Why I Just Turned Down The Opportunity To Be More Than A Receptionist
I have two Bachelor’s degrees and I work as a receptionist. I make $13 per hour and consider myself lucky that this job offers benefits like health insurance, even though I don’t currently take advantage of them. I work more than 20 hours per week, but less than 40. (It’s almost ironic that I chose this job over a more prestigious position — which also happened to pay significantly less. But that’s a story for another time.)
I just turned down the opportunity for a better job.
Not the offer but the opportunity; the chance to find out the details, apply and interview, and either get or not get the job. The uncertainty, however, isn’t why I said no.
Practically, I should change my mind and say yes, I want to try for it, before the door completely closes on the opportunity. If my parents knew about it, they would ask what the matter with me is, and shake their heads in disappointment, probably thinking, All that education and she’s choosing to be a receptionist. To my parents, my current job is little more than a joke.
But it’s worth noting that I’m at work right now while I’m writing this article.
To me, my job is not a joke because it allows me the free time to read and write that a normal 9:00–5:00 job wouldn’t. Because I work most evenings, I can be more flexible with my morning hours, which also makes it easier when I have to go to doctor’s appointments, catch up on the housework I tend to neglect because I don’t like doing it, and take care of the dog.
I value and appreciate the extra time that I have during the day because of the job that I have. Bonus: I actually like my job.
But, as a young millennial still fresh out of college with little savings and both degrees in the liberal arts, I have to work to live. I’m fortunate that my fiancé has a good job that pays the majority of our bills. I’m very fortunate because I know that the job he has is not something he’s passionate about, or even really enjoys doing, and he does it every day without complaining or resenting me for not contributing more to our household. My two paychecks each month go to pay rent and basically nothing else.
So the prospect of making more money, to pay off more things or to save more money for the future, was enticing. It still is. But at what point do you sacrifice the job that gives you what you most value in order to accept the job that makes it easier to live your life?
It’s important to be willing to make sacrifices, especially if there are other people to consider. But some sacrifices aren’t worth making.
The job opportunity has been on my radar for at least a few weeks now, because it’s actually a position opening up at the same place where my fiancé works. But when he and I talked about it on the phone today — when he was heading home from work and I was just an hour or so into my shift — he pointed out that I haven’t brought it up to him at all. I really haven’t asked him for any details. I didn’t think about it at all during the long weekend we just spent together, and he pointed out that my hesitation is probably all the answer I was looking for. It might be a great opportunity, with a lot of potential, but it’s an opportunity that I’m not really interested in and therefore would likely regret taking.
It’s not the first chance at a different (read: probably better but not necessarily) job that I’ve politely declined, and it likely won’t be the last. It sounds ridiculous to say that I feel pretty fulfilled, servicing customers and stocking cups and towels for $13 an hour, five days a week. But I do, and I think the reason why is this: I’m still at work, with one hour left in my shift for this evening. And I’m about to hit “Publish” on another piece of writing that means something to me.