In the beginning...
Some two and a half years ago, I was summoned to a meeting of people who were to be "loaned out" to another facility belonging to the sprawling enterprise which provides me with a paycheck. Seems work was going to be slow in the next year (or so) at the home office (no Hogday, not that Home Office) and at another location work was positively booming. Well, not that booming. They felt that they had enough work for a year to keep some people busy, but not enough work to actually justify hiring new bodies to do said work.
It was felt (by the corporate powers that were) that the looming economic crisis might settle down over the next year and then we could all happily come home. Back to the bosom of the home office and all the contracts which surely must come our way.
My personal feeling, upon seeing this meeting invite, was that there had been some mistake. Surely my name does not belong on this list. Oh no my friend, there has been no mistake. Your name definitely is on the list.
I felt like I had been scooped up by a roving press gang. Forced to take the King's Shilling as it were.
Like I said, that was two and a half YEARS ago.
Contracts did not come our way, there was no return to the welcoming bosom of the home office. Such is life. As one of my nominal superiors put it, "Hey, be thankful you have a job!" (I say "nominal" because I recognize no superior save God. Oh yeah, and my wife, definitely my wife.)
Later that same decade...
I am still "on loan". My one year assignment is starting to feel longer than the 30 Years War. I keep telling myself that "I'll be home before the leaves fall", "the war will be over by Christmas", etc, etc.
The biggest kick in the crotch was when the company decided (for reasons of austerity) that they would no longer foot the bill for my travels. I was on my own dime.
"What you talkin' 'bout Willis?", I asked. Well, I could return to the home office and take my chances, OR I could continue to work at the other location. On my own dime.
Let me paint a picture for you, there were many of us that fateful day, who set forth on this brave journey. Of those who made the trip (for that one year assignment), a number left the company to seek other employment (many of them are still looking), some permanently transferred to the loaner location, some were (gasp) laid off. "Here's your severance Johnny, have a nice life!"
Weighing the facts before me, I decided that paying my own way would be better than transferring. You see, I have a LOT of time and money invested in my house, it will be paid for, yes paid for, in just a few years. I do not want to sell the place, move and start all over again. Not on the dark side of fifty years of age! Transferring. Not a viable option.
Leave the company. And just how many going concerns are in the market for an aging engineer? I suspect not many. So again, not an option.
Get laid off. Okay, I would get the severance pay, essentially all pay and benefits for about 14 weeks. Then I'm back to that "who wants an aging engineer" thing.
So I stuck it out. Things can't suck at the home office forever can they?
Apparently they can't. (Suck forever that is.)
Glimmer of hope...
There may be, just may be, a slot for me opening up back at the home office. Rather than wait for them to beckon me home. I have taken my Guard aboard my small ship and have set out from my Elba, to return in triumph to the home office.
The cunning plan? Work part of the week at the home office and part of the week at the loaner location. The plan is to slowly infiltrate my way back into the good graces of the home office. There to be welcomed home and acclaimed throughout the length of breadth of
Will this bold gamble pay off? Will my long exile finally be over?
We shall see mes amis, we shall see.
Stay tuned. Life may just get interesting again!
I say, what ship is that on the horizon? Blimey, I hope it's not the Billy Ruffian!
(Author's note: HMS Bellerophon - the Billy Ruffian to the jolly jack tars of the Royal Navy - was the ship that carried the Emperor on the first stage of his journey into his final exile at St. Helena.)