Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day of Reckoning

I have some huge decisions to make in the next few days. Opinions, input and feedback are welcome!

I've been offered a position as Project Manager with a small company that does content lifecycle management. This means that they develop things like marketing communications, product documentation and various other ways of delivering content to users (web sites, brochures, white papers, CDs, online help files, etc.). The content they work with is NOT focused on kids, families, education, or health (my specialty areas), but there's a chance that it might (big might) be in the future.

I talked to the CEO of the company for just under an hour two days ago (that was the day I was asked whether I qualify for the senior discount) and left without ever being introduced to the staff or having a tour of the tiny, bunch-of-tables-in-one-room office (which probably would have been "look left and look right -- that's our office"). I was not asked to supply any references.

Today the CEO called me and offered me the position.

Because the team on which I work and a "cultural fit" within the team and the office environment are so important to me, I requested that I come back to meet the staff. The CEO offered to set up phone calls with staff members, but I specified that I'd rather meet them face-to-face to talk casually with each of them about their work and about working at this company. It seems to me that this meeting would be well worth everyone's time. He'll apparently get back to me on that.

I also suggested the possibility of a freelance arrangement to begin our relationship, telling him very honestly that I have been seriously considering "hanging my own shingle" in the field of educational content development and consulting, and that if I do go the employee route it has to be the right job and a real "fit," not only for me but presumably for the company as well. And I blatantly told him that I won't know how I feel about the position until I know more -- until I've met the staff, know some of the projects, and until I'm sure that I could be satisfied working with content that is, for the most part, highly technical and has nothing to do with kids, education or health.

It's only fair and right, I think, that we both be happy. Right??

That said, this could well be a dream job. I just don't know right now. I feel kinda like the Indian girl whose parents tell her, upon arranging her marriage, "Be patient; you might come to love him over time." This isn't the position I've had in mind (that'd be Leapfrog --no-go on the EP position there, by the way... sigh -- or Dreambox Learning or Simply Fun), but it does sound like it has other things I'm looking for -- close and cohesive client relationships and the opportunity for growth (though I do want to know why the Director of Product Development is leaving).

And THAT said, some really great freelance opportunities are coming down the pike. I'll be writing an ongoing guest column for a company that provides financial aid information for college-bound students and I've had some very interesting conversations about possible writing, design, and educational consulting gigs with other companies and local and national organizations. But none of those, even combined, would bring in the regular income that this job offer that's on the table could bring me. And really, shouldn't my priority now be getting these kids through college?

Help me, Mr. Wizard! (<-- That's as religious as I get, though at times like this I wish I could just let go and trust that some higher force will guide me in the right direction!)

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Becky said...

While I know you would feel more comfortable working in your childhood education niche, I think expanding your horizons and learning some new areas will be good for your resume. And there is always the whole personal growth thing too. My Dad always used to say, "You can do anything for a year." That seemed to be the time frame where you gave the new job a chance, had time to learn, and wouldn't make you look like a job-hopping flake on your resume. ;-) Good luck!

Dixie said...

I have no advice but let me offer my congratulations instead. Even an offer for a job that you may not really want has to be a boost for your ego.

The Giant said...

Reading your post I feel like you're right on in your desire to hesitate and ask questions. But I also think Becky nailed it - a year (while still keeping some of your connections) might be just what your bank account and resume need

Rositta said...

What jumps out at me are the following;
-one hour interview
-no introduction to staff
-no asking for references
-evasive about meeting staff (telephone call offered)
Go with your gut, if it feels right do it, if it doesn't don't...ciao

Anonymous said...

Everyone here has good ideas.... But I have to say that as I read your post here, I came away with the feeling that you don't really want to take this job. Maybe the freelance would be better until a better fit comes along but on the other hand, the 'you can do anything for a year' approach isn't bad either. Only thing is, I think you give your all to any endeavor and it would be hard for you to get so involved and then find yourself at a job that doesn't make you happy..

Anonymous said...

I passed over several opportunities for more money to stay with the job that gave me an opportunity to make a direct difference. Although I loved my job, I felt I wasn't being fairly compensated - and the outlook was dim in that area. The last offer that came along, I took. After almost two years, although the money has been nice, I have to tell you that I am not nearly as fulfilled at the end of the day. Most days I go home feeling disconnected and empty. I'm not sure the money was worth it.

mks said...

First, congratulations on being offered the job and being in the position to decide IF you want it. AND congratualtions on the freelance stuff coming along. That said, my advice would be take the job - as everypone else said - you can always do something for a short amount of time and take it from me. If your dream job comes along in less than a year - you can interview for it, take it, do whatever you choose. The type of industry you refer to will be a good field to diversify your resume...sit with yourself...what does your gut say? Go with that.

Jen said...

Congrats on the offers! This is all good news.

I think going with your gut is a good thing... and so, probably, is meeting the rest of the staff. That might be a good indication of the emotional health of the company.

Nikki said...

I think the best advice I can give you is to "go with your gut." If you don't think this is the job for you then DON'T TAKE IT. I have made that mistake before and I was miserable. I knew in my heart it wasn't the right thing, but I took it anyway. Meanwhile, the right thing came along and I was already committed. So, just as I advise my beautiful, 20-something single sister... DON'T SETTLE! You deserve to have it all. :)

anno said...

Having an offer is always a good thing. I think you're wise, though, to meet face-to-face with your potential colleagues. And trust your instincts.

BTW, I love your blog, lurk a lot, and I'd comment more if I could figure out a way to be more brief.

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