Running Away From Home (Part III)

18 Apr

The last couple of posts I’ve made have talked about my career and my experience with working-from-home over the last decade. Now I’m going to finish up explaining why I’m so desperate to get back to a desk.

So the COVID experience ruined working from home for me, but if I’m to be honest, I was already starting to feel that way before this started. It was just amplified by EVERYONE staying at home. So in the last couple of months, I’ve been passively looking for a new job, preferably one that has a desk I can sit at, away from the house.

What I learned is that I like the flexibility of my job. I would get miserable if I had to be at my desk every day, but working from home once or twice a week would allow variety. Moving from café to café is cool… if I didn’t have to do it all the time. Having that change is important to me; that’s what I liked most about consulting, the travel. I liked the fact that my job changed every couple of months, new locations, new people… but it was same gig. I liked seeing new places; I just stopped enjoying my job after a while. As a fellow consultant of mine told me, “After six months, it starts feeling like work.”

As my current boss says, “It’s good to search for a new job every six months, just so you can see what’s out there.” That’s been my pattern; something negative happens at my job, I start job searching, and usually decide that my current situation is preferable to what I see out there. If there’s something interesting, I apply, but when you don’t have to scramble to get a paycheck, the job search is a lot more comfortable.

Plus job searching tends to be like firing a shotgun; most of the time you’re going to miss. When you’re intensely job searching, I can fill out 30 applications a day, 10 of them running through an ATS filter (which takes longer), and I might get a pique of interest from… let’s say 4 to be optimistic.

Now that sounds ludicrous, but look at it from HR’s perspective. You put out a job request and there are 200 applicants for even the most technical of positions. You have to sort out 20 people for the managers to take a look at. So 10% of all applicants get more than an automated reply. So getting 10% back on your job search investment is pretty standard. Now if I’m only filling out 5 applications a day, with one running through an ATS filter, I’ll be lucky if I hear back more than once a week.

So I’ve had a couple interviews, but only one has gotten past the initial phone screening, and that’s pretty normal. In fact, I got a verbal offer for an actual honest-to-God desk position! However, this job was posted in late December, I applied in January, got a “more information” request in February, got a phone screening and an interview in March, and a final confirmation / interview this week. Yet it’s still a verbal offer, contingent on a manager confirmation, background check, drug screen, and I’m sure, taking a pound of flesh. But it took five months to get this far… and I still can’t give my current boss two weeks notice!

So I’m looking at a new job, new life, new co-workers, new boss… and it’s scary. But that’s a topic for another time; for now, I think I’ve exhausted the “wanting to work back at a desk” topic. But what do you think? Am I being stupid leaving the freedom I have now? Let me know in the comments below! If you want to help me live a more independent lifestyle, buy one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. I’d appreciate it either way.

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