The aforementioned cusp has come and gone. I’m taking the UCD job.
The more I spoke with the UCD manager, the UCD senior technical lead, and some of my potentially-future teammates in that department, the more I began to get excited, and to buy into the idea that this could be a really good fit. I can, if my readers will forgive me a lapse into what I hope is not perceived as unbridled ego, a lapse which I promise is due only to the necessity of forming a properly considered opinion and one which I will endeavour to keep as brief as reasonably possible, be sort of a smart guy at times, and this job is basically about being paid to think, and to think bigger than individual developers or even individual products get to think. It’s about making things not suck, and about cutting through complex and overcomplicated things to deliver an idea which is comprehensible and intuitive. Maybe I will find it doesn’t fit, and in 6 months I’ll be calling the security guy back — security is still something I follow pretty closely after all, there was never a question that I found both jobs interesting. But for right now, the UCD job is totally the right call.
Everything is clearer on a cusp.
Of course, now comes the process — it would certainly have been less headache to have just quit. As an internal transfer, my old department and manager get a say in whether, or at least when I can make a move like that. This process has always seemed a little broken to me, however well-intentioned. Basically, when an employee at IBM wants to move, they request an “availability date” from their manager: an agreed-upon date after which the employee is free to move. This is done so that managers are able to exert a modicum of restraint on disruptive transfers, to wit, “We are 3 weeks from the end of this product cycle, so it will hurt us much less for you to leave then, instead of now. You are therefore available Mid-August.” And in the case of most employees this is, I believe, how it basically works. However to the extent that you are a high producer or otherwise valuable, it seems that the incentives surrounding corporate culture in general, and management in particular, will motivate your manager to resist, to keep you working for them by giving you a date that is unrealistically far out. Thus those who arguably should be moving the most for the good of the company, people who can land in a department, make a difference, and then move on, are those most discouraged from doing so. I don’t know yet what my date will be, though I have requested one — we’ll see if this means pain or not.