Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Staying true to the plan...

My track record with job searches has been an interesting one. During my first stint in Portland post-college, I really lacked a proper focus: I wasn't sure whether I wanted to stay in Portland, what exactly I wanted to do, etc. After 12 months of odd jobs, living at home and just general floundering I got the job at the Oregon Sports Authority; a great first job that really exposed me to the Portland business community.

Three years later, Becca and I moved to Minnesota for her job. Although I didn't have any leads in moving there, I felt confident that the stronger business community would lead to plenty of opportunities. Approximately 2 weeks after moving to the Twin Cities, 9/11 happened and with it came a definite downturn in hiring. Over the next 14 months I did just about everything; from processing house loans to collecting debts for Best Buy before my job search finally came to a satisfactory conclusion with my position at FanBuzz. Again another good step forward in my professional career.

Upon our return to Oregon I felt confident in my job search. Starting the MBA program gave me an excellent talking point with interviewers, a way to enhance my own job skills as well as a window into the general business community and how my strengths would best provide value to various types of companies. Things were looking up when I got my contract with Nike; however this ended up finishing up sooner than expected and most of the summer was spent looking for work instead of gaining valuable experience.

During my search I found a very interesting Account Manager position with an interactive company that had a diverse client base including Nike Golf, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Xerox, Clif Bar and Smartwool. It was a perfect fit given my skills and where I wanted to head as a professional. The only reason I hesitated to apply for the position was that it was based in Hood River, about 70 miles from Portland. Taking the "nothing ventured, nothing gained" approach in the end I elected to apply, had a phone interview and then was invited to Hood River for two in-person interviews.

The company is a great company; at about 35 people it's a good size, they're doing great work, the people and work environment are hard working yet relaxed and the idea of living in Hood River appealed to both Becca and me at many levels. Additionally the position would have been a step up for me in terms of responsibility, salary, etc.

After about 3 weeks of interviewing, I was offered the position. In both of my previous searches, I took the first position offered to me; partially because the search was so long in both cases and I was afraid that another opportunity would be a long time coming. In this case it was a very difficult decision. On one side was the great professional opportunity being presented to me. On the other side was something we've focused on with our return to Portland: quality of life. With 16 months left of school and telecommuting even a day a week nixed by the company, I would be looking at a minimum of 20 hours a week driving back and forth from Portland to Hood River. Needless to say, this wasn't sounding like a very good quality of life. In addition, one of the biggest drivers in returning to Oregon was being close to our families again. We're loving the easy access of having almost everybody w/in 30 minutes, everybody w/in an hour forty-five and having Jon & Lori w/in 5 minutes. Moving an additional hour away from everybody, especially as we're about to start our family, just seemed like the wrong direction.

In what can only be described as a leap of faith and the first real test of our "new" lives, I chose quality of life and turned down the position. Although I am confident that I will be able to find a job here in Portland, it was very difficult to pass on such a good opportunity; in fact, had it been in Portland I would have accepted it in an instant. For both me and us as a couple it was the right decision. However it did not make it any easier to say no. There is a little part of me that really hopes that by choosing life over work I'm making the right decision.

Brian



Photo: taking time to smell the roses at the Portland International Rose Garden

4 comments:

Alex said...

I had a 45min (one-way) commute for four years. It's not worth it. Once you subtract sleep time, when your commute becomes a single digit fraction of your day, it's not worth it. That said, I'm not sure I would have been as capable of making that decision, so I must applaud you. Hopefully you will be rewarded for your show of good karma here.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Remember, good things come to those who wait....

jennbas said...

omg--no, no no...but, congrats on the offer, though! and you said nothing exciting happening in BB land--races, jobs, and for a while longer, school--

be well! happy fall...very crispy smells in the air...

megan said...

brian and becca, i just had to drop you a line to tell you that i love your blog! i stumbled across the link on marlynn's site a while ago, and i've come back frequently to read about your newest adventures. you guys have so much joy and fun together, and it is great to hear what you've been up to! just wanted you to know you have a closet (well, not anymore) fan!