Thursday, July 10, 2008

Engaging with the future

The swirls from life's counter-phase flows are everywhere now.

A wave of folks has washed in from the US to learn what was done here and to take what they need to continue the product. They are meeting a outward current of Dutch headed out to new assignments, garden leave, or vacations. Inevitable eddies form, trapping issues large and small in swirls of accountability.

I've kicked job-hunting into high gear: HR had asked me to wait until the Plan was complete and then to work with my US rep. Our first meeting was yesterday: it's early in the process, so neither of us had any concrete options to offer. That was a bit frustrating, I would have liked to have gotten some specific interest, but we were able to toss a few ideas back and forth. I can see that the biggest sticking point will be my desire to stay in Europe: it's just not something that most Americans ask for.

Ideally, I'd like a position where I can build a new business from an innovative technology for a significant clinical need. These opportunities are few and far between, so there might need to be a 'bridge' role of less than a year where I can do some broadening or seasoning while I wait. I'm casting around to see what might be going on in our other centers outside the US, but they don't post openings at my level, so I have to hear about them second-hand. Alternatively, I could happily move towards a technology scouting or incubator management position, or into a role where I could work with talented clinicians to create the experimental and clinical evidence portfolio or health economic simulation to justify entering a new market.

Something entrepreneurial. And outside of the US.

A friend questioned whether a large corporation will have positions like that; another said that I have to look for 'small-in large' opportunities within functional departments rather than projects.

It's also becoming apparent that global economic and transportation factors have caused our company to pull functions back towards the center. It may be a "sign of the times": although an international firm may retain local sales and support functions, the era of networks of R&D and manufacturing centers may have yielded to outsourcing and "local operational leverage.

I haven't pursued external opportunities yet, but I've established a hard mental deadline where there has to be progress or I need to pull the trigger. I've had calls from a few friends with small businesses, and I'm trying to understand what it costs to live here if I were completely self-supporting. I'll meet with my relocation person tonight to sort out the questions of work visas and immigration. If it seems logistically practical, then I'll try to see if there in money behind the interest, and if the parts add up to a living whole.

Its getting harder to sleep as this all starts to rumble forward. I wake at 2 with a head full of leads to another leads to sunrise. I know that my mind has to exhaust its worries and alternatives, filing each and constructing a plan, but I wish it could do it subconsciously.

Anyway, closing with some bits and bobs:

  • Relief: William called from Air Force Basic and seems to be off to a good start. Bald, but good: he wants us to send news magazines since he's feeling cut off.
  • Irritant: My car lease company called and reclaimed by car on half-day notice: their supplier went bankrupt and they had to retrieve the car before the police arrested me for driving it (can they do that?). They've tossed me a Ford Mondeo family station wagon: I'm bummed: it's literally replacing the Batmobile with an Ice Cream Truck.
  • Wistful: I'm realizing that my US severance package would be about 10% of the Dutch severance. Maybe I should have taken a local contract, but probably wouldn't have been eligible anyway.
  • Resigned: I have been trying to help my team to organize their data and submit manuscripts so that they have published credit for their work. That's running up against US policy, and now that they run the business, it's their call. Disappointing.
  • Looking forward to: 'driving my daughter to college on August 17. It's still good to end with a happy thought.

Photo credit:


Textual Healer said...

you wrote
I'm realizing that my US severance package would be about 10% of the Dutch severance.

Man that sucks. No possibility of challenging that legally or would they offer you a position if you went back Stateside???

Dave Hampton said...

I did the math this morning: under Dutch rules, I'd be eligible for 47 months severance, vs. 6 for the US. Agreed, it's a huge difference, but one that I'll have to live with.

Worst case of separation, I'd try to negotiate for more, but could only argue on the basis of simple fairness. At this point, I'm still hopeful that I'll find another Dutch position. If so, then I'll check on whether it makes more sense to take a local contract vs. an expatriate one given what I know now.

Textual Healer said...

Its a complex world - that of of contracts with international companies. Were you employed under a Dutch contract? Were you paying Dutch tax?

A Touch of Dutch said...

I wish I would've started my Sunday readings here because, with being now short on time, I obviously am not leaving the proper comment in regards to what your blog entry here deserves. But I had to say your mentioning of the car they've replaced your lease with as them "literally replacing the Batmobile with an Ice Cream Truck" really made me laugh!

Dave Hampton said...

TH, I am here under the Netherlands "Knowledge Worker" program: they give a few years of 30% Dutch Tax rate and a company-keyed work visa. I do pay Dutch taxes, which are then deducted (partially) from my American taxes.

'Touch, I'm feeling my image crumble every time I hit the streets: it's time to get a bicycle.