Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You just never know...

As you may or may not know, I recently moved back to Phoenix. My husband and I both grew up here and consider this to be "home," despite spending more than a third of our marriage in either Texas or Florida.

Coming home means catching up. Catching up with friends, family and old colleagues. Now, many of these people are people I still interact with on Facebook and whatnot, but there are always those who aren't active in social media, or those who I just am not connected to that way for whatever reason.

Since we've been back, I've found out how some of my old colleagues from Wells Fargo are doing.

They've all been promoted.

Which isn't surprising. However, when I learned the "why" and "how" and "when" of their promotions, I felt... conflicted.

You see, there were three of us who were very close at work. We all liked each other, we all liked our boss, and he liked all of us. We all were good employees, with strong performances and versatile skill sets. 

If I'd had my druthers, I'd have stayed working in that market, for that boss, forever.

But I didn't.

We left Phoenix for Texas in 2007. This was pretty much the worst thing that could have ever happened to my career, for a lot of reasons I won't go into in detail. Suffice it to say that my management style did not mesh with their expectations, despite in-depth interviews on their part and a recommendation from the Regional President on my behalf (she was my boss's boss's boss at the time, and in a company that big, that was a big deal).

At the end of 2007, I left Wells Fargo for good.

It tore my heart out. I loved that company, I loved the team I was managing. I had so many great experiences and wonderful people that I truly considered mentors, but that particular situation had grown so toxic that I really felt I had no other option available to me.

Remember how I told you there were three of us in Phoenix who were in the same place professionally?

The other two are both Market Presidents now. Our boss, the guy we all loved and respected? He's a Regional President. He was promoted and as soon as he had openings in his markets, he put his former employees in those openings.

If I had stayed, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be in the same place.

Here's the conflict: That job that they're in now? Big money. B-I-G money. You've heard all the rhetoric about banking executives and blah blah blah. Yes. It's true. They make a lot of money. Right now... we're not doing so hot financially (something about "law school tuition" or something or other).

I was good at my job. I was well-connected, well-respected and I enjoyed it. I liked getting dressed in a suit every day, I liked conducting meetings and pitching ideas to HR and L&D teams. I liked that I felt important, and I liked that everybody knew that I knew what I was talking about all the time.


I have a son with major learning disabilities. School, in the traditional sense, is not a reasonable choice for him. I have two other boys who need their mother and who are better off because I'm around all the time.

If I had stayed at Wells Fargo...? I don't think my boys would be getting what they needed. My oldest certainly wouldn't. He likely would have gone undiagnosed and we would instead be talking about how he is being held back and struggling with behavior issues.

I'm so grateful that I made the "wrong" decision back in 2007.

I'm so glad that my career tanked so that my home life could flourish.

I'm so grateful that I was in a place where I could clearly see what was happening with my son, and we could get him the help he needed. I'm glad that I'm in a position to return to school to become a better parent and educator for my family.

I love where I am, what I am doing and why I am doing it. I enjoy it more than I enjoyed the bank (and that's really saying something!). 

But, if I'm being completely honest, I'm also a little wistful to see "what could have been."


  1. I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I'd done maths in year 12 rather than kicking it to the curb where it belongs at the end of year 11. But then I think about how much year 12 would have sucked if I'd had to sit through a whole year of maths classes, rather than doing colouring in homework for geography (yes, seriously). And then I'm okay with it again ;)

  2. SO. I could've written this post- minus the moving part. And the banking part. But YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

    I worked in research for years- and was very good at my job. I moved up quickly, was well-respected, etc. And when you said the thing about how you liked feeling like you were doing something important--that's what I ALWAYS say when I talk about missing my old job. The research studies I worked on had to do with Cerebral Palsy, so I did legit feel like I was doing something important. But aside from that- I liked the respect, I liked that people valued my opinion, thought I was smart, etc.

    So now I just have to focus on the fact that I'm still doing something important....just not the same kind of thing. I have no issues with daycare at all, but I'm glad that I'm getting more time with my kids. Before, especially during grant writing season, I would be at work for 8-10 hours a day. By the time I got home it was basically bed time and I'd barely get to see them. Then I'd be gone the next morning before they were up. For me, this is definitely more important.

    But yes. I CERTAINLY have days where I miss the rush of a "real" job--even the things that I thought I hated. I just need to FEEL important every now and then, you know?

  3. The big "Oh, no!" moment came for me when I looked at my eighteen month old son who was using baby sign language... and I didn't know any. Somebody else had taught my baby how to communicate, and I still couldn't communicate with him. It literally broke my heart. It hurt so bad. But I wasn't in a position to quit then.

    The thing I miss MOST about working? People taking my word for stuff. People assuming that I know what I'm talking about, thinking of me as an expert. Now, as a stay at home mom, nobody EVER believes that I know what I'm talking about. Even if I can say, "I have a degree in this subject, I worked in this field, I keep up on the new changes/philosophies/laws/etc." I can see it in their eyes; everybody takes my "opinion" with a grain of salt. Nobody ever thinks I'm an expert on anything.

    And I miss that. I sounds petty, I know, but it's true.

  4. I'm a huge believer in "things happen for a reason" no matter how cheesy that is. Also, sometimes unanswered prayers or disappointments are actually blessings in disguise. I'm glad you have the wisdom to realize this. :)

  5. What a great post. It's always hard to trust that we made the right decision, but it definitely sounds like you did! :) Visiting from Write on Edge!

  6. ps...Just followed with GFC! If you're interested in following back, you can find me at www.ababymakesfour.blogspot.com :)

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