Great Opportunity, Crappy Timing

A little over a year ago, I blogged about receiving a conditional offer of employment for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Getting that conditional offers was one of the best feelings ever. Getting the final offer, however, was one of the worst.  Let me take you on a journey back through this crazy hiring process.

February 2009:

I applied to said dream job thinking there was ZERO chance of actually getting an offer. I don’t say “zero chance” for dramatic effect. I literally didn’t think there was any way I would be deemed qualified for this position. But, I followed my own advice, and applied anyways.

June 2009:

After five months of silence, I for sure thought my application had been thrown in the “What the heck was this guy thinkin’ when he applied here” pile. But instead, received a conditional offer. The letter stated I had to jump through a number of hoops in order to receive a final offer. The letter also stated the vast majority of applicants are disqualified at some point in the hiring process…aka don’t expect to make it through the process.

August 2009 through January 2010:

About every three to four weeks their was “another step” in the hiring process I had to complete. I can’t share them all, but here’s a glimpse of what I went through: multiple drug tests, physical fitness/agility test, polygraph, psychological evaluation, medical evaluation, and a bunch of other crazy things.

May 2010:

Fifteen months after I apply, I’m told that my application went in for final review and I had been approved for hire. I am to expect to go to the academy in early 2011.

July 21st 2010:

I wake up to an email that says I have been selected to attend the academy  from September ’10 to January ’11. I call Girl Ninja and freak out because I don’t know what to do. This means I’d be leaving four months earlier than we planned. We talk on the phone for an hour or so and realize we have to make a really difficult decision. Do I accept the offer? Or turn it down?

So that is the background on the application process. Now I’ll share a little bit about why this decision is so hard. The first, and only reason, being the timing of the offer. There are a number of reasons why it would be terribly inconvenient to leave for academy just a few weeks after getting married. I couldn’t imagine spending the first four months of my marriage away from GN. Is it doable? Yes. Is it ideal. Hell no. Now I know you might be thinking “Can’t Girl Ninja just go with you?” No. She can’t.

So this left us with a major dilemma. Do we accept the offer and face a less than ideal first year of marriage? Or do we turn it down so we could be together? I hate having to make decisions without adequately getting to think about how each decision will effect me/us. I had three days to respond.

Fortunately, after speaking with some HR folks. I was able to be removed from the September class and will be considered for a class sometime in 2011. This “hiccup” has been a great learning experience for both Girl Ninja and I, as we’ve truly had to learn how to communicate our desires with one another. We had different opinions on how to handle the situation and through some long conversations, and a few tears, we were able to make a decision that we were both content with.

It’s nerve racking not knowing what the future holds, but I’m glad I get to figure out these difficult things with Girl Ninja 🙂 Sorry if I came across as a drama queen. You probably thought someone died or something, and you’re probably thinking “This was what he was freakin’ out about?” but hey, for us it was a big deal, and the first “married couple” decision we have had to make. 

p.s. you can read this article for a few more details about the job.

24 thoughts on “Great Opportunity, Crappy Timing”

  1. I think that is something definately worth freaking out over. I’m glad it all worked out and that you and GN could enjoy the begining of your marriage together AND not have to give up on your dream job.

  2. I agree, def worth the freak out! Congrats on the dreeam job offer and way to negotiate deferring the opportunity until next year. I think as far as long term, w GN by your side, you two could be happy living in many different places. As a subsstitute teacher, GN will have the advantage to be able to find employment in many locales. The four month training will be a bummer while you two are apart, but I am sure if you two decide to persue this, it will be a well thought through decision and the start of a great adventure.

  3. Be thankful!! I work in HR for a large employer and we more likely would not have given the second chance!

    Glad it worked out!

    • I am super thankful. I thought for sure they would just cut me when I asked for the delay. They did tell me if I wont be able to request another delay and if I did they would terminate my application.

  4. I am so glad everything worked out! As a newly married gal, I totally understand your hesitation. I was considering a second job after graduation so I could pay off my student loans in a hurry, but when I realized it meant hardly ever seeing my husband, I all but tossed the idea out the window. Sure, you have 50+ years together. You’re married. It’s not like GN would go anywhere. But, like you, I don’t want to miss out on the first years of marriage, when everything is new and you’re learning so much about each other.

