Monday, October 03, 2005

Careering in slow-motion

I recently accepted, and then one day later, turned-down a job offer. I do not recommend changing one’s mind after one has accepted a job as a great career move, but it is what I did and I must live with the consequences. What I am still thinking about three weeks later is if staying in my present job was the right decision.

Before anyone tells me that there are no wrong decisions I must note that I am not an enlightened-enough soul to accept that concept. On some high level I see the truth in that idea, but down here on the ground where I spend my days I am plagued by doubt. Try as I might to repeat to myself that “there are no wrong decisions,” the reality of my life is that some decisions feel wrong after I have made them and this decision is one of them.

I decided to remain in my job of the past seven-and-one-half years because the company where I work is a better company than the company that was making me the job offer. I work with people who are more trustworthy and more competent than the people at the other company. And yet, I hate what I am doing. I am a corporate flunky. I have no real decision-making power. I am well-paid, I am respected, and I work with decent people. But I feel as if I am stuck inside a large machine with little control over the actions of the machine.

My boss would dispute the idea that I have little control over the actions of this machine, but it is true. All I can do is make suggestions, not decisions. At least not any decisions about anything important. It is profoundly anti-motivating.

My salary here is very good. My expertise is recognized both within the company and within our industry. And yet none of this makes we want to get up in the morning and go to work.

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