Job, Career, New lifeTue, 13th Apr '04, 7:45 am::

Here comes the long overdue lengthy 'blog entry. Lately I've been busy with too many things in my "real" life. So as you must have heard it by now, I have a job offer in St. Petersburg, Florida. My client wants to hire me full-time and will take care of my work visa (H1B etc.) requirements. The salary is good and my responsibilities are managable (or so I think). Here's what I've been upto:

Took a JetBlue flight to Florida on Friday night at 6:55pm. My online friend Taylor picked me up from the airport and brought me to his home. Turns out, just like his online persona, Tay is a real cool guy and despite his warning that in two days we'd be hating each other, we're still great friends; REAL friends now, not ONLINE anymore. After all, once I move to Florida, he's probably going to be one of a handful of people I know. So it's in my best interest to be nice to him *grin*

Next morning was the main interview with my client. It's always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed said Tay's dad. So over-dressed in a suit I went to my client's office, courtesy of Tay and his white pickup (more on the pickup truck later). Now about my client and soon to be boss... He is one of those people that you can instantly see made his own wealth from scratch. Very well-spoken and big-heart, he welcomed me into his office building like I owned it. My quite casual interview went on for the next six hours! My uncle had told me managerial positions aren't given by short 'n stout IQ tests but rather by long active personal examinations. Basically my client wanted to see whether my personality would fit in with his company or not.

To my pleasure, he thought I would fit in great and wants me to start working as soon as I graduate. I have a couple of commitments in Jersey (my work, my new apartment lease etc.) due to which I might be slightly delayed. But otherwise I'm trying to relocate as soon as I can. After all, Florida is beautiful and the work environment was great. Having been brought up in an mini-entreprenueral environment, I feel more at home as a manager in a small firm than a widget in a behemoth corporation. My dad owns his business and while I never said I want to inherit his particular business or form some startup with VCs etc., I've always looked at my work as if I own it. There is a spectrum of mentalities when it comes to responsibilities and I lie on one end, treating my work as if the outcome affects my whole company directly. At the other end of the band are most people who would love to get a job in Microsoft and Morgan Stanley - their work affects their bonuses. In between are people who partly care about the company and partly care about their packages. It's not about which mentality is right or wrong, it's more about can you find a place where you can fit in. Given my entreprenueral mentality, I think I'd fit better into a small company with broader responsibilities than in a large company with extremely specific job requirements. The big companies are doing fine without me. It's the small company where I can actually make a difference as well as learn what hard work and sleepless nights are all about. So yes, I'm fully aware my new job isn't going to be a cakewalk by any standards. Unless I interpreted things wrongly, it's going to be very difficult and I have a lot of goals to achieve in a very short time. Oh well, I've managed before and can do it again. The only difference this time is that now I know I must take care of my health before anything else.

During the interview I met one of my client's coolest employees and we went to lunch to The Dish. Interesting concept - you collect any amount of vegetables, fruits, mushrooms etc. in a bowl and sauces in another bowl and hand it over to the cook. Right in front of you they heat it all up together on a HUGE stove and hand it back to you. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten! Who knew broccoli could ever taste this good. Just thinking about The Dish makes me hungry. After lunch the interview continued and my client's wife walked in sometime around 3pm.

Now here's the critical part. Since the beginning of the interview, I was also interviewing my client in my head. I wanted to be sure that I was going to work at a place where the atmosphere was professional, systematic, and yet had some amount of homeliness and familial values. While my client proved to me within the first hour that his company is strong and growing, I still wasn't sure whether the work environment would be comfortable enough. I don't mind strict suit and tie formalities but being alone in this country for years to come, I want to work in a place which I can call home, simply because after work I gotta go back to an empty nest, obviously not home. And then one question she asked got rid of every doubt I had: "How is your cousin?" I'm just amazed that my client told her about Keval and that she remembered. It meant a lot to me. That's when I realized I'd found a new home and moving to Florida would be just like moving from my home in Calcutta to my aunt's home in Jersey.

Interview ended at 4:30pm and Tay being the coolest guy ever picked me up. One phone call after next, I estimate I spent $50 just one phone calls in that one day to inform everyone close to me that I am "gainfully" employed now. Tay's stepmom cooked some awesome Fettuccine Alfredo with vegetables for us for dinner and suggested a good comedy club we could go to. She basically knows every nook 'n cranny of the state. I told Taylor that people like her are the duct-tape that hold our society together, like my grandma and aunt, they take care of everyone and everything simply because they feel like they must. This is what I did at the Coconut Comedy Club: One Margarita, two Margarita, Motorcyle, Floor! Just kidding! I wasn't drunk at all. Seriously. No really. Trust me. I swear!!!!!!

Anyways, next morning we left for Universal Studios early and enjoyed about 5 rides/shows in 5 hours. It had been a while since I had just let loose and got the hell scared out of me - Back to the Future was the best. And then after the rides I kicked some Tay-butt in Ice Hockey and he danced like a chicken while playing Dance Dance Extreme Revolution Version XVII or something like that. As funny as he looked while doing it, I gotta admit there's NO way I can move that fast - not even if there's a gun on my head. So props to him.

The last ride that scared the HELL outta me was in his pickup truck from Universal Studios to the airport - the gas tank was EMPTY!!! There were no gas stations in sight and inside my head I was literally going crazy. I tried to stay as calm as I can but I knew something was gonna go wrong - after all my trip had been so wonderful and nothing is perfect ever! I'm gonna miss the flight! I'm gonna miss the stupid flight! Urghhhhhhh! Thankfully we found a gas station before the tank ran out and the ride to the airport thereafter was pretty smooth.

The only sad part was saying bye to him at the airport and early that morning, to his family. But the good thing is I'm moving to Florida and will be seeing more of them. Then the sad part will be saying bye to EVERYONE IN JERSEY!!! I admit it already - I'm gonna cry. I'll cry when I leave my present work and cry when I leave my friends and most of all when I leave my aunt's home. This is gonna suck major. Oh well, I'm a cruel bastard who keeps doing this to people ALL the time!

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