Friday, December 03, 2004

The Price of Happiness

How much would you shell out for bliss?

Five bucks to turn that frown upside down?

100 bucks for a rush of euphoria?

5000 bucks for utter, orgasmic extacy?

'Cause that's the price that's staring me in the face.

I had a job interview two days ago. It was swell as those kinds of things go. I always do really well on interviews, what with an innate sense of overconfidence and the kind of stressful-moment-cool that would make 007 jelous. The guy was actually doing more of a sales pitch on the position than I was doing on myself. Let's face it, I'm wonderful, and the man would be crazy not to hire me, right?

Okay... lemme press the OFF button on my UberEgo.

Anyway. As I was saying. This guy started our meeting off with the bad news: "HR is tying my hands on the salary. We can only pay you $piddlysalary.00 (he says as he lowers his head in consolation.) Since this is a new position for our department, they had to compare it to something else within our system. Turns out there's a person doing a similar type job for Section Z... and they've been working for 15 years at $piddlysalary.00."

This was the point in our discussion where I fought to conceal my big swallow. You know... that instant reflex in your throat that comes when you're shocked and trying to digest the blow?

"I've had 43 applicants for this job. Harvard grads. Adjunct professors. I really want to pay this position $dreamycash.00, but the Corporation won't let me. I know that the only person we're gonna get in here... at least with any experience... has to be working at a miserable place."

Brother, now you-a talkin' my language.

There are some pluses for this gig:
-It's actually a job at my Alma Mater, so I'd be very familiar with the place.
-I'd get to take free classes (up to six credit hours per semester.) Hello, free MBA.
-There would be some travel involved (up first on the itinerary, Sunny San Francisco)
-I'd be getting some valuable Marketing/PR experience to round out my skills.
-The man told me the position could at some point be reassessed to make for a better salary.
-It's hard to get into their system. Once you're in... you can be pretty mobile and move around from department to department for the right spot.

Since I pretty much detest where I work, and since I've spent almost 6 years toiling it out here, a move is definitely on the horizon. My contract here is up at the end of February, so I have a limited time frame to find a job.

This possibility is a way to keep a constant flow of cash... but at a diminished rate. That kind of scares me (I'm HORRIBLE with money) but as my dad said, this could be one immediate step back, but may make for two steps ahead in the future.

Something to chew on.


shara said...

All those pluses sound pretty tempting, Kate. And getting in - any way you can - somewhere you'd like to be ... well, if there's any way you can make the money part work out, I say go for it. (Not that you're looking for advice from complete strangers, mind you.)

Unknown said...

Opposed to what everyone says money does NOT make the world go around. Happiness is so much more important. besides with all that opportunity for growth and movement, plus free classes and an opp to get your MBA, why WOULDN'T you? I say go for it, but that's just my humble opinion. You've got your whole life to make the big bucks once you've got that extra schooling!

Pink Poppy said...

Well, I am just finding this post because every time I came here, I got a black screen. Just figured out that this post is, for some reason, WAY down the screen. I just needed to scroll.

Anyway, I have faced this situation three times. All three times I have chosen the job with less pay (and usually better overall benefit packages) but a better work environment. I have never regretted that.

One time, I was making $45,000 in job I had been in less than a year. I was offered a federal job at $95,000. I loved my $45,000 job. I had tons of freedom to come and go as I pleased. I got paid to talk and eat. What could be better? I had fabulous benefits. And I loved the people I worked with.

The other jobsite was bursting with turmoil. Turnover was high. I knew and liked my direct superior-to-be. But the other people I would have been working with (some of whom I also knew) were nightmarish.

I kept the $45,000. I stayed for five years. I loved it there. I still keep up with my former colleagues. I was happy there. And there was no amount of money that could have paid me to go to the "pressure cooker". I value my sanity too much.

I won't tell you what to do, but I will tell you that sanity and emotional stability are at the top of my list of "Most Important Assets".