“It had been a long week…”
It had been a long week; the type that made you know you were ready for a holiday.
I left the office early catching the 4 o’clock train, enjoying the commute by day dreaming out the window.
As I departed the train my right pocket gave a slight pulsating throb, my personal phone ringing away.
Giving a once over on the caller ID, I could see it wasn’t anyone I knew, but the number was local, so my guard lowered that this wasn’t about to answer another scam call.
A young female, with a professional voice asked after me.
Responding with a slight hesitancy, I confirmed that they were speaking to the correct person.
“I’m currently recruiting a Project Officer for Transport of the North, and found your profile on LinkedIn, I think this role would be ideal for you. Would you be interested?
At the time I was frustrated with my current employer, I’d been performing to an exceptional standard, but been ignored for opportunities to progress.
And in the past week I’d found out I’d be required to reapply for my job in an organisation restructuring exercise.
You could say I was feeling loyal to no one.
Take the opportunity…
Where will the opportunity take you? (Image Pixabay)
So, I entertained the idea and as I started to walk home, listened to hear her pitch.
It sounded good, and knowing I could potentially lose my job, I thought what the hell and decided to play hardball and came up with an astronomically high figure of my salary expectations.
There was a silence on the line, as the recruiter took a sharp intake of breath while gathering her thoughts.
“Ah… well normally when recruiting for this position that’s the salary we’d only give to the most experienced project officers who have a few years’ experience with us first”
“Look…” I continued, “I’ve been working in this position for a couple of years and am my work is highly regarded, the quality of the work I produce justifies the salary…”
I continued with a couple of examples how my skills met the job – it was satisfying to be in a position of advantage, with nothing to lose.
Besides, I took great pleasure playing the tough negotiator.
“Alright…” she said sounding willing to compromise “when I go back to get you added to the short list, I’ll mention you want the top salary”.
“Well that’s great”, I responded with the delight of a person who couldn’t quite believe the cheeky blag had worked.
“But first…” she interjected “We require anyone interested in the job to complete an application form first…”
This was a surprise to me, as I always assumed when you got head hunted, formalities like filling in tedious paperwork got skipped.
I articulated this thought and was clearly told that this was not the case and had to complete the paperwork.
Continuing to play it tough…
“Fine then…” was my response “I’m on holiday next week, but when I get back just send me the link and I’ll complete the application then”
There was more dead air on the call in what sounded like the recruiter sucking air through her teeth.
“I’m afraid, applications for the role close on Monday” was the response.
“That’s a shame as I’m busy packing tonight, and then I’ve got a flight to get first thing tomorrow morning”.
The tone of the recruiter’s voice changed in disbelief, as if she was talking to a complete simpleton.
“Well… can’t you complete it on your phone while you’re on holiday?”
I took a moment to process the request before responding.
“I’m sorry but when I go on holiday, I typically switch off from technology so that I have a break, I’m not going to do an application on my phone.”
This was a true statement, my wife and I have always had an agreement to have an amnesty from using our phones while on holiday and I wasn’t going to be the one to break this.
That bubbly, fake, flirty, professional recruiter mannerism faded, and her pitch became a lot more aggressive.
She repeated her original suggestion a couple more times and I started to feel unsettled about the job.
“Can’t you allow me another week, to apply when I get back?” I already knew the answer was no, but was eager to test how much compromise would be given for my needs.
“Then I’m afraid you won’t be able to consider me for this position, unless there is some compromise.”
She verbally spit out her disbelief, as she turned into full on pushy recruiter thinking about her commission.
She basically called me an idiot without actually calling me one berating my choice.
Yes, it was a good opportunity
Yes, the salary was good and unlike any other options at the time.
“… I think if you don’t apply, you’ll really regret this…” was the recruiters closing gambit.
“Then I’m sorry, I’ll have to pass on this one…” was my response.
We exchanged a few pleasantries to say goodbye, but I could tell these weren’t sincere, she just sounded mad.
Here comes the life lesson…
For the remainder of my walk, I thought about what had just occurred.
I thought about the recruiter’s words
“you’ll really regret this…”
And for a moment I did believe them – did I really turn down a secure job, that was prepared to pay top wage, because I refused to budge on an informal agreement I had with my wife?
But then I realised I didn’t have regret as I’d done something better than being considered for a well-paid job – stuck to a principal that was important to me and my family.
As the years have progressed opportunities for new jobs, new responsibilities and more money have come and gone.
Some I’ve taken, some I haven’t, but I’ve never lived with regret for the opportunities I haven’t taken.
Opportunities are great, and I encourage you to take as many as possible.
But you don’t have to take every opportunity thrown at you.
Feel free to turn them down, even if it sounds good when it compromises the other things that are more important – your principals, ethics, family…
I think of Matthew McConaughey, when I don’t take opportunities…
Funnily, when I don’t take opportunities I think of Matthew McConaughey of all people.
See in the early 2000’s McConaughey was a darling in the rom-com scene.
But fed up being typecast in these roles looking for the sex-symbol Matthew McConaughey, he decided to take a break.
This meant he turned down many lucrative deals, because opportunities to star in yet another film where boy meets girl, hijinks happen, they break up, etc… didn’t appeal to him.
…Sometimes it’s good not to take the opportunity, as a result, he began to appear in more meatier dramatic roles, something different to get his acting chops around.
Just remember when you don’t take the opportunity, this doesn’t necessarily mean the end, your chances will come again, something better even, just keep doing what you need to do and enjoy the journey.
Thanks for reading, wishing you the best in your success.
James @Perfect Manifesto.
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