Thursday, November 22, 2012

Staying Put

My previous new jobs had required moving to a different state--Utah to California, then to Idaho, and finally to Oregon.  I loved my job at Sequent here in Beaverton, and worked hard.  I felt I was making a significant contribution through the start-up phase, then profitability, and public stock offering.  It was pretty exciting stuff (until the stock market dip in 1990 and company stock dropped to 25 cents on the dollar).

Sequent was a special place, with high morale and great working environment.  It was the Camelot of companies.  We did go through some hard times, including 1991 when nearly half of engineering was laid off.  But I survived all that and was still at Sequent 16 years later when IBM bought the company.  We were all pretty excited and optimistic about that.  We assumed we'd have increased job security and that IBM would be able to invest more in our product development and sales.

Well, things with IBM didn't work out too well.  The IBM executive who spearheaded the purchase retired soon after, and it seems we lost our advocate within IBM.  We began to die a slow death, and within two years almost everyone had been laid off, including me in May 2002.  Work had become a drag, so I wasn't all that disappointed to leave.

Fortunately, a relatively new company based in Houston, TX, decided to open a Hillsboro, OR, branch to take advantage of all the available ex-Sequent employees.  So I went to work for RLX Technologies, with a dozen or so others from Sequent, and felt right at home doing the same kind of work I had been doing.  This went fine for two and a half years while RLX tried to make a go of things, but couldn't.  A week before Christmas, 2004, the Oregon branch was closed and we all lost our jobs.  Fortunately, that same afternoon a couple of Intel managers came in and gave us a pitch to persuade us to come to Intel as an intact team to continue work on a similar product development.  So about twenty of us did so, starting with Intel Corporation in January, 2005.

Intel was always a dominant hi-tech employer in Oregon, and not always admired, at least from an employee standpoint.  They had a reputation of working employees to the bone in a cut-throat environment.  Many of us from Sequent thought of it as going to the "dark side".  But, to my delight, I found Intel a wonderful company to work for.  Sure, it didn't have the nimble, start-up atmosphere of a Sequent or RLX, but our development team was pretty tight and able to work efficiently.  The "big company" aspects gave us security and benefits, and our development team had a great environment.

When I started with Intel I negotiated to work 4 day weeks at 80% pay, so I really enjoyed my situation.  I figured if I got two good years out of Intel that would be bonus.  I never figured, for instance, I would be there long enough to earn my 8-week paid sabbatical after 7 years.  But here I am, almost 8 years later, and feeling so fortunate.  In recent years I have decided I would continue working at this job for as long as I enjoyed the work.  The pay and benefits and working environment and company are marvelous.

Meanwhile, for some years now we have felt our roots are too deep in Oregon to consider moving again.  We have been fortunate to experience two (or three, counting the IBM stint) more job changes and continue living in our house.  I don't see any motive on the horizon to tempt us to move--we really enjoy Oregon, with its mild weather and gorgeous scenery, with such a variety of outdoor opportunities.

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I acknowledge my tremendous good fortune, both past and present.  I feel like I live such a charmed life, and raise thanks to my God.  And I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who reads this blog.

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