Monday, December 12, 2011

Wrong Lane

I interviewed for a full time position after many years a month ago. This is one of the biggest companies in town and pays better than most other outfits. Post marriage and with J getting ready for middle school next year, I thought it would be best for me to slow down and settle into a regular job, have vacation time and generally better work-life balance. The interview process was like a decathlon - I jumped and cleared all the required hoops and had no less than four different hiring managers clamoring to bring me on board.
Life was good until it was not. A couple of weeks after all these "great conversations" were had, the recruiter came back with an offer that was for a position one level below that what I had interviewed for and had these "terrific" discussions with the different hiring managers.Right after dissing me with respect to the position she threw me a bone - she promised to make up the pay difference by giving me the highest salary they could at the level. In a full time role, position often counts more than salary - I may have settled for the lower pay if the position (specifically, title) was what I needed it to be. 
I found it intriguing how this all worked. I was being low-balled for position and not money (we may have been able to agree on that) because it must have become apparent during the course of the many discussions that the title and where I was in the hierarchy was more important to me than compensation. The whole experience left a bad taste in the mouth - I realized that I had failed some shibboleth that identified me as the outsider I am when they were looking for an insider who could be like one of them, fit in the culture and generally not upset the established order of things.
It has been a while since I have been in the corporate environment as a full time employee - I have forgotten how to swim in the shark tank that it can be.DB tells me that I am being needlessly proud and emotional in making the decision not to accept the job offer - the money I am being offered is still very good. He is probably right but I feel like I would be better off leaving with my dignity intact than accepting less than I deserve. In my single parent years, I never exercised my right to choice about employment - I took the first thing that came along because being employed was the single most important objective - I sacrificed a lot in the process. This time I am exercising my right to choose not to be in the wrong lane and wait until I find what is right for me. As the holiday nears and the job market dries up for the year, my resolve may start to waver - I would feel like I am imposing upon DB if I don't do my part for the family.

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