Remember when I posted during vacation about the offer that was made to us by our VP? I’ve been meaning to write about it but frankly, I’m not really sure who does and doesn’t read this blog and there’s always a good chance that people that I really don’t want reading it, do.
But I’m sticking my neck out anyway because I want to tell you all about it.
The day we flew out of here and to Anchorage, we had nearly 12 hours to kill before our flight to NC. Of course, that meant that we had to stop by the head office because of course, I forgot to make a few last minute phone calls to said office before embarking on our vacation. I’d just called the store on my cell to make sure Mark was doing okay and he told me that my boss had called looking for us. I told him we were stopping by the office anyway and didn’t give it another thought.
We’d barely walked in the door before our boss spotted us and told us that he and the VP wanted to talk to us. He whisked us into his office, we exchanged pleasantries, my boss closed the door behind him and suddenly there we were: All four of us sitting down together. “I know you guys are leaving tonight and I wanted to talk to you about a great opportunity.”
My stomach lurched. Almost two years ago to that very day, we were “offered” an “opportunity”, given the pitch, then promptly told that the offer was non-negotiable. It wasn’t actually said that if we didn’t take the opportunity, we could say goodbye to our jobs, but it was implied. Loud and clear.
Howard and I looked at each other and the VP immediately saw the look of dread on our face.
“Let me just explain what it is, and then you two can make the decision. We’re not twisting your arms or forcing you by any means.”
That made us feel a little better. The VP could see the relief on our face and gave a little chuckle.
The offer was a move to a village about 200 miles downriver from where we presently are. It’s a bigger store with more volume (which is something we’ve done before and actually kind of miss), and we would once again be training future managers. We would have a bigger house right on the river, all expenses paid, and a substantial payraise if we accepted. He then went on to show us pictures saved on his laptop.
“Can we think about it?” I asked.
“Of course, and please know this isn’t something we’re forcing you to do. We have other people on the list but you and Howard were our first choice because you’ve done so well in the past. Just let me know your decision by Friday” The VP assured me. It was Tuesday.
I have to admit the offer was tempting and we were flattered.
We were also sick to our stomachs with indecision.
All of you who read this blog on a regular basis know how much we love it here in our village. How much we love the friends we’ve made, how much we consider this place “home.” What you haven’t read about is the difficulty we’ve had in filling the previous manager’s shoes at the store. He was here for 12 years. The community loved him and his family. We’ve spent the past year and a half trying to prove that we’re just as awesome as he was. Just in the past six months have I felt, in spite of all the good times, and the good people, that we’ve finally turned a corner. That people are willing to accept that we care just as much about this community as the previous manager. Dusty tells us he’s always felt that way and our close friends here do too but no one knows what it’s like having to come in and become a integral part of a small village, unless you yourself have done it as well. Add that to living up to someone as awesome as the previous manager and you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Of course it would have been easy just to accept the offer and move on. Let someone else try to fill his shoes, cut our losses, and start over again somewhere new. Where the manager turnover is about every 2 or 3 years and people are somewhat used to the changes.
We talked and thought about little else that week and there was a part of me that resented my boss and the VP for presenting this to us right as we were leaving for vacation. We were going on vacation to purposely NOT think about work. Now we could think of nothing else.
By Friday morning, we sat in my memaw’s living room and made our decision. We were turning down the offer.
We decided that money wouldn’t buy the friendships we’d made and the satisfaction of having overcome such a hurdle in the past year. We also felt like it would be a slap in the face to the community. We’d worked so hard to prove our loyalty. To pack up and leave would seem like an abandonment at this point. Sure we’d promise to see our friends and visit once in a while but we knew the likelihood of that happening was pretty slim. Flying village to village isn’t as easy as you would think.
I sent the letter of decline that afternoon, stating almost verbatim what I just put in that last paragraph. My boss emailed back almost immediately saying he understood completely.
The VP has yet to respond. I hope it’s because he’s busy and understands our decision and doesn’t see a reason to respond and not because he’s planning on doing the same thing he did two years ago.