How did it turn out for me? Well, I turned the offer down on March 27th 2017. I was at the zenith of my career at Fidelity. I was a senior manager with a team of 50+ people. I had an E rating, highest bonus ever, largest raise ever, etc., I just barely qualified in terms of age (the offer arrived as I was blowing out the 55 birthday candles on my cake) and had all the silly worries about long-term security, I had a child in 7th grade, etc. I ran the numbers with experts that clearly demonstrated I was more than fine for the next 35 years. I spoke to trusted colleagues hoping one of them would kick my behind and tell me what to do. I did not speak to the person I trusted the most at Fidelity – my manager at the time. As managers, we were instructed not to influence and I did not want to place him in that position. I should have broken that rule because I know he would have set me straight and helped me to click accept. He is that type of person. I agonized needlessly when I should have been celebrating.
I hugged and backslapped my friends leaving in June of 2017 and that was hard. The team I ran had a difficult summer in terms of product stability and there were mistakes made that I own. If I shared the details here, you would think I was making it up. By September my brand had spoiled. I spent the next two years on some, please don’t make me say it, ok – special projects. There – are you happy? By December of 2019, I was at the end of the journey and stepped out and into the teeth of a global pandemic. So, I turned it down in 2017 and missed it by a year here. This is why you need to watch the Seinfeld episode. Timing is everything.
I am so grateful for my nearly 30-year career at the firm. What an amazing entity. The projects I was entrusted with, the tremendous people I got to work with and the business units I was able to serve are such a gift. I came to the firm living paycheck to paycheck, before employees had PCs, voicemail or Local Area Networks. We ran on phone tag and interoffice mail. I had an employee number starting with A-Zero and wore that number with pride. I had the opportunity to work in the city I love and travel the world on behalf of the firm. I worked for amazing and supportive leaders who were nothing short of great to me. I had people that I coached that inspired me and made me look good. I was fortunate to work on, contribute to, and experience the transformation to a fully digitized powerhouse run by an incredibly smart and bold leader who drives the competition crazy with the scale and customer focus that she has constructed over the past decade. Look at this offer. Not only is it generous it is bold. The firm is telling you, and many of its most senior leaders and talented tenured associates, very nicely that its leader has a plan to further transform the firm that requires some room for the next generation to grow. The firm respects you, appreciates you and thanks you for your contribution. Take the offer. Your home has soared in value. Your portfolio has soared over the past several years. You will not get another opportunity to feel this good about yourself and the firm.
Best of luck on your decision and, I hope for you, your next chapter. At least click accept and wear the VBO jacket for a few months to see how it fits.