It’s a trap!

I’m posting this while we’re in the middle of packing our stuff to Japan. Our condo’s empty and we’re reviewing it with  the landlord later today. I’m literally standing at the kitchen counter, with the only furniture in the room being my laptop and the internet router.

Lately it seems everything’s trying to tell me that our move to Japan has been a bad idea. I’ve moved before, I know how to ignore those “signs”, but I have to admit some of them are pretty strong, and even shouting “red flag”.

Seattle’s summer is doing its best to make me regret moving to the humid and very hot Tokyo. But I was expecting that. Seattle has its way to lure you in July/August, and make you forget the not-so-great weather of the other 10 months.

I was also expecting the nostalgia feelings of walking through the streets of Seattle as I came home from work one last time, a week ago.

Those were ok feelings to have. I have them every time I move from a place to another.

However, a few days ago I learned that my manager in Japan, whom I haven’t met in person yet, is leaving the company in a couple weeks. Ouch. That doesn’t sound good, and there’s nobody in the pipeline to replace him. I was unofficially offered his job, but I refused. I’m not moving to take more stress and responsibility (let alone people management), but to scale down for one or two years until I pull the plug (not that I would tell this to anyone at the office…). It seems to me like my manager actually hired me with the secret hope that I would replace him. He knew he was leaving at the time he interviewed me, so I assume he had an agenda.

If that wasn’t enough to make me think I might have landed on the “wrong” team, I also learned that the team leader of the development team I would have to work with 95% of the time, has decided to move as well, effective in August. He was the guy with the most seniority in the team. If the previous sign was not enough to make me think something was wrong with the team, now I think it’s getting clear.

Let’s be honest: this is my last phase before early retirement, which I expect to happen within the next 12 to 24 months. So I don’t really care if I work on great projects or crappy ones, with awesome teams or lousy ones. Of course it would be better to work on interesting stuff, but I feel I’ll do ok. I worry, however, about being put in a situation where I have to work with a bunch of freshly hired people. Simply because with my seniority in the company, I know this means increased responsibility, at least to ramp these people up.

My hierarchy has already made it clear that he expects me to “wear  multiple hats” until we find replacements for my manager and the other guy. Ugh, more responsibility, it doesn’t smell good.

I’ll be doing ok of course. It’s just interesting that in the past couple weeks, a bunch of events are reminding me that no situation is all rainbows and unicorns.

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