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Jun 8 2006 / Aaron

Poached and Scrambled

Well there’s a pretty good reason why my blog has been silent the past few weeks, because I’ve spent them agonizing over one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

About a month ago a recruiter approached me to see if I’d have any interest in working for Full Tilt Poker in Dublin, Ireland. I get approached by head-hunters fairly regularly, usually for positions with Wall-street firms looking for a geek with my background in game theory and machine learning, but for the first time I actually considered this one for more than five minutes. Dublin would be interesting…. a different culture, accessible to all of Europe. Full Tilt Poker is already my favorite among all the competing online poker sites. They are by far the classiest and coolest of the bunch. I casually mentioned the opportunity to Christine and she got very excited about it. After a few phone calls, they flew me down to Los Angeles for a day-long interview. By the end of the day, I had an official offer — a very good one.

The agonizing was to begin. I love my job at Poker Academy. A lot. I love the work, I love the product, I love the people that I work with there. I’m well aware that not many people have the privilege to say that about their job. Leaving that is hard. It’s not just leaving a great job, it’s leaving friends. And it’s not just leaving them, but hurting a little as well. I play a fairly important role at the company, and I know my departure will be a big setback. I’m an extremely loyal person by nature, so allowing myself to be poached is no trivial matter. We also just bought a house in October. The timing is very uncomfortable in that regard.

So for over a week I waffled. In the morning, I’d feel like staying. By evening, I’d be yearning for a European adventure. Nearly everyone I consulted, friends, family, and strangers, all thought we really must go for the adventure and experience, especially while young and relatively unencumbered. Christine and I discussed this aspect a great deal. We are so comfortable here in Edmonton — we love it. We love living in our big cozy house in the cozy Edmonton suburbs. I love my job. I’m comfortable. But comfort can be a trap, and discomfort a hallmark of personal growth. Did we want to do something like this during our lives? Yes! Well if not now, while we’re young, then when. Opportunities like this one don’t appear all that often. The decision to go is easy, but the decision to leave is very painful.

This monday, I decided to throw caution and comfort to the wind and accept the offer. Within two months or so, I’ll be chasing leprechauns and drinking guinness (apparently a pint of guinness has less calories than an average pint of beer).

Next month I’ll be down in LA for a few weeks to train at their current offices, which are all being moved to Dublin around the same time.

We’re going to keep the house we bought in Edmonton and maybe rent it out. We’re planning to be in Ireland for two years, so it seems prudent to hang on to it for now. Real-estate is insane in Dublin, so we won’t even consider anything but renting. Renting is also insane there (we can expect to pay $2000 / month for a furnished apartment), but it is far less insane than real-estate prices.

More on this late. No really. What the hell else am I gonna have to talk about for the next two years?


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  1. bilge / Jun 10 2006

    … and you are just across the water a bit from the birthplace and the haunts of Dylan Thomas.

    Seriously (or what goes for that), congratulations! Both of you have a blast. Blog often.

    Adventure bekons!

  2. jette / Jun 11 2006

    Wow, that’s amazing! Congrats!

  3. Fancy / Jun 11 2006

    Absolutely congratulations! Best wishes on the move and the adventure as a whole!

  4. Evangeline / Jun 12 2006

    Aha! Dublin it is, then. You won’t regret it. Even if you’ll be working the place is wonderful. Many happy returns, and blog often. Cheers, mate!

  5. myke / Jun 13 2006

    are you catholic? or protestant? I suggest going CRAZY on someone whoever you aren’t with a chair your first day there, and then posse up, or else you might get burninated.

    and btw, guiness is made from the fermented droppings of irish water oxen

  6. pained / Jun 13 2006

    "The decision to _go_ is easy, but the decision to _leave_ is very painful."

    Then obviously you should go, but *not* leave.

    Paininator. 😉

  7. Tony Zamora / Jun 14 2006

    First of all, I wish you success in your new adventure. Living in a foreign country opens your eyes in such a way that you become more cosmopolitan and less nationalistic.

    I hope that you can continue to contribute to Cron-o-Meter. Make sure that the SourceForge database is up to date and send me some tips for maintenance. This program has the potential to be the best in the field of personal nutrition management.

  8. Willie / Jun 15 2006


    Europe is waiting for you 🙂

    My brother passed through the same time ago, when a USA based business contracted him and he had to left Europe. He’s glad of having that decision… I tell you this just in case it could serve for you getting calmer…


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