Monday, August 17, 2015

Are We Really Doing This?

Larry’s job searches have always involved international options, so it was no big deal when his hunt earlier this year turned up openings in Malta, Singapore, and Germany. Singapore came knocking first, with a potential job teaching at a university for video games. They seemed an incredible front-runner for a while, then went silent. Germany came knocking but wanted “proof” of Larry’s credentials. Pass.

Then about a month ago, Germany came knocking again.

In the course of a week came long-distance interviews with a company recruiter, guys in the studio, and the studio head. By the end of the week Larry had an offer, and we had a concrete dilemma instead of a pipe dream. Are we ready to give up our 15 years in California and start over in another country?

Our previous big moves always came down to weighing any cons against the chance to face new intellectual/career challenges and explore a new environment. Larry would have the chance to work on a full game with a new team in a studio trying something new (to them), and I would have the chance to focus on my writing.

Although Larry didn’t know German, I had lived in Germany as a child and studied it in high school. Both experiences were a long way in the past, but more useful than starting from scratch. By the end of the weekend we had crunched the numbers, and it looked doable. Larry signed the one-year contract with Goodgame Studios, I gave notice at POST, and then the freaking out began.

Goodgames wanted Larry onsite within 3 weeks. That wasn’t going to be possible for all of us due to the  requirements for the cats (there will be a whole separate blog post on that madness). Thankfully it looked like the prep work would take a while, so Larry’s start date was pushed back to September 1 or whenever they could complete his visa work.

Now we had to deal with the most unfortunate of scenarios involving someone moving abroad—the fact that Larry’s passport had expired and he had managed to lose his green card in our move from one side of San Francisco to the other.

This in itself would have been complicated enough, but we couldn’t book travel for the cats till we knew when Larry would be squared away and in Hamburg, and I wouldn’t book travel for me till after the cats were settled.

Thankfully it didn’t involve a bus trip to Canada and an in-person appointment to renew his passport up there, or his having to give up rights to his green card because he was planning to move abroad, though both scenarios loomed large for a couple of tense weeks.

Instead it worked out at the last minute as these things do, and Larry left early for Hamburg while I stayed to deal with the movers, get the paperwork in order for the cats, and say the few goodbyes I could in the time I had left.

Surely things would be smooth sailing from here, right?

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