Exodus (T minus 2 months)

Curtain. Act I, Scene II.

The familiar feeling. Again, I was sitting opposite the man with the thin white hair.

The calendar showed March, 8th. It was now a full month that I had asked Iain Morrison to settle my payout entitlements with the university. I slowly had grown tired of the "they are working on it" response when asking him about it.

But now he was saying the magic words:

"I have discussed this with the dean and with the director of human resources and can make you a new offer."

Iain had prepared the paperwork. It included the numbers I had asked for, but they came with a hitch: Iain wanted me to

  • package two courses,
  • submit one paper to a conference,
  • finish the work on the School of IT web site, and
  • build an R&D partnership with Bond while being in the EU.

My wife was not happy about the additional strings attached as they suddenly made the payment conditional. But since I already had the courses packaged, had almost finished the school web site and would have submitted a paper anyway, I thought it was safe to trust Iain to fulfill his obligations at the end.

I thought maybe he would need it to improve his standing in these management circles (the upper echelon swamp) ala look what I have negotiated!, so he would not want to lose his face when this fails. And he kept saying more magic words:

"I am the boss and Chris Andrews will do what I will tell him."

That's what the white-haired man said.

Later that day he was standing in my door with a corrected version (why do Australians always have problems with correct dates?). He made his usual I am so exhausted face and waved with 2 sheets of paper:

"Can we sign this?"

I glimpsed over the agreement to make sure that the changes were made in my interest and then initialled every page. Iain did the same.

  • "That's it, I guess."

I sighed. Iain sighed too.

"Yes, and now I get this converted into a formal letter from the university."

Or so the white-haired man said.

I sighed again, but deeper. Time to move on.

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