December 1, 2011
11:00 a.m. – My current employer gathers a staff of around 300 employees into a modern conference room. The front rows are clearly labeled for the top executives. I find a quiet corner in the back with the rest of my department. My first quarterly meeting begins.
11:30 a.m. – The CEO just informed us (in the most politically correct manner I’ve EVER heard!) that the Atlanta offices are closing and moving to the great state of Ohio. Wait, what??? I haven’t even hit my 90 day mark and I’m being told I will potentially be laid off??
12:00 p.m. – The meeting has ended and everyone is gathered around my manager’s cubicle throwing questions left and right. I look at his face. He’s just as confused. Everyone is dismissed for the day.
6:00 p.m. – At a friend’s house having a much needed drink thinking “what just happened??” I just finished my training and haven’t even celebrated my 90th day with the company! Wasn’t this one of the questions I asked before I interviewed?? I know I specifically asked “is the company moving back to Ohio being that it is where the world’s headquarters is located?” I received a resounding “NO!” Now I’m told “no one knew then”. Ok…fair enough.
Some Cold Winters Day in January…
We get our offer letters. The offer gives me a formal invite to move to the “greater” Ohio area with a hefty ($15k) moving bonus (nice for my emergency fund!). It also outlines other “miscellaneous” bonuses INCLUDING a retention bonus to stay until my end date (dated August 24th). Last page asks for me to sign acknowledging I understand what I’m entitled to, and a promise to give them an answer about moving in one month. I date, I sign.
I fly to Columbus to check out the city. This is my only trip here so I have to see as much as possible to gage if I can live here. I look at apartments, I check out the shopping area and neighborhoods, and I talk to some of the locals about their opinion of the city. The reviews I get from the locals lean towards one side…DON’T MOVE. Their reason? It’s a family town, not really good for the young and single (excluding the college students).
Back in my hotel room I have lots to think about…family, friends, and opportunity. I call my mother. I know she won’t give me the answer but at least she would help me brainstorm. “Whatever you choose, I’m behind you all the way.”
February 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th, something like that)
I finally made my decision. I’m pretty proud of myself. This has got to be the hardest decision of MY LIFE! I muster up the courage to tell my manager that I am declining the offer to move to Ohio. He gives me a blank stare and says “are you sure you saw everything? Maybe you should go back and look around more”.
The thought of returning to Ohio in the winter made me literally shutter. NO WAY JOSE!!!
I made my decision official by putting it in writing. As I sign off, I feel at ease with the decision. For me, I believed I had greater opportunity here in Atlanta. Even with the moving bonus, I knew I could do more if I declined to move. In lieu of the moving bonus, I would receive a decent severance package which doesn’t quite make it to the $15K, but it certainly wasn’t bad (plus, after taxes get a hold of the bonus, I’m really getting only about 2/3 of the 15k anyway…).
Now, 5 months later I am busy travelling and training the new person who has been appointed to take over my position. She’s inherited all of my supplies from the funky highlighters to the double computer screens. She made out well.
With her well trained, I can now focus on my quest for a new job. Shouldn’t be hard, I’ve been on a couple of interviews. Honestly, I’m really not worried. Being double honest, I would prefer to fly solo and be my own boss. That may have to wait though. For now, I will be satisfied working until I can fulfill my ultimate “go solo” dream.