The Big Move

Life can be unexpected and full of difficult decisions, but this was one of the easiest decisions I have made so far even though it feels like it will be the biggest change I have made in my life. My wife and I have sold our house, our car, and our possessions save four suitcases. I’ve been out of a job for 30 days exactly today. To say that change is in the air is an understatement.

When my wife Sarah was looking at universities to get her PhD a few years ago, we saw an opportunity because attending school in another country often opened doors with immigration and residency that were otherwise closed. Experiencing life in another country has been something on our bucket list for a long time, so Sarah applied to get her PhD in Scotland.

She was rejected.

One year later, after applying at several universities, her grit and tenacity paid off as was accepted at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

In 2020’s waning hours I knew we were going to be moving to Ireland. At that time I planned to work remotely for Archer First Response Systems while there. However, as we learned more about the process we discovered that for me to be able to work in Ireland legally, I would need to work for an Irish company. This narrowed my options considerably for where I could work.

We had a decision that, to me, was the easiest in the world to make. Should we move, even though it means leaving Archer First Response Systems ?

The decision was easy because supporting Sarah Porcenaluk was never in question. I know that I am not going to be the one to stand in the way of her goals and dreams (and woe to anyone who does).

Bittersweet as it was, I looked for a new position in Ireland. I fully expected it to be difficult to find anything remotely as challenging, as interesting, and as meaningful as the work I had been doing at Archer. With the restrictions the Irish government understandably have for what jobs a foreigner such as myself can have, I knew my options were going to be more limited than in the average job search. I had to find a job at a company in the Galway area, who was willing to fill out and pay for a Critical Skills Employment Permit, who wanted to hire me, who had a relevant open position, and was willing to wait a few months for me to start.

Incredibly, even with those restrictions, I found a position that is going to be a great fit as a Lead Software Engineer at CitySwift. I get to continue to work on making the world a better place to be, in this case with enabling more efficient city bus systems. I get to apply some of the experience I had at Nebbia as a consultant helping companies improve their processes and the experience I have as a software developer for the past decade. It will challenge me and push me to grow, and I hope to contribute a great deal to the growth of CitySwift.

Thankfully, even in leaving, I know that Archer First Response Systems is set up for some great things in the near future. I made some significant contributions from moving our system from proof of concept to a viable product, one capable of delivering AEDs within a 35 square mile coverage area in under 5 minutes. It’s frankly astonishing what this could do for cardiac arrest numbers in this country alone, with a full rollout capable of saving conservatively 25,000 people every single year. The challenge is as big as the opportunity, and the next steps for Archer will involve a lot of scaling up. I’m thankful I got to be a part of it here in the beginning and I can’t wait to see what moves are made in the next few years there.

I have a gap between Archer and CitySwift to prepare for the move before and after leaving, and I wasn’t sure how to articulate that. Am I unemployed? I mean, technically I suppose, but with signed documents for employment I don’t feel unemployed. I guess I’m just hanging out. Null. Hence the mysterious change to my LinkedIn status; mystery solved I guess. The plan is to start at CitySwift on July 19th, and I’m super excited about it. We’ve dotted all our i’s and crossed all our t’s, so the only thing left is to board a plane this evening and cross our fingers immigration agrees with the legitimacy of our request to enter and reside in Ireland. Wish us luck!

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