Jun 1, 2023: I wrote this post a while ago and decided to wait to share when the time is right. The time is right now and I hope this helps you in some way if you are ever on the same boat.
I am going to share my thought process that led me to ultimately walk away from a job offer that paid siginifcantly more. The compensation structure of the offer is different than what I had. However, for the sake of comparison, the total compensation of the job offer was > 35% better.
About The Job Offer That Paid More
When this opportunity presented itself, I was in the stage of my career where I was not looking or ready for the next step up. I knew there would be a very steep learning curve if I moved up then but most importantly, I was not ready mentally.
What made this offer appealing was that it was a lateral move (same position as what I had) in a growing company. It was not a start up but it was definitely “younger” than the company I was with. I have worked at both growing and mature companies in the past so I have first-hand experience with the pros and cons for both. In my opinion, not one environment is more superior than the other. I believe it all depends on what your priorities are at that point in your life. I was excited for a chance to apply my specific set of skills and experience at a growing company so this offer was perfect in this sense.
Also, I went through one of the most rigorous interviews I have had in my career for this role. There were three stages in total and more than a handful of phone calls and emails. Even though I did not accept the offer, I thought I still gained something out of the process. Interviews rarely made me nervous. I have always viewed them as opportunities to practice being confident and market-check. I believe it is important to genuinely want to be where I am because I do my best work when I choose to show up every day.
If The Offer Seemed Perfect – Why Did I Walk Away?
The money was great. The job itself would have been a great opportunity to further develop my existing skills. The benefits were better than what I had. There also seemed to be room for growth. So, why did I walk away?
Timing was everything. When the process started, everything was supposed to line up nicely. I can go on the family trip I had planned for months and provide more than two-week notice for the company I was working for. However, circumstances changed and my choices were either to make it work by making some sacrafices or walk away from the opportunity.
The first point was pretty self-explanatory. Money can buy a lot of things (like the oceanfront condo I am obsessed with) but money can’t always buy time in time. I have been looking forward to the family trip for a long time. While all I had to do was to shorten it (not cancel completely), trying to make things work for the sake of my career and bank account would cost me family time that I might not get back. You see, at one point in my life, I might think the simple solution would be to make another trip later. However, I have come to the realizaition years ago that people I care about will not be around forever. This was the main reason I walked away. I knew opportunities will always come around but there will never be a guarantee with family time.
In addition, while I am an advocate of putting our own best interests first (because everyone, including your employer, will do the same), I have a lot of respect and gratitude for my team. While I am not claiming I will put my employer above my own career, I will definitely try my best to ensure a smooth transition. Originally, if things worked out the way I thought they would, I would have the opportunity to provide a notice period longer than the standard two-week. I wanted to give a longer notice period as I was going to be working on-and-off while I was travelling. The standard two-week while I was working part-time would be too unfair to my colleague. And it would have been hard for me to manage both of my regular tasks and training too. Note, some people strongly advise against providing longer than required notice as it can back fire (e.g., getting the cold shoulder, being asked to do way more than possible). My personal view is that it depends on a lot of factors: your manager, team, company’s culture etc. There has been time in my career where I could not wait to be gone as if I was fleeing a burning building but it is not always the case. So, your mileage definitely may vary on this.
What I Gained From Walking Away
While I hope that my experience will be useful reference for you if you are ever on the same boat, I personally gained a lot from the experience. It was empowering to know that I protected what mattered to me most. It was not money. It is easy to understand why people say money can’t buy happiness. However, as we all know, there are actually a lot we can buy with money that make us happy (again, the oceanfront condo on my mental vision board fits the bill for me).
And the reality was, for about five minutes, I was going to accept the offer and make the rest work. However, when I asked Eric for advice on what to do, he simply asked me to make a decision without considering the financial consequences. There might not be an opportunity like this one for a while but I can definitely make the money back. Once it was clear, the decision to walk away was a no-brainer.