I recently posted a comment about choosing a job based on one's values. I was writing this post as 5:00 rolled around and it was time for me to leave work. I almost feel as if I was rushed and didn't have a chance to spew forth all the thoughts I've had on it.
Choosing a job can be a huge thing. To some, it can be based solely on money, which can make the decision quite simple. Maybe they have to weigh in extra travel time to work or a different corporate culture, but if money is their driving factor then those others probably don't amount to much.
I've got a deep entrepreneurial streak in me. I've wanted to start my own business since before college and have changed majors accordingly. I once had a sweet web development job at Siemens and quit it all to move 3,000 miles away where I had only one friend just to start a new company. Siemens treated me good...damn good. The pay was good and everything else they did for me was good. But I had to try the new thing...so I did. 3,000 miles later and a horrific slash in pay (with a huge increase in debt) I had formed an Internet consulting firm with a friend and we had built it up to be on its way to greatness.
Not all was well however. The debts were still there and we were still in start-up mode. The decision was made for me to take a full-time job while we struggled through our early growing pains. In theory, it was a great idea. I'd nuke my debt while the company grows and then I'd come back debt-free to a more stable company that could handle my salary too. But in reality...well let's say it wasn't so hot. Leaving Santa Cruz for Philadelphia was quite a shock. The weather alone (hot and humid in the summer, cold and miserable in the winter) blew. Not having great mtn biking five minues away or great surf. The people...well they were much harsher in Philly than in Santa Cruz. I yearned to come back. However, it was in Philly that I picked up on the WiFi job. I loved WiFi. I loved traveling all over the US, installing and meeting people, learning new technologies, and had a great opportunity to grow with this company.
But alas, I missed what was really important to me. Santa Cruz had what I wanted. Even when I was dirt poor in Santa Cruz, I enjoyed life. I was making four times the money in Philly, but it still wasn't the same. So I went back to Santa Cruz for an uncertain future. Our company was doing great and we had some big name clients. But it was time to move on. The other Principal wanted to go to law school. I wanted a bit more stability. We slowly let our business run itself out and passed our clients on to other local companies. I took a job doing tech support and am enjoying life with benefits and a steady paycheck.
And this is where it got interesting. The WiFi company called me up and asked what it would take for me to quit my job and get back with them. I said a 50% raise would have me consider it. Damn that entrepreneurial streak! The thought of playing with WiFi all around again sounded soooo good. Making a few thousant more a month sounded pretty appealing too. I'd love to knock out my debts sooner and buy some toys. And the upward potential? Amazing. Better than at my current place. But alas...I would not be able to ride my bike to work every day. I wouldn't get to go mtn biking as much. No walks on the beach after work (where would I be each night?) and not stability in terms of "hey, let's get together next week".
Obviously I declined the offer. What is life if you don't live it? We've heard the phrase "I work to live, not live to work"...but how many people actually follow that? I'm tired of the rat race. I don't exist to work and do nothing else. All the drive and determination I have will be put to good use...perhaps a book or a new business or technology...but not for someone else to enjoy while I work myself into the ground. Money isn't everything. It sure helps pay the bills and CAN help you live a better lifestyle, but it can't be your lifestyle.