Advice I often give people is don’t be lured into taking a job just because you will make more money. There is always another job offering even more money. If salary is your measure of success you will never be content. I think it’s good advice even though if I hadn’t been lured to take a job for more money I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I was happy at my first place of employment. During my six years there I had multiple roles, some better than others, but overall I liked it there. I wasn’t thinking about leaving. In fact, I figured I’d retire there. But I didn’t.
I was in a show with a friend from college. We talked about what we were doing now. I was an ecommerce project manager. He was working for a boutique IT consulting firm. He said they needed project managers. He said I should send him my resume.
Sure. Why not? It’s good to keep your options open, right?
It was weeks before I got a call. I had almost forgotten about the other job. I interviewed. They liked me. They wanted to offer me a job. But I liked my current job. Plus, my office was just a few blocks from my house. I had no reason to leave, so when they quoted me a salary close to what I was currently making I politely declined the offer. They asked what it would take for me to go.
I came up with a number. They said okay. I said I’d also need another week of vacation. They said okay. I said I’d need them to pay back my MBA debt to my current employer. They said okay.
I had inadvertently negotiated myself into an offer I couldn’t refuse. So I took it.
The niche for the consulting firm was largely dot-coms, a bubble which started to burst about six months into my tenure there. At eight months we all got 20% pay cuts. At 11 months I was laid off.
I had never been unemployed before. I took the first job that came along. I did some interesting stuff there, but overall I didn’t like it. Around a year and a half in I was feeling restless. I saw a blurb in the newspaper about Carnegie Mellon starting two new graduate programs for information security. That sounded a lot more interesting than what I was doing, so I applied. I also applied for a scholarship to pay for my potential education.
I both got into the graduate program and got the scholarship, but my funding was a government “scholarship for service” meaning that I needed to work for the federal government after I graduated. That meant moving from the city where I had lived for 14 years even though I hadn’t previously been thinking about leaving.
I took a job in Washington, D.C. I met a guy there. We decided to move to Chicago and get married. We had a kid. We bought a house. We had another kid. I have a good job. I am happy.
I have a good life, but it never would have happened if I hadn’t taken a job because of the money. Otherwise, who knows where I would be now? Maybe I would still have a good life, but it would definitely be a different one. I don’t even wonder what that would be like.
I still think it’s good advice though not to leave a job just because another job offers more money. But sometimes a bad career choice works out okay in the end.
This post was written as a part of Blogapalooz-hour, one night each month when ChicagoNow bloggers are given a topic and challenged to write and publish a blog post about it in an hour. Tonight’s assigned topic was “Write about a decision you made that changed the course of your life for better or worse.” Read other interpretations of this theme here.
RELATED POST: The best career advice I ever received
PREVIOUS POST: The deja vu of Chicago’s tree-lined streets
Get notified of new posts by email. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
You can also find Kim Z. Dale on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ .