If you would have told me a year ago I would be turning down a job offer today I would not have believed you but that is exactly what has happened. A year ago in February I wrote about how I had come to the end of a lot of what I could stand in my life and one of those things was my job. In that arena, 2015 was very tough. Not only was the revenue stream not great and layoffs taking a toll on the workload and affecting my emotional status, but a shift in upper management had left me disillusioned with my future at the company.
As I often do, I made a list. It was a list of all the reasons I would leave and not have a problem with leaving. In the absence of motivation to make an actual change, that list appeased me well enough. Still, by mid-spring, I had put a few feelers out into the universe by letting some folks know that I was open to the possibility of new opportunities. In truth, this is probably how all professionals should operate all the time. People need to do what is in their best interest, and they often don’t in the name of loyalty and dedication. I’m historically one of those people.
I started my first professional job at the age of 22 and stuck with that for many years and when I left, it was not because I was looking, but the right opportunity presented itself and it was something I could not pass up. That was in 2012 and the year I started at the company that I am at now. Five years later, and I feel like I’ve come a long way, but some things that have transpired have left a sour taste in my mouth.
Fast forward to December of last year when a friend of mine informs me of a job opportunity at Children’s Hospital in my area of expertise. At that time, I can’t say I was completely past all my “list” irritations with my current company, but I was also not in any mental state to make another big change in my life either.
I was deep in the thick of post break-up land and very much unsure of myself and my choices and frankly very frequently on the verge of breaking down. I was barely keeping it together. Every day was a struggle and I was basically just doing what I had to do day by day to maintain stability for my kids at home and keep things status quo at the office. When that call came in, I was thinking the timing could not be worse, but the universe works in mysterious ways. I felt like there was really only a small chance that it would work out, but that I also owed it to myself to at least see what that position would be all about… so I applied.
The entire process took two months and it was the most elaborate hiring process I’ve ever been exposed to. That is not really saying much considering I’ve only been through it a couple of times, but even so I have to imagine it’s more involved that most places would be.
The online application took several hours and included not one but two “personality” tests. After that I waited about three weeks to hear back and when I finally did it was in the form of electronic communication letting me know that my application had been selected to move along in the process and I was to proceed with the “on-demand” interview. This included creating a user account at an on-line service/website and recording myself on my own laptop answering a set of interview questions.
After that I waited another couple of weeks before hearing back from HR that they wanted to schedule a real, in-person interview. I of course did that and it basically took the greater part of a Friday afternoon. I met with HR at the hospital and then traveled to another building where the IT shop was to meet with the director. After that, I was actually excited about the possibility and thought for the first time in the entire process that it could really happen. I could see myself working for a hospital again and being a part of their great team.
I waited several more weeks for them to contact me again. That was last Friday when they finally extended an offer. I told them I wanted to take the weekend to think about it.
As I expected, the offer was low. But it was actually lower than I had anticipated. I would have to take a 15% pay cut to take that job and that is really, really hard to justify. I had been weighing the pros and cons all along, and things were fairly even, all things considered (benefits, job role, etc), so the offer kind of sealed it for the decision. If I’m being honest with myself though, there were several other intangible factors that were important…
– My current freedom and flexibility.
– My established status as a lead among the engineers.
– My current team, who are all awesome workers and people.
– Not being on-call.
– Known pitfalls/shortcomings of the current position/employer.
– I have a boss who respects and admires me and would go out of her way to ensure I’m taken care of.
– Game day lunches. Monday and Thursday each week.
Perhaps this list counter-balances the list I started in 2016 which had all the negative things, and I had to go through this process to realize what all the good things are. It forced me to really think about it and reflect on how things are now instead of dwelling on the past. So the outcome was still really good even though I had to turn down the offer.
The timing may have appeared poor when I started down this path, but in reality, it could probably not have been better. I think I really needed the reminder that I’m am a valuable asset to my company and have talents that are sought after from other places. I needed that analysis of my current situation to gain a deeper appreciation for what I have now. And I needed to regain confidence in myself and my choices coming out of such a tough couple of years.