The contract is signed. It’s as official as it gets until my feet stand on Costa Rican soil. Most everything was already 99% assured, but until my name appeared on a legal document, there were still a whack of questions. This puts those questions to bed.
It wasn’t easy signing that contract. Not because it wasn’t a good offer, though. It’s because it’s not about me. Even though it was.
Let me explain…
When I was single, I didn’t worry so much about money, or what was being done with it. I was more interested in living and doing pretty much anything that sounded like fun (or a challenge). Had I still been single, I would have likely gone with the original offer presented and just thrown caution to the wind — bring it on, let’s have at it!
Heck, I would have probably gone so far as to just pack a few clothes into my backpack, grab my camera equipment, my laptop, hop and plane and be done with it — cram everything else in storage.
But like I said — this ain’t about me. I’m married. I have a child. I’m not one person — I’m three. So my first thoughts always go to my wife and child. How will I support them? Who pays for what? What is considered a company responsibility, and what is considered mine? How do we get there, and how do we get back? Will we have support when we need it?
They’re big questions. And they need answers. Up here in Canada, it’s a snap. In Costa Rica, it’s not so obvious. Costa Rica has a decidedly different modus operandi. Which is fine — it’s a cultural shift more than anything else — but we uptight North Americans don’t always adapt well to change. (I like to think I’m not too bad, but only when I’m solo. As a husband and parent, I’m quite a lot less flexible.)
Negotiation has never been a strong point. I’ve never even negotiated my own salary. I’ve asked for a raise only twice in my 20-ish years of working. Usually, I’m pretty happy with everything. But now I need to make sure my family is covered. And believe me, I hate doing it. Because I’m making demands. I don’t like making demands. I try to be fair, even, accepting, and I know when I’m being treated well. But my family comes first.
In the end, this was more about answering questions than it was getting “more”. Those questions were answered, and the contract I signed was virtually the same as the first one I got. But hey, I got what I needed: assurance. And that goes a long way.
5,318 kilometres, to be exact.