He articulated his hope that I would stay with the company by accepting FluxCorp’s offer to relocate elsewhere. That elsewhere is half way around the world. Literally. The place is Shanghai. Nope, ain’t Shanghai, Virgina I’m talking about. Not even Shanghai, West Virgnia (what’s up with those Virginians and Shanghai?!). Yes, Shanghai, China. It turns out many of the jobs being cut by FluxCorp, in the US and Canada, are being outsourced there. Real engineering jobs. High paying engineering jobs. Engineering jobs that require a graduate degree. In fact, a team of 11 in Shanghai has been manager-less for a while now, and Santa was eager to find an Elf Leader from the Occident to lead the Worker Elves in the Orient.For the few of you out there that may have read my now-dormant blog, you may remember that I was itching to move to Shanghai a couple of years ago. But that itch was based on an underlying assumption that I would be going on a full expat package — free housing, free tuition for children, car & driver, tax equalization, guaranteed job upon return to home country, and full current pay. This offer, however, was much different. I was offered to go on the local Chinese payroll with some extra allowances. No expat. No job waiting for me to return home to. Zip, nadda, zero. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. And swallowed it I did, but not, however, without first negotiating a bit more so my kids will be able to get proper schooling there without me breaking the bank. Although I ultimately accepted the offer, I have this uneasy feeling that I was pushed into it, sort of shanghaied if you will, rather than having been able to make such a life changing decision with better options on hand. But alas, that other option just got laid off. And you may be wondering why I don’t just find a job locally, or at least stay on the continent. But in case you haven’t noticed, the economy sucks right now. Those that are hiring aren’t paying a whole lot either. It’ll be a pay cut whether I stay or I go. It’s also true that I’ve been feeling pretty restless at my job for some time now. A move to China; being a new manager; working in a brand new language. I think that’s probably enough change to soothe my restlessness for now. My hope is that after serving a few years abroad, the world economy will have improved enough that I will be able to come back into a decent job. Or who knows, I may like it there and stay forever.
Geez…a manager. Am I still qualified to write for this blog?
What The Flux is a semi-regular weekend feature on EngineeringBlogs.org that follows the follies and jollies of an engineer in industry, yours truly.