Whose chopper is this?

So, like, I've been liberated of my employment status for nearly a month now. Damn dot-com ran out of money and left my sysadminning ass out in the rain. Literally.

I was not without my advisors though. My ex-supervisor (the project manager and otherwise hoopy frood) pulled me aside about a week before the bomb dropped to tell me to start looking for a job, 'cos the owners were almost out of money and the next round of financing never came through.

That afternoon he was let go. The owners told us that he had left of his own accord and on good terms. I knew better. Out of cash, and we didn't even have a DBA to manage the Oracle server I was supposed to co-lo in less than a week, not to mention we didn't even have a co-lo site contracted yet! I know a ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch when I see one.

Having been informed, I started hosing every online job pimp with my resume, as well as scouring the local USENET *.job group. About the time that the company officially closed shop, I was receiving calls from the headhunters like mad. I swear, the next person who says that there's this great job in Dallas that I'm wanted for, I'm going to personally track down and pummel with a life-size replica of the Reunion Tower. No, I do not want to leave my beloved Austin for the land that a friend insists is the sign of the impending apocalypse, not even for a substantial signing bonus. EAT FLAMING DEATH, JOB PLACEMENT WHORES!!!.

But I digress... Skip ahead a couple of weeks. I've had a nice long time to sit on my ass, supported only by what lies in the bank. Thank bog for the Playstation 2. And noding. Meanwhile, I have talked to numerous headhunters, all of which were of no help (esp. the one that insisted that I work at EDS, where all applicants are drug tested and prodded with pointy sticks. Thanks, Mr. Perot!) and have attended a few interviews. I had received a rather nice offer from one company and a phone call from the CEO of another, who I still haven't actually talked to live as he seems to get great jollies off of playing phone tag. So, I have two offers.

-Now for the juicy bit:

I was lounging around the apartment one fine day when I received a call from a manager at (insert midsize tech company name here), who I had received an offer from earlier. A good thing, too, because I needed to ask him to extend the freshness date of the contract so I could wait to hear back from (insert noted semiconductor company here) who I had interviewed with the previous day. Sadly, I didn't get a word in edgewise. He asked me to visit the offices again to discuss the contract.

So I visited. He gave me a pretty good spiel about how the company is right for me, and how relaxed and flexible the environment was. He was right: the employees seemed pretty happy (unless perhaps they were drugged), plus the building was in the most scenic part of town too, right by the 360 bridge looking out over the Colorado river. Spiel ends. (Manager) asks if I'd like to join a few of the guys for lunch. A suit wanders into the room. (Manager) introduces him as the CTO.

(Manager),(CTO), and I head out of the building. But not through the side with the parking lot. (Manager) asks if I like flying. I say no, and wonder if they're secretly setting me up for a job with heavy travel. There was no car in sight, much less a place to park one. No sooner than he said that, the roar of a helicopter descends from above.

Something clicks.

"We're going to The Salt Lick for lunch. In that," (Manager) says. I stare dumbfounded. It was really beautiful to watch: the vehicle hovering over a verdant field adjacent to the river; the dynamite-blasted face of a former hill and the arch of the bridge in the background. Damn, they're laying it on thick. You would think that I was the last sysadmin on the face of the earth.

After exchanging handshakes with the pilot and what seemed like his cohort in the helicopter biz, we boarded the craft. The surreality of the situation sucked every last bit of prepared poise from my tongue. There was nothing to say, really. What can you say when you get to see the Hill Country from five hundred feet? It was breathtaking!

We landed just to the side of the parking lot. It's the first time I went for lunch in a helicopter, much less the first time I rode in one. Normally a meal at The Salt Lick was cause for much celebration, but this time all I could manage was to eat my sliced beef sandwich and contemplate the situation.

After lunch, we walked out to the lot where the 'copter was. Over the loud thwapping of the rotor, (Manager) explained that the pilots were good friends of (CTO)'s and that we weren't taking this trip in the helicopter on my account. I'm not sure whether I buy that.

My mind was Jello the rest of the day.

Every bit of this is true. No shit.

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