Gm530 Paper--Corporate or Cowtown
Business and Management
Submitted By pbateman1
Corporate or Cowtown?
“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune; or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them?” These opening lines of William Shakespeare’s infamous soliloquy from “Hamlet” idealize my sentiments towards my decision problem: To pursue the path of the ‘Corporate Ladder’; one of a simplistic, ‘bare bones’, and uncomplicated lifestyle that I have in Columbus, OH (aka “Cowtown”)? I have hit the mid-life checkpoint and desire to have a plan in place so that it does not evolve into the proverbial mid-life ‘crisis’. My decision for this problem is based on objectives that meet my physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual wishes and goals.
Among the alternatives I considered, I selected “Relocating/Transferring to another state with my current company” . I believe this alternative will provide an ideal mix of consequences and benefits such as flexibility, opportunity, challenge, short-term change and long-term sustainability, ability to modify the decision and its subsequent outcomes; as well as acceptable tradeoffs. The primary factors that led me to this selection are that this alternative lends itself to buying more time and gathering information to determine if this alternative is, in fact, the best alternative for me. This method helps to mitigate risk, but more importantly achieves my fundamental objectives, which were the determining factors for my decision selection.
The nature of my decision problem is that of a life choice—the path I desire to construct for myself heading into the future—what my career choice(s) will be, overhauling and simplifying my priorities, getting rid of the dross. At first glance, this may first appear to be too broad of a decision problem; but I have considered it for quite some time. The essence of my decision problem is that I am at a pivotal point, a fork in the road in my life; and instead of being forced into a position where I have particular consequences because of indecision; I have purposed to have a plan so that my life heads in the direction I desire. The scope of my decision problem, however, is an entirely different matter altogether. The tentacles of my decision have far-reaching consequences and many linked decisions. It will affect others (my children, co-workers, and even my friends); it will affect my finances (now and in the future); it will affect my career path; it will affect my relationships; it will impact my health; it will determine my impact on others.
The causes (triggers) for my decision problem are three-fold:
1) I was divorced in 2007 and, as with many individuals, it turned my world upside-down. I had been married 22 years (to the day) when my children and I had to move out of our home. I had no idea, at the time (of course) of the ‘fall-out’ that divorce could entail. It truly is a death.
2) My (adult) children have almost completed college themselves. My son plans on enlisting in the military immediately upon graduation (June 2011) and my daughter will graduate in June 2012 (if she stays on her current course). Both of my children are very independent and free-spirited and I have already had to break a few blades on the ‘helicopter’ that I’ve donned for most of their lives. It is difficult ‘letting them go’ and allowing them to live their own lives; but I’m learning I am being propelled into an entirely different phase of my life as well---I’m officially an “empty nester”.
3) I have grown extremely weary of Ohio’s erratic, dreary weather. It definitely affects my mood and physical health, as well as my attitude and “get-up-and-go” outlook. I am ready to be somewhere warmer, temperate, by the water (if possible), with friendly and warm people. I know such a place exists; and I need to find the location that is a good fit for me.
4) I have always been risk-averse by nature. My timidity and hesitancy about new or risky initiatives has stunted my growth, and I believe I am ready for that to change. (1) I want to develop into a more adaptable, flexible, independent, risk-taking being, while still maintaining my spiritual foundation and grounded beliefs in morality.
I believe this decision problem has been in the making for quite some time. It is definitely an evolving process and pieces of it have been unfolding since my divorce. Because I was instantly placed in a position of being a single mother providing for two children on my own, I had no choice but to survive. I quickly made changes to the structure of my finances; moved into a supportive, stable home-environment, and obtained a new, better-paying job within a year of my divorce. I believe that was the first step in this decision process. (2)
My fundamental objectives are as follows: a) Opportunities to learn and develop b) Ability to see my children when I want c) Being able to meet all financial obligations and needs (and a few wants) d) Want to live in a warmer, temperate climate e) Flexibility in my work schedule
I have identified the following alternatives (keeping in mind, that these alternatives may change or adapt over time):
a) Continue in current position/location and work on moving up incrementally and over time to positions of higher pay, interest, and variety
b) Seek another position (career path) with a different company that has the potential for expedited growth and a higher salary
c) Relocate (transfer) within current company to another state and stabilize in current position or work in a different position (e.g. teaching) d) Start my own business (nonprofit organization)
The consequences of my alternatives are varied and affect each of my objectives (giving them either a low-to-high or a moderate-to-high range of achieving each objective). (3) Because this decision problem is evolving, a process that is adapting and changing as time passes; I have to put myself in the future and project what the consequences of my decision will be. (4) Will I be able to earn a high-enough salary to make ends meet? Will I be able to see/visit my children often? Will a transfer within my company or a move to another job give me the flexibility in my schedule, the work environment, and the right mix of challenge, opportunity, and support that I desire/need? Will I be able to live in a warmer, more temperate climate? Do I have the wherewithal to successfully start my own business? The potential consequences and the linked uncertainties are complicated and, for me, the key will lie in meeting (to the highest level possible) my fundamental objectives. I know what I want and desire…..and need to create and work a plan to get there!
