On the one hand I'm trying the "run my own business" thing, and it seems plainly obvious to a few that know me that it seems like a unsustainable venture on my own, at least not in the foreseeable future, even including my fits of optimism. Don't get me wrong, things are doing great, but you can't found an empire on "Hey, look at my great effort!" I probably need a good charismatic business partner at the very least to go out and secure funding and worry about debt...
Everyone keeps talking at me with some sort of effect of "When do plan to grow up?", and it's just as painfully obvious to me already that I'm long in the tooth here in school (having been obsolesced by several newer models) and I'm having a huge difficulty understanding what I need an MEng for, anyway. My Mom wants me to get it, and really that's possibly the only reason I'm sitting in this damn class listening to this boring lecture about something that I'll never need to use and even if I do everything I need to learn can be taken in a 24-hour cram session when I actually have a real application that I care about. I think I'm going to fail this class simply from lack of time enough to care...
At this point it seems pretty obvious, and I'll admit it with only a passing chagrin, that I need to move out West. It's not really a choice so much as a necessity. I love the time I've spent on the West Coast and I'd happily work for Microsoft again, but it isn't "Hey I'd like to move out west..." so much as "Hmm... all the interesting jobs are out west." We can debate East Coast all day, but I've yet to see any compelling businesses in the industries that I want to work in doing business in the East Coast that it wouldn't be smarter to hit up their real offices on the West Coast. The lone exception I've been able to come up with might be GameTap, but I really don't want to live in Atlanta.  No offense to my friendly neighbors in Georgia, but Louisville is just about as far South, culturally not geographically, as I want to live.
There is a choice then, having established the aforementioned necessity: Bay Area, Seattle or Vancouver?
If I go back to Microsoft I get my relocation paid for and worked out. They pay people to worry about that. That's the easy choice, I guess. The harder consequence being finding a good group within MSFT that's also interested in me. If I wish to do games of some sort that becomes a bit more of an interesting challenge...
There are several smaller companies that I'd love to work for, but the question becomes how to approach them. I can't foresee any of them with the budget/time to invest in paying my relocation costs, so that becomes an issue. Worse is there is a bit of a bootstrap issue in that its easier to network and get in the door for an interview if you can physically stand near that door in the first place. Would it be prudent to try to move out there on my own and live month to month until I find some place to work? Or would I just feel crazy/stupid attempting something like that?
Long way around to it, but ultimately, I'm quite envious of Deirdra's new job and her ability to stay near to home and yet work for a game designer that very much influenced her (and me, obviously) at a company that's young but seems to be on the right track. (I think the Penny Arcade adventures look like grand fun, DeathSpank is, well, DeathSpank, and even Swarm looks cool (watch the cute little trailer on that page).)
If I want to stay in Louisville it's obvious that I would pretty much have to build whatever company I worked for, particularly to be involved with games. I don't think I have the caliber ancillary talents I need to do that successfully just yet, unless I'm damn lucky, and so maybe I should consider a real job sometime in the near future, but I don't have any clue what I'm looking for other than the fact that I do realize that most of my possibilities start with "If only I were on the West Coast..."
From the Gospel According to Futurama: