Recently, Josh and I bought a house. It was a crazy, scary process that had enough ups and downs I thought it would never happen. The biggest problem, and a lesson I hope to share, was that I changed jobs right at the end of the loan. Did I know this was a problem? No. Is this a problem? YES! So first things first, never change jobs during a loan. But even with the job change, we managed to get the loan and close right on time.
Everyone told me that I shouldn’t have taken the other job because it messed up me getting the house. While it did cause some setbacks, and I still don’t know exactly how we managed to pull it all off, things worked out (thank you prayer). After everything was said and done, I sat back and thought to myself, did I make a mistake in changing jobs? Even if it had meant losing the house? While I will fully admit in the moment I swore to my realtor that had I know I wouldn’t have switched jobs. Could I have afforded to miss such an opportunity?
Life never is going to hand us opportunities when it is convenient. I had a new job offer during a loan. My father lost his job right when his own business was starting to grow. My brother got an internship the required him to take a semester off of school. All of these times the opportunity was clear, but it came at a time that we would have never chosen.
In my own life I have adopted a three-step process to evaluate opportunities:
Do I want it?
This is the first question to ask yourself for a reason—it is the most important! If you don’t even want it, why are you wasting your time? My Papa always had a rule when we were dating someone—that we had to be attracted to them! Seems silly, but it makes all the sense in the world when it comes down to the reality of your decision. So in lack of better words, are you even attracted to this opportunity?
Have I weighed the price?
Everything has a price. Somethings are minimal, and others cost far more than they are worth. In high school, I wanted to be loved and admired. I found a form of this through theatre. It was fun, but I took two full semesters of theatre for two years. I had amazing experiences, yes, but I also missed the opportunity to take other courses such as marketing, computer tech, and get enough credit to graduate with my Associate’s Degree. Was this necessarily a wrong choice—I don’t think so. But had I really asked myself the price of my high school fun I think I would have done things a little differently.
Will this get me to where I want to be 5 years from now?
This question sounds a lot like question #2, but it is slightly different. Sometimes opportunities don’t seem to come with a price. I was recently offered another job by an agency three times the size of the one I currently work at. I had just barely switched jobs, but usually a job change means more money and the opportunity to leave behind any problem clients. All good things. However, in the split second I considered going in for an interview, I realized that working at this new agency, while an awesome opportunity, wasn’t where I saw myself in five years. I really just want to be a freelance writer with lots of tiny redheaded babies running around my house. For that reason, switching jobs (again) wasn’t a good fit.
Life is full of opportunities and choices. I write about them a lot, but that is because they are all around us and pass in the blink of an eye. Remember that the three questions I listed above are supposed to help, but nothing replaces the feeling you get in your gut. You can read about how to channel that inner feeling in my earlier blog posts. Listen to yourself, live your life, and keep moving forward.