The cliché/adage/patronizing drek/useless advice that I heard non-stop when I was unemployed was, "It's easier to get a job when you have a job."
it's easier to get a job when you have a job. It's like saying something misplaced is always found in the last place you look.
I was in full-on assault mode in a job hunt long before I was laid off. And obviously I didn't get another job at that time.
But now, here I am, a few weeks shy of my first anniversary at my new job (and at the stopping point for calling it my new job), and here I am with a couple potential new jobs. Yep. I made it through the first rounds of cuts and I am through to the finals.
Great, right? Welllll, not so fast. Life (?) is returning to normal. The Universe is hurling poignant ironies at me again.
I applied to Company A several times back when I was unemployed. I followed them on LinkedIn so closely I worried they might think I was stalking them. I worked it, I worked it hard. But never got a call or email. And then, out of the blue, 15 months after I last applied to a job there, I got a call that turned into an impromptu phone interview that resulted in an in-person interview. Which I had last Monday and I think it went well. The job is of particular interest to me. I would be leaping at the opportunity were it not for one large catch:
It's in Detroit.
For me, a native Detroiter, the location is not the gasp-worthy death sentence that other people deem it. People who've never been to Detroit, people who write off Detroit as an easy target for the butt of jokes, people who have only ever seen the images of blight, people who only bother with the statistics the media trots out when they need a harbinger of doom. But I'm not one of those people. I love Michigan and I really love Southeastern Michigan, especially the greater Detroit region. I've never really felt like I belonged anywhere, I've never really fit in anywhere, but, I have always felt "at home" in Detroit. (Maybe it has something to do with Travel + Leisure's poll ranking Detroiters the least attractive people in the US.
Maybe in Detroit, on some level, I feel less ugly. Or at least not as aware of the much more attractive people around me I notice in other places. I may owe Detroiters an apology, I spent quite a bit of time in the Detroit area in 2013, maybe I played a part in Travel + Leisure's attractive people ranking.)
I could make the oft- and overused comparisons about what I have in common with Detroit. I could use the "Detroit's story is my story" analogy. An underdog story. A little rough around the edges but packed with secret pockets of beauty and coolness waiting to be discovered by anyone willing to give me a chance, and willing to spend the time to get to know me. Refusal to die in the face of tragedy. Tenacity and strength to keep fighting long after everyone has written me off. Creative ingenuity amidst the rubble and decay. Tough but compassionate. Down but not out. (I'd say cue the "Lose Yourself" intro, but that, too, has become such a trite cliché that it's not even funny in a knowingly sarcastic way. But...it does aptly illustrate my point: It took 21 years and a native Detroiter to finally give the world an underdog anthem to replace the "Eye of the Tiger" intro. Regardless of your feelings toward Eminem, we, all of us, the entire world, owe him a debt of gratitude for that.)
I spent almost four years fighting to save my condo and life (?) in Chicago. I was applying for jobs all over the globe (literally - I went through several interviews for a job in/on Mauritius and would have taken it had it been offered to me). But. I didn't want to lose my home. Do I love Chicago? No. I would have left if I had a job offer elsewhere.
But now I have a job, I saved my condo. I'm licking wounds and digging out and starting over and forming a game plan. I even have a few goals.
I never stopped job hunting, I've been actively looking for another job. But. I've been focusing on Chicago. I saved my condo, but it's still worth less than half of what I owe on it. Moving would mean selling at a huge loss, if I could even find a buyer.
When I lobbied (hard) for a job at Company A in Detroit, I was operating on the assumption that I would not find a job in Chicago and would lose my condo and be forced to move home with my mother in suburban Detroit. A job at Company A was the potential upside to that failure. But I triumphed, I got an 11:59th hour save and here I am in Chicago, ready to have a one-year anniversary at work. I'm typing this from my desk in my condo. The same desk from which I paid my mortgage last week.
Bigger picture, Trill.
What is the "best" option for my career? That's a good question. The job in Detroit is not a bad job. Is it a career job? Wellllllll...possibly. There's some potential for growth. There would be creative challenges and I think, generally it would be fulfilling. The pay is so-so. Oh. Yes. I forgot to mention, salary has been discussed. I wouldn't be struggling with this if it didn't seem like a viable option.
And then, while I was preparing for the interview at Company A in Detroit, I received a call from Company B. A huge global company that is top on my list of "wish companies" is opening a small enterprise in Chicago. They want me to interview me. The job is not impressive, but the growth potential is impressive. It is, potentially, a career move. It is certainly a career company.
However. It is not a career job. If I quit my current job for the job at Company B people would think I'm nuts. The reason to even consider it is because it is The Company Where I Want to Work. It's not the overnight shift custodial apprentice, but it's not exactly a step up on my career ladder. Were it not at The Company Where I Want to Work I wouldn't consider it. Salary has not been discussed, and I'm not sure I'm in the final running. So it may be a moot point. But. It's a possibility.
And the possibility is that I will soon have to choose between a good job at a so-so company in Detroit and mediocre job at a great company in Chicago.
The fundamental question will be: Should I stay or should I go?