For those of you just tuning in, yesterday I started telling the story about how I changed jobs last year after we had our baby. To summarize, I thought I needed to make more money now that we had a baby and my wife was going to stay at home with him. You can read part one of the story here.
The New Job
My new job started with a one-week orientation/training course at the local office. We learned more about what the job was going to be like and the kind of things we would be doing. We also received our travel schedules for the next six months or so. This was the point where reality started to sink in, and I realized exactly what I had signed up for. Now, I knew on an intellectual level that the job would require some travel. They went over that when I interviewed for the position, and my friend had told me this as well. I guess I just didn’t realize how much travel was involved and what it meant.
I need to point out that my managers at the new job did realize I had a wife and infant at home, and they took that into consideration when planning my schedule. As such, I had nowhere near the amount of overnight travel that many of my fellow new-hires had on their schedules. At the interviews they said the job would be about 25% overnight travel; my schedule was more like 10%. But while I didn’t have much overnight traveling on my schedule, it was filled with jobs that were between one and two hours away. So in effect, this meant getting up an hour or two earlier in the morning and getting home an hour or two later at night. On average, I would be working in our local office two days a week and be at a client’s office the other three days.
The day I brought my travel schedule home and discussed it with my wife, it didn’t go over so well. Keep in mind that our son was only five months old, and that suddenly I was going from a job where I was gone from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to a job where I would be gone from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm or even 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. And those hours weren’t even for busy season (January through March), when I would be working 80 hours a week. Let’s just say that it became very clear that this job, while the pay was going to be better, just wasn’t going to work out for us.
The Phone Call
A month or so before I left my position at the bank, another person in another department had left their position. At the time I left my position, this other position had not yet been filled. So, I think it was the Wednesday during orientation week I made one of the most difficult telephone calls of my life. I called my old boss, said that I made a big mistake, and asked if that other open position had been filled yet. I think she was surprised to say the least.
It turns out the other open position had not been filled, though they were getting pretty close with one of the candidates. My old manager talked with the manager for this other position, and they had me turn in an application and take the standard tests (something like a personality and aptitude test). The hiring manager for this other position was going on vacation for a few days, so anything beyond the application and tests would have to wait until he came back.
The Waiting Game
Meanwhile, I was in the middle of orientation and training at my new job. There was certainly no guarantee that I could get back in with my previous employer. After all, I had just quit. I half expected them to laugh and say something to the extent of, “You didn’t think working here was good enough, so we don’t want you back.” Let’s just say the rest of orientation week was stressful beyond belief. A number of my fellow new-hires were talking about how tired they were in the morning after being out at the bar until 2:00 am. I was up just as late, but not at the bar. I just had so much going through my head that I couldn’t sleep. On the one hand I knew I had to concentrate on orientation and learning the new job, because I couldn’t count on getting back to my previous employer. I had to set up all my new health insurance coverage (important since we had an infant), and everything else that comes with a new job. On the other hand, I kept trying to think of other contingency plans for if I couldn’t get back with my previous employer. The wheels in my head were constantly running 100 miles an hour, and sleep just wasn’t happening.
The next week (after orientation was done and the actual job began) I received a call about coming in for an interview. I had never been so nervous about a job interview. I’ve had interviews before, and I was never really worried about them. I wasn’t nervous when I originally interviewed for the bank job back in college because I figured I had a whole year of school left and could find something else if I didn’t get the job. I wasn’t nervous when I interviewed for my new job because I already had a job that I liked, so it wouldn’t really hurt anything if I didn’t get it. But this interview was different. It was important. I didn’t have a plan B in my back pocket in case I didn’t get the job.
So I went to the interview. While this position was different than my old one, I still knew the managers in this other department. They had already talked with my old managers in depth about my work, my attitude, and all that. Almost the entire interview seemed to revolve around why I left my old position and how they could be sure that I wouldn’t do the same thing six months down the road. I knew this was coming. By leaving my old position, I had greatly damaged the trust that I had built up with the company. I talked about how I made a mistake and learned a lesson from it. I talked about how I had been impatient about waiting for a promotion and that I understood that I just need to be patient. I even joked that they could have someone in the legal department write up a contract. Overall, I thought the interview went well. We did talk about the job itself and about my qualifications, which were a good match.
To Be Continued
I really thought I could finish the story today, but I’m already approaching 1,200 words. Too much in one post and you readers might not get all the way to the bottom. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story. I promise.
Have any of you left a job and later on applied for a position at the same company you left? How did it go for you? Share your story in the comments below…