Saturday, March 6, 2021

Should I Stay or Should I Go

 Just going to think out loud a bit here. I can do that, it's my blog.

And I'll blog if I want to.
(Early 60s musical reference for you youngsters)

So this week I was the target of a potential poaching. That's right, someone tried to simmer me in a white wine sauce over low heat until I -

Oh, wait.

Not that kind of poaching. I am not a piece of salmon, silly.

Aside: I think that sauce has reduced
a tad too much. Time to deglaze.

Obviously I mean that someone tried to hire me away from my IRL job. This happens all the time, albeit not to me because I'm generally worthless. I find recruiters annoying, and when I was answering phones for my office, I routinely sent them straight to the voicemail of whoever they were calling. Yes, they're just doing their job. But to call a company's main number, sometimes five times a day, with the sole intention of offering its people different employment on company time? I'm not saying these are the same guys (and they're always guys) who carry roofies when they go out drinking, but...

If I've offended any overconfident d-bags,
I don't care. Come at me.

Anyway, I wasn't approached by some random corporate headhunter, but by my former boss. He hired me for my current job a few years back. He's an awesome person, and we clicked right from the start (unlike my previous boss, who literally threatened to beat me with a hammer when I made a mistake, but I digress...) 

When the pandemic hit right around this time last year, my company did a (fortunately limited) round of layoffs. Unfortunately, my boss was among the layees. It was pretty devastating, as he was universally beloved by everyone whose job wasn't deciding who to lay off. He landed on his feet, though, and now works for a competing firm.

Meanwhile, ol' Maxwell Edison
still has his job. (Late 60s musical reference.)

This week he dropped me the proverbial "There's a job here that you'd be perfect for" text. I don't know if there's actually a proverb that is in any way relevant to this event. It's just one of those hackneyed phrases: "the proverbial..." Frankly, it's overused and misused and I should be ashamed of myself for deploying it here. Bad blogger. Bad.

No lucrative book deal for you.

Anyway, he didn't actually offer me the job. But it is a pretty great job (I looked up the listing online), and I would be working for him, and he is the hiring manager.... 

Oh, and he threw in the "how much money would it take to sway your decision?" gambit, too.

Even I can sometimes connect dots when they're that obvious. 

I'm going to cut to the chase here: I respectfully declined.

Now might be a good time for that hammer, after all.

Why? Why did I turn down what seemed to be - hell, what undoubtedly was - a solid opportunity?

Self-sabotage is a reliable go-to answer for a question like that. At least for me it is; I have a long history of self-sabotage. It's kind of my brand.

But I don't think that's the case here.

It's not loyalty to my current company. It's a good place to work. It's not a great place to work. I've had maybe two great workplaces in my entire life, and one of them was a video store in the mid-80s. I realized long ago that nothing will ever top that, so I don't use it as a comparison criterion for selecting new jobs.

It's not salary and benefits. As I said, I undoubtedly could have negotiated a higher salary from my former boss than I currently get. My pay is sufficient, but my company is stingy with raises unless they accompany a promotion. My job has few opportunities for promotion - it's a nonzero number, for sure, but there just aren't many rungs on my career ladder. The company does offer an obscenely generous 401(k) and decent health insurance.

It's partly location. I know plenty of people who commute long distances every day. But for me, not sitting in traffic for two hours every day is a huge quality of life issue, and my current commute is relatively short and stress-free. The potential new job would have required me to drive downtown from my cozy suburb. For me, that's a nightmare scenario. Down the road I could see myself moving to the city, which would make a downtown commute a non-issue. But for various reasons that's not an option right now, and every time I tried to convince myself otherwise, my inner voice wisely told me to cut the crap and be realistic about my life.

My inner voice is much saner than I am
and is probably pissed that it didn't get the outer voice gig.

And it's partly stability. My shortest "real" job since graduating from college lasted two years. I didn't leave voluntarily - the company was operating under a bad business model that included flouting Department of Labor rules about exempt vs. non-exempt workers. I was laid off not long before the company collapsed. I would have stayed longer if I could, because I'm a creature of inertia.

The job my former boss dangled in front of me could have been great. I could have been happy and fulfilled at that company. I might never have regretted the decision to leave my current gig. But while there might have been good reasons to go to a new job, there just aren't that many good reasons to leave the job I have now. In the eternal battle between change and stay the same, my natural tendency, for better or for worse, has always been to set a high bar for change. 

Believe me, as I get older and hypothetically closer to retirement, that bar only gets higher. 

Probably I've missed out on a good many opportunities as a result. That's something I can work on in my next incarnation (assuming I don't come back as a slug or a pampered housecat or something). But here, now, and on this plane of existence, I've decided to be happy with the size and shape of my world for now.

If that changes, you'll hear about it.

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