In early April, I received a promotion. This new title brought with it additional responsibility, frequent travels to the west coast, and answering to a secondary manager who within five minutes of introducing himself said, "I'm a straight shooter." Anyone who feels a need to say that never is. So it came as no surprise that I was repeatedly cut out of team calls, emails, and meetings necessary to allow me to thrive in my new role. Nor did it come as a surprise that it took him twenty-plus emails to cancel one Outlook meeting.
By August, I was burnt out. Getting upgraded to first class because you've made status on Delta is grand but it doesn't make up for nineteen days straight of working. I resigned all hopes of growing professionally with my current employer and decided to create more work-life balance. To that end, I planted flowers on my balcony, joined the Junior League, and started cooking again. It is amazing how much happiness can result from standing over a pot of homemade Quahog Chowder.
"I wanted to talk with you about the open management position," my direct manager said last Monday when she rang to check in. "I think you'd be a great candidate."
"You should apply!" another manager said a few days later.
By close of business Friday, four different managers in my division and three immediate peers told me to throw my hat in the ring and, for the most part, I wasn't soliciting their advice.
"You don't seem excited," Leslie said as I crawled into an over-sized armchair and pulled a woolen throw across my legs.
I'm not. On paper, it looks like a fantastic opportunity. In reality, it is rife with problems. The position is on the west coast but they have determined at this point not to offer a relocation package. I've already mentored two of the people on this six-person team but three people will be new-hires. My capabilities exceed what is required but I've repeatedly learned that being smart doesn't always sit well with others. There were just too many variables that turned me off.
"Did you apply?" a coworker excitedly asked Monday morning.
I did. Not out of want but out of politics, my direct manager emphasizing that applying would make a more favorable impact that not applying. And as badly as I wanted to phone it in, going so far as to consider creating a resume penned in Crayon, I couldn't. Instead I perfected the language to explain my qualifications. I collected letters of recommendation from managers and peers. And I clicked submit with the same enthusiasm one uses to clean the lint collector on a dryer.
An initial phone screen is scheduled for tomorrow, as are two other conference calls that were added to my agenda around six o'clock this evening. Tomorrow also happens to be the last working day of my year. Being a committed employee, refusing to do a half-assed job, meant I got to November with eighteen days of vacation left to take. So tomorrow I'll bust my tail closing out my year, dazzling the woman interviewing me, and sitting on a few conference calls. Then, come five o'clock, I'm shutting down. Like, leave-my-phone-in-my-office down. Because for the first time in years, I'm going to give vacation time the same passion I've given my job.