Today I did something that a few of you might consider stupid, or crazy, or even a bit insane. I turned down a lot of money.
Allow me to explain.
Tomorrow starts a new job in Chicago, and a whole new adventure as far as my writing is concerned. Because I’ll be roaming out the door about 6 AM, and because I don’t know what time I’ll be getting up, I’m actually writing this Monday night, about 9:15 PM. (That’s what the clock on the computer says, so I’m sticking to it.)
Now, this job wasn’t the only one I was looking at. In fact, I’d interviewed with another company, and I was told of another up north, in Cheeseland, aka Wisconsin. But as I’d accepted this job in Chicago, I’d sent out my condolences to the other companies, and let them know thank you, but I’m going elsewhere.
So this morning I start getting calls. They were urgent calls, about the job up north. About how the company that had never much given me any feedback was suddenly in a hurry to have me come to work for them. A company that had never asked to interview me wanted me to uproot everything and start work on Wednesday. I was assured that if I showed up 12/12/12, a job was waiting for me.
I explained to the recruiter that I’d already accepted a position in Chicago, and that I was starting tomorrow. I was asked how much I was making, and I quoted them the number. Then he quoted his number–and I about fell back.
See, the job up north was for someone who could do reporting and a little easy programming (so I was told), and not a lot more. The salary I was quoted, however: it was more than I’m going to start making tomorrow. A lot more. In fact, compared to what I was making at The Job From Hell at The Undisclosed Location–it was a touch more twice that.
We’re talking very low six figured, but six figures nonetheless.
I thought about it for a moment, then said no thank you, I’d not walk away from a job I’d already agreed upon, and hung up.
Beyond jumping ship at the last moment as being very unprofessional, there was the sneaking suspicion that this job could have ended up becoming “The Undisclosed Location, Part II: Cheddar Hell”, because people just don’t throw a lot of money as someone they’ve never met and say, “It’s going to be an easy job! Don’t worry,” without there being something more happening behind the curtain than The Wizard getting outted. It felt wrong, and I’m not sorry about saying no to more cash than I’ve ever made in my life in one year.
That said, there was another reason for not doing it: I’m not staying in this business.
I said 2012 would be a year of change. I started a job, ended it, and I’m starting another. I’ve come out as the person I have been, and want to be. And I’ve written a whole lot of words–and I wanna keep writing more. One of these days, I want that to be my job. Maybe I’ll do some programming for myself, or for a few others, on the side, but I want to walk away from IT, and I want to do it soon.
I’m close to home now, and even though I have a bit of a drive ahead of me every day, I’m getting good money, and my driving expenses are being paid. I’m going to push to work from home in the coming months, and I hope that I can eventually spend more time here than in the office.
I’ll also keep writing and publishing. This is a must for me, because if I stop now, I’ll never start up again. I’ve killed enough dreams to end up on death row for more years than I care to imagine, and I can’t kill any more. Maybe I’ve twenty-five years ahead of me: if so, I need to tell my stories, because I feel they’re good stories, and eventually someone, a lot of someone’s, will want to read them.
I told the recruiter today, “Money isn’t a motivating factor,” and I meant that. I want to think about myself, and about what I want to do now. No playing the “What if?” game now: I know what’s ahead, and I know how to get there. I just gotta walk the walk, is all.
There was a time when making a bunch of money was a dream, but I never wanted to do it programming. I know where I want that money to come from, and I know where I need to see my name. It’s coming, I know this.
Tomorrow starts another day, another fire–
But I’m finished jumping through hoops.
The way is clear. I only need to get there.