One year ago my wife was on a long anticipated trip to Paris with a good friend while I was at home being “Mr. Mom” and temporarily between jobs.
I say temporarily because the company I had been with for the past three years was converting me to a consultant – just one more in a series of broken promises and management shuffles since I had joined them - 7 different managers in 3 years surely has to be some sort of record – no?
This situation had resulted in what has to be one of the most bizarre conversation I had ever had. It went something like this.
HR: “Since you are part of the RIF you’re no longer eligible for a bonus this year because you’re no longer considered an employee. But we want you to stay until March next year at which point we will convert you to a consultant in a different part of the bank.“
Me: “But since bonuses are paid in February I’d still be eligible for that right?”
HR: “No, because your on the RIF list and therefore not considered an employee. However you will be receiving a severance package.“
HR: “But once you join the new company as a consultant you will have to give back the severance package because you would then be considered an employee.“
Me: “OK, so then I get the bonus back in that case right?”
HR: “No. Because you’re not considered an employee…“
It was now April and I was out of the office for 2 weeks so that they could hire me back again – HR policy doesn’t allow people to leave and then immediately come back as a consultant (sic).
Needless to say I had stewed over this situation for several months. Part of me was saying that “The money is good so suck it up so that the bills get paid.” Another part of me, which was growing louder by the day, was saying “Get out of there! They are sucking your soul dry!“
The phone rang and I heard the dulcet tones of my wife who had clearly been indulging in the local vino. I don’t think she even said hello. As soon as I answered the phone she said “We’ve been talking about [your company] and decided that you shouldn’t go back there. They don’t deserve you.”
I can’t tell you what those word meant to me. It was as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and the clouds had parted. Suddenly the decision was just so clear – she was right. Going back there could never be the right choice.
The next day I called the office and told them that I wasn’t coming back – oh, and I was keeping the severance package thank you very much.
I felt terrible for the people who I was leaving behind as, despite the company being screwed up, they had some amazing individuals. But I had to do what was right for me.
One year later I can say that was absolutely the right decision. I spent some time indulging my passion for building websites, getting closer to my kids and learning what being a stay at home Mom is like. I took a motorcycle trip that had been on the bucket list for some time and then landed a job with a company where my contributions are recognized and rewarded.
It’s been an amazingly fun, exciting, fulfilling and empowering year and…as is so often the case…it all started with my best friend…my soul mate…my wife.