25 February 2010

Decisions, decisions.

Remember that whole job interview freak out from a couple of weeks ago? Probably not. Well, they offered me the job, at a considerable salary increase from where I am now.

Awesome, no? I'd be back in government, I could take public transportation there, the benefits are better and I'd be making more money. Score! Obviously, I accepted it.

That was yesterday. I spent most of this morning crafting my two-sentence resignation letter and agonizing about talking to my boss. Things are super busy and I like him, so I felt bad. We had donuts for another person who was leaving this morning, too, which made it feel like I was piling on. But what can you do? Better to give as much notice as possible, right?

I finally did it and he was surprised and not pleased. He asked if he could make a counter offer. I hemmed and hawed and said no at first, but then relented. Later in the day, I met with him and his boss. The Big Boss asked why I started looking (I hadn't, they came to me and I figured, "Why not?"), what I would be doing, what my prospects for advancement were, was it all just money and the like.

For whatever reason, I had to keep reminding them that I do have a master's degree in public policy and my concentration was in public and nonprofit management. I've worked in government and the nonprofit sector. Yes, that is where I want to be. The 20 percent better salary and much better benefits are a considerable plus.

They like me. They really want me to stay. They think they can provide a better future for me. My boss called me an "up-and-comer," which made my sister laugh when I told her. I think it's pretty funny, too. And I can see what my boss is grooming me for in the company. I'm not an idiot. But I didn't think they'd say, "tell us what you want." That's what they did, however. They didn't ask what my offer was, they just said they want to know what I want them to offer.

I really, really didn't expect this. Part of the reason I was unprepared, I suppose, is because I've never been in this position before. I've left jobs and they were sad, of course. But the difference is, there was no amount of money they could pay me that would get me to stay. Because I wanted out desperately. There are parts of my job I don't like. I hated my training, hated that project right before the holidays, but otherwise I like it well enough. I like my coworkers and my boss.

So, what do I do? Come up with a ridiculous amount to throw out there? If they agree to it, I have to say yes. Then, I'd feel like an asshole for accepting a job and then coming back a few days later and saying, "Hahahaha, just kidding." In my defense, I wasn't at all expecting them to seriously counter.

I'm going to make a list of pros and cons for each place. Corporate America vs. Doing Good Work, Change vs. Status Quo, Working from Home Sometimes vs. Not, Longer Commute on the Bus vs. Shorter Commute in My Car, and so on. Feel free to weigh in with your advice or opinions. I'm taking it all.


Respectfully Yours said...

Wow, how exciting and scary all at the same time. I say, take your time with the decision. Good luck, keep us posted.

my name is Amanda said...

Seems like there's an 80s song with the hook "everybody wants you!" floating through my head. I have no idea what the other lyrics are.

I can see how it will be sucky to tell someone "No," but I guess if I was in your position, I would mentally commit to one of the jobs, and then see if I feel like I miss something from the other job. Like, when you go back and forth between rocky road and chocolate ice cream. At the instant you commit to chocolate, you realize it was chocolate you wanted all along.

There is the option of asking for MORE than you think your current job would give, in order to make it pay off to say no to the possible future job. But you'd want to be prepared to accept it, if they offered.

Other questions: The position for which your boss has been grooming you - do you want that?

And then there is the reason you felt interested when this new possible employer approached in the first place.

Good luck, lady. I hope you feel happy with whatever you decide.

Jess said...

I'm leaning more toward scary (and stressful), but others are pretty excited about it.

Apparently, I can't lose. But I'm still going to agonize over the weekend.

my name is Amanda said...

Dammit. I meant to say "At the instant you commit to chocolate, you realize it was ROCKY ROAD you wanted all along." Totally throws my analogy.

Jess said...

Isn't that Billy Squier song? I totally have it in my head now.

I actually interviewed for the new job just for the fuck of it. The pay was less than I'm making now and I wasn't even sure what the job was. I figured it couldn't hurt to interview, though. And I was under the impression it would be a pay cut until they actually made the offer. I think that only adds to the confusion.

