in fact, I frequently tell people that outsourcing was directly responsible for the fall of the Roman empire, but that's another story)…and I understand that when you're a large organisation trying to create a process that will be followed for thousands of people over the course of a year that there could be a number of kinks to work out of that new system.
But the timing sure sucked.
Week after week, my prospective new boss would either be entirely radio silent, or only give me dribs and drabs of information about what was going on. I knew that he was trying to protect me from the hassles that he was going through, and I did appreciate that, but with so much in the balance with my life, with Nook's life, I was losing my mind with all of the delays and setbacks.
After Nook went back home, I ramped up the pressure a bit. I couldn't resign from my current job until I had the completed paperwork for the new one. That would be foolish…
Nook also was wondering what to do with the timing of her life and where we were going to live. The lease that she had expired at the end of the year, and there was a notice period of a few months that was required if she were to vacate early. We didn't want to leave things until December, and there was a lot of planning she had to go through as well before she could move to be with me (wherever that happened to be) -- a car to sell, furniture to get rid of, and of course her entire life and belongings to pack up or dump.
As the days and weeks passed, I received several draught contracts from my potential new employer. Every one of them had something wrong; either the compensation or the terms of employment. My boss-to-be was infinitely patient in working through the matters with me, but this was a dance that had been going on nearly an entire year at this point (the first contract copy was sometime around October 2009…)
I kept working. Kept silent about my plans. A handful of colleagues knew about Nook and our plans to be together, including my direct supervisor, but for all they knew, the plan was that she'd move in with me and find a job in the city.
They had no idea that I was working on my exit strategy.
More days passed, and more weeks. However, finally, at long, long last, the paperwork all looked right. No major surprises, and I was ready to get on with life. Boss-to-be sent the paperwork out via courier, and I tracked the parcel carefully. Took a day out of the office to "work from home" to receive the package as well.
At long last, the paperwork!
I took a number of photographs of the envelope, the opening of the envelope, and the paperwork itself. I carefully reviewed it all, and it was time to sign. I'd been waiting long enough...
But before doing so, I had to make two phone calls.
One was to my friend who just got married in early July, so he could meet me at the pub and share in a beer to celebrate the signing, and the other was actually at the pub, via the iPhone "FaceTime" application, to the good friend whose house I stayed at en route to meet Nook for that first time. It was a bit early in his morning, but, given how he knew so much of this story, I wanted him to witness The Moment.
So there I sat, my local friend sitting to my right, my iPhone in the air, a glass of Duvel (a superb Belgian beer, if you didn't know) before me, and another friend a few thousand miles away having a coffee. We talked, we laughed, I drank, I signed.
And then I drank some more.
This was big. This was epic. This was going to be the culmination of years worth of consideration and now, it was going to be an adventure for my fiancée and I to undertake together.
The paperwork specified a start date of the end of October, 2011, but that was, naturally, dependent upon things like visas being approved. My new boss-to-be was quite flexible about the start date, but did very much want me there before the end of the year.
Now all I had to do was quit my job, sell my house, pack up my life, arrange for Nook to join me, and move to the other side of the planet.