...my husband got a good job offer. It's a good, stable company that's been in business for many decades. He likes them and they like him. It's is the same industry he's familiar with but a different position which will expand his experience. And it's also three hours away from our home. I knew about this when he first threw his hat in the ring. I accepted it, have tried to deal with it and be strong. I know that change is inevitable and I can either embrace it or kick and scream against it. The role entails less risk and responsibility he had before so it pays less. And therein, is the rub for my husband. Not me.
He got the offer Wednesday afternoon (48 hours ago.) I was so happy. We'd been waiting for this for almost a year. I felt God's promise had been fulfilled. All the pain had been worth it. I went to adoration chapel that evening and Mass afterwards. I cried during Mass because I was so happy. I never do that. This was special, to me, at least.
Thursday mid-afternoon my husband calls me and said he talked to my mother and now he's decided to negotiate for more money. At first, I was receptive to hearing his case for more money but it was stirring around my brain while we were talking about it and I came up with several outstanding reasons why he should take the offer as is. One example is that the offer was written. Never did they verbally negotiate with him on salary. They asked him what he used to make and they formulated the number that was good for them. That's just one mild example. All the others are profound and very serious. Believe me on this one.
I used to believe that come hell or high water, a smart individual should always negotiate. However, I did that once with disastrous consequences. I was working at my first job after college, and it was going OK, but I wanted to move on. A colleague had recently left the company and joined another. He offered to interview me for a job with the new firm. I met the owners and went through a fairly rigorous interview process. They emailed a written offer. The offer was good; the base salary was more than I was making and the benefits were about that same. I was OK with it. But I thought I'd look weak if I didn't negotiate. So I upped the salary by 20% and asked for three weeks annual vacation instead of two.
My friend called me up and said, "[Author] I'm really disappointed and I think you will be too. We can't move forward on this." I said, "what do you mean? Are you rescinding the job offer?" "I wouldn't call it rescinding? Let's just say it's not there any more." My first thought was, "do I not know the meaning of 'rescind.' Oh my God, this is awful." I'd been so excited about the new work. Despite how awful I felt, all was not lost. I still had a job. I gave up nothing except high expectations. This is not the same as my husband's situation.
My evil, bully boss in D.C. gave me some good advice during an acquisition negotiation. He said, "In a negotiation, you always have to be willing to walk away." You cannot be so tied to whatever you're negotiating about, you lose your edge. Right now, we cannot afford to lose our edge and we are not willing to walk away. At least I'm not.
But, here I am on Friday afternoon. No celebration dinner, no champagne, no nothing. Just life like it always was. Our life is so stable it's criminal. That may sound like a strange statement but job loss in our household is not the disaster it was to so many millions of Americans. We're fine. We won't lose our house, we won't lose our cars, we won't stop enjoying the simple pleasures we always have. We're pathetically fine.
I should add that "good" things come in twos. And in this case, my husband has a follow-up interview with the owner of a start-up doing cutting-edge work. It's cool stuff that my husband seems to be very excited about. It's close to home. He can still live with me. But, it doesn't seem to come down to this. It comes down to money. Money he wants but money we don't need.
If I sound depressed and a bit angry, it's because I am. I feel like some core values are being betrayed. Like doing work for work's sake, not for the payoff. Like having a job is a core commitment to your wife. When he kicks the can down the road, it hurts me. It puts all kinds of pressure on me to be the good one, to be the responsible one. I don't find it fair and I'm losing my patience.