I told a friend of mine who lived in Austin that we were thinking of moving there, and to keep his ears out. He hooked me up with a friend of his, who had a recruiter contact that was trying to fill a QA role. She hooked me up with the hiring manager, and after a series of missed calls, we finally talked, and it went well.
He hooked me up with his principal engineer. The engineer asked me how I would test a card deck shuffling program. I must have done reasonably well, because the next thing I knew, travel to Austin had been arranged. The plan was to leave on a Friday afternoon, getting to Austin Friday evening. I would interview Saturday morning and early afternoon, have Saturday evening free to look around Austin, and then fly back Sunday morning.
I took that Friday off from work. My wife, baby, and I had lunch at Fresh Choice in San Leandro. It was delicious. Wife then drove me to the airport.
And it was on the plane that I knew I was in trouble.
It started (as it always does) with the migraine headache, feeling like a needle is poking into me just above me left eye. Light and sound start become irritations. And then the nausea starts.
The low-fat Italian dressing I had had at Fresh Choice must have had honey in it. Honey is essentially poison to me.
I used 3 barf bags on the airplane before landing in Austin. Managed to make it to the rental car counter, to the hotel, and I checked in. Threw up in the hallway on the way to my room 3 times. I called the front desk to tell them when I got to my room. I then sat in the bathroom with nausea and diarrhea most of the rest of the night.
I finally got to sleep about 4:00. Interview at 8:00. Woke up at 7:00 and felt slightly better, but the headache was still there. But what could I do? I got dressed and drove to the office.
My first interview was with two engineers. They started asking me questions, but about 10 minutes in, it hit me like a tsunami. Fortunately I found the recycle bin (which had a plastic liner in it) to throw up in. I also soiled myself. Thoroughly embarrassed, I turned back to the engineers, and told them that this was not going to work. They showed me out. I went back to my room and spent 3 more hours in the bathroom before crawling into bed about noon.
I woke about about 3:30 PM, and the headache was gone. Tummy felt much better. I took a shower. Hotel had a laundry room, so I went down and put a load of clothes in.
About 4:30, the hiring manager called me, concerned. I told him that I finally felt better. He said, “Listen, I talked to everybody, and they can all do the same schedule tomorrow. There is also a flight back to San Jose from Austin non-stop on Monday morning. Leaves at 6; gets to San Jose at 8:30. Can you be late to work on Monday?”
First of all, I was blown away that everybody rearranged their schedule to talk to me on Sunday. And that Lombardi was willing to pay for the fees to change my flight and the extra night of hotel.
Secondly, they did not know that I normally arrived at Apple between 10 and 10:15 anyway, so this was no problem.
So I agreed. Nothing ventured; nothing gained.
After I got off the phone, I realized that I was actually hungry. So I ventured out and explored. Ate a pint of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla (not yet available in Northern California). Looked at houses and salivated over the asking prices. Started mapping out neighborhoods with reasonable commutes. Got to bed at a reasonable time and slept very well.
Sunday, I talked to those same two engineers, the previous QA manager, another engineer, and the VP of Engineering. I also met the hiring manager, and the engineer who had given me the phone screen. The day went well, and the rest of the trip was uneventful.
And I got the offer. And I accepted it. We were going back to Texas.