Change is Scary : That feeling is always the same, the Anxiety of changing jobs.

I did not sleep well last night,  tossing and turning my mind would not stop running and thinking.  Just a few days before I was chased down by the executive of a large company here in town, asking if I was interested in listening to what they had to say.  This is not the first time I have been headhunted, but I did not expect it this time around.  I met with them, and was told early in the meeting, "let's get to the point,  we think you are a fantastic fit for our company and you need to give us a number you can not refuse.  What will it take to get you to work for us?"  Ok, that one is new. Never had someone 30 minutes into a meeting cut to the chase and say that point blank.  I really appreciate not wasting time, and when a company does not screw around they really get my interest.

So I thought it over, did some research as to what the national median for my career salary was and added 15% to compensate for my skills and experience, actually did some backdoor investigation on the company through friends that knew people that worked there or knew others that knew someone that worked there.   Turnover rate is very low, and everyone loved working there...   That is a good sign.  I spent the rest of the weekend fighting over the number  to ask for in my head,  Is it too high?  is it too low?  it cant be too low, you did the math and research...  But if they chased me down they are willing to pay...  ARRGH!  I decided that being honest was better than greed so I stuck with median +15%  It felt fair and was significantly more than I was making now so it will make a big difference.  I sent them the number,  plus asking for 3 weeks of vacation to start out..   I'm not a entry level employee, I need the vacation time.  They got back to me in 2 days with "Yes! we will send you the official offer ASAP."  My first though was , "crap, I should have asked for more"  but honestly I realized they also knew what the right number is,  any company worth a darn will know you can not keep employees by paying them peanuts, they knew what the national median was and they could see that I was only asking for a bit more and why.   So my research probably paid off. If I was hiring someone I would look at what they ask for as a salary as to their level of honesty and self worth.  Someone coming in asking for the moon either has no idea of their worth or is greedy, at least in my mind that is how it would work.

This is when the elation sets in,  Holy crap I have a lot more money!  new desk in a fancy building! big company with a big name has more clout!  Until the actual offer shows up.   Yes it is exactly as they said, except with a few small modifications..  3 weeks of vacation turns into 2 weeks and 1 week of "personal time"  (sick days)  Ok, I can  accept that.  Some of the wording is vague, but that starts the doubt machine...  What do they mean by that?  Etc...   And honestly it's boilerplate,  the company is not out to screw you on day one.  I had my wife read it over and she said it all looks great, so I accept their offer and that is when I went to bed.  This morning was numb, I got out of bed just  as the alarm went off. I stood in the shower for 10 minutes still thinking, Is this the right decision? At work I am top dog, proven that I know my stuff. The new place I am the new guy who has no credibility other than what others have said.  What if I am not a good fit with others? what if my coding style is not "acceptable".   The butterflies start to flutter. I get dressed still cant get the worries out of my mind. I keep pushing the doubt back down. It's the uncertainty. that is causing me to worry, I am sure of that. I get dressed, get coffee and grab the keys to the company van.. I need to clean this thing out.

The drive in gets worse, the closer I get to work the more the butterflies flutter. I think of all the friends I made there and how I will not see them daily anymore.. Change  is scary.  I pull in the parking lot and one of the installers that I really get along with is pulling out, I fill him in on my decision, I get a lot of congratulations from him, but the butterflies are in full force. I almost feel a little sick at this point,  time to go in and get this over with.  Asking my boss, " can we talk a minute" is almost surreal, he has no clue that I am about to give him my resignation. the butterflies are fluttering like mad, I need to get this over with right now.  And it hits me....  This is the tipping point, after this meeting there is no going back.   I mention the great opportunity I have been offered, and that I am resigning, he start with the idea of a counter offer but I stop him cold with, "You cant afford to keep me. I was given an offer that the company just can not afford to match."  And I am right,  I was one of the highest paid employees here, nearly doubling my salary would have caused a lot of issues.  I was congratulated although I can see on his face that I just caused a storm of hell for the company.   This is the busiest time of the year, and I just reduced the programming department staff down to 1 person and one trainee.

I have resigned from 5 jobs in my lifetime, and all of them feel the same way, you are unsure of what you are doing, you get your head full of doubts, you worry.  This is normal, humans are designed to fear change.  the comfort of know what will happen day by day is what we desire and a job change is a huge disruption to our lives.  we step WAY outside out comfort zone when we do this and it's normal to feel doubt.  What IF,  How About....  "Dang it I like the comfort of the same thing every day...  why are you changing that!",  your brain is basically screaming at you.  The way to combat this is during your decision process make a list of the positives and negatives.  Logic is what wins the argument with feelings and your primal brain.  It will not stop the gut feelings and worries. I sit here with my stomach flipping right now as I write this, and the feeling will not go away until I start the new job and see that my worries are all unsubstantiated.   Until I see that my new co-workers at the new job are actually nice people, that everyone says "hi!" and "welcome" with big smiles on their faces... my stomach and brain will fight me with worry and doubt. Job change is actually very stressful for people, it is right up there with death and divorce in stress levels.  The anxiety is completely normal and is what will keep people from making changes to better themselves.

I will still miss my friends here though...  It's funny, you spend more interactive time with your co-workers than you do with your family. Becoming attached to the workplace and the people you see every single day and the fear of changing that is a large part of the worry in your gut.  It is OK to miss everyone, they will miss you too.


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