Thursday, 25 March 2010

Decision made

Well, I currently have one less thing to bend my brain over.

I went for an interview for that job on Monday. Fortunately, I had already told my lovely boss that I was applying for a job - the way the timings turned out, I had to go to the monthly departmental meeting in my interview suit. If I tell you that the last time I wore a full suit to work was December 2005, perhaps you'll appreciate the stares and speculation I would have got had I not already told half the department what was going on.

My boss actually gave me some very good advice - he's been with the firm for over 20 years, and he said that he had looked into a few other job opportunities over the years himself, but had concluded that attitudes towards what we do tend to be cyclical in every firm, and while you may hit a new job while things are on the up, there will inevitably be a corresponding dip a few years later - and similarly, if you stay put things will usually improve if you wait for long enough.

He's right - the problem with what we do is that we're a cost centre in a business that exists to make money. Unless the people at the top see the value of what we contribute to the business, they will see us as nothing but a cost - to be reduced whenever their own income is in danger of not increasing at the rate they would like. And while every firm has some narrow-minded idiots who can't see any further than the thickness of their own wallet, every firm also has people of vision who are able to see the bigger picture. At any one time, one group or the other will have greater clout.

Five years ago, when I started this job, it was the latter group that had more power - and at the moment, it's the former group. The same could happen with the new job - the fact that there is support for this role at the moment doesn't mean that I could rely on that support in two, five or even ten years' time. And in the meantime, the people with vision could gain more relative strength in my current firm.

Realising this made me slightly less unhappy about my current role - we're going through a rough patch at the moment, there's still a lot of uncertainty about whether we'll be made redundant, but if we survive this slightly stormy patch, things will improve again as the economy picks up and people realise that what we do is essential to help the firm make money.

At the same time, there were all the negatives about moving - no maternity pay if we had a successful IVF, missing out on the redundancy pay if the myopic morons win the battle and close our department down, the longer commute, the loss of the ability to work from home regularly, and the fact that the department I'm in at the moment is a great team of people with a boss who is the most amazing person I've ever worked for.

So I went along to the interview more in a spirit of curiosity than anything else. The people who interviewed me were lovely, and I enjoyed spending an hour boasting about my achievements. I also found out a bit more about the new role, and it did sound fascinating - but almost certainly not as well suited to my skills and interests as my current job.

The night before the interview, I'd had a very peculiar dream - I was in a little boat on a lake with some people from my current firm. We rowed the boat out to the middle of the lake through a fierce storm, and I started to teach a seminar to the other people in the boat. We gradually realised that there were capsized boats all round us, and the lake was full of bodies of people who had drowned. Stray limbs kept poking up out of the water, and I tried to ignore the distractions and carry on teaching. At the end of the seminar, I asked how we were going to get back to shore through the strong winds and choppy waters, and someone pointed out that we were very close to the opposite shore from the one I'd been looking at - and we rowed to safety just before I woke up.

Was my subconscious trying to tell me "you're safe where you are - just stick with it"? I don't know, but I do know that after the interview I decided that the new job wasn't for me, and I instinctively felt straight away that I had made the right decision.

I also felt that if I had been on the other side of the table in that interview, I wouldn't have appointed me. It was fairly clear from their questions that they were looking for a different skill set. And it was fairly clear from my answers that I was interested in but not really committed to this role.

So when the recruitment agent phoned me up yesterday to tell me I hadn't got the job and spent several minutes almost audibly squirming as he tried to 'soften' the message, the first thing I felt was relief - my instincts had been right, and as far as I was concerned a mutual decision had been made which was absolutely the correct one from my point of view. I then settled down to amusement at the guy's verbal contortions, followed by slight embarrassment that he had so clearly got the wrong end of the stick and was expecting me to be devastated.

So, for the moment I stay put, in my rocky little boat on waters that remain stormy - and my mind is calm, because for the moment this is exactly the right thing to be doing.


  1. They always say that the first feeling you have after a difficult decision has been made (either for you or by you) answers all your questions about whether or not it was the right one. That sense of relief must have been so nice since it confirmed your suspicions. I am glad things worked out for the best!! *hugs*

  2. I'm so pleased that you can cross this worry off your list. You were right to go to the interview and test the waters and its quite invigorating that it just confirmed your current job is the one for you.
    I think us IFers are so used to having a lot of stress on our plate that we don't always give ourselves the easy route as we feel we should just get on and deal with things. But I think staying in your job and riding out the rough waters there is a really sensible decision, better the devil you know in this scenario as you don't want to over do things in the coming months when IVF rolls around. I have no doubt that you COULD have managed a new job while doing IVF but I'm not convinced it would be the best thing, I am glad things have worked out like this for you. xx

  3. Isn't it funny how things just iron themselves out sometimes? Wonderful that it worked out as it did, with you not wanting the position after all. It's lovely when there is nothing to be disappointed about.