Should I Stay or Should I Go….
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a recruiter in reference to a career opportunity she thought I might be interested in.
I don’t know her, we’ve never previously connected….she just came across my information while scouring LinkedIn for possible candidates on behalf of a client she’s contracted to recruit for.
I haven’t been actively looking for work, but as someone once told me, “You should always be on the lookout for your next opportunity,” so my LinkedIn profile is always current and available for the plucking should a recruiter find me interesting.
On the average, I get about two inquiries a month from third-party recruiters or internal recruiters. I always entertain the notion of leaving and will occasionally follow through with an actual interview, but most of the time, I’m the one who decides to pass.
The truth is….although there is some uncertainty these days with regards to the future of my position at The Company….I don’t particularly want to leave on my own….unless it’s for a job that will pay me a lot more than I’m making now….with equal, or preferably, fewer, responsibilities than those I have today.
I could also be swayed with an offer of something like….12 weeks of vacation and every Friday off….or, something really amazing. Like, “Hey, want to come and be a brain surgeon?” Even though I’ve never been to medical school and had to Google aneurysm when I considered using it in a sentence….until I realized I had no idea how to spell it.
I would also entertain Billionaire Superhero.
Until something like the above presents itself though, there are too many perks I enjoy in my current role….beyond the entertainment value….that aren’t likely to be found elsewhere….at least not in the beginning:
– I can work from home as often as I please.
– I have a ton of flexibility to manage my time, however I want, as long as the job get’s done.
– I see my boss, at best, once a month.
– I could do my job in my sleep….it’s like second nature at this point. I’ve streamlined, organized and established every efficiency possible to make it as easy and as process driven, as it can be. At this point, a monkey could do it.
For the more career driven people out there, those who love a good career challenge and are angling to climb the corporate ladder, it might sound as though I’m unmotivated….leaning-out instead of leaning-in….stalling-out my own career ascent, but I don’t think so…..for me, I think I’ve landed on a healthier take with regards to career in general.
In the last few years, I’ve seen many co-workers who put in 20 and 30 years at The Company….people who made familial sacrifices, skipped vacations, abandoned hobbies and friends in pursuit of various business objectives….only to find themselves on the receiving end of a severance package and a forced retirement in the wake of a reorganization, or as the casualty of cost cutting measures.
In the wake of such news, I’ve heard them say things like:
“But I’ve worked 80 hours a week for 30 years!”
“I’ve given everything I have to The Company….I barely saw my kids grow-up!”
“This is all I know….this has been my hobby. Now what!?”
Every time, I vow that won’t be me.
Several years ago, in the aftermath of my cancer diagnosis, I adopted a “Work to Live” mentality, rather than the old school, “Live to Work” philosophy, I had previously been somewhat conditioned to subscribe to.
I came to realize I had made sacrifices I didn’t really have to make in order to further my career goals….and then I started to question those goals all together.
Who would I be to my family and friends if I was the VP of something instead of just the Manager?
The answer: I would still be a wife, mom, friend, sister, etc., etc., only, perhaps, a slightly less interesting and available version.
When it was all said and done….when I looked back on my life….would I wish I had spent just one more day at work….or would I wish I had spent more time with my family….read more books for pleasure….and devoted more time to exploring my hobbies and interests?
In that, I had my answer. I needed to slow my roll and reevaluate and realign my priorities….and I did. I accepted that I couldn’t have it all….a wildly successful career and a personal life that would be fulfilling enough for me….and since those two things seem mutually exclusive….I chose to gracefully bow out of the “rat race.”
Of course, not everyone’s circumstances and choices are the same and I can certainly see and appreciate the opposite end of the spectrum….I was at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s just not for me.
When I received the latest inquiry into my resume….I was honest about my current situation and clear about my salary requirements and the need for flexibility and autonomy before considering a change.
“I understand completely” she said. “This is a unique opportunity that would present you with a new challenge, while at the same time, allowing you the type of schedule and freedom you’re accustomed to….more so, most likely. They are a very progressive company with a more european philosophy as it relates to work/life balance. I think this would be a great fit.”
I was intrigued and it sounded like it could be fun….so I agreed to an interview with the hiring manager….who I met with today.
The job was a Director level position in the Human Resources Department of a fairly large organization. It was a newly created position that was still pending its final definition, but the general responsibilities were enormous, seemingly impossible and sounded like no fun at all.
To summarize, I would be responsible for reigning in a large work group of grumpy, gruff, old school, pissed about change, ready to strike at any moment Union workers in one of the most difficult Union industries in the country and somehow coerce them into allowing me to consolidate, assume control and then reassign and/or eliminate a number of their work functions.
Yeah, OK….a few years ago, I was witness to a Union decert attempt within my current organization. At one point, a giant blow- up rat became a lawn ornament of sorts in an empty lot across the street from one of our buildings.
Each morning, it had a new greeting for some member of management stuck to it’s giant ratty hands….As Union’s go….these guys are essentially 10-year-old girl scouts by comparison to the groups I would be interacting with in this new job.
As the hiring manager spoke, all I could envision was me, as Tinker Bell, flitting about throwing fairy dust as fast as my fists could hurl while people around me clapped and shouted “I do believe in Fairies!”
After that, I became fixated on whether or not he’d had Botox, if the woman at the front desk had a five-head or six-head, if they had purchased their entire suite of office furniture from Ikea and how much I really wanted a skinny vanilla latte from Starbuck’s.
Moral of the Story: The grass isn’t always greener on the other side….in fact, it’s brown, dried up and on the verge of catching fire, so it’s best to just play in the yard you know.