Edited to add: Thank you everyone for your comments. It’s amazing to hear about how many of you know this same kind of guy. Also, I love some of the demands y’all would put into your contracts, like pets in the office :)
Here’s where I’m at: I give it a 50/50 chance he’ll even call. A lot of his decisions are reactionary, and when he sits back and thinks about it, or has a whisky, he changes his mind.
If he does call, I’ll hear him out because truthfully I’m curious. I want to hear what he has to say, promises, says has changed, etc... I want to let him do the talking and see where he takes himself. And honestly, it wouldn’t be hard for him to make me an offer that would be more than I make now because I’m an independent contractor right now and don’t make a lot of money.
BUT: It would require me to move back to the Denver area and leave the beautiful mountains I love. It would require me to leave my life here, where I play with the neighbor’s children, hike with my mom, have T.V. nights with my brother and sister-in-law, meet up with friends I’ve known my whole life. My best friend lives here with her family. I have two interesting jobs here, and a network of support. If I have a flat tire or dead battery, there are a half-dozen people who would immediately be available to give me a lift, and three who could lend me a car. But chances are I wouldn’t need it because I can bike to my jobs and coffee shop in 5 short minutes.
I would also have to leave my amazing boyfriend. He’s told me in the past if I get a great job offer in Denver, he’d be willing to make it work. We’d visit on weekends or something. But I don’t really want to leave him. I don’t really want to leave.
And until Ed actually does call, I’m not going to give it any thought. Because I’d just rather not.
Years ago, fresh out of college, I started working at a corporate jobby job. I dressed professionally, learned a style manual, created contracts, etc. The company went through a corporate split and I ended up in a new company owned by a single owner, let’s call him Ed. This new company needed all new branding—logo, letterhead, business cards, website, collateral material, etc. I did all of it. Partly it was because Ed gave me the opportunity to, and partly because I wanted to do it. I wanted a challenge. I worked for Ed and the company for several years, getting things off the ground, then moving more in marketing, communications, training, all while still doing parts of my original job, such as proofing and editing large reports used in litigation. I did the job of three people.
But Ed was passive aggressive. He’d lavish praise, attention, and bonuses on his favorites while literally ignoring the non-favorites. There were usually two in rotation at any time. Eventually the non-favorites would either be forgiven, or treated so badly they quit. I watched this happen to co-worker after co-worker. It was hard to watch, but I happened to be a favorite.
And then things changed. Ed talked to me less. He wouldn’t stop and joke with me. Bonuses were smaller. I was falling out of favor. I knew it was for real when he decided to move me out of my office and into a cube. We had a meeting, and I explained to him about the various ways you show employees you value them, then handed him a 9 page Matrix of Value, showing him everything I did for the company. I then said that the office was bigger than just an office—it was a way he showed I was valued. Taking it away sent a message. So, I could quit, I could work as a contractor, or I could stay if he gave me a 12% raise. I got the raise. We also agreed to communicate better.
Ed was nice for about three weeks. Then it faded, and six months after I got the raise, I quit. After pouring blood, sweat, and tears (literally, and almost vomit, since I had to work once when I had tonsilitis, and felt nauseated the whole day), the only thing he said to me in the two weeks leading up to my final day was “Hey, thanks for all the work,” and a weak handshake. He didn’t even look me in the eye.
Today, I received a text from a former co-worker, Beth, who is still there and is Ed’s right hand woman. She said “Don’t take any more calls from COMPANY before calling me first.” Not having taken any calls from Company, I thought she sent to the wrong person, so I texted that back to her. Nope, she meant me. She said I’d be getting a call in 48 hours, and I needed to talk to her first. Thinking it was an attorney (the work Company does is litigation-related), I wanted to know what was up.
I called Beth and she said that things have been problematic at Company since I left almost 3 years ago (much of which I knew because of conversations with Beth). They haven’t found anyone to replace me in total, doing all the jobs I did. There are several people who do it all, piecemeal, and Ed’s getting frustrated with it. Today, in a meeting, he said “I just want things to be like they were when teamPenguin worked here!” and three people said, “So call her!” Ed’s assistant contacted Beth for my phone number, which was actually still on file anyway. And that’s when Beth texted me.
Beth wanted to give me a head’s up that Ed might be calling in a few days to try and get me to return to Company. She didn’t want me to be blindsided (she is a great friend).
I don’t know if Ed really will call. I don’t know if I’ll take the offer, or even consider it. The job was stressful as hell, and I didn’t even know how stressful it was until I wasn’t working there anymore.
But it feels damn good to know that, nearly 3 years later, he wants things back to what they were when I was there. That he misses me, and wants me back.