Posted on 2006/01/21 01:59:00 (January 2006).
[19th January 2006]
I can say that today was a quite important day for my future decisions.
After the usual phisioteraphy I went to the Prato area (Prato is a city near Florence where there is one of the biggest textile districts in Italy), to meet a friend of mine who runs a company there.
This is a typical Prato company, no mill, only 7/8 people working there, where all the product is made by the owner and the whole business is family run. They create idea, get them made in external factories and then they sell it all over the globe.
This company is interested in having me working there, in my commercial field, as the owners cannot cope with the pace that this industry seems to have picked up.
I haven't got a final offer from them yet, but since they are quite small they said that they will not be able to meet the same wage (or eve go higher) than I am actually making up north.
Moreover this is the classical company that hasn't "got a name", meaning that under the company profile point of view I would be moving from Microsoft to "Mark and Mary Software House", all translated in the textile business of course.
Under the commercial point of view this means that it will be certainly much harder to "get in" some clients, as in the fashion industry a company "name" has still got quite a lot of power, even though you are showing the SAME article at a lower price.
This meeting got me thinking a lot.
In my life, working life to be precise, I have always moved for an improvement under the salary and/or responsibility point of view, as probably most of the people would do.
I am now presented with a quite difficult challenge, as my desire to go back to Florence has nothing to do with my wallet or professional profile, but rather with my "heart", as I am quite sure that the quality of life away from work that I can have here is by far much better than what I have in Vedano Olona (my town of residence at the moment).
In a way even the time that I have spent abroad had nothing to do with my heart, as I saw England and Japan as a chance to grow skills and experiences that could be useful later.
I have also thought about the fact that if a company outside the textile field offered me a job (at a lower wage) I would probably have less problems in accepting the position as I would see the change as an additional challenge.
In this case the 5 years experience baggage that I have seems "thrown to the nettles" as its not giving me any "premium" in the possible move.
On the other side there are all the chances of having a proper life here in Florence, and as many people close to me said, there is the possibility of looking for other positions for other companies, in Florence rather than 300 kilometers away (quite hard to do in a region where the vast majority of companies are family run and generally sending a CV is only good to increase the quantity of scrap paper).
Needless to say that under the financial point of view, a bad year for these small companies usually means either getting fired or closure. This scenario is harder to happen in a company like my present employer that is floated in the stock market.
Workwise I will have to work twice as hard, as usually in a small family run business you don't have a precise task like I have now, but you are expected to be available for anything that happens, from getting a product to the finishing mill to travel to Spain because the person that was meant to do it in busy somewhere else.
I am stuck. I have asked them to send me an offer and then we can talk about it, it's quite hard to take a decision without numbers to look at, but on the other side I feel that the decision to go ro stay comes even before the crude reality of numbers.
To make things worse is the fact that I will have to leave all my agents (especially the Japanese one who is a great friend on the top of a great business partner), this is expecially very hard for me to accept as I invested a lot of time to create something special with these people and starting all over again is a bit of a turn down, both for personal reasons but also for "results driven" reasons, as I know perfectly well that the job that these people do in their own countries is really important to achieve the good results that we have brought so far.
Any advice? I just wish that I got an offer from some electronics company or something different, it would take away a lot of uncertainties...
Yea it's a tricky one Lox. My feeling is that you ought to follow your heart though, as wussy as that sounds.
The old addage "money can't buy you happiness" is very true. I for one would much rather hear you say that you were happy but no so well off, rather than rolling in money but in a place you hate.
Maybe it's time to go home Lox.
Posted by John at 2006/01/21 03:25:20.
I totally agree with John. + If you were to remain in Firenze, it would mean free accommodation for me when visiting the place...!
Posted by Sheri at 2006/01/21 07:27:48.
More seriously (though I meant it), how is the atmosphere in that small family company? How is the staff? 8-9 people is cool if the general ambiance is fine. It's hell if they keep arguing between themselves. I think you shouldn't neglect this point.
Posted by Sheri at 2006/01/21 07:35:18.
Sheri: Well, usually the work load is much like being a SLAVE, meaning that the owner pays you so you are expected to be there until 8 eevry night if that is necessary. In a big company like mine, you go out at 5,30 if you like and nobody will say anything. As for the internal relationship is like being baprt of a big family. no more no less...
John: It's true, and I agree, what remains to be assessed is how much the chance of falling into a "bad work" would affect my life in Florence.
I have decided to wait for the offer anyways, better start from there, but I have the feeling that if the money is right I might give it a shot...
Posted by Lox at 2006/01/21 11:40:54.
It's so nice to be valued - and with friends. That is "quality of life" as they say. However, if you need money to pay a mortgage, or get married, it's not so easy. What does Marta think?
Posted by Nigel at 2006/01/21 11:51:11.
Nigel: Tricky question... I don't think that we would move together, let's say that we might decide to take a break for a while to see if we really want to be together permanently or not (to be honest is more me than her)... So at the moment I would be going back by myself...
