Now that the decision is made, we’re in free fall. It’s a treacherous time for our little plan. It’s vulnerable, susceptible to temptation. And we even expected it.
After I handed in my notice, it got quiet. Too quiet. I knew something was cooking in the upper managerial ranks of my division, behind the suddenly, and often, closed doors in our office. It was an offer, and a pretty generous one. One I didn’t see coming, nor prepare myself to respond. It was an offer of exclusive telecommute with a salary increase. I expected the salary offer, but not a home office, and certainly not both.
I’d prepared myself to politely decline a salary increase, even a generous one, rationalizing that after taxes and higher expectations, it wouldn’t net me better off. But a 100% telecommute scenario was something I thought only existed in blogs and at start-ups. No more traffic. No more fussy work clothes. No more scrambling to get everyone’s teeth brushed in the morning. Was this the best of both worlds scenario I never thought was possible? Or was it too good to be true? These questions collectively became the subject of several days of discussion in our house.
On the surface, we can’t argue that it seems like the perfect setup. I’d continue to earn a great salary, keep my group health and other benefits, and with less time and energy spent on commuting, blow-drying, and applying makeup, I might even tip the scales in favor of our home life. The hard facts are even harder to ignore: I’d no longer spend 6+ hours on the road or the couple-hundred dollars a month in fuel and tolls, but I also wouldn’t be cutting our income in half or paying a heist in monthly health-care premiums. It’s not the all-or-nothing option we’d planned on that would have me totally focused on running the house and caring for the children, but it’s a compromise worth considering. On the other hand, less time in the office could mean less control of my staff and projects, less face time could lead to political alienation, and the trade-off in expectations could mean longer hours and more travel. We could actually end up worse off, and at best my children would still spend their weekdays in daycare. I’d still be splitting my attention, and probably working harder to compensate on both ends, a scenario we already know isn’t working for us.
So now what? Am I crazy?