I ran with a friend, and we chatted about my relocation situation, which led to a bunch of other topics. I'll try to organize it all, as several interesting points were made.
Anyway, my friend had been through two unstable jobs (par for the course in biotechnology) so she had already developed a system for evaluating job risk - basically how to live with the fear of your company closing down in the next three months. I'm not sure I'm up for that kind of stress! She was actually very excited for me, being in the situation of not knowing what the immediate future would bring, but having a "safe" (i.e. take the relocation) out.
I asked her what she thought of this area, since she is a recent transplant. She said she was fairly neutral, and echoed various complaints I've heard about how difficult it is to meet people here - long time fellow residents can back me up on this! She also mentioned a news magazine article on this very subject, something she has been mailing out to her friends and family when they ask. I tracked down the article, which I missed the first time around. I've noticed this phenomena, but couldn't quite explain it as well as this article. Perhaps this is a sign to move...
As for the relocation, I read the letter closely and discovered some ambiguous wording, particularly about under what circumstances a retention bonus would be paid. Basically it says the bonus would be paid if I don't relocate, as an incentive to stay for a few months and hand my job off in an orderly fashion. However, my boss, another manager, the HR rep - basically everybody - claims the bonus is also paid if I were to relocate. Not to sound distrustful, but I'd like that in writing, because I may lose money selling the house. So I mailed off to HR last week to ask about rewording the letter, and I haven't heard back yet.
In the meantime, I have a phone interview tomorrow, so I hope that goes well. I've also been searching on the web for Orlando real estate, so I'm still in between two cities, so to speak.