Today I made the hard decision to turn down a job offer. I mean, in a sense it wasn’t all that hard because I suspected that I would probably turn it down if things played out as I expected, which they did. But it was still a decision I agonized over in the moment of making it, sweating profusely in my car in the parking lot after a different job interview, furiously texting my partner agonized reflections one sentence at a time (I’m lucky to have a great support in her, and despite being in the middle of a meeting she did her best to respond).
It’s hard to turn down a job when you’re unemployed. Though I’m still collecting some money via unemployment, this job would have paid me far more than UI does and certainly given our savings and my FIRE plans a nice immediate boost.
I thoroughly enjoyed the people I spoke with in my interview, and in many ways this was a great job. However, it wasn’t the right job for me, and I said no. I think it was the right thing to do.
Passion and Work have long been thorny issues for me. As in, passion for your work – where to get it, and how necessary it is. Even while fully employed this was a big question for me, and certainly it’s all the more so now that I’m unemployed and spending vast sums of time looking for new work. Work and passion are two things I rarely feel like I have at the same time.
I suppose that’s to be expected – when I’m passionate about my work, it shouldn’t feel like work. But how on earth do you search for passion in a job search engine? There’s no checkbox for that. You have to guess. You have to leap.
Today, before setting out on a walk to collect some thoughts, I read the latest article on MMM. It’s a retrospective from a person named Ethan who’d been in a rough financial position, got himself together and worked hard, and was rewarded with lots of promotions and money. Taking nothing away from his accomplishment, I found myself wishing he’d written a long post right in the middle of things, right when he got his first good job and “forced himself to believe” he was going to succeed if he worked hard. Sometimes stories like that seem to take on a classic rags-to-riches theme, with the lead character changing his or her life by sheer will power and determination. I love reading them, but there’s an emotional struggle that is left out of the narrative. In my experience anyway, sheer will power, while vital, often won’t get me through an emotional block by itself.