A tale of two jobs
Dear Annie: I feel like I made a mistake and need someone outside my circle to assess the situation. I have an amazing job. I get to do what I love, and the work-life balance is incredible. I spend all my time with my family and get to play with my son. I work when I can and am treated like an adult. I’m a microbiology manager and get paid pretty well. I’d love to be a director or VP someday. I work really hard and always have.
I recently looked for another job. My friend I used to work with at a previous company called me and said their company desperately needed a microbiologist. I would be working with my old team but at a new company. They were also looking for a director. I didn’t really think too much about it, and then HR called me. She said they were still developing the role and asked me what I wanted. I gave a ridiculous number for a salary, double what I currently make, and she was OK with it.
I was floored. I never expected her to agree to that. I then had an interview with the VP, and it honestly sounded like my dream job, pay and title with great people on the team. It’s at a state-of-the-art building, and they are expanding, so my position will grow.
She wanted to set up another interview, and I agreed. There are two things that I keep thinking about. One, she asked if I was hung up on the director title. I said no but thought that was weird. Two, when I said I needed to be able to pick up my son, she didn’t really understand or respond favorably. I told her I’d have to pick him up from camp, day care or even school and drop him off but could come back to work after and would take phone calls or meetings as I was driving. She didn’t like that at all.
I canceled the next interview. Am I stupid? Did I just blow the biggest career opportunity I had? Anywhere I’ve ever interviewed before hasn’t made taking care of family a problem. Work-life balance is so important to me, and I love spending time with my son. I felt like if I continued with this job, my son’s happiness would be sacrificed. I keep thinking I made a mistake because where I work now is so surreal that maybe I should just move while the opportunity is present, work like everyone else and be thankful to make a lot more money.
People think I am crazy for turning it down, but don’t companies have a clue about being a single mom and having to take care of your children? I was willing to come back to work and multitask as I was picking up my son. I feel like either decision hurts my family. — Work Woes
Dear Work Woes: All things considered, it sounds like your current job is the perfect fit for you. One of the best things to come out of the pandemic is more freedom and flexibility in the workplace, a perk your current company allows you to take advantage of. More money is always a plus, but is it worth missing out on time you’d usually spend with your son? Is being less involved in his childhood worth the higher salary?
For the time being, you have the best of both worlds — a job that aligns with your values and the life you want to live, plus time to raise your son and watch him grow up, the ultimate luxury. Keep at it and hold on tight to your upper management aspirations; perhaps they will be easier to attain a few years down the line when your son is a little older and the timing is right.
Jobs come and go; money comes and goes. Spending time and making memories with our loved ones? Priceless.