Finding the value in myself and my job

1967415678_28fbde92ff_mIf you read last week’s post, you’ll know that I’ve been putting the “always be looking for your next job” adage into practice. In July, I updated my resume and LinkedIn profile in preparation for this. In August, I began emailing contacts and recruiters at specific companies to let them know I’ll be available in September. I’m happy to report that my efforts have been effective in drumming up new job leads.

I received replies from a few studios saying that they may have positions opening up in September and continue to follow up with them. An email to a producer I met back in January (remember that?) resulted in two interviews for a gig on a feature film in Santa Monica. This experience has made me think about the value I place on myself and my new job.

The job was right up my alley, having held very similar positions at my former studio. The familiarity attracted me, as my current job in a different (but related) field has not been a positive experience for the last few months. Returning to the environment I’m more comfortable with sounded like a good proposition.

The first phone call went well. Then, I stopped by the studio for an in-person meeting that also felt good. I was qualified and willing! By the end of that day, I received an offer for a staff position. However, the salary was super low. I already decided that I’d be willing to accept pay somewhat lower than my current rate, which was reflected in the salary range I gave the recruiter. However, the offer came in $150 per week less than the bottom of my range! How disappointing.

This experience caused me to consider a few things:

  1. How important is it to get out of my current job that I dislike? Is it worth wiping out my salary increases for the past two years just to move on?
  2. Am I willing to accept less pay for a lower stress job that I enjoy more? If so, by how much?
  3. Would a considerably shorter commute justify accepting less pay?
  4. If I accepted this job, would I be selling myself (and 13+ years of experience in this industry) too cheap just to get out of a job I hate? Am I undervaluing myself and my skills?

It didn’t take long for me to decide that this offer wasn’t good enough. I do want a new job, but this company clearly wasn’t willing to pay someone with my experience. They are only willing to pay for a more junior manager. I am worth more than that!

Even though the decision to decline was clear, it sure was scary! Turning down a job offer can be frightening. But the fact that I currently have a job made it easier to pass up. And that’s the whole point of this exercise: to look for a job when you have the luxury of being choosy, rather than when you’re already out of work and more desperate.

This experience also caused me to consider giving my current job a second chance. My difficult project ends in about a week and moving on to a new one with different people could make a huge difference in my satisfaction. We’ll see how that goes in the coming weeks.

I will still be on the hunt for my next gig and must always remember the value I bring to my employer and what I value in my work:

  • I am paid what I am worth (in both salary and benefits).
  • I look forward to going to work each day and interact with smart, kind people who respect each other and do meaningful work.
  • A job that’s close to home. This will save me from wasting hours each day in my car, as well as being more responsible for the environment and my finances.
  • A job with reasonable hours, allowing me a healthy balance between my work and personal life.
(Image: MarkOh!)

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