Tuesday, April 03, 2007

An Offer I Can't Refuse?

An offer that I can't refuse? I think I've finally met one of those. Well, rationally speaking, it was fabulous in terms of money - basic salary, quarterly bonuses, stocks. They even threw in other "expat" type perks like relocating me back home, shipping my stuff back, providing a month of free storage, even housing me for 60 days instead of the usual 30 days. That part really threw me off and completely blew me away, the whole relocation bit. I think the basic money bit looked attractive, but the second part really made me realise how much they WANTED me. Golly... it was a great feeling no doubt, to be so wanted. The job scope sounded really challenging and exciting as well, in an industry that was a growth and not sunset one, for a change.

But, but, but despite all this absolute fabulousness, I struggled against it. I was tempted no doubt, like a moth to a flame, but perhaps it was the exact analogy. Will I get burnt for flying too close to a dangerous flame? There is, after all, no free lunch. I would expect to be working my tail off, with no sense of personal time, despite all the assurances of work-life balance. How could that be, when you are literally working US hours, flying to the US all the time for starters, and then flying everywhere else in Asia as well? From a zero balance in frequent flyer miles to the top-tiered membership in 4 months was what I could expect. So for the glamour, the money, the excitement, just be prepared to put in punishing hours, chronic fatigue, perhaps resentment of being sucked into the mainstream corporate culture so quickly once again. Am I ready? Is this what I want? How I envisaged my next 5 years to be?

With the infinite wisdom of my 37 years of accumulated experience, both at the workfront and personally, I think I can unequivocally say that money really isn't everything. Of course, critics say it's only those who have money who say that. But whatever it is, how much money does one need? And can spend? And how long do we know we have, to devote our lives to work and accumulating all the material wealth? What will I have to show for it at the end? A swanky apartment? A high-flying corporate existence? Expensive meals? Actually, just looking at what I've recapped- it's not as though I haven't been there and done that, and am waiting just for this moment to present itself.

Hence at this point, I can safely say that for the first time in my life, I've turned down an offer that I (thought I) can't refuse. Or at least I know that I'll be turning it down next Monday when the deadline to consider the offer is up.

On another note, I've got yet another offer. Slightly different. An offer to go "high-end" camping (if there is such a concept) this Easter long weekend. I'm no longer the camping girl I was 20 years ago. I remember my last trip in a tent on Sentosa island, the ground was hard and cold. I think I gave up trying to sleep and instead spent all night chatting with some friends. So here I am, 20 years later, sitting here contemplating if I do wanna go camping. Somehow this decision seems harder than that regarding that fabulous job offer. I suppose a side issue that I am grappling with is where the offer came from. I'm still trying to work that one out...


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