If you think about it, life is a series of decisions, followed by an occasional lull, followed by another series of decisions. Do I get out of bed? Do I sleep in an extra hour? Do I have oatmeal for breakfast? Do I wear plaid to work? (Hopefully the answer to that last question is a decisive NO.)
Those little day-to-day decisions are punctuated by bigger decisions that are often referred to as MAJOR LIFE EVENTS – moving, getting married, having children, changing jobs. As a result, the course of one’s life graphed out looks a bit like a sine wave or an EEG.
Recently, I was faced with a potential major life event. A company I had worked eight years for before being laid off last August called to ask me if I was interested in coming back to work for them. Seems they realized they had made a teensy miscalculation in the number of people they actually needed to adequately run the day-to-day operations of the company.
Deep down, I suppose some part of me felt vindicated that they had realized their “error” in letting me go. So I agreed to talk to them, not really expecting anything to come of the interview. To put it mildly, I generally suck at interviews unless I don’t feel I have anything to lose or don’t feel pressured to do well. One of those must have been the case because a few days later they called to offer me a position.
After a little back and forth negotiating (something else I’m not much good at), they agreed to pay me what I was asking. I prepared myself to return to what I felt would be a more stressful situation than my current job, even going so far as to fill out some preliminary paperwork and telling my current employer about the offer. Then I woke up and smelled the coffee, I guess.
A delay of a few days in getting some questions answered gave me time to think about the impending move. The more time I had to think, the more anxious I became about going back. On the other hand, could I really turn down what was a sizeable pay increase? I didn’t know, so I did what any married man would do – I asked my wife.
As I talked over the offer with my wife, she noticed that I started talking more and more like someone who had decided to stay and not change jobs. I wasn’t aware of it until she pointed it out, but my entire discussion with her essentially became me convincing myself not to accept the offer.
I realized that I was lucky enough not to need the extra money. My current position feels a lot less stressful than my former job. I know everyone’s name, and everyone seems to get along. Plus, they seem to like the job I do and sounded genuinely relieved and grateful that I had decided to stay. I think I was as well.
Would I make the same choice six months from now? Who knows? That’s a decision for another day that may never arrive, or perhaps it is part of one ongoing decision. That discussion, however, is a bit deep for this blog. Instead, I’ll just worry about whether to pour a glass of red or white wine when I get home tonight from work.