I received an email recently from a young man in Chicago. It reads, in part, as follows:
I landed my dream job, right out of college. I’d just sprung for a new wardrobe, a new apartment, and a new (used) car. Still dealing with the student debt. I was really, really excited until, six weeks into it my boss hands off some new clients to me.
After an initial meeting with them, I knew they were less than reputable and possibly not ‘legit’ at all. You see these things in the movies and on TV and you laugh. You sit across the table from them in real life, and you want to take a shower.
I went to a colleague close to my age and asked him what was up. His reply was, Business is business. That hardly won me over. I went to a woman, an exec who’d been kind of a mentor to me in college even though I never worked in her company. She was not surprised, but not much more helpful. You’re lucky you got hit with this now, she said. And not when you’ve got two kids and a mortgage. Then she told me it was my decision.
Lucky or not, I had the whole weekend to think about nothing else. I just looked at my closet full of new clothes, the flat screen on the wall. Great, I thought. Just great.
Monday morning I went to work early and caught my boss before the day started. I told him my dilemma. He basically stated his position: when you’re starting out, and your boss hands you a client, you work with that client. You don’t have much of a choice.
I can’t do that. I heard those words pop out of my mouth. I was scared, and I really felt sick. I don’t recall the rest of the conversation, but the sum total of it was that I was leaving the company.
Long story short, I went to work for the lady who’d kind of mentored me before. I make less money. It’s not my dream job, but I’ve still got my self respect.
To which I say: Good for you, sir.