For those of you just tuning in, the other day 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 and part two of the story here.
Before I get into the rest of the story, let’s go over the timeline once more :
- We had our baby in April
- I had a series of interviews for the new job in May and June
- I turned in my resignation at my old job at the end of June
- I left my old job and started my new job in September
- Week one of my new job consisted of orientation and training, during which I also applied for an open position at my previous employer.
- Week two of my new job was when the actual work started, during which I also interviewed for the open position at my previous employer.
Now that everyone has a fresh picture of where things stand, I’ll get back to the story.
The Phone Call
I think it was Tuesday of my third week at the new job when I received a phone call from my previous employer offering me the open position I had interviewed for. It was the same job grade as the position I left, and the salary was the same as my old position. I half expected them to offer less, since they knew they had all the leverage. The start date was open and depended on how discussions went with the partner at my current job.
Turning In My Resignation (Again)
The next day I had to have another dreaded conversation, this time with the partner at my new job. I was on an audit at a client roughly an hour and a half away from our local office, so it had to be a telephone conversation. Some conversations are just better to have in person, and this was definitely one of them. I called in the morning… no answer, so I left a message to call me back. In the meantime I went ahead and told the manager on our audit about it. In hindsight, this was a bad idea. By the time the partner returned my call, she already knew I was leaving and was not pleased to have heard it from someone else.
This was a very awkward conversation, and I felt like such a jerk about the whole situation. You see, before they hired me they had already decided on another candidate. Then they interviewed and hired me and had to hire the other person into a different division. Basically I was leaving them high and dry. The partner was obviously frustrated and brought up the fact that they discussed the travel and hours during the interviews. I sincerely apologized, not that it made anything any better. The partner decided that day would be my last, and I could just leave my things (laptop, etc.) with the audit manager at the end of the day. This conversation happened around 1:00 pm, so the rest of the day had a very awkward feel to it. I still did my work and everything, but it had a definite “dead man walking” vibe.
A Fresh Start
I called my previous employer back and gave them the news that I could start anytime, and I ended up starting two days later. I’ve now been back for around nine months, and I have to say that it’s been really good. While the job is different than my original job, and I’m working with different people than I used to, everything is good. Not only are things good at the job, but I’m home at a decent hour and have time to spend with my wife and baby boy. It feels great knowing that things are settled again.
I learned so much from this experience that I don’t even know where to begin.
Perhaps the most obvious thing is that you really don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I know it’s a cliché
that is perhaps overused, but it still rings true. I knew I had a good job, but I kept thinking that maybe it would be even better someplace else. Luckily I was able to get back to my previous employer.
Another thing is never to burn your bridges. Do you think my old employer would have hired me back if I would have slacked off those last few months or if I’d have only given them minimal notice without enough time to hire and train a replacement? I highly doubt it. On the flip side, I know the bridge is burned with the new company I was hired into and subsequently left within three weeks. I left them hanging and put them in a bad situation.
Yet another lesson is that your salary isn’t everything. Yes, if I’d have stayed with the new job I would have had more money coming in. But, I would hardly ever have been home to enjoy it. And more importantly, I would hardly ever have been home to watch our little boy grow and learn new things. In these early years, he learns so much and changes so fast that I would have missed out on a lot.
Have any of you left a job and later regretted it? Or took a promotion, etc. that led to a raise, but also led to significantly more hours or travel? How did you find your ideal balance between earnings and hours/travel? Share your stories in the comments below…