Sometimes we are faced with decisions that affect not only our lives but also the lives of our friends and family. Certain decisions cannot and should not be made in haste; sometimes these are the very decisions that require immediate attention and a speedy final decision. I was recently faced with one of these decisions and, even though I felt like I made the most ridiculous choice. I can look back and see it was the best decision of my life.
One of my co-workers accused me of doing something that is a felony. I was called into the office where the investigator tried to coerce a confession and lied to me and said they had me on video committing this crime. I called the investigator’s bluff and requested to see the said video and was not allowed to see it without a subpoena. I was, also, suspended for three days pending the results of the investigation. The manager called me at the end of the three days and said they had not reached a decision and wanted to know what I wanted to do and I had 10 minutes to decide. If I went back and they determined I was in the wrong I would lose all of my built up benefits. The information that was left out was I would be arrested, this was not a possibility but a given because of the seriousness of the accusation. If I resigned my position I would receive all of my vacation pay and not lose my retirement package; charges would not be filed.
I had a very hard decision to make within a matter of minutes and was not able to consult with my family. Maybe I was catastrophizing the situation by thinking about the worst possible outcome, but that is unlikely because the accusations hold felony charges. I knew that if I went back there was a chance that I could be arrested even though I did nothing wrong. I had to make a quick decision and had only two choices: walk away from that job even though I had a family to help feed and lots of bills to pay or maintain my innocence and risk ruining my reputation by being paraded in front of the store in handcuffs. I had no time to calculate the impact I had only 10 minutes to decide; I chose to walk away. This was a hard decision because either choice I made would negatively affect my family; no one choice had lighter consequences.
I analyzed the entire situation and I can see the overall condition of the company and understand their logic in “getting rid of me”. The company was, basically, making a business decision in getting rid of me. This decision was not because I was having behavioral or poor performance issues, because I was not, but because the condition of the economy. I was the highest paid employee in the pharmacy under the pharmacist; they could pay the salary of two people with what I was making. Shortly after I left, they hired two more employees who had less experience so they could justify the lower salary. The hours for the store had been severely cut the month before and they laid off over 1,000 employees in our region three months before; I was just another statistic. My innocence was proven a year later when they asked me to come back. The girl that accused me of these things also wanted a promotion and as long as I was present that was not going to happen and new state laws would make it harder for her to obtain a position like mine so the clock was not working in her favor.
There will be many times that we must make a decision on the spur of the moment and will not be able to analyze the situation or the possible consequences. These decisions can often make us feel as though tossing a coin in the air would render an equally wise decision and favorable outcome. There is no way to avoid these issues but we can practice our decision making techniques so that when these problems come we will have confidence that we made the best decision given the circumstances.