In my previous instalment, I talked about the process of getting an interview for my position as a lab manager, my interactions with prospective bosses, and the offer I got. Today, I’ll talk about when the offer was made, how and when I told my former lab, and how I got to where I am after the interview.
After spending 2 days visiting my former place of training, I had an offer, not in writing, but still, an offer and was asked to consider it, wait for the formal letter and think about things I hadn’t mentioned (mostly perks) to make sure everything I wanted was spelled out. The formal offer didn’t come until early February of this year, mostly because many people at different levels in the institution had to approve of the job and other details. I hung on for that, but kept working as diligently as possible in my position at the time.
Between the interview and the offer, I spent some time at home with my family and got engaged. The levels of excitement and stress were through the roof, but I kept thinking that 2013 would bring many good changes to my life, on the personal and professional fronts.
I wanted to wait until I had confirmation from my now boss to sit down and have “the talk” with my former boss. At my former place of employment, I had at least 3 levels of people to respond to. My immediate supervisor and colleagues knew what was happening. But I didn’t want to tell the person above them until I was sure that, a) the offer wouldn’t fall through, and b) I was definitely taking it.
I’ve been asked whether I would have considered staying in NYC, had I been made a counteroffer. I wasn’t sure whether I’d get a counteroffer (based on previous departures from the same group, who weren’t made counteroffers). My former lab was facing a bit of financial pressure, and I know my boss (not my supervisor) would not fight to keep me there based on the economical landscape his lab was facing. The perks and projects at the new place seemed more in tune with what I done for my PhD and the attitude was definitely different. That said, I absolutely adore NYC and if I ever get the chance to return, with better pay, I would take the job without much hesitation.
The day I got the offer, I printed out the letter and walked over to my boss’s office (just in case he asked about details or mentioned the word counteroffer). My heart was racing. The meeting was short and sweet. He asked me to consult with HR to check what were the steps to take, thanked me for my service and asked if it was OK to post my job ASAP. I agreed, walked over to HR and started the process. Mostly, it was making sure that lab property stayed in the lab, that I’d hand over important materials to the appropriate people, and train lab members on the tasks I’d been doing.
I emailed my prospective boss and gave him the news and was finally able to set a timeline for my departure.
Leaving my former lab was bittersweet. On the one hand, I was taking an exciting job in a city I knew and had developed somewhat after I left, and the new job would bring more responsibilities and rewards with it. On the other, I was leaving people I trusted and worked well with. I was leaving projects that had made it up to publication, valuable contacts and a vibrant science community.
In retrospect, it was the right decision. My stress levels are somewhat less. Even with the added responsibilities, I like what I’m doing now. But I’ve never felt alone or left behind, like I did in my postdoc. And I have yet to have a stressful encounter with my bosses, something I did experience early on with my previous boss (not my immediate supervisor). The vibe is a bit more formal here, and people refer to me as often as they can as lab manager. It’s very humbling, and it feels good.
In the next entry, I hope to discuss some of the important things I tried to negotiate and how I did it. I wanted to sweeten the deal as much as possible before taking on the new job. Stay tuned!