After a short screening interview, a marathon all day interview, and a phone check-in to see if I was still interested, the company wanted to get my references to start calling. At this point, I knew they liked what I was selling, and that an offer would be coming soon. I was pretty excited. The people I’d talked to were great, I loved the atmosphere of their office, and they were working with technology that I was interested in getting back into. It was time to get my head out of the clouds and start to think this through with My Fair Lady (the wife).
For most of my career, I’ve taken the default choices in the installation program that adds jobs to my life. I generally work at a company until something beyond my control happens and I have to jump to another. I’ve only up and quit once, and that was a complete free fall with no job offer on the other end. Now, for the first time, I was taking the treasonous step of pursuing an opportunity while gainfully employed.
The Cold Hard Facts
When My Fair Lady and I sat down, we figured we would try ye ole Pro and Cons list to figure out what was important to me in each choice. She interviewed me, and I gave my answers for both my current and prospective employer. Then we took it one step further. We assigned a 1-10 value to each pro and con, with 1 being not that important and 10 being the most important thing in the world. When we added them up, I was kinda shocked. I immediately realized that I had fallen into the new lover’s trap.
Fantasy in Absence of Facts
Falling in love with a company during an interview is a lot like falling in love for real. You get all dreamy eyed and start fantasizing about an idealized version of the facts. In romance, when your heart’s all aflutter, you don’t notice the signs of incompatibility. Maybe your crush smokes too much, laughs like a hyena, or smacks her gum. You don’t notice because you’ve fallen for the version of your beloved that only exists in your head.
What happened to me is that I’d fallen in love based on the things that I thought were important to me on the job. My calculated pro/con numbers told a different story, and my current employer had the important things in spades.
Ultimately, I did get an offer, but turned it down based on my new-found understanding. I’m still at my original employer, the place that a few months earlier I’d thought was a bit of a drag. Turns out I was inordinately fixated on the two or three things about the job I didn’t like, and that affected my wider outlook on the job as a whole. Now I know why I’m here, and have a new appreciation for what my job has to offer me, and how it plays into my wider life goals.
Sometimes, the grass may indeed be greener, but you really need to look at everything dispassionately before hopping to the other side.