I am the primary stakeholder in this decision problem; however this decision would affect not only me. It would affect my co-workers, my close friends, and my children. The manager and co-workers of my current position/location value what I offer to the team. To transfer away may leave them lacking for the skill level I bring to the table (for a time). In addition, I currently live with one of my best friends and I have helped her out with her aging mother as part of my ‘compensation’ for living relatively rent-free for the last three years. And most importantly…..my children would be affected by this decision. Because one of my fundamental objectives is: To have the ability to see my (adult) children when I want; and my children are an integral part of my existence.....I must consider them key stakeholders in the effects of this decision.
What are my fundamental objectives?
1. Opportunities to learn and develop—I desire to stretch myself, challenge myself, open myself up to new experiences, step out of my “comfort zone”. (1) Having been considerably risk-averse and a very ‘glass half-empty’ type of individual a majority of my life; I have wearied of that mentality and desire to have a more positive outlook and ‘spin’ on life events and daily happenings. I wish to expand my knowledge base; acquire expertise in my field; network with colleagues and friends; try new things; and in general to grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially from where I am now.
2. To have the ability to see my (adult) children when I want—My children give me purpose. Although I may be criticized for my outlook on the importance I place on the role that my children play in my life; it is my personal choice to consider them and their needs/wants in much of what I do and why I do what I do on a day-to-day basis. Without sounding poetic and nostalgic, my children ‘give me reason to get up in the morning’ and I truly want to be available to them when they need me at a moment’s notice.
3. To be able to meet all financial obligations and needs (and a few wants)—I desire to be able to support myself financially…..to be able to pay my own bills and cover my own debt and risk investments. Even if I eventually re-marry, I desire to always have my ‘own’ money or at the very least access to the resources I need to survive. I do not want to have to depend on any other person(s) to take care of my financial obligations. I don’t need to be wealthy; but I do want to be able to support myself in such a way that even when I can no longer physically work—I am in a position to pay someone to care for me in my own home.
4. To be able to live in a warmer, temperate climate—Plain and simple, I abhor the cold, dreary, rainy climate that Ohio experiences much of the year. I would much rather find a way to cool down, than to have to find a way to stay warm! I also absolutely love the sound and view of water and its expanse; and it would be ‘fairy-tale’ dream-come-true to live close to the ocean. Thus, I desire to relocate to a warmer, more temperate climate that would alleviate my allergies, have more sunny warm days than rainy or dreary ones, and be as close to a body of water as possible. I also greatly desire to live in a place (such as described) where the people are as warm as the climate.
5. Flexibility in my work schedule—As I age, I find that the ability to move freely, have mobility and independence, as well as variability in my day-to-day schedule has become increasingly important to me. If I need to attend to a spur-of-the-moment call; I want to have the freedom to do so without fear of losing my job or even losing the credibility that I can do my job well. I have often thought of searching out a position/career that would involve a great deal of telecommuting as such would lend itself well to this objective.
The following are the possible scenarios (alternatives) that have played out in my mind for this decision problem: (5)
1. Continue in current position/location and work on moving up incrementally and over time to positions of higher pay, interest, and variety. This alternative would provide stability and predictability, but may continue to perpetuate my “comfort zone” mentality and bland (inconsistent) frame of mind with respect to my career/work environment, as well as my personal life. It may challenge me, but this would depend on the opportunities for new skill sets, training, and the ability to move either laterally or vertically within the company I currently work for. It would offer me the ability to see my (adult) children when I desire; however this may be short-lived because my son is planning on enlisting into the military June 2010 and my daughter should graduate from college June 2012 and I am confident she will be leaving Ohio at that time. I currently have a moderately flexible schedule, in that I can generally make arrangements for anytime I need to be out of my office environment; but I feel I’ve hit a “ceiling” (at least temporarily) for my current position’s salary.
