Note: I wrote this last Friday and debated the weekend if I should post. I believe that I should but it may be removed at any time
The week before Thanksgiving I left my job.
I had saved up enough that I would be fine for several months. I went to visit family and friends. I wasn’t worried. I had interviews lined up… and with that I had options. I could decide which roles and companies worked best for me. As the phone screens and first interview continued, the list dropped off; wasn’t interested, they weren’t interested, the role sounded boring, I wasn’t a good fit, I was too similar to someone they had just hired, I wasn’t going to be given the freedom to advocate for the user, it was built on Java, it was B2B business, the list goes on.
In these past few months I’ve begun to notice my privilege much more than usual. Having to figure out if I had enough money for groceries or rent wasn’t my main concern… going on a 2 week vacation with my partner to Australia without blinking an eye? It was all taken care of.
To keep me from having idle hands I’ve picked up a few audio and ADR jobs here and there. But they were mostly just favors and to have something to do on the days I did not have screener calls, video chats or was traveling for in-person interviews. It was mostly just using and expanding some less used skills As well as trying to expand new skills such as understanding Swift, I also helped translating some letters for an outreach program to Spanish.
But as time continues I… I’m getting antsy. I don’t enjoy not “working” or doing something of importance. This is not new, it’s one of the reason I moved to Denver. With less prospects and a dwindling savings and no other recourse I took the job. I moved with resentment. At first I tried to like the city and the job, but after a few months it was clear it wasn’t for me. I tried to change my attitude and when that didn’t work, I had to change my situation.
Which leads me to now. I am being offered a contractor position at a “start-up-like” subsidiary to huge publicly traded company. The project is one of those bet-the-future -of- the- company things so I would be coming in at a pivotal time. The role sounds good and I would have freedom to advocate for the user, mainly in user interaction and experience… but at the salary offered, it would be a pay decrease due to lack of benefits (no 401k, PTO/sick days, or health care). Typically, contractors are moved into the org within 6 months, but from the looks of it the company’s health plan is subpar at best. The pro being that I would get to stay in a nice-ish city.. I wouldn’t have to move for the second time in 2 years and after giving it an actual shot…I’m starting to enjoy living here. Update: They have offered for better pay but no benefits and from the looks of it culture is lacking
I was also offered another job, at a huge subsidiary of a much larger company, and they too are in a pivotal point. Recent changes seem to indicate that they understand that drastic measures need to happen with the way people view things. It’s 2 1/2 year project. Pay is about right, benefits are good, culture seems to great. It’s one of my interest, though one of my least enthusiastic interest, but an interest nonetheless. After the project is over, depending on head count I could be transition into an employee. It sounds great. And it is… except it’s a small city…. much smaller city, even than Denver.
While Denver was a big change for me seeing that have only lived in huge cities (Los Angeles and New York).. I am a city person. I enjoy being able to have something to do; I like different cultures and activities and being around a hodgepodge of people. Living near Downtown and within walking distance to most music venues and some smaller breweries. Trying to at least cling on to the most minute music scene the city has to offer. But this new city has no music scene to speak of, the city is in the low 100,000 of residents. Which to me is miniscule seeing the the population of LA and NYC are the millions.
Just looking at the whole picture the smaller city job is better for the sole fact that my earning potential over the course of my career will be better, the subsidiary also has that name recognition.
One of the bigger issue with these is that I don’t want to be in this same place in a year. I don’t want to just take a role because I need it. I want to enjoy and be able to grow in a company. I see that happening a bit more in the latter company (as well having better health plan) but what do I do after work? My lifestyle and interest are vastly different from what is offered in a much smaller city. The job in Denver keeps me here, there is room to grow a bit, but their healthcare plan seems more of a pay decrease.
Option 3: Turning both down and keep waiting.
This is the hardest option. Because I have offers and turning them down sounds crazy. Companies want me and for the most part I want some parts of those companies. But they are not offering me everything I want. I would take lower salary for better benefits (healthcare [I can manage my own money in mutual fund and IRA ROTH])here in Denver. Or a higher salary with crappy benefits… but the role needs to be one in which I am not pigeonholed. The city needs to have enough things that interest me.
I moved to a smaller city after living in Los Angeles, and New York. I made it in New York. I moved back to Los Angeles just to go to school. The saying goes “If you make it in New York you can make it anywhere.” This is true… but will I survive living in a super small city where some of the interests are not for me. Can I adapt to a town? The only reason I started to look for job outside of Denver was the lack of opportunities for me with my skill set and interest, focusing mainly in trying to return to Los Angeles or the Bay area. Somehow expanded it to Seattle which the few times I have visited seems like a great place. The grunge music scene is one of my happy places <3 You Sub pop.
While writing this I got an email about a second interview via video call for a well funded start-up in LA…. ::flails hand up in the air:: I don’t even know anymore.
I understand the huge amount of privilege this is. I have privilege and have had it my entire life. that someone in the position could be contemplating turning down jobs because of lack “life” outside of work or it would be a pay cut because of the amount I would pay out of pocket for healthcare. But these are things we should talk about. (Side note: Reason for single payer healthcare, neé universal healthcare should be a thing) But I have been working in this industry now for 6 years and still doesn’t match what I was making when I worked in the music industry after 5 years of hustle (taking inflation into consideration).
When my moral was a bit lower, I contemplated the option for working (more like volunteering full time) for the DNC. With the impending election that seems to be growing to a much bigger deal as the GOP continues to implode, I think this would be the option to take to take a few months off and do somewhat of my civic duty for the country.
I don’t know which option to take… Even writing this down has given me any more insight into what I should do.