On March 22, 2012 AMD employees in the Portland office were gathered for a mandatory meeting. It was announced the office would be closing by end of the year. It was a surprise to most, though as a manager I was given early notice the preceding November with understanding I keep things quiet until announcement.
It was still a bit of a shock as I enjoyed our small compiler team, and enjoyed living in Portland. I was fortunate to be given a choice between two alternatives. I could either:
- Stay with AMD and accept an offer for a company move and job in the San Francisco Bay Area or
- Leave AMD with a severance package.
The advance notice had given me some extra time to anticipate and think through things. I had even quietly made my own trip to San Jose in February to see what it might be like to live there again – particularly if I still decided not to own an automobile.
After further consideration, I decided to reject both offers and come up with my own counter-proposal. What if I:
- Stayed with AMD, but instead moved to the Austin office? Also by the way, I could do the move instead of having the company pay for it.
While I didn’t disclose them, I had my own reasons behind my proposal. I had lived in the Bay Area previously between 1997 and 2001. It was an OK place to be, though would be a little more challenging without a car. Instead I was ready to try something new and Austin seemed interesting to try out. If I didn’t like it there, I could always go somewhere else after having tried it out. In addition, I already had plans to spend the first half of 2013 bicycling across Africa – so Austin would be a slightly better place to spend the second half of 2012 than Sunnyvale.
I was again fortunate that my offer was accepted. I decided to move at start of July to give myself a six month trial run in Austin. I arranged my own U-Haul trailer for a move. However, instead of moving the majority of my belongings to Texas, instead I placed them in a rented storage locker in Fort Collins, Colorado. This let me rent a smaller apartment in Austin and wait until after the Africa trip to finalize any move. I bade farewell to Oregon and placed my condo on the market. It was a bit sad because aside from Colorado, Oregon was one of the places I most enjoyed.
In the moment of March/April 2012 it was hard to decide on my choices – but as I look back, I am happy with the choice I made. Austin has been an OK place, particularly for months with the letter “R”. There is enough outdoor stuff, an interesting city and a different place to be – even if I still sometimes think of myself as a Colorado kid and complain through July/August heat. More importantly, I’ve enjoyed working for AMD and been engaged and challenged with my work.