I wrote the draft of the blog post below over a week before I received an offer from the company I reference. My intuition knew the answer to the offer before I even got it. And I listened. Lesson learned – the gut knows. And so do our dreams.
“I have an amazing career opportunity in front of me: a dream job at a well-funded tech startup with a lot of great people in a city I enjoy that focuses on pet health. Rather, it could look amazing if I really dress it up, see it as a stepping stone only, and believe that within the mess there is opportunity. I’ve taken this action and perspective before, and I found that within the mess lies more mess.
Some people at this startup call it “nimble” and put down larger companies (like the ones I’ve worked for and with) for being “rigid” because the startup is disorganized, lacks charismatic leadership, and doesn’t have an inspiring vision. There’s a lot of finger-pointing between the tech and business teams, and their response to key questions on pricing and go-to-market strategy is “I don’t know. That decision was made before I got here.” In other words, they don’t understand what they’re selling, how it’s priced, or how / why people are going to buy it.
In a senior position, I could drive change and bring order to the chaos. I’ll likely be offered a mid-tier role charged with cleaning up a mess that is growing exponentially. With two months before launch, they still don’t agree on requirements, have no marketing plan, and no customer experience or servicing set-up. Their thought process is that the pet industry is huge (and at $50 billion annually, they’re right) and that if they build it, people will buy it. The problem is no one there has any idea what “it” actually is.
I had been tossing around all this info in my mind, trying to keep a positive frame of mind, and wrestling through ways I could make this work. Then I had a dream that my main contact there quit, moved to San Francisco because all of her friends lived there, and we ended the conversation with “goodbye and let’s stay in touch.” I already know my answer to the offer; this isn’t a dream job. It’s a nightmare dressed up like a dream. So I will politely and professionally decline the role. The paycheck would have been nice, but the headache would have been exhausting from beginning to end. I already have my dream job. I work for me on projects I love and care about. Now I have to get to work on turning those dreams into a healthy paycheck so I can invest in more dreams. That’s the job I want, and have.”