A Little Bit Of Vaudeville

Last week I wrote a blog which I don’t think I will ever be able to publish. It’s about the work I do to earn a living – my actual job – and I have no interest in rocking that rather delightful boat. The thing is that it was very cathartic to get it all off my chest, and I have felt so much better about work since.

This is not that blog. This is another blog entirely. This blog started off as a section of that dead blog.

I think it is OK to say that I have my eye casually on the lookout for other jobs which I might enjoy. It is not an uncommon thing, nor is it a slight on my employer. I have always been looking around for other opportunities, and I probably always will be. I do this in the laziest way possible: I have job alerts set up with a number of sites, which ping in to my inbox every few days with new stuff.

Most of it is dreck: stuff which I am neither qualified for nor interested in. It therefore gets ignored. And so on it goes, year after year, just ticking along in the background of my email account.

A month or two ago something popped up which I thought had potential. It came from LinkedIn, and so I checked it out. It had an “Easy Apply” button, so I clicked it. I have been rather busy ever since.

Nowadays I do a job which I enjoy, working with people whom I like, for a company whose values I share. I have no real impetus to look elsewhere for a job, but I will take more money or a better set of prospects if such things are put in front of me. It’s also always worth being aware of what there is.

In the long distant past I have hated both my job and my employer. The old company was bought out by the people I now work for, and my work and conditions improved overnight. I am treated like a human being, and I like that. Our previous owner – an individual, rather than a company – did not treat us very well at all. Consequently, a lot of us were actively looking for a way out. Any way out.

I have been interviewed twice now for this new job, and I have to say that, after many years of not attending job interviews, I am actually enjoying it. I’m not going to lie and say that I enjoy the activity of wearing a freshly pressed suit – I normally wear t-shirt and jeans; I am also eternally grateful to my partner for knowing how to prepare clothing she has never had to wear – and selling myself to a bunch of complete strangers. But I am enjoying the process of doing something active and different.

The problem is that I don’t want the other job, and I don’t really know what to do if they offer it to me. I mean, apart from turning it down. It pays almost exactly the same as I am paid now, comes with a slightly lower set of responsibility, but a considerably higher set of expectations.

It involves a daily commute at a time which would impede my ability to maintain my work-life balance, and it would require me to travel internationally several times a year. I currently work from home, and have a young family with whom I enjoy spending lots of time. Years ago I would have been all over the opportunity to have paid trips to Lithuania; now it just poses childcare problems.

I also do not drive, so I would have to use public transport – at least in the short term – every day, to get me at my desk for 9am at the latest. I really like taking my daughter to school, and I’m not sure that any job is worth losing that. Everyone else in the office also starts at 8am, and fuck that shit.

Put simply, there are more cons than pros in the ledger, as much as they seem like a lovely bunch of people, I am not willing to turn my whole life upside down for the opportunity to work with them.

My issue here is that I feel guilty. The best case scenario here is that there is simply someone better for the role, and that they let me off the hook without me having to offend anyone. I am, after all, a coward and a social-phobe. I am an introvert who wants to make people happy, so that I am able to get on with my day as painlessly as possible. If they offer me a job I’m scared I’ll say yes to them.

The next best case scenario is that my answers were just pure shit, and a web of confident sounding buzzwords and bluster. And that they saw that it was shit – I mean, for fuck’s sake, they got me to do a presentation in the second interview, and then set it up so badly that the screen resolution was off and I couldn’t see my script. I had to seriously wing the fucking thing. And so no job for Richard.

The final best case scenario – and this is based on the “I have more experience than they are looking for” interpretation of job applications and their avoidance – is that they were so impressed by my confident sounding buzzwords and bluster, and that their technical fuck up was an intentional test to see how I would cope, that they offer me a much better job, at a considerably higher salary. Yeah.

In reality, that last one won’t happen, and the first two are essentially the same thing. I basically do not want the bastard job, and will do anything to imagine that I am not about to have to put myself through the psychological trauma of turning it down. That would be rather embarrassing for me.

But is my embarrassment at giving people what I regard as bad or disappointing news any reason to not participate in this process? Is it a bad thing that I am participating in this process, even though I now know that I realistically do not want the job, even if offered it? Tough questions; no answers.

It seems to bother me that I am participating in this process via an intermediary: I applied for the job itself, and then I saw that it was posted by a recruitment agency too, so I applied twice. This means that I am embarrassed more by the thought of telling the recruiter that I don’t want the job – and boy, does she keep asking me if I want the job; I did initially – than I am the employers. Odd that.

Realistically, none of this will come to pass, and I will have grown as a person for having put myself out there. Nothing ever came of worrying like this, but since when is that going to stop me?