Came home from Novell exhausted, and collapsed in bed to the soothing sounds of Vangelis Oceanic. Woke up to the last track, and realized it was now 7pm. Time to ink.

So I went downstairs and inked four rows (three-row Sunday and a Monday). Not bad. Not spectacular.

I talked with an executive headhunter yesterday. I pretty much turned down a $175k/year position as a VP of Product Management for a company in Jersey. Why?

1) I don’t want to move.
2) For that money, they expect 100% of my time. Schlock would die.

Besides… JERSEY. What kind of self-respecting person lives in Jersey?


24 thoughts on “Buffer=19”

  1. For that kind of money, you could outsource Schlock to Thailand!


    Good choice, Howard. (Not that you need me to tell you that.) I’m not sure if this counts as a “sacrifice” (the fact that it’s in Jersey mitigates the whole thing in the first place), but we really appreciate all that you do for us.

    1. Re: My vote

      I am pleased to hear that you concurred with the decision. Of course, more money is not automatically more stress.

      The New Jersey situation is understandable — you are in a relaxed, friendly part of the US, and NJ is not generally described in this fashion. It does have its adherents, though.

      Were it not for that, a counter offer noting the artistic time requirements would be interesting — particularly since those talents have previously been put to use in the service of the employer.

      Perhaps it’s worth asking for “this would be excellent if” conditions — you might get them!

      ===|==============/ Level Head

  2. Hey, *I* live in Jersey.

    …it may be a hellhole, but, damnit, it’s MY hellhole.

    And I was born in NYC, anyway.

  3. I’m an Oregon boy. What’s up with Jersey that I didn’t get growing up?? It’s motto is “The garden state.” Having visited Garden City Kansas, I realize they could be exaggerating the garden part, but if New York is nice, then why is New Jersey bad??

  4. Jersey… let’s be clear on one thing…

    The crack about Jersey was a kind-hearted dig at Pete Abrams, not anybody else. Note the link on “self-respecting person” in the original post. I’m sure it’s a nice enough place, considering how many people still choose to live there.


  5. Much as I appreciate it on a strictly selfish level, Howard, you made the right call. My wife has a job that demands so much of her time that she frequently falls into the trap of thinking of a 12-hour day as “coming home early”. That’s no way to live.

  6. For $175K, I’d live in Jersey. Hey, I lived in California for 12 years without too much ill effect.

    Yeah, you pegged it. No self-respect. Actually, I plan on renting some later.

    1. Can’t go back to California

      Long, long ago I turned down a challenging software job in San Bernardino, California, primarily because I simply could not talk myself into living in the Los Angeles basin. Instead, I left the throbbing metropolis of Murray, Utah, and moved to the Puget Sound area of Washington without a job.

      I suppose my tale exhibits signs of self-respect. Or questionable decision-making. Not quite sure which. Doesn’t much matter: Costco now carries trunk-filling canisters of self-respect for darn near impulse-buy prices. Had to buy a Rubbermaid storage shed to stash my drum, but I’m worth the trouble. Yes, I am. And you can be, too.

      Disclaimer: I do not work for Costco, nor do I own any Costco stock. I am a card-carrying Costco member, though.

      A few years ago I was approached by a headhunter for a firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. That offer was easy to turn down. Heck, I’d rather move to New Joisey. (No offense to readers in Cincinnati, mind you. Oh, who am I kidding? Go ahead: take offense. It’s intended.)

      But $175K per year? Yeah, that’s tempting–but if one doesn’t have any free time, what good does that kind of buying power provide? Yes, you could hire people to do some of the tasks for which you would no longer have time, but hiring someone to have fun for you is rather unsatisfying.

      Just the same, Howard, if you’re willing to make that kind of sacrifice, I’m willing to work as your Seeker and Experiencer of Fun. Don’t expect me to draw any Schlock, though. Unless you want genuine schlock.


  7. One more clarification

    One more clarification. Since I currently have a job, live in a nice neighborhood, and earn sufficient for my needs (if not all my wants and desires), the motivation to rip up roots and relocate in order to earn more is just not there.

    If, however, I were choosing between a low-paying position that did NOT meet my needs and this job in Jersey, I’d take it. I’m a pragmatic idealist. I don’t want to sell out, and won’t sell out if I don’t think I need to, but if I have to put food on the table just show me where I need to sign.


  8. Frankly, IMHO, any employer who expects to have 100% of my time for ANY amount of money needs to take a step back, count to a hundred slowly, and re-examine their assumptions.

    It’s work to live, people. Not live to work. Live to work is pathological.

    1. Upon the Meeting Of Prices

      True. Years ago, I had a price, and a company met that price, so I moved cross-country to work for them. Biggest mistake, happiness-wise (and by extension, career-wise), I’d ever met.

      My former employer thought that herding us into a conference room on a regular basis (weekly, for a while), and telling us how badly we were performing , needed to work harder including longer hours if necessary, and that we had to give them a reason to not outsource our jobs …. would somehow inspire us to better performance. When asked if 100+ hours/week was really fair, the response was “if that’s what it takes, that’s what you are expected to do”.

      We employees called those the “You guys suck and we wish you’d quit” meetings.

      The bit about minimum 50-55 hours/week was expected wasn’t put in writing, alas, although many people wrote it down on the memo that accompanied it (as a form of inspiration). My opinion is that if I’m doing 80+ hours/week (sometimes 100+), and there’s still work piling up like crazy and you’re saying I’m doing great but your expectations are higher … well, you have unrealistic expectations. I can see doing the occasional crash-week in an emergency, but not on a continual basis, and particularly not for an employer that makes it plain they want to outsource you, and that it’s only going to get worse because they think it’s your fault in the first place.

