Thursday, November 15, 2007

Job Changes

Sort of non-IVF related post here, but every aspect of our lives seems to be impacted by our quest for a baby, to some degree. Onward ...

Upon finding out that we had to go through in vitro I amped up my initiative of finding a new job. I had spent over two years after receiving my MBA from Michigan Business School working for one of the big three - the job was a cake walk, the pay was bad, the challenge absent, opportunity for promotion non-existent, no bonus, no rewards for effort, etc. Sounds pretty bad eh? Well I guess I'm exaggerating a bit ... I got home early every day, didn't have to travel, and could outshine my colleagues by trying just a little bit harder than everyone else (I sincerely don't intend this to sound arrogant ... it's a statement about the other people, not about myself. I really don't know what I'm doing, but I know how to work hard.) I didn't take on shit loads of student loans to sit around putting in minimal effort just to collect a paycheck. I wanted a challenge, to be rewarded for any initiative I took and most importantly to get PAID. More importantly, I wanted to be able to earn enough so that my wife could stay home with our children, if / when they arrive. Upon realizing that my job would prohibit the realization of the majority of my desires, I began to look elsewhere.

I intended to find a nice corporate job somewhere in the northern suburbs of Detroit. My wife and I have always liked it up there and had been discussing our plan to relocate from the day we got married. It was pretty exciting to actually start looking. Well, after only a few short months I landed an interview with a consulting firm. I was fairly familiar with the consulting lifestyle having attended business school with many people who chose this career path. I had decided long ago that consulting was definitely not for me. I value the life part of work-life balance a little too much to spend my time traveling and working 60 hour weeks. But, when the financial demands of in vitro were introduced to our life, consulting (primarily the increased salary) became very attractive.

I interviewed with this firm mostly for kicks - I had heard horror stories from my b-school colleagues of consulting case interviews and in a masochistic way I sort of wanted to try it. Consulting interviews were incredibly intense and those vying for them were ultra competitive - while I was in b-school, this did not appeal to me in the least. Well, my first interview went horribly wrong (or so I thought) They raked me over the coals upon discovering that I had confused revenue and profit. Not good. I left the office smiling to myself about how I had just conducted my worst interview ever. I was shocked when they called me back for a second round a few months later. I was much more relaxed in round two and actually did pretty well. The offer was extended the next day, and the terms were so good that I just couldn't say no - I would get paid more (~40% increase in salary), 5 weeks vacation, 50% 401(k) match, challenging work, exposure to executives in many companies, expense account, etc. So after much deliberation and stress about the choice I had before me, my wife and I agreed that I had to accept. The signing bonus covered our first round of IVF ... oh to think of the other things we could have done with that money!

So, we checked the "new job / increased salary" box. One thing I've been amazed by is the timing of this job offer. I had started the interview process before we knew we would have to do IVF, and the offer came during the exact week in which we discovered we'd have to do IVF. Perfect timing. We had sufficient funds in the bank to conduct the first round, but using those funds would have put us in a risky cash position (i.e. it would have depleted our savings). The terms of my new job exactly covered the incremental funds we would require to go through IVF.

On another note, I had always been interested in pursuing a challenging career such as that offered by consulting, but due to my priorities (wife and life over work and pay) I would never have accepted such a position - I would have always wondered "what if". Now I get to take on that personal challenge, delete the "what if" and accelerate my career at the same time. I'm fortunate to have a wife who is supportive of not only the financial rewards of consulting, but also the personal satisfaction that I will derive from giving it a shot. If IVF had not been introduced to our lives, I would have been incredibly tempted by the offer, but likely would have declined to avoid the travel and hours. Amazing how you are given what you need when you need it ... I'm a person of faith and believe very strongly that this was no coincidence, but I'll spare the religious details here. I accepted the job and the very next day we were meeting with our IVF nurse to commence the process, meeting with our Realtor to put our home on the market and meeting with my boss to quit my old job.

This was a difficult decision, but even if we are unsuccessful in IVF, the incremental experience I will get from my time as a consultant should open some doors and accelerate my career a bit. I just hope the travel / hours don't become too problematic. So far, the job has been fantastic ... I'm getting great experience that would've taken over 10 years to achieve in my last job and I'm getting paid more. I am, however, working a lot ... but, everyone I know works a lot. There's no free lunch - I'm fortunate just to be working in this shitty Michigan economy, and fortunate to have a wife who is so supportive.

Tomorrow: Shots

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