I was relaxing and talking to my mom when it happened. I flew outside myself and saw me, sitting there, talking her ear off about the work I was doing at my new job. She had an ear to ear grin to match mine, despite the fact that I knew she didn’t really understand or care about the work itself. She smiled because she loves me and she could see I was truly happy talking about it. I looked at me, sitting in my favorite red chair in my apartment. My favorite green circuit board coasters held my favorite mug, full of coffee.
A matter of months ago, I made what were probably a few of my most difficult decisions yet in life. I know there will be more, especially when it comes to children, family, and career in the future. I was 21, graduation from college imminent, and making the decisions about my professional career. I was beyond fortunate, with not one, but three offers – two for employment, and the third for an interview. This, however, made things so difficult that I lost sleep over the choice (and it’s not easy to make me lose sleep – just ask my wife).
The two employment offers were from the two companies I had Co-Op’ed with: Marathon Petroleum and RoviSys. The offer from Marathon came with two main factors: a high probability of undesirable work (my Co-Op was heavily IT related, whereas I am a software developer), and a high salary. The offer from RoviSys came with three: a high probability of desirable software development work, a comfortable environment with friends as coworkers, and a low salary. The third offer, for the interview, came from a company that I could only dream of working for, simply because they are one of the giants in my industry – Microsoft.
I struggled. A lot. I promised myself early in my life (maybe around late high school or early college) that I would never let money dictate my choices in life; on the other hand, I believe I owed it to myself for all of my hard work in college, to take a job where I would be valued and earn a fair salary, which was not reflected in my initial offer from RoviSys. I asked questions and advice of a few trusted friends at the company, and got advice from a manager-slash-recruiter, and negotiated my salary and title to a level that I believe was fair and livable. The salary was still below my initial offer from Marathon, but I honestly loved working at RoviSys, and had a few good friends there, too. So I accepted the offer. I should note, here, that the offer from RoviSys actually came after I had to give an answer for Marathon’s offer, which I had to accept, because it was, at the time, my only offer. Because of this, I had to rescind my acceptance to Marathon – a difficult thing to do on its own.
After I had struggled through the negotiating and decision making process for the RoviSys position, I received an email – “You’re invited to interview with Microsoft.” Months before I had submitted a resume to Microsoft, with minimal hopes. I was offered a telephone interview, which went well, and I was invited to interview in Redmond, Washington – on Microsoft’s dime. At this point, I had already accepted and rescinded on one offer, and accepted another, so I didn’t know whether I should even accept the interview. In the end, despite advice not to go, I went, because my biggest fear was that I would have the “what if?” regret. In the end, I was not offered a position with Microsoft, which saved me from having to make another life changing decision. It was still very difficult, and kept me up very late at night thinking and debating with myself.
I relied heavily on my wife and my friends during this time, and I thank those people for being there for me.
I looked at me, smiling, and I knew that I had made the right decisions. I knew that there were many more ahead, and that there is still so much more that I want out of life, but that for now, I am happy. The decisions I made were the right ones. I love my wife, my apartment, my motorcycle, and my job. I can’t wait to see where each one takes me.