Also, I enjoyed the ice cream analogy, but for me, breakfast food would have been better. I often try something funky, something new. But I always regret not having two eggs, bacon, toast and hashbrowns. Does that mean I don't like change?

Little Ms Blogger said...

Ask for a ridiculous amount of money and more vacation. If they don't give it to you then you know.

Jess said...

Unfortunately, my boss and his boss can't do anything about the benefits. They're getting screwed almost as much as the rest of us.

Of course, this means that the ridiculous amount of money I will be asking for is going to be extra ridiculous, to account for the benefits imbalance.

Seriously, it seems insane to me. I don't see how they can say, "Oh, sure! We'll totally give you that."

Stephanie said...

Make a list of what it would take for you to wake up every day and feel excited about going to work at your current job. Is it being able to hire and intern, researcher, etc. to work under you? Getting flex time or a certain number of days each month you can work from home? I mean, they asked, so the sky's the limit on what you can tell them you'd need to stay and feel good about the choice. If the worst-case scenario is an exciting, new, well paying job in a field you love, THEM'S THE BREAKS. :)

Also, picture your new job in 10 years vs. current. Where will that put you? Is that okay? And will more money rid you of enough worries to balance out less professional passion?

When I was job hunting a few years ago my mom put it to me this way: "With passion comes a lot of big highs and big lows. Are you okay with your job coming with that attached? There's something to be said for a job that leaves room for your other passions and makes them possible." This was when I was deciding whether to enter the newspaper industry. I didn't.

Anyway, it sounds like a tough but overall pretty luxurious choice! You deserve to be corporately wooed after busting your butt all the time for them. Congratulations!

Jess said...

Excellent points, Stephanie.

To add an exciting new wrinkle to the entire ordeal, news is out today that our company has been bought. It probably doesn't mean a lot, but it's enough to make my decision a bit tougher.

Mimi said...

So I was in a similar situation a few years ago. What it came down to for me was if my boss and her boss really had the power to change the things I really did not like about the job. In the end they really did not and it was the corporate machine that caused most of my distress. So I left and have never regretted it.

Jess said...

Thanks, Mimi. I know my bosses don't have the power to change the benefits and all of the other corporate crap. How much it will take me to deal with that is the big question.

And now I have to make my decision in the next couple of hours. I hate this. It feels so dirty and used car salesman-y. Guess I'll just throw something out there and see if it sticks.

Emily said...

Ah, always so much easier to leave places with a big "fuck you" than to be in a situation like this one. Though the good news is neither decision is probably totally "wrong," just different.

Jess said...

Seriously. This has been a really, really unpleasant day. I wish I didn't feel like whichever decision I make will be the wrong one.

OldGuy said...

not to be the downer of the crowd, but I've been in this situation (and been in companies that had to deal with it as well).

Something to consider is, are you doing something for your current company that's not easily replaceable? What I mean by that is, you have shown that you aren't happy there by accepting another position. If your current company doesn't think they can 'replace' you in some amount of time, the easiest thing for them to do is, offer you the world to stay, while they keep looking.

Once they find someone, all these great promises could evaporate.. for all sorts of convenient reasons to them. You could then be in a much worse position than you would be now (even possibly the 'we don't need your services anymore, XXXX seems to be able to pick up that work now").

I speak from experience on both sides of this. Unfortunately, there is really now way to know if someone up the management food chain of your company thinks like this.

I congratulate you on scoring the new job. Isn't it a great feeling? :) Especially when you didn't think much about it. Funny how it ends up like that sometimes.

Jess said...

Yeah, that crossed my mind and is still crossing it.

As it is, they have to find enough people to handle our current workload. So, I'll be sure to sock away money in case they do decide they don't need me.

They asked why I wanted to leave, and I told them I really didn't want to. I interviewed on a whim and couldn't turn down the money and benefits they gave me. Until this company offered more. But not as much as I asked for, so ...

I'm sure I've screwed myself thoroughly.