Posted by Lox at 2006/01/21 24:41:41.
Yeah, tricky, as you say. I moved here (Oswestry, UK) 150 miles from my friends and family. It was very hard at first because my social life suddenly stopped! However I moved to be with Joc, so I've stuck it out for 13 years now... Trouble is my friends are stilll my friends but I do miss their company. There's only so much email and videoing you can do!
Posted by Nigel at 2006/01/21 16:47:25.
Nigel: I am in a worse situation probably, mostly because i moved to the North for work related reasons. Things are going pear shaped at my present employer (as you might have read in this blog) so the main reason for me to be there has fallen down. Of course I made some friends but my work gets me out of Italy for several months in the year and during these 5 years I didn't really made a lot of friendships...
Posted by Lox at 2006/01/22 12:25:09.
Making decisions like this can be tricky. What I would do is the following:
1. Write a big list of things you like about your life at the moment. Include all the silly little things too, such as "your local shop is across the road". Don't compare, don't say "It's better than Florence because...", just rate it on its own merits.
2. Write a big list of things you don't like about your life at the moment. Include all those things you've been living with for so long that you now accept them. Again, don't compare with Florence like you did in Radstock: "Englanda isa Crappa. Readinga isa crappa. Florence isa BELLA!". etc.
3. Go down each list and give each thing a score of goodness and of crapness. Give a score of out 5. Don't spend too much time, do it quickly. Your gut reaction. Add up the scores, see what is higher. If they're close together, I'd take that as time to move.
4. Now, you're going to need to create another list. Sorry about that. Imagine your new life in 6 months - not to begin with because we know change can be difficult. List all the good and bad things about the new life as you will see it. You've nearly done this in your post.
5. Now for each of the things about your new life, try and work out how you might cope with the bad things.
For example, if you've written "The new house will be smaller" then try and work out what you might do with all those luxuries you have now that won't fit - the 96m wide plasma cinema screen, for example. So, you might sell it, use the money to buy something nice - like Sicily.
6. Now go back to the current life and go down the list of bad things and do the same. Can you change many of these bad things? Can you cope with them? Are they easier to deal with than the things in the new life?
7. Sleep on it. Don't think about it again. Watch some football and scream at the telly.
8. Next day, go back to your lists (very important to write it down) and see them under a new light.
Some other things to remember:
1. Don't have any company loyalty. They will drop you faster than light if they don't need you anymore.
2. You can make more of a difference in a small company. Being able to see the difference you're having is more rewarding.
3. Smaller companies carry more risk but also carry more reward. It's easier for management to see the good work you do.
4. The difficulties in selling the small-firm-textiles sound to me more like a challenge than a problem.
5. Changing jobs allows you to exercise some new skills. Perhaps sales is not actually what you're best at. Perhaps there is something else you haven't really tried yet. What about a male stripper?
And to finish up, a quote from the film Dune:
"Without change, something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."
Posted by Rob Lang at 2006/01/23 11:28:58.
Ciao Rob! Thanks for the post, I'll try the list idea tomorrow. It's sounds like a sensible course of action. At the moment I haven't got any proper offer from thei potential employer so the economical part will have to sit down for the moment (and it is very important of course), bu all the rest can be given more than a good thought.
As for England being crap, I guess it was a "fault of youth", when I think of those times I now have a lot of great memories, I'd probably move again abroad if I had the chance today.
But you are right there is no term of comparison for one's present situation, it's not the right thing to do.
I'll post the results once the test is made! in the meantime I have to be sure that they'll land me an offer! :)
Posted by Lox at 2006/01/23 20:32:57.
Great advice Rob!
Posted by John at 2006/01/25 12:10:55.
Thanks John and Lox. I hope that helps.
On a side note, you didn't really voice your Reading-hatred very much, it was just so well argued and passionate when you did. You conformed well to the stereotype of the passionate Italian man!
And we found you saying 'Crappa' really, really funny! ;-)
Posted by Rob Lang at 2006/01/25 11:57:47.
I think we are all at least a bit guilty of being anti-Reading, myself included... I think wherever we had beeen in the world we would have found criticism about it. Although I still find it a little difficult to say I miss the place itself, the people that were there were all one-in-a-million. I would love to be able to pop round the corner riht now and see Lox, Rob, Tim, Tom and so on right now... For all I might complainabout Reading, nowhere else in the world has offered me such a fabulous selection of great people.
Posted by John at 2006/01/25 14:56:06.
I completely agee with John. It wasn't the place, it was the people that made the magic work. In a way it's the same thing for me here in Florence. Ok the city is nice (but it has a lot of bad sides) but it's the people here that make me wanna come back.
Going back to Reading, at least we have la maison to keep in touch, it's a really great thing that we can do that, it means that we did create a strong bond between us, that (so far) distance and life in general didn't manage to break!
BRAVI A TUTTI! (good job everyone).
Posted by Lox at 2006/01/25 18:03:10.