Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adventures in Difficult Decisions

I felt really guilty about it, but I wanted to take this other position, even though it meant leaving my family and friends, and my boss (who may as well be family) behind.  I felt that by staying, I could prolong my boss's life by keeping that pressure off of him.

At the same time, I was so angry at my current workplace that it was hard to retain my composure sometimes.  The fact that I had a good offer elsewhere helped to lower my inhibitions.  I became fearless -- asking nine questions of the head of my institution at a managerial meeting (more than twice as many questions as everyone else combined!), sending a letter of complaint to the head of HR about the HR person whose remarks had so angered me, and generally being more outspoken than usual, as I dared them all to fire me.

But still I felt so guilty and so ashamed to even think of leaving.  My in-laws would be devastated; my friends were begging me not to go; and I could not bear to think of abandoning my boss.

I had lunch with him, still away from work, and I sobbed nearly the whole time.  He reassured me that he would not think less of me for leaving, that he understood why I would want to pursue this opportunity.*  I saw a gleam in his eye when he talked about coming to our current workplace when it was a brand-new center.

I wanted that gleam in my eye, not the flash of fire that inevitably appears these days.  I wanted to love the way I earn a living.  So the solution seemed obvious.  But one stumbling block remained: relocation.  The offer did not include sufficient relocation funds to move our household without paying out of pocket, and I did not want to do that.  So I asked for what I wanted: full moving expenses and one month of short-term housing.**  And they agreed! (Maybe I should have asked for more!)

So I signed the papers, scanned them, and sent them over email, following up with the originals via priority mail.  Ten days later, I applied for the visa, and within six hours of turning in the final paperwork, the visa was approved.***

*See what I mean about how awesome he is?  Best. Boss. Ever!!!

** Template for others facing this situation:

Thank you very much for this exciting opportunity. I am very excited about the possibility and I would really like to accept your offer. There is one final concern that I have, but assuming that it can be resolved to our mutual satisfaction, I will sign the contract. 

 My concern has to do with relocation. I’ve been trying to find out how much it would cost to move our belongings from A to B, and from what I understand it may cost much more than $X. One quote I received was $Y, and based on Z’s experience (she forwarded me her moving info) this seems like a good approximation. Someone is coming to perform an in-home moving estimate on Monday, but unfortunately I won’t get a quote until after the deadline for accepting. 

What I would really like is for the cost of relocation and one month of short-term housing to be covered. It would ease my family’s anxiety about moving, and my anxiety about trying to find a place to live while trying to do well at my job and adjusting to a brand-new place. If we could agree to something like that, then I would definitely sign the contract.

*** I am really impressed with the efficiency of the Australian government (or at least their immigration department).  From my experience with hiring foreign nationals, this process would have dragged out another six months if I'd been dealing with the United States government.


Katie said...

Congratulations!!! Now I have a legitimate excuse to go to Australia, besides the one that I just want to see the country. (I'm sure you'll be hearing that one a lot...)

I have some friends in Australia, I'll contact them, and see if they have any suggestions for things to do in Perth... give you a head start :) Do you know when you're moving yet?

Rebecca said...

Thanks, Katie! We're moving in July. We would love to have visitors.