Monday, March 21, 2011

Decisions, choices, negotiation - Part 2

So, hardball (as P. called it) or reasoned negotiation (as I called it) didn't work. The company came back to me with a politely-worded "take it or leave it" and with a 48 hour deadline. I decided to do the only thing I could: buy time. So I informed them I would accept subject to contract. I waited, and a contract arrived. Did I like the terms any more? No, no, I didn't. I learned I would get less vacation days too.

The thing is, and I know some may say I'm losing sight of the big picture, accepting this offer and moving into a new role entails the high probability that I will end up suffering a drop in my quality of living. While the content and challenge of the new role - my top two factors for evaluating any role - are decidedly higher than my current role, the quality of life (you guessed it, no. 3) is a lot higher in my current role, while compensation (no. 4) is currently about 10% to 15% higher too.

Maybe I would feel a lot better if I knew the new company had a better downside plan than "it's not going to happen." For me, it feels like I'm taking a huge amount of risk even though a part of me says that I'm not that old, so not to be silly, because, given the amount of experience I have in my current role, I could easily return to it, though, perhaps not as easily to the relatively senior position I have now.

And yet another complication's come up. A friend's told me her company's interested in hiring someone for my function at a substantially senior level than where I'm at right now... and that my name came up, not through my friend, but through someone who's got a lot of clout in terms of the hiring decision. So if I did decide that I didn't mind doing what I'm doing for the remainder of my career, I could choose to go down this path, and if I succeed, end up at a senior level (unexpected given my age, but very much in line with the goals I had as a young 20-something) and make over 50% of what I'm making now, including my bonus.

But back to my current predicament. I've spoken to quite a few people about it. As with any major decision, I find that talking both helps and hinders. Everyone's got a different viewpoint after all.

CG says the new job sounds a lot like what he's doing as he's, for all intents and purposes, self-employed, so he can't comment as he's never been in a salaried position before.

P. says he'd take the job and leverage off the experience he'd gain from it to go into something different. P. also acknowledges that that's his response to a hypothetical situation and that I should also realise he's still in the same job that he's been meaning to leave for well over a year now, so, he, too, suffers from inertia and fear of uncertainty.

Others say I should consider what I'd lose if I move from my current employer (a good boss, relatively flexible hours, the chance to work from my (other) home country if necessary, a good reputation, benefits, decent compensation package and administrative support) and weigh that up against what I'd gain at the new company (training, industry knowledge, pride and ownership of my own work, knowledge that I'd contributed towards the building up of a business, travel, contact with clients) and see if I can cope with the downside (long hours, no administrative support, no benefits, commuting, potentially lower or no bonus).

In essence, I'd be moving for more stress, more responsibility and less compensation. It sounds like a suckers' game when I put it that way, but the main attraction of the role is meant to be intangible: personal and professional development, and the chance to be a part of something. On the one hand, it appeals, on the other, I'm just so used to working in larger organisations which don't have that much risk built into them that this scares the crap out of me.

I'm still debating in my head which way to go. It's not a bad dilemma to be in, though still a stressful one. But I sure as hell don't want to end up like this or this. Damned if I do...

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