Background: Jim felt like he wanted a change in career about a year ago. He was recruited to work as a contractor at Hill Air Force Base. He was told he'd be designing and improving HVAC systems for the buildings there. It's turned out to be something quite different. Being a contractor, he was to be out of a job in May, 2009. As March passed with no sign of the paperwork coming back from the higher ups to offer him a permanent job, he started to get really nervous. He interviewed at a prosthetics company in Salt Lake, and while he wasn't hired, he was impressed with the company. Soon after, he was offered a permanent position on base, and at a raise.
He absolutely loves his co-workers, but the work and the general inefficiency of the federal government really frustrated him.
Last week, he got an email from the prosthetics company. They were creating a test engineer position, and wanted to know if he wanted to be considered. He said he was, and the immediately called him to schedule an interview for the next day. The interview was very exciting (for an engineer). The field is fairly new, and wide open. No international testing standards exist, and everyone is trying to come together to create testing standards. It sounded like a dream job for him. He clicked with the other employees, and while the company is fairly large, and based in Germany, the Salt Lake office is small. Before he had even arrived home from the interview, they had called to offer him the job. Great, yes?
Well, we get looking at the formal offer, and it's less money. A lot less money. The health benefits are better, and cost 1/3 as much as we've been paying. He would have to commute to Salt Lake every day, and no more every other Friday off. A couple less vacation days. Moneywise, we'd be taking a step back of about two years. And they were BIG two years. He told them he'd think about it over the weekend.
It was a really tough decision. Lots of money, great hours, lots of time with family, no travel, tiny commute, great air force fringe benefits, great coworkers or long commute, less money, lots of travel, exciting job, potentially great coworkers, and a fulfilling job. In the end, he decided to take the prosthetics job. On the outside, I'm sure it looks insane to turn down the money he was making. But, we can still get by on the income they are offering. Plus, I have to admit I am hoping that as the company grows and he proves himself, he'll get raises.
Yesterday his coworkers had a farewell lunch for him. I was invited, and got to meet all of the people he has been talking about for months. I really, really liked the group of people. They were very sweet, sincere, funny, intelligent people. They even gave him a Dilbert book and a Bananagram game. I was a little sad that we didn't get to foster more of a relationship.
I really hope that he will find more happiness and fulfillment in this new job. He has struggled a bit the last couple years to find meaning in his work, and hopefully this will be the ticket.