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Make Hard Choices.

I’m 6 months into a career job with one of the Big Four, working as a Tax Advisor. I moved myself and my bags again for training, again for a new city, again for a new contract, again for a new commute, again for a new office, and again – new colleagues. January to June was spent in Aberdeen, June to July was Hackney, July to October was spent in tax training and living in Bermondsey, and since October I’ve been in Reading. That’s only 2018!

When I returned to Scotland to graduate in November, I went for lunch with the CEO and Director of a new children’s charity. Driving away from the interview, I received a job offer exceeding my salary expectations and with the offer of a permanent contract. They agreed to pay a moving allowance, house me for a month until I settle, and make some technical changes to the contract.

The offer is to work as a Research and Audit Lead on a fully-funded project building paediatric wards all around the world and collecting data. The data is to demonstrate the link between investing in children’s surgery and the positive economic GDP of a nation. There is three months training in Yale and an annual BBQ at the founder’s house. It’s based in Scotland with global travel every 6 weeks and the chance to persuade governments and donors to scale up a project that has already been proven to work.

It’s beyond a dream job because the capacity to dream that big is required.

Meanwhile, back with the Big Four I’m really enjoying the tax advisory. It’s an entirely different experience where adding value across a broad spectrum of clients is clear. Feedback from management has been positive and all levels of Boss created time to talk through the Charity offer. There are long term career prospects and Reading is chill - my flatmates are genuinely lovely.

Either choice that I take I know I will be happy with.

How is the heck did I get into this position? I’ve weighed up all the pros- and cons- and still managed a perfect balance. Either job would be amazing because they are both interesting and pay well over the long term. Personally, I just need to be intellectually challenged and paid, and I’m happy.

Why am I writing this out? Because with the balance of the jobs, I cannot tip it either way.

I’ve spoken to myself, my friends, my flatmates, current colleagues, potential colleagues, and no-one can give me an answer. I’ve tried the money angle, I’ve tried the "in ten years’ time" angle, I’ve tried the satisfaction angle; I’ve tried every conceivable angle to come to a decision. I called the Head of Indirect Tax for advice which he gallantly gave.

Taking the whole situation as a blessing was one approach, tackling it like a negotiation game was another – I am always one to try and live the experience – and I am coming up blank.

But tonight, I realised that for the first time in my life comfort and predictability trumps opportunity. I always advise making hard choices actively; that’s why I am not going to pick one opportunity out of a hat, despite being massively tempted to.

The honest answer is, I’ve had a copy of the new contract signed and printed in my bag for a week. If I was going to send it, I would have.

The only missing piece was realising I am not who I thought I was and that times change.

The new job is a very powerful opportunity to be a part of an influential team who do a lot of good on a global scale and has come as a timely reminder that you don’t have to take every opportunity that comes your way. *

In the whole process, it was also interesting – on a personal level - that there was no tangible counter offer from my current employer and the nil impact that had on my final decision. Genuinely, my own contentedness is enough. I don’t mind if I don’t get a promised pay rise per the timeline that has been suggested. I am calm, and I am happy, and this year has been one big decision after the other.

One day, I am going to look back – no matter how this works out - and be proud of myself for taking a big decision on my own and in my own time. Granted, it has taken me a week and my head has been buzzing but I think my thought process has worked itself out. I’ve no idea what the future holds but, in this case, I made a hard choice and I can carry that forward with me.

I’m content. And for now, that’s plenty.

I’m sticking with tax.


*You also don’t have to explain it to anyone, but I’ve been going around in my own head in circles for days, so this is as much for me as for anyone else.

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