Departures: Seattle: Live: You Goddamned Son of a Bitch

On December 18, 1998, I quit my job at Geoworks, an OS development company. I'd worked there for eight years. I had only a vague plan for the future: do some travelling and look for work when calmer.

It's pretty easy to arrange a trip to Seattle. Once the holidays had calmed down a bit, I headed on up.

But let's start with what happened on the road to Stanford on Thursday, the 21st of January, the day before I was to leave for my long weekend in Seattle.


David Otsuka was driving us down to Stanford so that we could hook up with Rob Pfile and Suruchi Bhatia and see some taiko show. I was talking at him about my so-called career, which had been careening lately:

So there's this executive, right? His name's David Thatcher. He's, like, this total asshole. He lies. But he's not a good liar. He called the Berkeley office together for this meeting. And he was giving really lame evasions to everyone's questions. And he looked at us as if he expected us to just, uhm, swallow those evasions.

I was surprised at how upset Thatcher had made me. I still am.

So later, everyone in the Berkeley office gets this offer. We can keep working. Or we can quit and get a severance bonus of a month's salary. And it's not an easy choice. But David Thatcher says that he regrets how little time he's spent at the Berkeley office. And how he's going to be paying us more visits. And I didn't think I could handle that. So I quit.

Dave Otsuka made sympathetic noises.

But the thing is that Dave Thatcher quit, too. Just a couple of weeks after I did. Some other company is dealing with him now. And so it's like I quit for no reason. The company's still in trouble, but I want to go back, be with my friends.

Dave wondered if that was possible.

Well, maybe. I mean, it seems like it's okay with the honchoes in question. The thing is, there's... Well, I'm not at liberty to discuss or disclose whether or not Geoworks might be looking at a layoff any time soon. But that's the sort of thing which would make it so that they weren't hiring anybody right now. And if something like that were coming up, then I'd have to wait until afterwards before I joined up--and that's assuming that there's still something left to join.

Dave Otsuka, despite his many positive qualities, is a lawyer, so I'm always extra careful about confidential matters when I'm talking to him.

Thatcher's quitting--it really threw me for a loop, you know? I was making all these travel plans. But if I can go back, then I want to go back. So I, like, put my travel plans on hold. But I'm still doing this Seattle thing.

Somehow Dave got me to stop talking about job stuff; somehow we were soon talking about more interesting things. I talked about my morning.

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