Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Decision Making Is Difficult - Weigh It All Out, Then GO With Your Heart

Last Tuesday, I turned down a job offer. It wasn't easy. I struggled with making the decision for about one week. Every day, I went back and forth on the possibilities, weighing out the pros and cons of accepting or declining.

My decision table looked something like this.


  • A job that pays well
  • Standard benefits, including medical / dental / vision / 401(k) / ESPP
  • Pays for relocation costs to the West Coast
  • Opportunity in a new industry: Travel / Technology
  • Potential to learn new things, specifically a side of tax that I've not had the opportunity to learn in my previous positions

  • Relocation required to the West Coast causing me to be separate from my wife and family
  • 3 hour time difference
  • Being unable to assist with the sale of our house and the purchase of a new house in Philadelphia
  • Uncertain timeline of how long I would be employed before wanting to move home. Do I stay for 1 year? 
  • Uncertainty in if they would allow me to work remotely after some point in time. They said it was possible, but no guarantee. As a tech company, it baffled me that their employees weren't already working remotely for some period of time. 
  • The need to come home once a month to see my wife for a very short period of time (weekend)
  • Inability to assist with my immediate family's various issues of concern (financial, health, etc.)
  • HR's unwillingness to negotiate the offer in it's entirety. They were not willing to accommodate even the simplest of requests.
  • Salary was, in my opinion, not commensurate to the work load, nor close in comparison to other similar companies in the area. It was also on the low side for the region's range of salary for the given position. Then HR had the audacity to tell me that the comparable companies do not pay a bonus (impossible), and this company's base plus bonus would get me into the range of the comparable companies. True, but that means without the bonus the base pay would be below the market rate. 
  • Insufficient number of vacation days offered. It would have been a downgrade from what I previously had at my last employer. When I tried to negotiate this, they were unwilling to move. For most companies that hire, if you can't move on salary, you can move on vacation days because it costs you nothing (no additional money to dole out) to give another week of holiday time. 
  • Sign-on bonus was to be paid in 2 installments that made no sense to me. The first was 30 days after the first day of employment. But the 2nd installment was to be held until the first paycheck after your first completed year! I asked that it be moved to 6 months after employment so that it was more of a sign-on bonus and less of a vesting. They were not amenable to this idea. 

Despite this company's unwillingness to negotiate, I still considered accepting the offer. But when I got on the phone with HR and started to listen to how this person spoke, my heart took over the decision making process. Something inside was telling me that I'd be unhappy. My mind was telling me that although a decent opportunity, the fact that this employer was unwilling to incentivize me to take the role and firm in their unwillingness to negotiate meant that I was not as valuable to them as I thought I was or as I should be. I bring a lot of value to the table and if that's not recognized then it's not worth it to me to change my life as drastically as this opportunity required. 

In the end, I was upset that this employer, in an industry that moves me and piques my interest so much, wasn't more flexible. But I know I would have been far more upset if I took the job and had to deal with all the negatives that I hashed out. 

I'm happy that I valued myself the way I did. I'm proud to stand my ground and thankful to my support system here at home for helping me see different perspectives. I know that I will find work, and I know that I will work hard for the people who believe in me and the employer that I believe in equally. When it's worth it, we'll both know. And eventually, I'll get there.

Trekking to Base Camp

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I know there is what society calls "Resting Bitch Face"... 

But is there such thing as "Resting Jerk Face?"

I think I have that.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Southern Comfort Without The Alcohol

The South is really well known for their hospitality and kindness. I've always known this. It's portrayed on television, in the movies, on Broadway. You read about it in novels, magazines, and other literature. You even hear it music and as you walk down the street of any city or town South of Washington DC. I now know this for a fact from experience.

On the one bright, sunny and seasonably warm Saturday we were in Charleston, we made the obligatory stop at the farmer's market in the center of the city at Marion Square. After perusing the various food, small crafts, and boutique stands we decided to get a fresh cup of locally brewed coffee and sit around to people-watch for a while. As a couple of the lawn chairs and table opened up, we hurriedly claimed it. There was only the 2 of us, but it had seating for 4. Less than 5 minutes later, a couple and their teen rolled up and asked if they could share the table. We happily obliged and the father pulled up a 5th chair.

For a couple of minutes, Carolyn and I spoke between ourselves and so did the family in between bites of their breakfast. But shortly after that, Carolyn and I, almost routinely, turned to them and engaged them in a conversation. We had fallen back on our travel habits that had grown on us during our time abroad. At first thought, these people could hate that we interrupted their meal, but on the flip side, they did ask to share our table.

