Even a Person Who Took a Job at RIM Thinks It's a Joke

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --Recently, I received an email from a reader. It unsettled, flattered and humbled me simultaneously.

Research in Motion ( RIMM) offered a guy we'll call "Rex" a job at its Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters. Rex contacted me -- one of several writers who called the play-by-play of RIM's demise throughout 2011 and early 2012 -- asking if I thought RIM would be around in six months to a year and if the $2 billion in cash the Canadian company says it has is legit.

In short, he wanted my input to help answer a major work-life question: Should I quit a relatively steady and good-paying job, uproot myself to Waterloo, lease an apartment and go to work for a firm in disarray that might not even be around for the year or so I hope to stay there?

I was humbled and flattered because Rex thought of me, and unsettled because he was giving me the power to play some type of role in such an intimate decision.

Of course, I provided a pretty non-committal, wishy-washy and frankly useless response:
I am not sure about the stability of the particular position, though I would guess they'll still be around in a year, but it might be a volatile situation. No doubt. Tough one, but, if they turn things around, you might be in a good spot.

I guess I did not give Rex a completely hollow answer. RIM probably will be around in a year, in some shape or form. Things should continue to be volatile. And, if the company gets back on course, new hires and people who made it through the carnage will be part of the biggest corporate turnarounds of all time.

In any event, I was certainly not going to tell the guy to "take the gig" or even to "run away." That's got to be his call.

I didn't hear from Rex for several weeks so I emailed him, asking for an update.

His reply offers insight for investors and folks who remain intrigued by what's happening at RIM. It also helps illustrate the delicate and pathetic position the company is in. RIM gets no respect because it doesn't deserve it. And it's definitely not fooling people who go through its interview process.

I decided to include Rex's unedited response, save portions that could compromise his anonymity. I insert my thoughts throughout.
I decided to take the offer ... so I figure RIM will be the same but at least it will be interesting/entertaining for a year/months/few weeks, who knows how long. The salary/benefits is in line with what Google offers, not sure if that's always been the case or just now that they are trying to attract people.

RIM pays Google ( GOOG) money, according to Rex. That's not surprising. Google comes up again later in Rex's reply. It adds to the thought I had when I heard from Rex; RIM is terminating thousands, but still looking to bring in talent to spur the turnaround, even if CEO Thorsten Heins doesn't go around town calling whatever he's doing a "turnaround."

We pick up Rex's response from the point where he answered a question I asked: Can I use your experience in an article?
Sure, that's no problem at all, that'd be an excellent article because it really highlights a huge difficulty that RIM has now -- no one in their right mind will go work there at this point. My life situation makes it so I can take the chance ... the money they offered was good and I still really had to think about it, because who knows they could lay me off after 2 weeks for all anyone knows.
Is all the negativity in the news warranted? Probably. They say BB10 is coming, that could be a lie, I remember Balsillie saying "RIM has leapfrogged the competition" and then they release nothing new. Also the email on the playbook, "within 60 days", then "by the end of summer", then "fall", then finally the next March. Then Lazaridis blaming BB10 delay on chipsets, which was pure bullsh*t, obviously the software wasn't even close to ready.
You know, it's funny because I applied to RIM many times in the "glory days" and after filling out their online application form every time I got an automated rejection within hours. In fact, I don't know a single one of my friends/colleagues that even got an interview if it wasn't through friendship. Google and Apple contacted me multiple times in the past 2 years, and I am currently in the interview phase with Google, needless to say if I get an offer from them I am there immediately.

If Google makes an offer, Rex is there in a flash. That could turn into a career at a credible company. RIM offered Rex a gig; it appears he took it for the sake of the experience.

Rex's second paragraph on the "negativity" is priceless. And it speaks to my bewilderment mixed with outrage over the Canadian public's as well as Parliament's refusal to get angry and demand accountability from RIM executives.

Rex also directed me to a March 2012 CBC article summarizing a job fair RIM held in Toronto eight months after laying off 11% of its employees. The article profiled six candidates who attended the event.

Here's Rex's take, which leads into a discussion about the differences between Canada and the United States and the realization that if he wants to work in tech he'll have to leave Canada despite the ties he has to the country.
If you want a laugh, read this: link to the CBC article .
"Successful applicants, who had been pre-screened before coming to the invitation-only event, " That's a quote from the CBC article .

1) 56 year old software developer? Average age at google is like 28.

2) He's an "engineer" but is attending college? What?

3) 2 years experience in software testing? LOL

4) IT customer support, just what RIM needs, they have no product.

5) College computing graduate with no experience.
 
The sad truth is that Canada is a resource whore, and anyone who doesn't work in digging things out of the ground is a public-sector employee. Graduates from engineering or math or computer science either leave the country, or give up and become gov't employees ... This, in my mind, is why Canada is screwed. I'm a Canadian and I have no problem saying that. The Canadian dream is to become a public sector employee and sleep through life. The American dream is to become a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, etc. That's a huge problem for Canada and it will only get worse. I've been hesitant to move to the USA because my family is here in Canada, but it is looking like I don't really have a choice if I want to work in tech.

I left the U.S.-Canadian comparison in because I would like to hear from Canadians on the subject. I have my opinions, but want to read others first.

Both the CBC piece from March and Rex's response to it are interesting. Rex questions RIM's interview selections. So do I. Many of the folks who attended this apparently "pre-screened" event are laid-off RIM employees looking to get their jobs back. That includes the 56-year old software developer.

RIMM bulls will question the authenticity of "Rex." They'll ridicule and discount his experience and my consideration of it just as they do every other bit of RIM bearishness to surface over the last couple of years.

Like RIM management, they live in denial. People like Rex not only deserve the benefit of the doubt but our thanks for offering a point of view that emanates from slightly closer to the situation. I hope to keep in touch with Rex. If he's willing, I will update you on his experience working for RIM.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.