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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Friday was my last day at my job, I'm moving on to bigger and better things. This was a good company that I worked for, but their focus was changing and I knew that I was going to be a square peg trying to wedge into a round hole.

About two months ago, a friend had given me a lead on a company that would soon be hiring for a job that was right up my alley, so I sent them my resume, though I had not yet fully decided to start looking.

In the several weeks it took to arrange an interview (they weren't ready to start the process just yet), I decided to start looking more seriously. I put my resume in the usual online places and on my own site, talked to a couple of recruiters, and started scanning all the job listings - print and online - that I could find.

It was only a couple of weeks into this that we finally arranged an interview at the first place, and by then I had not gotten any bites from my efforts. However, the research and discussions with recruiters proved invaluable anyway.

That first interview led to an offer on the spot, and I knew that this was a place where I wanted to work. It was just a matter of settling on a price. Because I had started this process of looking, I was prepared. I had thought out what kind of salary I would need to get me to switch, and I had also determined what my market value probably was (both a very realistic amount and a "remotely possible but not likely" higher amount. So to me the issue was simple: say no to anything below that range, haggle within it, and don't hold out for anything above it.

Aside from a few details, a follow-up phone call settled the issue quickly and with no bullshit, and we ended up right at the high end of my realistic range. Had I not been prepared and knew that range, I might have either settled for the lower amount or flailed around blindly for some unrealistic higher amount. Either one would likely leave me unsatisfied or possibly cost me the opportunity entirely.

I feel good about the result, and I'm free of major doubts about whether it was the right choice, whether there might be something better around the corner. Not only will it pad my wallet nicely, but it should make this new relationship more solid and stable than it could have been otherwise. It was luck that this opportunity came up when it did, it was preparation that let me take full advantage of it.

And I've got a week of unemployment to be my own boss.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Thanks to Billy for the link to a story about the Norweigan ski coach who gave a replacement pole to a Canadian competitor who had broken hers. I've been avoiding any Olympic coverage like the plague that it is, and this article points in the general direction of why.

The why is because everyone but Bjornar Hakensmoen hasn't the slightest clue why they are in Turin this month. Not the media, that's for sure, not the IOC officials and organizers, and not the coaches, trainers, and athletes. OK, maybe some of them, but I'll bet even most of them don't get it anymore and the ones who do are quickly being trained to forget it. I'll give you a hint: the daily "Medal Count" is just about the last fact about the Games that I want to hear.

I'm an objectivist. I believe in selfishness, or at least, to put it another way, I am vehemently offended by any notion of selflessnes, and morally offended when such is described as the way people should act. If you think you understand that, then tell me, what would that morality have demanded I do in the situation Mr. Hankensmoen found himself in? If you said anything other than "give her a pole", then you really don't understand it at all.

I would have done exactly what he did, or if I hadn't, I would have counted it among the many times I've failed morally - and the victim of that failure would have been only myself, and my team. Hankensmoen comes oh so close to explaining why, though he misses it by a hair. I don't know what kind of person he is, what philosophical beliefs he holds, but if he meant by his explanation that he did it because he was being selfless and because of that it was the moral thing to do, then a miss is as good as a mile.

You think that what he did was counter to my values? Do you think it didn't further his own acheivement, his own interests and that of his team? Think again. He knew that it did, even if he didn't (or couldn't) quite tell us why. Even if he thought he was doing it selflessly, it was a selfish act, and I applaud him for it. It had nothing to do with her, her misfortune, whether or not she deserved to continue in the race, how she would feel about it, or who would end up with the medal. It had everything to do with the fact that it was she the Norweigan team had to beat.

He understands something about that. Maybe it's only in a vague and disconnected way. Maybe it's not a result of explict philosophical conclusion, but only some distant cultural memory of a time when values and acheivement were still important in the world. No matter, he did the right thing. But now, most people have lost even that memory, and are flailing about helplessly in the world while counting medals as a pathetic substitute for some connection to real acheivment and real values.

Correction: Corrected "He knew that it didn't" above. Should have said that he knew that it *did* further his own interests and acheivment.