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Count the Cost

With any decision there are both tangible and intangible costs. Frequently the tangible costs are easy to identify and measure. For instance, with a job change there is the pay rate, possible bonuses, benefits such as vacation and sick days, and hours of work expected.

But invariably it is the intangibles that are most important, and often very difficult to measure. With that same job change you must consider the fact that you will be working for a new boss. How easy will they be to work with? Do their expectations align with the job description? What are the advancement and development opportunities at the new organization?

But sometimes the intangibles become even more complex, and even more difficult to measure. Are there moral implications for either staying or going? Does either job ask me, or even require me, to work or make decisions that I find against my integrity? Do I have promises or obligations to my current direct reports where my leaving would break those promises?

I recently had a conversation with a good friend concerning a possible job change, and I asked my friend “What would be in the best interest of your family?” Clearly the extra money and possible extra opportunity would be a great benefit to the family. However, the cost of a tweak to one’s own “integrity bar” might quickly offset any financial gain.

By the way, if you really want to grow in wisdom, watch cowboy movies. In the made-for-tv classic “Broken Trail”, the character played by Robert Duval says, “Never use money to measure wealth, son.”