2. Seek another position (career path) with a different company that has the potential for expedited growth. Just as I ‘stepped out on faith’ for my current position; I could do the same with another company/ another field or area of expertise. This alternative would certainly provide much opportunity for career growth and development; but may disrupt or stress other areas of my life that are operating efficiently and smoothly at this time. (e.g. my ability to see my children when I desire and my current flexibility of a work schedule). There is the possibility that I could relocate to a warmer, temperate climate with this alternative; but such a decision would involve multiple and strategic (cooperative) steps. This alternative would need to guarantee at least a 50% increase in my salary to be attractive, as well as a contract for longevity (at least 3-5 years).
3. Relocate (transfer) within current company to another state and stabilize in current position or work in a different position (e.g. teaching). This alternative would provide stability and a moderate level of transitional ease. Because I am already familiar with the company and this alternative would mean primarily relocating to a different geographical location; my main linked decisions would involve where to live, worship, and how I would be able to see my (adult) children when I desire. Because seeing my children or them being able to see me is near the top of my priority list, I would have to have a plan as to how, when, and with what frequency I could see them, before choosing this alternative. (This objective has a variable weight, because it is assuming that: a) My children will want to see me as often as I would desire; and b) They will have lifestyles that permit them to be able to see me frequently.) I would only choose a location to transfer to, that was warmer and more temperate; thus fulfilling one of my primary objectives. The flexibility of my schedule would be questionable, unless negotiated prior to accepting a transferred position; but I would have as much (if not more) opportunities for growth and development with this alternative as I would with Alternative 1.
4. Start my own business (nonprofit organization). This alternative is my “pie-in-the-sky” dream alternative at this juncture in my life; and I am aiming towards it eventually (as I am currently completing my Masters program in Management). This alternative would (at some point, hopefully) give me much flexibility in my schedule; but I know the reality of such a decision would require an extreme initial investment of time and resources, in order to succeed. This choice would also (in all probability) initially limit my ability to see my (adult) children when I desire for the same reason: Initial and/or ongoing investment of time and resources. I could choose to live/start a business in a warmer, more temperate climate; but as with Alternative 2, this would involve multiple steps and linked decisions to do so. The possibility and/or probability of meeting my financial obligations, needs, and wants would also depend on my monetary investment into such a business, as well as profit (initially and ongoing). This alternative would require an intricately-detailed business plan; and I feel the uncertainties and tradeoffs for this choice would be high and unpredictable at this juncture in my life.
I am recommending Alternative 3 as my selection for this decision problem for the following reasons: It provides the highest level of desirability in two of my priority objectives, which are a) Living in a warmer, more temperate climate, and b) Meeting my financial obligations, needs, and wants. It also provides for a high opportunity to grow and develop professionally, both laterally and vertically; as well as on a personal level. My objective of the Ability to see my children when desired does have a moderate level of uncertainty; but this is an acceptable tradeoff in this particular decision because I do not know, as previously mentioned, if my children will have the ability or desire to see me as much as I might.
The tradeoffs I utilized in the selection of this alternative are as follows:
• To live in a warmer, temperate climate may mean an increase in the cost of living, but this alternative would only be selected if there were a guarantee of a higher salary.
• My desire to learn and develop professionally, and meet my financial obligations and needs outweighs my desire for a flexible schedule. I am willing to devote the time necessary (have a less flexible schedule) in order to achieve growth opportunities in my career path.
• Starting my own business nor Seeking a position with a different company, would allow for flexibility of my schedule or to see my children whenever I want, due to constraints of time and responsibility. These two alternatives also require so many more linked decisions that would cause them to become too overwhelming and complicated at this juncture in my life.
I have always had a risk-averse profile and although I do seek opportunities for growth and development and the alternative itself contains risk-seeking behaviors; I do not wish for there to be so much change and subsequent “adaptability” required all at once that I am unhappy with the consequences. I desire to carefully and methodically (in a process-oriented design) take “baby-steps” towards becoming a more flexible, independent, adaptable, and risk-seeking individual both professionally and personally. (6)
Both my objectives and subsequent alternatives were arrived at and valuated on a Low-to-High scale that included the following criteria:
• Desirability (What is the “ideal” scenario for each objective?)
• Attainability (How will I be able to achieve what I want?)
• Probability (What is the likelihood/chances that I can reasonably meet all of my fundamental objectives?)
• Adaptability (How “reversible” is my decision choice? How easily can I modify my alternative if necessary?)
