As you may or may not know, I recently moved back to Phoenix. My husband and I both grew up here and consider this to be "home," despite spending more than a third of our marriage in either Texas or Florida.
Coming home means catching up. Catching up with friends, family and old colleagues. Now, many of these people are people I still interact with on Facebook and whatnot, but there are always those who aren't active in social media, or those who I just am not connected to that way for whatever reason.
Since we've been back, I've found out how some of my old colleagues from Wells Fargo are doing.
They've all been promoted.
Which isn't surprising. However, when I learned the "why" and "how" and "when" of their promotions, I felt... conflicted.
You see, there were three of us who were very close at work. We all liked each other, we all liked our boss, and he liked all of us. We all were good employees, with strong performances and versatile skill sets.
If I'd had my druthers, I'd have stayed working in that market, for that boss, forever.
But I didn't.
We left Phoenix for Texas in 2007. This was pretty much the worst thing that could have ever happened to my career, for a lot of reasons I won't go into in detail. Suffice it to say that my management style did not mesh with their expectations, despite in-depth interviews on their part and a recommendation from the Regional President on my behalf (she was my boss's boss's boss at the time, and in a company that big, that was a big deal).
At the end of 2007, I left Wells Fargo for good.
It tore my heart out. I loved that company, I loved the team I was managing. I had so many great experiences and wonderful people that I truly considered mentors, but that particular situation had grown so toxic that I really felt I had no other option available to me.
Remember how I told you there were three of us in Phoenix who were in the same place professionally?
The other two are both Market Presidents now. Our boss, the guy we all loved and respected? He's a Regional President. He was promoted and as soon as he had openings in his markets, he put his former employees in those openings.
If I had stayed, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be in the same place.
Here's the conflict: That job that they're in now? Big money. B-I-G money. You've heard all the rhetoric about banking executives and blah blah blah. Yes. It's true. They make a lot of money. Right now... we're not doing so hot financially (something about "law school tuition" or something or other).
I was good at my job. I was well-connected, well-respected and I enjoyed it. I liked getting dressed in a suit every day, I liked conducting meetings and pitching ideas to HR and L&D teams. I liked that I felt important, and I liked that everybody knew that I knew what I was talking about all the time.
I have a son with major learning disabilities. School, in the traditional sense, is not a reasonable choice for him. I have two other boys who need their mother and who are better off because I'm around all the time.
If I had stayed at Wells Fargo...? I don't think my boys would be getting what they needed. My oldest certainly wouldn't. He likely would have gone undiagnosed and we would instead be talking about how he is being held back and struggling with behavior issues.
I'm so grateful that I made the "wrong" decision back in 2007.
I'm so glad that my career tanked so that my home life could flourish.
I'm so grateful that I was in a place where I could clearly see what was happening with my son, and we could get him the help he needed. I'm glad that I'm in a position to return to school to become a better parent and educator for my family.
I love where I am, what I am doing and why I am doing it. I enjoy it more than I enjoyed the bank (and that's really saying something!).
But, if I'm being completely honest, I'm also a little wistful to see "what could have been."