Thursday, October 04, 2007

The end of the tunnel

Rumors are swirling. People are coming late and leaving early. My boss came to me this morning and ask, "Hypothetically, if responsibilities are moved to the East Coast, would you be interested in taking a transitional role with the [parallel to here] department?"

"What does that mean? Do I need to move to NJ or would I simply be traveling there each week for six months to a year?" I wanted to make sure I understood my options.

"No, you'd move to NJ and be managing a group of people and taking on larger projects and responsibilities."

Wow, I thought. That would be such a great career move, but I don't want to leave. My response came pretty quick though I was slow find the words, "N - o... I know it's a great opportunity but I don't want to move."

"Okay. That's what I expected to hear." My boss got up and started to turn towards the door.

"What about you? You wouldn't consider leaving?" I asked because he just moved his family to a new house. His kids range 6-14 years of age.

As he closed the door, he confided in me, "they've asked me to interview for a VP position in [sister company]. It'd have to been a pretty strong reason for me to consider it. I don't want to move; my wife doesn't want to move. It'd be pretty tough." His head shaking told me that it would have to be an incredible offer.

So if this discussion of our operations is "theoretical" and yet to be determined, how come he's already been asked to interview elsewhere in the organization?

I appreciate the fact that my boss has tried to be as transparent and open as possible about what is going on. Everyone is on pins and needles. The layoffs and downsizing has worn morale down to a threadbare state. We don't care and yet we want to know if we should continue to do our jobs. This is just torture.

It seems many friends I've talked to are going through the challenge of refocusing their careers. I like what I do, but I know it's time for a change. The opportunity to be in a bigger group and manage others is tempting. I could simply put my stuff in storage, move East, and rent an apartment for year to give it a go. But what happens to everything else? What about Tim? What about my friends? What about my life? And if this is a "transitional" job, what happens when the term is complete? Am I out on the street or is that time also meant to be used to find a permanent role in a new group?

Am I being stupid in not considering the opportunity? If it weren't for Tim, would it be more appealing? It could be tough, the cultural difference between East and West Coasts can be striking. That would be another challenge. I might hate it after three months, but still the experience would be good to have. I could learn from others, learn different ways companies and groups operate, make connections.

But then, there's also the temptation of waiting for the layoff. After all, I'd get a several weeks severance and be able to just have to some time off to relax and revise my career goals. Taking on this job would delay that opportunity and I'd lose that nice little severance.

Argh, why does this all have to happen weeks before I'm off for vacation?


teahouse said...

Hey, I wouldn't discount a move East! This could be the opportunity of a lifetime..and honestly, what do you have to lose by embarking on a new adventure?

That's what my parents did, 30 years ago..they took the opportunity to come and study in the U.S. At the time they thought their lives were pretty good, but then they said, "What the heck" and ended up loving it more than they could have imagined!

mini said...

the east coast is exciting! nothing's wrong with it :)

Sitcomgirl said...

You are right the difference in coasts is striking, not so much in a social way as it is in a corporate way. I don't know what industry you work in or how formal a work environment it is, but that is the difference I noticed when I moved back east. Everything was hierarchical, much more than I expected it to be. I went from company A in SF which was just as large as company B in Boston. Same industry, same types of clients. But internally they couldn't be more different. I went from open door policies with partner who insisted on being called by thier first name, to having to call and schedule appointments with Mr. So and So. That was the most striking difference. Maybe you could get them to give you a good raise for agreeing to go out to NJ. Take it as an adventure for a year. And if they don't have a place for you in the company after this transition period, wouldn't you still end up with a severance package?
As for Tim, you can still fly out and see each other once a month? Or meet somewhere in between and have fun adventures that way? And you made a good point, you could learn from others, learn new ways of operating, all those things can only serve to help you in the future.

Pandax said...

THB and Mini, I'm not knocking the East Coast. I simply acknowledge the fact that the lifestyles and culture are different. I spent straight five weeks of my life in Boston. It was great, but I've been warned by many East Coast transplants that the social circles are tight and slow to break into.

If I were even a few years younger I'd consider it. Right now, however, I'm not career-focused enough to want it. I want my personal life to move forward in the next year. That really doesn't seem to benefit from relocating.

I've been debating asking for more details, but my boss moves fast. It may already be too late if HR is already printing up our packets.

Lost said...

I just did the move from SF to NJ/NY (I live in NJ and work in NY) last year. Yes, there are striking differences, but I did move for career opportunity -- and wouldn't you know it, I don't love my job, but I do really like being out here.

I think it really is about thinking about what you want to get out of it. Like if you can reconcile in your mind that giving it a year or 2 for career advancement would get you closer to where you want to go in that realm -- then maybe it's a good idea. If you know that your personal life has goals that outweigh your career goals -- and moving wouldn't allow you to get what you need personally, then don't go.

Good luck! Look forward to reading more, no matter what you decide!