Towards the end of last year, I had to make a few big decisions. And when I make decisions, I drive everyone up the walls. I like to do proper analyses, pros and cons, compare costs and benefits, reason things out (with myself).
Of course it is not always the case, and I have been known to make impulsive decisions. But sometimes those impulsive decisions have secretly been mulled over in my head for months!
I once bought a car on holiday. We drove down to Knysna and somewhere in the Karoo, my car started making a noise. The car was (of course) just out of warranty and had previously made a noise like that, which cost a little fortune to fix. We took the car to a VW dealership in George to have it checked out, but being December, they told me to come back the next week. Which is round about the same time I wandered through the showroom back to my car. And lo and behold, there was the car I have been
oogling looking at a couple of months previously, in Joburg, on the shop floor. The sales assistant in Joburg told me that it would only be available in South Africa in February, and there we were, in December, and it is standing on their showroom floor. Like fate?
I (sort of) casually asked the attending salesman what he thinks they will give me as a trade in on my vehicle (hypothetically speaking). And believe it or not, the figure he mentioned was significantly higher than what the salesman back in Joburg alluded to.
It was a done deal. There and then. I ended up trading in my car 1 400 kms away from home, organise finance and insurance, and drove my new car back to Joburg.
What nobody knew was that I have been making sums and checking out the car for months. That part of the story is a lot more boring, so I will spare you the details.
But back to the big decisions I had to make recently…
My eldest daughter has been doing ballet since she was 3 years old. She is turning 16 this year. Ballet it is her passion and love in life. You will often find her late in the evening practising on pointe in her room. In grade 9 they have to choose subjects to take from grade 10 onwards, and to ‘assist’ them in this daunting process, her school arranged some visits from universities. But when faced with this extensive choice of study directions and career choices, the only question she kept asking was if the university offer dance studies…
Which is when I decided that maybe, if this is really what she wants to do, it won’t do harm to do some enquiries into dance schools. When I mentioned it to her, she became super excited, but I was very concerned that she would not be accepted into one of these schools and that her dream would be crushed. (But maybe that would be a sign too…)
Luckily (and this is where the decision making process kicked in), she was accepted after an audition. It was a difficult decision. Of course I want my daughter to pursue her passion. But the reality is that dancing as a career in South Africa is not all glamour and applause. Most dancers end up going overseas, or teaching or running into a dead end.
Secondly, she would have to move from a private school to a public school, and the public school system in South Africa does not have the best reputation. Fortunately, the school she was looking at have a fairly good track record and is partially funded by the parent governing body. Fees are, of course, a lot lower, but there would be extra fees for extra lessons in Jazz and Spanish dancing, which she has not done previously. And believe me, the outfits are very expensive.
And it would mean a commute. The school is almost 40km away, and in the opposite direction from where I work. She would need to go to boarding school or take the Gautrain to school.
In the end, we decided to go ahead and today was her first day at school. And she loved it. It is still early days, but I have not seen her so excited about following her passion in a long time.
And then, in October, I was contacted by a head hunter for a new position. At the time, I was starting to admit to myself that I was really not happy in my current role and that it may be time to start looking for something else. And I decided this could just be the ‘something else’ I was thinking about.
The pros were that the company is (a lot) closer to home. I currently do almost a 100kms by car per day to work and back. Of course there would be a salary increase, but that was less important to me. And lastly the company is a well known, and highly regarded company with lots of opportunities for bigger exposure. This would be an excellent stepping stone in my career.
The biggest problem was that I have been with my current company for 9 years. And I spent another 8 years prior to that on the audit side. So, I have been involved with them since I started my articles in 1995. That is a very long time. I am in my comfort spot. The devil you know and all that. I know my way around.
In the end, I decided to go with the process. Several interviews, assessments and more interviews later (and more than 2 months later), they made me an offer in December. And I accepted it.
And on the 3rd of March, I am starting a new job. I have been going through a whirlpool of emotions. So many goodbyes, and I wish I could have taken my current team with me. But I am looking forward to the opportunity.
So, 2014 will be a big year. And I am ready.
Having said that, this is enough for now. Time to settle in. Time to find my feet and help my daughter find her feet.
And I can’t wait.