Horrible timing or chance of lifetime?
December 19, 2006 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Dream job in the wrong place at the wrong time. Previously on FlamingBore's questions: You'll remember I was looking at relocating to Portland, OR for a lucrative job being tailor made for me. Then it fell through.

After that I looked a bit at other companies I might like to work for. I took a shot in the dark at one of them and emailed the founder/CEO a bold letter of introduction with my resume attached. I didn't hear anything until yesterday.

I got an email from him asking me if I was still on the market and wanting to know if I was willing to come out to meet in person with him and the team. I spoke with him to find out what he had in mind. He's looking to be *much* less hands on and wants someone to take over his role and run the company.

My big concern is that he stated he's hesitant to hire someone from out of state because he's had some bad experiences with people upending their lives to move there and the person not working out and he has to let them go. He asked how I would feel about making a two month commitment, getting a short term rental and seeing how things went. I'm confident that I could make a big impact, but am semi-concerned by the tentative nature of such an arrangement.

Needless to say, I'm floored. Professionally this is just the thing I've been working for. The timing, however, is horrid. I've not even been back in Chicago for two months. I'm in a sublease until the end of March. He seems willing to work with my timeframe, but it's still overwhelming.

I'm still not thrilled with my current employment situation, but I'm getting a new boss in January that could either make things better or *much* worse. Making a jump like this is super risky to me, but with that amazing risk comes the possibility of amazing reward.

Is the short term commitment enough of a red flag to not take the chance or is my current displeasure at work enough of a reason to make the jump? Thoughts?
posted by FlamingBore to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Make the jump.

Execute and kick ass during the probation period. If it's truly a dream job, you'll regret having not jumped when you had the chance. Opportunities don't come along everyday of the week. Grab it by the tail and don't let go.
posted by jdgdotnet at 1:01 PM on December 19, 2006

Ten years from now, when you look back in regret, which would you regret more?

1. Well, I took a big chance and it didn't work out.
2. Well, I had a big chance and I didn't take it because I was chicken.

I say go for it. Maybe it will work out. But even if it doesn't, have you really lost anything important?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:06 PM on December 19, 2006

"Is the short term commitment enough of a red flag to not take the chance..."

I'm a firm believer that probationary periods work both ways; not only is it their chance to look you over, but you can - and should - do so as well.

Boost your compensation during this period to reflect the risk premium you're taking. You'll not only find out quickly enough if they're for real (will they meet your terms?), but if you both want to make it long term after two months this will leverage your negotiating position significantly.
posted by Mutant at 1:12 PM on December 19, 2006

Either this is too good to be true (and it's best to find that out before a long term commitment) or you'll be able to find another opportunity if this one falls through. You can also leave well at your old job so that you can come back if everything else catches on fire. "It's an amazing opportunity, blah, blah." This opportunity, even for two months, won't hurt your resume at all (unless you're a completely incompetent psychopath, which I find unlikely).

I'd ask new employer to pay for the short term rental, or a large portion of it, as well as any storage you'd incur back home. If you're the right candidate, it's a small price for them to pay. If you're not, it's a small price to pay for them to get the test drive.

Then again, I've got the Sally Hogshead "Radical Careering" quote taped to my desk: "Leap and a net will find you." So I'm likely biased.
posted by Gucky at 1:23 PM on December 19, 2006

What would you have done in this situation if you hadn't ever had (of almost-had) the previous, fallen-though job?

I wonder if your experience with the previous place has made you less willing to move than you were before.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 1:33 PM on December 19, 2006

If you don't have kids or a long-term S.O., and if you can find someone to take care of any pets, totally do it. I second the comment made above about how you regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did.

Portland MeFi gives great meetup, BTW.
posted by matildaben at 1:38 PM on December 19, 2006

Response by poster: Great thoughts every one. Please keep them coming.

Sprout the Vulgarian - I'd still be considering it because I really do like Portland. But I have also heard bad things about the overall job situation in Portland. So, if it doesn't work out I'm concerned that I'd be stuck in Portland with a poor job market.

If I hadn't just moved to Chicago and done so on my own dime I'd feel a lot better about saying "hell yes, let's give it a shot". But now my financial safety net is not nearly as strong right now due to the move.
posted by FlamingBore at 1:38 PM on December 19, 2006

DO IT or I will drive out there and pimp slap you.

Did that work?

Ok, let's try this - "you neve know until you try." and you might sit around and regret not taking such an opportunity. You said that they'd like to meet with you first. Go ahead and do that. You need to get a feel for *them* as well.
posted by drstein at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2006

Yay for you! You had the moxie to write the letter, I say go the distance.

Timing's always a fickle thing -- the stars almost never line up perfectly, but the prospective employer seems to think enough of you that he'll hold the job open until you can move out there. That sounds positive enough to make it worth your while.

I wouldn't consider the short term committment a particularly bad thing. My current employer seemed very casual about long term prospects when he hired me, saying he'd only guarantee a job for a year. It's six years later and I'm still here. The key is that you know you can do the job and it's a company you can see yourself working for.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:53 PM on December 19, 2006

Absolutely take this opportunity! I don't know if you have a house/family in Chicago, or just yourself to move, but the two month trial gives you a chance to test-drive Portland and the new job, without being tied to either. If you tooj the job, moved the portland and then discovered the job sucked more than your old one, it would be really bad to be stuck there with even less of a financial safety net.

Also, I wonder if your new boss is gauging your risk aversion with this request? Might have some impact on his decision since you will be running his company. Just a thought, I don't know anything about hiring someone so senior.
posted by Joh at 5:39 PM on December 19, 2006

Whatever you do, don't be a tool. Make sure it is not the new company's policy to work new hires to death for 2 months and let them go. Call around and make some discreet inquiries about the health of the company and their management style. Do your due diligence before you accept any new position. Taking risks is good, research will reduce your risk considerably.
posted by SMELLSLIKEFUN at 7:19 PM on December 19, 2006

But now my financial safety net is not nearly as strong right now due to the move.

The financial part is easy to deal with. If this doesn't work out, how much money do you need to have on hand in order to have a proper safety net at the end of two months? Then, how much do they need to pay you in order for you to have that much in the bank at the end of two months? Ask them to pay you that much for the two month trial and explain your reasoning.
posted by winston at 8:08 PM on December 19, 2006

Have you met the man in person, and have you visited the place where you would work, the people you would manage, etc?

This man has just told you that the way to this position is through a revolving door. Now if you move out there he can fire you without feeling guilty. Are you sure he's ready to give his baby over to someone that he hardly knows?

On the other hand, he's being honest with you, which is an excellent sign. Do your due diligence, and if it still sounds like your dream, then go for it.
posted by KAS at 1:30 PM on December 21, 2006

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