Saturday, October 01, 2011

How Much is Enough?

Once again I am waiting on pins and needles to see if I get picked for a job I have applied for. My interview went very well and I've heard back from three of my references that they have been called, so I know I am in the "finalist" stage, but the deal is not set yet.

I REALLY want this job for a number of reason. I think it would be a good match for my current skill sets, but would also give me room to grow both personally and professionally. Also, while my current position has been great on a lot of levels, the grant funding is ticking away with a definite end point. I am like yogurt with an expiration date. That job will definitely evaporate in the spring. So sometime between now and then it is critical that I find a new position.

The last time I was unemployed I had my husband's salary and benefits to fall back on. Now that he is retired, that is no longer the case. So the fact that I've got a firm lead sooner rather than later is a very good thing.

There's just one bit of a wrinkle in the soup. The job I'm up for is only funded for 20 hrs per week. That means I will take a BIG hit financially to jump ship at this point. It does have full benefits, a true rarity for a part time job. Also it IS very much a professional leadership position with a high level of responsibility. It's simply part of a contract with a skinny budget, so a half time director is all they can afford.

I do not know yet how much the salary will be, but I suspect it may be less than half of what I am currently earning. Add that to the fact that my present position pays substantially less than the last two jobs I had prior to this and clearly it translates to me moving in the wrong direction in terms of income. But I know I am not alone in that. Welcome to the Great Recession where pay cuts and underemployment are rampant all across the land.

Still, other than the money, in ever other respect this job sounds like something I could really sink my teeth into. It is for a non-profit that has an excellent reputation. They've recently won a national awards for flexibility in the workplace. People I've talked to about the place say it is a phenomenal outfit to work for. I had previously met the exec director who I would report to and I believe he would be a great boss. Most of all, this feels like a job where I could make a positive difference, and that is something that really matters to me.

So I've been giving a lot of thought to what my line in the sand is in terms of dollars. How much do I have to earn in order to take this job IF it is offered?

We live in a country that assigns merit and worth to people based on titles and dollars and how many shiny things we own. I am quite capable of seeing the silliness in that sort of thinking. I absolutely recognize that there are far more important quality of life aspects to a job than how big the paycheck is or whether I get a nice office. Still, I do have certain household expenses which must be covered. It really wouldn't matter how much I liked my job if I had to worry all the time about not being able to pay my bills. So, I'm going over the family budget and trying to determine, at what point do the scales tip between taking a job I think I could love which pays poorly vs. keeping a better paying job that I know is time limited while I look for something else?

As I look at the job market in town for what other sorts of things I might be able to pursue if I let this one pass by me, I'm being careful not to let myself get all tangled up in the bird-in-the-hand vs. bird-in-the-bush delusions. (Since right now I'm comparing the bird NOT in my hand to a bush I've yet to identify, it's even more complicated.) I'm not the least bit afraid of working hard. I just want to work in a place that has a culture of professionalism where people have integrity and treat each other like grown ups. Is that so much to ask?

It will be interesting to see how this whole job thing plays out... hopefully I will hear relatively soon. This limbo land of not knowing is wearing kinda thin.


Jaquandor said...

I'm rooting for you, as always! I'd even offer my services as a character reference, if that would help! But it sounds like you've got things under some semblance of hopes, anyway. Best wishes!

Belladonna said...

Yeah, you could tell 'em I'm a character! Thanks for your support, pal. I'll keep you posted how it turns out.

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