Friday, October 15, 2010

The Mythical Way Home

Finally I can say it.  We are moving to Denver.  The possibility came up late July, became more concrete towards the end of August, and finally yesterday, I got my transfer letter.  I've told a few people well before the letter, but since we had to figure out how to approach Will's job, we couldn't make a grand announcement until yesterday.

I'm 4th or 5th generation Coloradan, but when I graduated high school, I couldn't wait to escape.  Went to college in Montana, met a boy who was getting an oil-industry degree.  We decided who ever got the better job, that's where the other would go.  In 1998, the oil industry was doing well, and it became obvious that our path would be to a place that is oil-centric, namely Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, or Oklahoma City.  Will ended up with offers in Houston and Dallas, and we chose Houston.  The idea was that we would live here for 5 years and move to Denver.  That was in June 1998.... more than 12 years ago.  So much for our "5 year plan".  Over the years, we thought about just up and moving, but the stars weren't aligning.  One of us had too good of a job opportunity in Houston to give up, the market was crappy, house market was too high, too low. 

When I took my present job in 2006, our corporate HQ is in Denver.  The idea was that I'd prove myself in Houston for 2 years and then try to get a transfer.  Fast forward 2 years, and I had great opportunities in Houston with the company, I had a sweet professional network that aligned me on a fast-track career path, and as much as I hated Houston, I couldn't imagine giving up my network, which at the time didn't translate to Denver.  In 2010, our company moved from a regional organization to a national organization, which in the back of my head a little voice was saying "hmmm, maybe this will open up new opportunties to the west".  Still, everyone WANTS to go to Denver and its very competitive.  I just kind of gave up actively persuing Denver.  We hate Houston, but we like our friends and our life here.  We decided that was enough for us (with kick ass vacations thrown in).

My workload in the past few months have dwindled, some of it was client related, but really, I was beginning to see that my office was not getting the types of projects that I wanted to do.  I'm one of those people who like big robust projects that are long term and high profile.  I hate scrapping work together week after week, just to stay busy (which has been what I've been doing for most of 2010).  In July, we got a new account manager for a project I've been managing for a while.  Its listed as one of our top clients to grow and I regularly get calls from BD people, asking how to grow the project.  Really, the project has a mind of its own and there's little we can do to expand it.  So, when this new account manager (R) called me, I was not very excited, thinking it was another BD person with the same MO as all the others.  R was different, she was very understanding of the complexities of the project and wasn't pushy.  R is also a staffing manager in the Denver office and said she noticed my name was on the weekly national "light on work call".  I confirmed that it was, and she asked me a few questions about my experience.  She had a project that needed a PM - but the requirement would be a transfer to Denver.  Strangely enough, I have the exact qualifications for the project (client and technology), and when she said Denver, I replied back with "I'm a Native and I have my CO PE."  We both agreed that there were too many coincidences for this to all mean nothing.  R did some checking on me, to make sure I was a good candidate.  She came to Houston in August for BD work and we discussed the opportunity in more detail - left me with a choice of positions: the Denver PM job or stay in Houston and lead our BD effort for a client sector.  Incredibly flattering, and I was not expecting 2 offers.  After a few sleepless nights, I decided that while the BD offer was VERY flattering, it was still not a sure thing.  Moving to Denver for a new project was a sure thing - and it meant moving both to our corporate HQ and moving HOME.  Something I wanted to escape from so badly when I was 18, but have trying to figure out how to return there for the past 10 years.

At the end of August, it was determined that I was THE candidate for the job.  How does that happen?  Everyone wants to move to Denver - why and how did it end up that little old me is the best one for the job?  This has been more flattering than words can describe - basically being hand picked for a complicated high profile project.  Wow.

And then once I made my committment, it took 1.5 months to get the offer put together.  Ugh.  That's ok, I've been here 12 years, what's waiting a few more months. 

Will's job has been an interesting complication - he started a new job on Sept 1.  Fortunately, its with people he's worked with off and on for the past 6 years.  Our hope was that they would be ok with Will telecommuting.  Will told his boss yesterday, and it went great.  His boss basically said that Will could work for them, no matter where he was living.  I can't even express how great it is to see our hard work being paid off with such loyalty. 

So, we've got out work cut out for us.  We're in the process of clearing out our house and making a few small repairs.  House will go on the market Oct 29th.  We're pricing it aggressively so it will hopefully sell fast.

My official transfer date is Nov 13th, but really, that's an administrative date.  Denver said that as long as I get up there in 1-2 months after Nov 13th, then I'm ok.  They understand that I have a house and husband to figure out.  And if our house doesn't sell by Christmas, I'll go live with my mom (its nice to have that option, but yikes) and Will would hang out here until the house sells.  Lets just hope it sells fast.

And then there's also marathon and IMTX training at altitude and in the winter with snow.  We'll just see how that goes.  Too easy to get overwhelmed right now.

We're very excited but at the same time scared and sad.  Houston, as much as I knock it, has been really good to us.  We've made great friends and we really like our life here (except for the heat, humidity, and ugliness).  However, I really have to belive that Denver is where we belong.  Hopefully I'm right.  There's only one way to find out.

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