On Monday, I was interviewed for an internal post. As you all know, the roles in my team were made redundant earlier this month as part of an organisational re-structure. And as part of that exercise, all of us had to go through the ignominy of re-applying for our posts. Many of my colleagues took the redundancy package instead.

My package is comparatively small, so I opted for re-deployment, and on Monday, found myself sitting before a panel of three, two of whom know me well enough, and I gave an adrenaline-soaked performance that left me shivering and high by the end. I wasn’t me. I was whoever they wanted me to be – and I performed that part as accurately and deftly as I could (thanks, in part, to Ben, who took over Rosie and gave me the time to prep for the interview). Apparently, I’m a good actor, because today I was informed that I got the job.

I said I’d think about it.


I’ve got another interview in a few days’ time – for a post in the Far East. It’s one of those dream opportunities, but it’s only for a year, and ends with redundancy. This one – the one I’ve just been offered – is permanent and based in London.  Which one would you go for?

I probably won’t get the other job, so I expect all this speculation will come to nothing. I don’t think I would give up the possibility of a permanent job in this economic climate for a one-year fantasy… or would I? Really, what would you do?


And now the worst of it. There were three posts and three of us going for them (three of us at the same job grade and therefore with equal rights to the posts). Another person applied as well, but that person was a grade lower and could not be appointed unless those with rights to the post were found unappointable.

A few hours after I found out I’d got the job, I found that a dear colleague did not. I have been agitated ever since. I can’t understand why she wasn’t appointed. She is fiercely bright, kind, generous – a lovely person on all fronts. But for some unfathomable reason, our managers have taken against her.

And so I have spent the last few hours railing against the injustice of this act, and wondering how she is, worrying for her mental health. Because she is not well, and has been suffering from stress, and has been struggling under the burden of knowing that something isn’t quite right.

To be faced with the truth of one’s unpopularity – because that is what it is – how does one overcome that? I am outraged on her behalf, and so bitterly disappointed that the expected outcome is the actual one, that my own success in this race is tainted – poisoned, even.

What should I do? What would you do in my place?


17 thoughts on “command-option-escape

  1. Honestly? I would be thankful I was offered a job. You have a daughter to think about. This economy sucks! If you’ve been offered a job, take it. Yes, it’s terrible that your friend didn’t get the job, but what can you do? I’m not saying this to be mean, but you really have to think about you and your family. Take the job. Your friend will have to figure something else out. Now, it’s not to say that you can’t be there for her, but outside of that I don’t know that there is much else you can do.

    (It should be noted that I said all of this because I’ve been struggling to find full-time work for the last year and a half.)

    • Yes, I was thinking of your struggle when I wrote this and realise it sounds precious to worry about ethics in a situation like this. I am torn between making quite an exciting but risky career move abroad and staying here. I’m not sure what to do. And I know I am speaking from a privileged position. The reality is I will probably lose this job again b/c the organisation itself is creaking… probably dying. I wish you luck with your search. Design has taken a beating and with easy access to software, everyone thinks she or he can do it. It’s a skill that has become devalued. It’s a very tough market out there.

  2. This is a tough one. The second option sounds so romantic – travels, a chance at rebirth and self-discovery – but at what cost? It’s not an offer like the position with your current organization, but it does sound so very appealing, but could your family withstand this, do you want it to? They both seem equally risky as far as permanence, even though only one is definitive about the timeline to redundancy, the other is just finishing with the stress-inducing process and could find itself in the same process again.
    I’d say accept the current offer you have, and explore the other option. This ensures you have a job, and if the second option comes through with an offer you can’t refuse, then don’t.

    • Thanks, Melanie. It’s a difficult one and I’ve been round and round it in my head. The other one does sound amazing, but it is definitely the harder option – striking out on my own with my daughter, finding a nanny (doesn’t that sound so bourgeois! but I wouldn’t be able to manage without one – and everyone who has children has a nanny out there), finding a home, working long hours… it’s not all romantic, by any means. I’ll be living for the weekends – and holidays. It will be a harder job and it will be much harder to return – because we will have to return, and the question that keeps coming up is, to what? I will probably accept the London post and see whether I can take a sabbatical or similar to work abroad a year down the line. Ultimately, I can’t say no to security.

  3. It would take an awful lot of faith to take the job abroad. Yes, it could be an exciting opportunity that leads to other exciting opportunities down the road, but do you need the stress of not knowing what you will do a year from now? Finding another job, moving back to London, or staying abroad, … to say nothing about how Ben factors into this in terms of visitation. You’ve come a long way recently, and maybe peace and security is the most exciting adventure right now.

    • You have a point. Certainly London is the easiest option… and when I think about it, my whole body relaxes. But I’d really some change in my life… maybe it’s a question of making some changes closer to home.

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  5. I like the idea of accepting the London gig, while still exploring the one abroad. The London job is at least as stable as possible (at the moment); and then if the other is meant to be, everything will fall into place. No chance of doing either from “home”? Maybe doing the London gig, WHILE doing the other one, from abroad?

    • I’m working on a plan… although both jobs are heavy going, so not possible to do simultaneously. Still don’t know whether I got the other one. Am rather tempted to just stay where I am. So much less hassle!

  6. ‘Tis true about being less hassle to stay put. Still, it’s always good to keep interviewing and keep those skills honed (if you want a new venture or not). Unfortunately, I have not kept my interview skills up… I’ve been almost 9 years as a stay at home mom and cakorator, without any interviews; so if I have to go back to work, I’ll have a tough time getting back in the game!

      • Yes and no… It would help financially, as orders aren’t consistent. And it would be nice to have adult socialization on a regular basis. On the other hand, it’s hard to find a job that would allow me to be home when my kids are (paying for a sitter would eat up any wages I earned).

      • This is always the problem, isn’t it? Trying to find work that works around the children. Perhaps you can try some part-time work (if you really want to go down that path). Maybe you could try volunteering in an organisation that you fancy working at… that could lead to some work. At least it will give you some experience?

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