A very complicated set of circumstances has led me to a point where I will definitely be getting promoted within the next month, but it is up to me where I will go. Never in my life have I had a choice like this in front of me, and I think it will be rare that I will ever have something like this again. Whichever job I choose will really determine the next few years of my life.
One job is a completely new position to me and would be a very exciting transition into public policy, which is a bit of a career goal for me. Not only would it be a foot in the door to the meat and potatoes of what my agency does, but it would put me on the map. I know what I can bring to the table, and I think I would really do well.
The job my manager is wanting to transition me into isn’t as glamorous as the policy job, but it would be something I could really own. Basically, I would be the HR go-between for my department, as well as the person in charge of training, development, and internships.
When comparing the two jobs, the policy job would have more potential to move around (and up). I also respect and understand the need for HR, but it doesn’t excite me as much as creating policy would. The policy job would also be something completely new that I’ve never done before. I would be blazing trail.
On the other hand, the HR liaison job would be my baby. I would be the only person in the department with a job like that. I also think it would be really cool to be the person who recruits new talent. I already know that this would be something that I’m good at, and since I am familiar with department policies already it would be a pretty easy transition.
In theory, it’s the same promotion. Both jobs are the same classification and will most likely give me the same salary. The choice only comes down to what will make me happy.
I have to say, never in my life have I had a choice like this. It’s a philosophical choice – one of these jobs will result in a different level and kind of happiness for me than the other, and this is really the only thing I can base my decision on.
Up until a few hours ago, I was all about the policy job. On paper, it’s really the better move. If I were an average Joe walking in off the street with no pre-conceived notions of the politics of my workplace, this would be the job I would choose. It’s an entry into one of the biggest things my agency’s ever done, and it sounds really cool. The other job sounds kind of dull by comparison.
But the one thing I hadn’t thought about before was how this job would effect the rest of my life. The policy job would be very stressful. It would be long hours working with people that I know to be demanding. I’ve taken positions like this before because it felt like the only way out of a dead end situation, and each time I’ve come to hate it. I understand this position to also be a bit of a crisis management job, and while I’m good at crisis management, it wears me out. I tend to take my work home with me mentally when work stresses me out and I get self-destructive – I eat badly, don’t exercise, I get insomnia.
When I quit drinking, I started to realize some of my destructive patterns, one of which is seeking out situations that will create a frenzied life for me. I grew up without structure, and I’ve discovered that even though I really like structure and really need it as an adult, I subconsciously find ways to create chaos for myself to keep things familiar. The last few months I’ve spent some time taking a good, hard look at myself, and I’ve found that I’m tired of cleaning up all of the messes I create. It’s time for me to make the choices that won’t lead me into situations that cause me heartache and upset.
I really want to have a good life. I want my biggest worry to be what to do with my weekend, or how I’m going to celebrate big life events with my friends. I want the best part of my life to be the part that’s at home or with the people I love, not at work.
Given that both jobs pay the same and both have potential for growth, this really comes down to which I would prefer: stability and happiness, or a step toward my dream job.
The HR liaison job might not be as glamorous, but I feel pretty confident that I will be able to leave at the end of the day and not take work with me. I know for a fact that the people I work with and for would respect me. If in a few years I’m ready to put on my boxing gloves and work in policy, I can do that, but right now I’m relatively young and have time to make that move later. If it turns out that this wasn’t the best career move, at least I can have the confidence that I made the choice to have a life outside the office and be happy. 18 months ago