How Do You Decide: Take a New Job or Stay at Your Old Job?

I got offered the opportunity to work for a show runner the other day.

Was it the right decision?

My friend asked me to call him. He said, “This position is about to open up. I can tee it up for you, but you have to tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in four hours. You’re the first person I’m going to, but if you pass I need to get someone else in the room.”

It’s a gun-to-the-head situation, but fair play.

I thought it over, as I tried focusing on check letters and connecting calls and the minutia of the day’s tasks.

I passed.

Here are the metrics that went into that decision

And my thoughts about them in the aftermath:

  1. I’d start immediately, and would leave the current employers in a lurch.
    Which isn’t ideal. But it’s reversible – bring in someone new quickly, and train them quickly. This is the reason why I’ve created templates on all the minutia tasks over the past year. 
  2. The timing isn’t ideal. I’m waiting on a Dream Job, the new restaurant opens in a month, I have side projects that are building momentum
    This is a non-starter. Timing is never ideal. 
  3. Politically, because of the people involved in this project, depending on the fall out, it might not be a smart move politically.
    This is out of my control. 

Everything above is reversible, or solvable, except for the politics. Since it’s out of my control, should that even be a factor?

When I asked two (of my three) Bosses:

Their gut reaction was say “yes.”

When we discussed, and hashed out the details, they balked a little more. Their reservations were:

  1. The work is only for a pilot.
  2. It’s only two months of guaranteed work. After that, the show still needs to get picked up.

I always said, “I don’t need the security. I don’t care about the money. I can always make more.” I’ve demonstrated that (to myself) in the past. I didn’t here.

Which is disturbing.

Is it still true?

Or have I gotten comfortable, having a regular paycheck to bank, living simply but comfortably?

I ignored Jeff Bezo’s Regret Minimization Framework: 50 years from now and looking back on my life, which decision would I regret, regardless of outcome: taking the new job or keeping the old one?

What’s any of this have to do with self-development?

I think we spend so much of our time wrapped up in the day’s tasks, we fail to see the big picture. I rush through trying to hit my to-do items, giving them equal weight to major decisions of life just because they take up equal space on my calendar. Then I’m rushing off to the next, without reflecting on why I made that decision, and how I can improve my process for the next time.

Above, I covered mostly where I went wrong in my thought process. That’s not to say I didn’t do anything right. Here’s a list of things I think I did well:

  1. I made my decision and I stuck with it.
    I have doubts, but when it was time to make the decision, I made it. I told my friend before his deadline, to be respectful to him. I told my Bosses about the offer, and my decision. I moved forward. 
  2. I asked for help/advice.
    This used to be an enormous problem of mine. I never consulted with wiser, more seasoned people than me. Not because I thought I had all the answers, but because I was afraid of wasting their time. In the last three years, what I’ve noticed is people love to help, but they love helping people who help themselves, and understand they’re busy.
  3. I can admit that I made a mistake.
    I’m not trying to justify my decision in the aftermath. I can look at the situation objectively and say, “Okay, that was probably wrong.” 
  4. There’s a reemerging emphasis to create more templates, for my eventual successor.
    So when this situation arises again, I know the pieces are in place for a smooth transition out. 
  5. There’s comfort in knowing the opportunity came to me. It’s not the first, it won’t be the last. Which means it’s correlated with certain behaviors. When in doubt, I resort to the foundation of: Be yourself. Take chances. Work like a motherf*cker. Create something everyday. 

Typically I don’t relate these experiences right away. I like seeing where the pieces fall, and then arranging them to create a narrative and finding that G.I Joe-style, “learning is half the battle” life lesson.

I’m trying to change that habit. I’m trying to get these experiences down right away, while they’re murky and as transparent as a puddle on asphalt, when you don’t know what the fuck is going to happen. I want to remember the indecision and uncertainty, because that’s as honest as it’s going to get. I don’t want to look back and trick myself into believing I had a grand plan, which is misleading and disingenuous.

How do you make career-move decisions? What are the MAJOR factors at play when presented with a new job opportunity? Would love to hear the thought processes of others. 

Photo Credit: Sigorta Sgk

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  1. Zach Weiss

    This is great, enjoyed reading this, thanks Chris, you have a multitude of opportunities that await!

  2. Ming

    Thanks Zach, I really appreciate it! Hope you’re well, sir!

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