I've sort of been telling everyone the same story, so I guess I should write it down to save myself the trouble of having to re-iterate it over and over. The short version is, I might be moving to Texas.
Last Saturday, I went to Men's Wearhouse in Pittsburgh and bought a suit, including the accessories (white dress shirt, tie, dress shoes, belt). Sunday I flew out to Dallas for my interview. Spent most of the evening on the phone with Ratha—she found a restaurant within walking distance of my hotel (which in turn was within walking distance of the office building where I was to go the next morning). I got to sleep around midnight.
So, in the morning Ratha calls to wake me up, and the breakfast I had ordered delivered arrives. It's hard to eat though—very greasy. Then, I'm getting dressed, and I'm thinking “huh, it seems like there's something missing”. I had forgotten my suit.
I tried to tell myself that I could handle this, but I quickly realized that was a lie, so I called Ratha. She was going to the dentist's office and I figured she might not answer, but there was a chance she was still in the waiting room. This turned out to be true. She advised me in a number of ways, among them “you should still go”. She also tried to help me find a store that would have another suit, using Google Local (which, incidentally, is awesome and you should try if you haven't). At some point in this process Ratha just left the dentist's office and went home to help me with my search, though I didn't realize this until later because I was sort of confused and distracted. There was no place open that early, though, and anyway I didn't have much time before my interview was to start (at 9). So I finally walked over to the office building (Ratha even helped me find it), went upstairs and checked in with the secretary, then sat in the waiting area feeling extremely flustered.
As I sat there I saw someone walk by. “Hey, he's not as dressed-up as I am,” I thought (even though I didn't have the suit, I had remembered the shirt, tie and shoes, and the jeans I had worn the previous day were black and reasonably clean). When the first man who was to interview me arrived, I immediately apologized for my clothing, but it turns out the office is business casual. After the first 20 minutes or half-hour of the interview (during which I was still flustered) the wardrobe issue faded into the background. I took some CS tests at which I think I did pretty well (at least, well enough to distinguish myself as a CMU graduate instead of your typical middle-of-the-road CS major) and talked with a bunch of people (two managers and two programmers—there are about 10 programmers there) about the opportunities available.
The bottom line is that I'll have to work a lot of hours and move to Dallas, but they're offering an awful lot of money. And the office is beautiful and the people seem friendly, and Ratha hopes to move to Austin (if she gets into UT) which would mean visiting each other would be a drive rather than a flight. The timing kind of sucks for me, in some ways (most of my friends in Pittsburgh haven't left yet, though they will probably be trickling out over the next few years), though in others it's nice (my cash flow has been tight and doesn't necessarily look set to improve). I can certainly say that it will be a different experience, though, and that I should be able to put a lot of money in the bank to assist me with my long-term goals.
The president of the company, who was travelling the day of my interview, interviews all new hires before offers are made. So I'm flying out for another interview in a little under a month.
Wish me luck, whatever that means to you in this situation.