Why is instinct not enough?

I spend a lot of time thinking about my options. I think before I create the options. While I’m creating the options. After the options have opened themselves up. Even after I’ve made a gut-based decision I still umm and ahh for as long as I have to. I know I do this because generally once I have committed to a path, I’m immutable. I might decide that path is the wrong path eventually but usually I follow through on my decisions. A few weeks ago I got called by a member of the recruitment team at a publishing company. I don’t care much for their flagship product but I respect the brand so I googled the company to get a sense of their culture and thought there were far too many power suits for me to ever be comfortable. My initial instincts, this is not the job for me.

I went in for a chat with her  anyway, spoke to my brother subsequently and found out they publish some of my favourite stuff too. This piqued my interest enough to properly prepare for my main interview. I discovered that the head of department has worked for The Guardian and Sony Computer Entertainment, two companies that I would literally give an arm and a leg to work for, and suddenly I really wanted to work there. How else could one learn and grow in a career than by working for someone who you admire and respect? I was promised feedback by the following day and heard nothing for two days longer than expected so I set myself up for disappointment by mentally giving up on getting good news. Then I got a call on the Friday confirming that I was invited to the final round of interviews with the head of interactive media, the head of department as well as the product manager. Exciting stuff!  I had a great time with the people who interviewed me. Time went by very quickly and we laughed. I’d never had an interview that overran previously but this one did. I also love the vibe at their offices.My instincts, this is totally the place for me.

Now, here’s the thing. I love my job. I can talk about it for days. Even while I was carrying out the plan that was my graduate job as a software engineer in a large consultancy, I knew that I was destined to do what I do now. I might dislike aspects of my job – like office politics or doing too much of one thing, but I thrive on the day-to-day tasks that I’m responsible for. So I didn’t really need to do any preparation – unlike when I got my graduate job. I studied for a couple of days and had notes at the ready for the telephone interview. Or when I applied for my first job in this career because I desperately wanted it and knew that I as punching way above my weight for someone with zero experience in the field. However, I don’t love fast fashion so much especially as I used to work in travel and adored that. I am, however excited about print and therefore publishing is great. My instincts, this a great place to go into.

After a week of waiting, they came back to me with an offer at the salary that I’m currently on and unlike before, I asked them for a raise. Now, I’ve got an offer of a couple grand more than they previously offered and three thousand less than I’d asked for originally. My instincts, oh no! Not enough of a raise.

So, I had to draw up a pros and cons list.


  • Not enough of a pay rise
  • Potentially missing out on a bonus at current job
  • 6 months of missing out on employer pension match – as you have to be employed for 6 months with the new guys to get that
  • Pissing off my current boss (since he already has to replace one member of the team that quit Tuesday last week and hire at least one other person anyway to manage our total workload)
  • Losing the benefits of the current knowledge of the domain that I work on and relationships I’ve built that make day-to-day tasks easier
  • Potentially moving from a  fairly flexible way of working – I start at half 9 most days but can start earlier any day I like without hassle – to a rigid 9am – 5.30pm one. I also work from home on average once a week.
  • Losing out on a higher pay offer if I went for a different job


  • A pay rise is a pay rise no matter how small
  • 4 free days off at Christmas that make it more likely that I can visit family or at least be refreshed going into the New Year
  • Working for a global brand
  • Potential for work travel to 13 different countries
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Working with someone who’s inspiring and friends with one of my favourite people in industry
  • The possibility of maximising my potential based on the fact that the new company is not doing the ridiculous / detrimental cost cutting (think penny wise pound foolish) that limits me at this job
  • Training and personal development budgets
  • The challenge of learning and creating – the opportunity in publishing is amazing
  • Variety – they have 13 different publications that I will definitely work on
  • Current state of unrest / dissatisfaction and demotivation within my employer owing to Brexit and a lack of interest in unnecessary spending

I realised that my priorities for work in the context of my goal to retire as soon as possible are:

  1. Build a brand / become renown in the industry
  2. Expand my skill-set / learn / challenge myself
  3. Work on products or in industries I care about
  4. Earn more money – but work smarter not harder

Am I certain of getting a job in the next 3-6 months that will offer me the amount of money I asked for? The indicative answer, based on the fact that even when I applied for more senior roles recently I didn’t get an interview, is no. I don’t want to brag but I could only have priced myself out as I’m solid on the knowledge, experience and reputation to at least have got called in for an interview. Does this job offer me the opportunity to do all these? Yes. So, in a couple of months I will be starting this new job. Worst case scenario, my boss will hold me to my 3 month notice period but I doubt it. I’m struggling to contain my excitement and pretend I have long term goals for this place because I have to wait till my boss gets back in the office to quit.

If I had gone with my initial instincts, I wouldn’t have gone for that first meeting with the recruitment team.


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