We learned that they were actually transplants, not originally from Charleston. They were travelers and had lived in multiple locations over the past few years, including Germany, Japan, and Portland, OR most recently. The husband was actually from Nepal! We immediately connected on so many levels. It opened up the can of worms that is travel.

For the next hour, we talked, shared, and exchanged stories but failed to swap contact information. It wasn't important. We spoke about trekking to Base Camp, eating Japanese food, their son's love for soccer, moving around, fresh food and farmers' markets, and anything that was tangentially related. The pleasure of talking about travel, experience, and the future was enough to keep our minds occupied. It was refreshing and fun to meet new, like-minded people.

Funny enough, we knew we'd meet friendly Southerners. But to have met such great transplants that are now Southern by residence was a real treat. Maybe all the friendly people move to Charleston or other points South? (431)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

To Be Continued... Just Not Daily

I've decided. Today is going to be my last day of consecutive days writing 300 to 1000+ words a day in my blog. It's been such a great challenge. I've been able to write about so many topics, such as politics, economics, climate change, books, life, family, feelings, lessons, food, experiences, technology, investments, polls, opinions, current events, etc. Shoot, I even did an interview! And in one of my posts, I wrote some rhymes!

I think what I enjoyed the most was coming up with a title to each of the posts. My approach has been to title my writing after all was done and written up to my liking. I realized quickly that starting out with a title made it nearly impossible to think of enough content to fulfill the expectation. Most times, a phrase or an analogy that I would talk about would end up being my title. I've also found a lot of my titles to be creative and funny. I'm not sure what other people think of them, but I sometimes want to pay myself on the back when I read them back.

Secondary to the titles has to go to finding illustrations to match the topics. Sometime I scour the internet for photos, comics, and other imagery to help invite readers to my post. I learned that with Blogger, the first photo in your post is used as the thumbnail for any links to the post. So choosing the best first pic is important. And I suppose that's one of the handicaps of using Blogger; you have less choice. When I choose an image I tend to look for something colorful, funny, and something that conveys my writing. I want that when you see the thumbnail you have a slight idea what it may be about before you start reading. I hope I've done a decent job with this.

The worst part about the past 45 days of blogging are the days when my mind is blank, when I cannot think of a decent topic worth writing about. Granted, not all the subjects I've chosen have been the most interesting to everyone, but I've been able to speak to them for at least 300+ words. I've had a few close calls too. Some nights I've put blogging off until the last minutes of the day. But I can say that I've successfully posted without missing one for 45 days.

I guess you can say that this post is a little bit of a cop out, but it's a recap of what I've done for this challenge. It's a nice look back at my progress, difficulties, and enjoyment throughout. In fact, here are a couple of my favorite posts from the past 45:

- The Cookie Monster Wants CAKE?

- Risk More Than Others And Dream Like You Mean It

Did you like any of them in particular? Let me know. I'm always interested to hear your opinions.

Going forward, I'm sure I'll be blogging regularly but less than daily. Maybe that will encourage you all to keep up with me more often. In fact, maybe my next challenge will be to take topics from you and write about them. Who wants to participate? What's my next topic? (542)

Friday, November 10, 2017

I'm A Lover, Not A... Negotiator

I hate negotiating for anything. It's probably my weakest ability. I despise the back and forth. I hate the bullshit you put each other through. The ordeal is full of lies, deceit, and people who relish the opportunity to take advantage of another person. Wouldn't it be quicker and more honest if everyone just cut all the crap and told it how it really was?

Why? Am I so bad at it, you ask? Yes, I'm actually terrible at the practice. I don't have a poker face. My body language reveals everything that I'm thinking. The discounts I ask for are too little; so I get what I want but a price that the other side is still willing to give. The (few) sales that I've made, I've forfeited on because I was impatient and/or didn't stand my ground. I lose in either scenario.

If greed did not dominate the sinful human race, it would be easier (albeit less competitive) to complete a transaction. That's fine by me. As long as I don't have to haggle, hassle, or sacrifice my honesty to seal the deal then it's all right.

Let's face it though. It's a part of every day life. I have to just deal with it. And I have to try to win some of the time. We negotiate business deals and transactions. We come to terms on where to eat lunch. We agree or disagree on what to watch on tv. We try to come away with a bargain at the flea market. We lowball the used car salesman. We wrangle a few cents at the farmers' markets. Every little bit counts. At least that's what society tells us.

And it's all a game. Who can get the best deal? Who can make the best offer? Who backs down first? Who lies to increase their margins? Who cheats the system to afford more than seemingly possible? And at the end of the day, who wins? (327)