Nine months ago I moved down to Austin to take a job with Vigil Games. I left my wife Nicole and step-daughter Kate behind and I’ve only seen them once every 5-6 weeks. I knew it would not be easy and it was not. When I first got here, I got an apartment near work with a 10 month lease. The plan was that I’d work the job while Kate did her first year of high school in Seattle. Come summertime, we’d assess the situation. If things were going well, we’d consider moving Nik and Kate down to join me and we’d upgrade to a bigger place. If they were not, I could return to Seattle with some valuable experience under my belt.
In May I asked the leadership at Vigil if they’d consider letting me telecommute. I argued that my many months here had allowed me to learn the game and the team and that the major part of job, writing, was something I could do from anywhere. I also told them I’d be happy to fly down once a month for planning sessions, brainstorming, etc. They said they would indeed considerate it and for a couple of weeks I thought I might be able to both go home and keep the paycheck and insurance for the family. As it turned out though, the managers all agreed that telecommuting was right out. It was stay in Austin or leave the job.
This was a tough decision. On the one hand, I wanted to return to Seattle and rejoin my family. On the other hand, the factors that had led me to take the gig in the first place (insurance in particular) would reassert themselves as soon as I quit. The other option would have been to sell our house in Seattle and move Nik and Kate down here. I had many months to chew on that and I decided I just couldn’t do it to Miss Kate. She was at her stupid hippie school for so many years and finally this year was at a decent school she was doing well at. She had also grown up in Seattle and I didn’t want to tear her away from her home and all her friends.
Meanwhile, my apartment complex had given me a deadline. I needed to tell them by June 16, two months before my lease ran out, if I’d be renewing it. If I lived anywhere near the cool things in Austin, if the city had a decent public transportation system so I could get around on my own, if I had found the work more fulfilling–well, maybe the choice would have been harder. In the end though, my heart knew what it wanted: a return to the Emerald City and my family.
Folks at Vigil were understanding and we’re parting amicably. I’ll be going to GenCon as planned and returning here for one more week of work. Then Nicole and I will have another four day adventure moving all my stuff back home. I should be back in Seattle by the 20th or so. I will then return to working for Green Ronin full time and consider my options. We may be destitute by Xmas, but at least we’ll be together.
While these past nine months have been challenging in many ways, I don’t want to give the impression that it was misery either. I knew some people from the area before I got here and many of them have become real friends. There are many cool and talented people at Vigil and I made some good friends there as well. Without their willingness to take my non-driving ass around, I never would have experienced the better restaurants or gone to any punk rock shows. So thank you, Austin friends. I’m sure we will game and eat BBQ again together in the future.
Now I need to pack, plan for GenCon, and think about my next move. Seattle, here I come!