      Needless to say, I don’t regret quitting for one second. Sure it cost me a bundle in stock options, and I don’t like seeing the savings account dwindle (ever so slowly, tho!), the boredom of grad school nearly made my brain dribble out of my ears, but I’m happy with my decision. It was made plain they want me back after these two terms, and several people will be pissed since they *expect* me to come back, but, I’m not that desperate. 🙂 Maybe as an overpaid consultant.

      Now, to find a new job. Know anyone who wants a kick-butt data researcher/anomaly-fraud-detector/forecaster/miracle-worker security & fraud person? With references? 🙂 And modest, too. uh huh.

      One thing for sure, the salary is going to be a very MINOR consideration on the next job. I want enough to live on, plus cover some modest fun, plus enough extra to throw into savings for retirement, but I don’t want the moon anymore. I had it, and it’s just a big hunk of lifeless rock, close up – better left in the sky.

      1. Re: Upon the Meeting Of Prices

        Security and fraud? Any IT security? If so, I may be able to hook you up with an IT security recruiter….

        1. Re: Upon the Meeting Of Prices

          Yes, I’d be interested. Some IT security. I’m gold on the soft skills – research, detection, monitoring, working with billions of $ in credit card data, dealing with law enforcement, forecasting, pattern-detection & then modeling – and weak on the stuff like using specific software packages or hardware toys. It’s fun taking a massive database and slicing it to find the handful of anomalies that point to a bug in the program or a dishonest cashier (having someone’s job depend upon the findings is great incentive to be *thorough* about it). The degree program I’m currently working on is MS in Information Systems Assurance, and doing the background courses to a second MS in Accounting with an Auditing or Assurance specialization once this first one is done with. And I have worked with databases for over 20 years, but not Oracle (reverse-engineered one once while diagnosing a bug in its reconf functions, but since that’s illegal it’s not the type of thing that’s good to boast about on job applications, even if it *is* the fun “Here I come to Save Your Day!” type of stuff).

          Most of my hands-on has been through setting up a security training lab on campus, and while useful (such as learning cool foreign-student cusswords to better express frustration with VPN concentrators), it didn’t give hands-on on things I’m seeing the ads looking for. Over the summer I’m looking at setting up a honeypot research lab for the campus, and that *will* involve setting up sniffers … yay, one ad buzzword accomplished!

          Hopefully you’ll get a referral bonus, right? Assuming (Ha Ha Ha) a job comes out of it?

          1. Re: Upon the Meeting Of Prices

            Don’t know if I’d get a referral bonus out of it (could sure use one). But talk to , and tell him I sent you. I’m not certain if you fall into what he’s looking for or not, but it can’t hurt to ask.

    2. Frankly, IMHO, any employer who expects to have 100% of my time for ANY amount of money needs to take a step back, count to a hundred slowly, and re-examine their assumptions.

      It’s work to live, people. Not live to work. Live to work is pathological.

      I see your point, but let’s look at it another way: as a stockholder, if I’m hiring an executive (VP or above), I expect that exec to have my company’s interests foremost in his/her mind at all times. I also expect there to be no conflict of interest.

      Were I to take an executive position, the stockholders would frown upon Schlock Mercenary — not because it’s an extracurricular activity (hobbies are fine) but because it represents a commitment of time and mental energy equivalent to a part-time job.

      Executives are held to a different standard than the rest of the employees. That’s the source of the old saw “that’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

      Looking back 200 years, craftsmen held themselves to that same standard. The blacksmith was not just a guy who smithed for you during working hours. He lived, breathed, ate, and drank smithing… to the point that everyone just called him “Smith.” It’s not necessarily pathological. I’d argue that in a perfect world, more people would be working on what we’re passionate about, and passionate about what we’re working on. We’d enjoy our work, and “hobbies” would be adjunct activities we’d pursue to make our work more fulfilling.

      Many people are like that today. Were I cartooning full-time, I’d be one of them.


      1. True, you have an undeniable point there. I guess my point was that no-one can function long-term, and certainly not function at their best, with no free time whatsoever for relaxation and personal interests. If you have your nose to the grindstone every waking moment, you either burn out or lose touch with the rest of your life.

        1. And in fact, nothing in America really equates to the “every waking moment” effect that was true in the past (and still is in much of the world).

          Unless you’re self employed. (Dot-commers considered themselves essentially self-employed.)

          But even a busy person does not have to lose touch.

          ===|==============/ Level Head

          1. And in fact, nothing in America really equates to the “every waking moment” effect that was true in the past (and still is in much of the world).

            Debatable. I know people who’ve been working 100 hours a week and been called into come-to-Jesus meetings and publicly told that it’s not enough, and if they couldn’t do better their jobs would be offshored.

            The majority of them responded along the lines of “Then you can shove this job,” and walked out.

            Cool usericon, btw. I know that face from somewhere…..

          2. In fact, I have years of 100+ hours a week in my experience. It’s a lot — but your comment about the result shows that it is not quite the same.

            There is, for some, effectively no choice. If you owe three million dollars, just getting another job is not a viable alternative.

            Oh, and thanks! The icon is supposed to be a cross between Draco from Dragonheart and Homalocephalus, the “level headed dinosaur”. It is rather more like Draco, in fact — which I don’t mind at all. I had much sympathy for him.

            But I have a reason to change this icon soon, and will this weekend.

            ===|==============/ Level Head

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