The Axe Unexpectedly Falls

My blog is honest. The things you read here are accurate representations of real things I have experienced. My blog is also incomplete. I am circumspect about many details of my life, especially about my work. As I have written before, my blog originated as a way to keep friends and family informed about my experiences when I moved to Thailand more than seven years ago. I would normally not share the following type of news in this forum, but it seems the best way to bring people who are close to me up to speed.

For almost thirteen years, I have been an employee of Company R and the company it purchased a few years ago, Company I. A few months before moving to Thailand in October 2005, my manager unexpectedly asked whether my responsibilities could be shifted in such a way so that I could continue working for a few months as my replacement was found. We agreed that writing and updating training materials (instructor’s guides, online presentations, and collatoral) was a part of my job that had received less attention than it needed and would be suitable for remote work.

This short-term arrangement began well and eventually the fact that I was working 8,000 miles away from the head office was a non-issue. In fact, the ability to alternate days and nights with my colleagues because a benefit and my performance appraisals have glowed ever since. I regularly receive very positive feedback from all levels of the organization and have often been told that I am invaluable.

Two and a half weeks ago, I was invited to a “strategy” conference call with my boss, her boss, and the HR director for our division. Based on the attendees, I wasn’t surprised at the news that was delivered, even though it was completely unexpected.

My job is being eliminated in favor of a new position at our training headquarters in suburban Atlanta. I was given 90 days’ notice of the move (the new position is mine if I want it) and 30 days to choose whether to accept the offer. If I do not, I will be out of a job in mid-February.


My work experience with Company I has been very good, especially the people with whom I’ve worked closely over the years. Our acquisition by Company R has been positive and I actually feel better about the company’s future now than I did before the acquisition. There are a lot of elements of our division’s business that carry my fingerprints and I have a deep sense of ownership of the work I’ve done and the materials I’ve created that are used by more than 8,000 employees every day.

That said, after evaluating all the relevant information, I chose not to move to Atlanta. Doing so would mean leaving Tawn behind and ending our marriage* – something that isn’t an acceptable option.

I suppose it would be normal to feel angry or upset, but I appreciate that Company R gave me 90 days’ notice instead of the usual 30 and will also pay me 16 weeks of severance pay, which should cushion the blow.

One reason I’m not upset is that for the past couple of years I have realized that I’ve been enjoying the flexibility and ease of my work arrangement while not progressing in my professional development and my earning. In fact, thanks to the weakening dollar, my salary has dropped more than 25% in real terms since I moved here.

An initial inspection of my options and networking with friends here in Bangkok confirms that I should be able to find a position that will match my current salary or, with some extra effort, increases my compensation. Of course, that will come at the price of a regular office job and the hours that go with it! 

In any case, that’s the news. A big change but also a tremendous opportunity. I don’t know if I will provide very much detail of the job hunt but may provide an update or two as appropriate.


*Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, a US federal law that denies me the right to sponsor my husband for immigration because we are of the same sex.

Bangkok by Train, Boat, Bus, and Tuk-Tuk

A few weeks ago, I was visited by a quartet of friends, several of whom are transportation geeks… er, enthusiasts. Reprising a transportation-themed tour I led two years ago, I took my guests on a six-hour excursion around the metropolis. This time, the number of modes of transportation increased from seven to ten: Thong Lor red bus, Khlong Saen Saeb canal boat, taxi, third-class heavy rail, non-air conditioned city bus, Chao Phraya express boat, ferry, tuk-tuk, Bus Rapid Transit, and Skytrain.

I hope you enjoyed the journey!