***See Appendix for Consequences Table***
The basis with which I evaluated factors that would determine the level of success for each of my objectives was through the use of several online tools such as articles and information addressing changing careers mid-life, relocating to another state, and eliminating obstacles in transferring to another position with one’s company. (7) The hopes for my desired consequences do not have a prediction reliability factor. The level of satisfaction with the “results” of my chosen alternative can only be measured by the weight(s) I assign to my personal risk-tolerance, the breadth of any linked decisions, and the level of desirability I attach to each.
Of course, there are uncertainties with this decision problem in general. For instance, there is no guarantee that I could obtain a new position with a different company, successfully start my own business, acquire a new position within my current company to which I can transfer, or be able to see my children whenever I want if I relocate or start my own business. Out of these possible uncertain scenarios, the one which I had the most access of information to, and which I could most control, was the acquiring of a new position within my current company. Because there is an internal job posting link through our employee website that I can constantly check to determine what positions are coming available that I may qualify for; reducing the level of uncertainty for this scenario made my selected alternative even more desirable.
Implementation, Monitoring, and Control
To implement my chosen alternative, I have established the following plan of action:
(1) Remain in current position (in current geographical location/Ohio) until both of my children graduate from college and/or begin their own full-time careers/jobs.
(2) Concurrently continue to develop desirable skill sets and obtain training and advanced development for possible positions within the company that are attractive to me. (Monitoring the company job-posting website to make sure I am selecting the “right” set of skills and qualifications to obtain or develop is crucial to this step.)
(3) Concurrently complete my MBA, and possibly a graduate certification.
(4) Secure a coach/mentor and seek advice from manager as to what steps I should be taking (roles I should be fulfilling) to enable myself to be groomed/ready for a job transfer/promotion.
(5) Apply for the transfer and concurrently map out plan for relocation logistics. (Securing lodging, knowing the city, establishing support system.)
Resources dedicated towards this alternative selection include: Taking advantage of any additional skills or training I can obtain, utilizing the leadership and mentorship of my current manager, and implementing/continuing a savings program for relocations expenses and becoming re-established in another state. Additional resources include utilizing any possible connections I may have in the area I choose to relocate to, such as personal friends or business contacts (future employer) to obtain assistance and information regarding housing, a place to worship, commuting issues, banking, shopping, and other conveniences/amenities in the area. I will take advantage of and learn from the talents and connections provided by my current manager, as well as instructors in my MBA classes and other professionals. But the key individual required to make this chosen alternative successful is ME!
Because this alternative is one that allows me to gather information as well as buy more time; it provides a built-in monitoring system. This choice will also allow me to implement a halfway alternative (Alternative 1) while working on the ideal selection for my decision problem, thereby allowing me to address other constraints through deferring total and permanent commitment. That is not to say, I have the luxury of procrastination and delaying this decision indefinitely; but having more time and the ability to gather more information will better enable me to dispel uncertainties and reduce risks even further.
Alternatives Continue in current position/location Seek position with a different company for more growth Relocate to another state and stabilize in current field Start my own business (nonprofit organization)
Opportunity to learn & develop High Very High High Very High
Ability to see my children when desired Moderate to High Low to Moderate Low to Moderate Moderate
Meet financial needs, wants, & obligations Moderate Moderate to High Moderate to High Low to Moderate
Live in a warmer, temperate climate Low Low to High High Moderate to High
Flexibility of work schedule Moderate Low Low to Moderate Moderate
(1) Twine, Tina. "Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone." EzineArticles.com. Christopher M. Knight. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. .
(2) "How Fear Can Stop a Career Change: Five Paralyzing Thoughts That Can Prevent Job Happiness." Suite101.com: Online Magazine and Writers' Network. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. .
(3) "Taking the Fear Out of Career Change: Asking the Right Questions." University of Minnesota. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. .
(4) "The 10-Step Plan to Career Change." Quintessential Careers: College, Careers, and Jobs Guide. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. .
(5) Relationships, By Building. "Finding the Right Career: Choosing or Changing Career Paths." Helpguide.org: Understand, Prevent and Resolve Life's Challenges. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. .
(6) "3 Keys To Achieving Career Excellence | EmploymentDigest.net." EmploymentDigest.net - Career Advice, Job Search & Personal Branding Tools and Resources from Top Career Experts. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. .
(7) "Questions to Ask When Making a Career Transition | EmploymentDigest.net." EmploymentDigest.net - Career Advice, Job Search & Personal Branding Tools and Resources from Top Career Experts. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. .