  5. So funny. I was in the “What was this girl thinking to apply here” pile a few years ago and was so disappointed. But I now realize how RIGHT it was for me NOT to get hired by the govt agency of MY dreams.

    That said, I also understand your hesitation. Being away for 4-6 months is tough, especially knowing that you have to hit the ground running with those positions. It is great that you had the opportunity to communicate about it this early on. As you know, it is not easy being a gov’t employee. Some jobs are very daunting on the individual and can be 10x more daunting for a couple if they don’t know how to talk about things. (There are sad stats about this). But you and GN seem to have your heads on right. Congrats and good luck on your wedding and future endeavors.

  6. I’m so glad you asked (and didn’t stay quite and assume) if there were any options getting accepted into the academy. Freak outs are great BUT it seems you did the right thing by seeing what all of your alterate routes might be.
    The first year of marriage is fun and exhilarating. I think it should be savored and not skipped over. I’ve done it more than once and once I ‘skipped’ over the first year.

    • If they would have said September was the only option, I would have told them to remove me from consideration. When I spoke with the HR lady about delaying my start date, I knew there was a strong possibility that would be the nail in my coffin. Fortunately, it worked out for us.

  7. Wow-I can imagine that this was quite the dilemma. It’s so easy to tell a story once the dilemma has been resolved and feel like, “huh? that’s it? what’s the big deal?” But it is a huge deal at the time.

    I feel your pain on this kind of decision too. I got accepted to grad school in a city an 18-hour drive away, and left 5 days after we got married. It was the only option we considered. This was my dream, and my husband had just gotten a great job that would advance his career significantly. While many wonder why we chose to do this, it was the right choice for us. It certainly wasn’t the easy choice, but we did what we had to do to secure our future. That said, I would agree, that it was the process of making the decision, and not the final decision itself, that offered the opportunity to enrich our relationship and communication skills. It sounds like you and GN had the chance to discuss this as a couple, share different approaches, and come to something you could both feel good about. Life will bring you many more dilemmas (both good and bad) and having the skills to work through them together will be what gets you through.

    Congrats on getting the dream job, by the way! That’s amazing!

  8. Wow. That is huge! Congratulations on your dream job and congratulations on successfully navigating your first big decision as a pre-married couple. You’re livin’ the dream…

  9. I had an inkling it had to do with your dream job when you mentioned it on Twitter/your blog last week because we had never heard about an outcome! First, a big CONGRATS on getting accepted – obviously, that alone is huge! 😀 of course you deserved to freak out about it, but good for you about asking for a deferral. Because you just never know, and in this case it worked out! 🙂

  10. I am so glad it worked out for you two!!! That would have been just awful either way if they hadn’t pushed it back, but this is WAY better! Yay!!!

    And to think that I was just sad that my husband had to take a 6 hour test right before our wedding – wedding was at 2pm and his certification test for teaching was at 7am. Now I feel stupid for the whining I did 5 years ago…

    Anyway, I’m glad it worked out as well as it did and that you and Girl Ninja handled your first crisis so well! There will be a lot of them, but communication and a good sense of humor helps you through…

  11. My husband and i moved right after we got married so he could go to graduate school. We drove from the wedding to the honeymoon to your new place 4 states away. It’s made for a hard first year of marriage leaving our jobs and family and friends so my husband could pursue his dream job, but its worth it. However, even tho he works 10-14 hour days doing classwork, i still get to be with him. 4 months would be tough especially so soon after marriage.

    My folks had a similar decision in there marriage tho much later. My dad is a police officer and he moved up the ranks very quickly. A lot of officers like to go to special training school to learn and to help pad their resumes when they are applying promotions or to other departments. My dad spent two months away from his family to go to command college and several weeks away a year while he worked on his masters. A lot of police officers like to go to the FBI academy, it looks very impressive on their resume, but its four months away from home. My dad talked about it for a long time since it could really help his career down the line, but after many talks with my mother and the whole family he decided that he really couldn’t bare to spend that long from his family, he had already done enough long stretches from home.

    Of course he had children to consider as well as his wife. Tho I wonder what makes it worse, having to take care of the kids all by your self while your spouse is in training or being by yourself while your spouse is in training.

