When I decided to take a new job, I was excited about a new beginning. I was making a lot more money and thought I would be able to flourish in my new position. The drive to provide for my family financially clouded every decision I made. I still remember sitting at the conference room table. I told them how much I wanted to make. I remember throwing out a crazy number. Their reply, “Okay.” That was it. It was done just like that. I had a new job.
I knew I didn’t have the qualifications for the job, but I thought once I was there, I would figure it out. I never considered the other factors that came with this new endeavor. The money was great, but after this experience, it changed my priorities. This experience helped me grow in my field, but took its toll. There are four things I wish I considered when taking on my new position with a new company.
- Where’s my helicopter? – My commute went from 30-45 minutes to one and a half hours, each way. The traffic was horrendous. When I came home, I would be exhausted and frustrated from the whole experience. My wife didn’t understand or care because she had been with my daughter all day. Of course when changing jobs you consider the commute, but until you experience it, it’s not the same. Throughout the week, I spent ten hours less with my daughter. On top of that, I would sometimes work eight hours on Saturday. This is time you will never get back with your family. Just make sure your job is worth missing all of these memories.
- You need experience? – The notion of fake it until you make is a stressful proposition. Due to my lack of experience, I didn’t know the right way to approach things. There is one particular memory that sticks out among the rest. I was talking to one of the owners and couldn’t explain an issue with the project because I didn’t fully understand. The owner looked at the person who hired me, pointed in my direction and said, “This kid doesn’t know shit from shinola.” Thinking back, what a great line. But at the time, beads of sweat were forming all over my body. How do you respond to that? It’s not the position you want to be in. Anyone can repeat what someone tells him or her and in the beginning, that’s what I did. People who are smart follow up with questions to make sure they know what you are talking about. If you can’t answer the follow-ups, the jig is up. This is where I would always show my lack of knowledge. The motivation of not being thought of as a fool pushed me to make sure I knew what I was talking about. I had to analyze all angles of a situation, not just the one staring right in front of me.
- All you need is trust – When I started my new job I had to rely on people who I didn’t know. This usually ended in disastrous results. If you’re not sure of all of the steps, how do you lead people to complete a task? A big part of my growth was learning who I could trust. I had to learn how to read people. There are a lot of people who are trying to pull you down and make you look foolish. You must wade through these people and find the ones who genuinely want to help. Once you find them, don’t try to fool them with your lack of knowledge. If you are honest, they will be a major asset and a big part of your success. The information that you take, you must give back. It is vital for success in your job and your future. Be honest and genuine, you will be rewarded.
- Family Strain – If you are in a similar situation as I was, you’re stressed out constantly. You try not to bring it home, but it inevitably happens. I would yell and scream about small inconveniences. I would get angry and then forget why. It was frustrating and I had no one else to blame, but myself. The situation didn’t get any better. The daily grind gets worse, as the weeks go by. It’s not fair to your family or to yourself. The money I was making would give us a head start on our daughter’s future, but at what cost? Divorce? Not seeing my daughter? I didn’t realize how much of an impact this would have. I had to change my perspective and put more emphasis on family time. The “time” is the most important part, not the money I can provide for them.
So what ended up happening? A year and half later I left and started a new job. I learned a lot, but paid for it physically and emotionally. When I started my new job, I was in a better place. I had the experience needed to succeed and it was ten minutes from my house. I have a Rolodex of people I could contact and my family life is great. I consider myself lucky because I can see how people can be stuck in a job they hate. They use their family, fear of change, or money as crutch. I know people’s financial situations are different. If it’s work or you don’t eat, this article may not apply. But if you’re not in this situation and have an opportunity like I did, take a look at everything. Not just the money.
Photo: Flickr/ bark