by Susan Jackson
In Movin' Up, Movin' Out: Part I , I shared how I was pleasantly surprised by the possibility of a new job and employer after getting complacently burned out at my current gig. Now, find out how green that grass really was.
Pretty darned green, as it turns out. I first met with my prospective boss (the one who sought me out) for an informal "get to know you" lunch, and had a good feeling that the position seemed right up my alley. It was a unique, challenging opportunity to do something different, less sales-y and more in line with my journalism education and passion. I also talked to a couple of friends who worked at the company (had to get the "real scoop" on this idyllic-sounding place), along with formal interviews with my potential colleagues and HR folks.
And then there were the benefits. Oh, the benefits. Five weeks of paid vacation a year, starting immediately. What? You mean I wouldn't have to meticulously plan my 12 vacation days a year around holiday weekends to maximize the time off? I could actually take a whole week here, another couple of weeks there, and still have plenty of days left for long weekends and play dates with my daughter? This sounded too good to be true.
My new employer would also cover my short-term disability insurance, which pays you when you're on maternity leave (not that I'm expecting, but it's nice to have just in case). And my monthly health insurance premiums? Cut in half, with similar or better coverage.
When I finally got an official job offer, it was the generous salary that sealed the deal. I don't care what anyone tells you, money matters. Sure, everyone wants a job that's interesting, coworkers who are cool and fun to work with, and a successful company that treats you well. But I work to live, and living costs money. The more I make from the work I do, the better things are for me and my family. With this significant raise, I could actually pay our bills, pay off student loans and relieve a good bit of our financial stress.
Did I take the job? Well, duh. How could I not? My husband and I, along with our dog, did a happy dance in the living room (our 2-year-old was asleep). The next day, I turned in my two weeks' notice and began daydreaming about what I would do with all that vacation time and bigger paychecks.
I started the new gig at the beginning of the summer. In the past three months, I've been adjusting to life with all-new professional duties, coworkers, boss, employer and office culture. It's definitely been stressful at times. Even the best changes of my life have been difficult—going to college and grad school, getting married, having a kid—but they've all been worth it.
This job is no exception. I'm having to stretch my brain, which I think makes me smarter. I'm learning how to interact with a whole new group of people and dynamics, which helps me be even more flexible. And I've thoroughly enjoyed those benefits that sounded too good to be true—having my evenings and weekends free instead of filling them with work or freelance gigs to help pay bills. I've already taken as much paid time off this summer as I did in an entire year at my old job, still with a week off at Thanksgiving and another at Christmas to look forward to!
As scary and intimidating as major professional/life changes can be, I highly recommend them. Life's too short to settle for a less-than-desirable status quo.