    • Kids..100%
      My husband and I were apart 4 months and 2 months in our 2nd and 3rd year of marriage. We did not have kids at the time, although I was pregnant the second time. Now, I could not imagine him being gone for so long and being away from me and the kiddos. 1. It is really hard parenting all by yourself (I have no idea how my mil did it as a single mom (or any single parent for that matter). 2. It is heartbreaking enough for the kids to be away from their dad (and terribly hard for him too) now when he goes away on week long work trips, a super long stint would be crazy. Also, pre-kids it is not like you would be ‘by yourself’ completely. I would assume most people would have family, friends or at least coworkers to spend time with while the spouse was away. I actually moved in with a girlfriend for the first 4 month stint since her hubby was away playing football and we had a blast getting to spend so much time together.
      Back to you Ninja, congrats on the acceptance, the delayed start date and your first big decision as an almost married couple:)

  12. First off, congrats on the job offer! That is really exciting and I hope it is everything you dreamt it will be.

    My initial reaction to reading that if they weren’t going to defer the academy for you, you were going to give up on the position made me want to scream. I just couldn’t (and honestly, still can’t) put myself into that mindset. I mean, its a dream job, possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you seriously considered turning it down? But then I remembered that everyone’s priorities and experiences are different, and even though it would have sucked, it would have been the best decision for you and GN.

    Some background as to why I’d leave my spouse for 4 months in a heartbeat:

    For my husband and I, we have probably spent more time apart in our relationship than we have together. We started dating our senior year of high school and when we met, he had already chosen his school. I had no intention to follow him around and chose a school 2,000 miles away. So, for 4 years, I had to say goodbye to my (at that time) furture husband knowing that I wasn’t going to see him again for months. 4 years of long distance is incredibly hard to deal with, but I look at it as training for the life we have now. My husband is on the road for about half the year all totaled. His schedule averages 4 days out, 3 home. It can suck, but it can also be great. And I’m sure it will suck more when we have kids, but it is the life we chose and I don’t regret my decisions. So, as long as you don’t regret your decisions, then you know you made the right choice.

    Again, congrats and I totally feel your pain about having to make such a huge decision in 3 days. I would have been a nervous wreck.

  13. Maybe it is just that I have been married for 12 years…but 4 months really isn’t that long. If it really was your dream job and they weren’t wiling to defer…..I would have done it anyway.

    Here is a flaw in your plan….the longer you wait to go, the more of a reason you will have to back out. What if GN gets pregnant? Would you still go?

    Life has a way of taking over. Sometimes you have to take the opportunity when it is presented.

    When we were married 2 years, I moved 400 miles away to go to grad school. Hubby applied for a transfer, but it took 3 months longer than expected. So, we were apart for 3 months. Yeah, it was hard, but in the long run, it was a tiny blip.

    I sent you an e-mail….just in case we can help you in any way. 🙂

  14. Wow, congratulations! (And I know it’s already resolved, but I would have asked if you could defer your acceptance like you can to college/university.)

    I look forward to hearing about it – however much you can tell us – when training starts!

  15. pssssshhhhh…my parents were away from each other 20 of the first 24 months of marriage, with dad on a submarine 1/2way around the world and Mom stuck in some navy town 1000 miles from her hometown. This includes a 3 month deployment 2 weeks after their wedding! They were happily married for 30 years. It can be done, but I respect that you made a decision together that you were willing to live with. Happy that you were able to defer the academy admission…

  16. Congratulations on the offer! I really hope the 2nd round works out and fits in nicely with your schedule.

    As much as it would have sucked, I think I would have gone, or if I were GN, I would have insisted you go. But I also can see the reasons behind decided otherwise, and I’m sure you two will never regret your decision to have an amazing first year of marriage.

  17. Ninja, glad to finally read what was troubling you and the GN. I’m really glad you were able to defer your dream job. When you mentioned being away from GN I thought of my Grandma and Grandpa who married after knowing each other three months, then Grandpa got his orders to go overseas and fight in WWII. Grandma got pregnant on their honeymoon and my mom was two years old before Grandpa even met her for the first time. So when you go off to your dream job, I guess we won’t hear from you here for a while? Or will Girl Ninja take over? Will you call her Wife Ninja once you two tie the knot? 🙂

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