It happened again.

The great opportunity fell into my lap.

And I turned it down.

Letsatsi, the White lion. (Son of Temba)

White Lion Source

What is this great opportunity?

A job offer.

In 2013, 5 years after the economy took a nose dive, 3 years after I quit my job and 3 years after starting an SEO company. I turned down my 3rd job offer in as many years. When the unemployment situation in the US isn’t good at all, how can I be so prideful as to turn down a job, never mind three in three years?

Truth be told none of these were finalized, formalized offers, but all three were (and are) clients who loved what I brought to the team. They made overtures and asked if I was interested, after saying no initially in a cursory manner each one got serious and followed up to see. Essentially saying: “Are you sure?” And each time I’ve told them No.

The offers have been increasing in size, the first one’s base salary matched my previous salary with bonuses included. The second was higher than that and this third involved moving the decimal place,  a number I never thought I’d be offered.

Yet I still said no.

Money isn’t everything, and no it’s not just the rich who say that. To give a little context, since some reading this may think I’m rich. Or they might say, “whatever, that Kortman guy has a successful business, 4 kids, house, and takes trips when he needs/wants to.”  But in reality I’m making payments, paying off debt and we’re a one car family who cannot afford 99% of the trips we want to take.

It’s not just the rich who say “Money isn’t everything” It’s me too. A solidly middle class guy from a middle class family who married into a middle class family. No complaints here, just couching the statement that money isn’t everything.

So what in the world could have kept me from 3 different jobs all of which would have increased my income and economic status significantly at the time?

My Values.

I value working less. Shocker I know, a guy running two businesses who wanted to get into the funded startup world… wants to work less? Yup. I want to be really purposeful with my time and develop products that bring in revenue (read: income) when I’m not there.

I value working from home. Even when times at home are tough, working from home solves so many other issues. And has a ton of upside. Today my presence was expected by my 7 year old daughter at her mock performance in our house of “whatever came to her mind.” It was a great show! and while only 15 minutes long (could seem like an eternity) if I were working elsewhere I would have totally missed it. These are not moments you can manufacture, or turn on or off in a kid. Despite not having a great example, I’ve learned enough in the three years I’ve been working from home, that it’d have to be an offer of a million dollar salary to take me away from that.

I value living overseas. I’m currently in one of the more expensive countries to live in, and my heart is elsewhere, supporting people who are giving their lives to other people. I’m not sorry that my heart isn’t in the american dream. My heart is in living on less, traveling all the time (as a family, together) and sucking the marrow out of life. I don’t want two cars, a boat, an RV, a house, a cottage, and a mortgage on everything. And I don’t value “traveling more” I want living elsewhere as a core of our lives. I want my kids to have tasted french cheese in france, or to walk with Giraffes and wildebeasts in South Africa, or to get kicked by a kangaroo in Australia, or even to narrowly avoid a tsunami in Thailand (all of these are part of my story). I’d love for my kids to fall in love with an orphanage, a ministry, a mission and give everything they have passionately to live to see others’ lives improved through that organization. I do not value “settling down and raising a family” I value raising a family wherever God places us.

And this is why I wrote this post, to help me remember my values, to help me remember that saying no to something (job offers) is saying yes to these things.

Say No, Say yes to Values

Connex enables these values. I’m able to work fewer hours (currently less than 40) from home, and travel when I want to. What kind of money would cause me to give up these things?

And if you want to help me continue to say know consider donating to a client of mine by Joining Best Friends