Author Topic: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer  (Read 1503 times)

brian313313

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Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« on: March 27, 2019, 09:22:52 AM »
Hi,

I am post-FI but not quite ready to retire. I want to go back to being a coder for a while without the project management responsibilities. This would be a lower paying, but more enjoyable job. I'm not sure how to explain the pay cut since a lot of people know I make more. I'm active in the local tech community and people know I'm a higher paid consultant. Would it make sense to let potential employers know that I have enough? I just had a phone interview and the concern is that I'll go back for a higher paying job in 6 months. I also don't really want people to know my financial business so I wouldn't be telling everyone but I'm not sure how to handle the situation. There is the flip side that if things get bad then I can just leave freely. Another problem is that people can take advantage of me willing to work for less but still giving me the old responsibilities. I can quit if that happens though.

Thanks.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2019, 10:38:15 AM »
Quote
I'm not sure how to explain the pay cut since a lot of people know I make more.

So if you take a coding job, certain peers will know you will be making less than you currently do in your project management job?  And this is something you feel you need to explain/justify to them?  If that's the case then my advice is to figure out a way to stop caring what they think.  :o  Or maybe just be honest and say that you had enough of project management, and wanted to get back to coding for a while?  I'm having trouble seeing the problem, though I do believe it's a problem for you since you bothered asking for advice about it.

As you say, if you're FI then you don't have to worry about potential issues of your job morphing back into project management.  You simply say 'no' and live with the consequences.  If you can't live with the consequences -- let's say you fear burning bridges or alienating your peers/employer -- then your FI status is apparently not as valuable to you as one might otherwise assume.


Bird In Hand

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2019, 10:51:22 AM »
Would it make sense to let potential employers know that I have enough? I just had a phone interview and the concern is that I'll go back for a higher paying job in 6 months. I also don't really want people to know my financial business so I wouldn't be telling everyone but I'm not sure how to handle the situation.

Sorry, I forgot to address this part.  I would just be honest here.  In an interview, surely your recent experience as a project manager will come up, and surely that's a great opportunity for you to talk about how you're interested in coding, not project management.  If you feel like it's necessary, you can mention that you're well aware of the lower pay for coding, but are really excited about getting back into it.  If you're willing to give up substantial $$ to take a coding job, wouldn't a potential employer take that as a sign that you're really serious about it?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 01:09:11 PM by Bird In Hand »

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2019, 12:56:18 PM »
If you're willing to give up substantial $$ to take a coding job, wouldn't a potential employer take that as a sign that you're really serious about it?

Or they could assume that he's desperate to leave his current job for some reason and is applying to a lot of jobs, with this one on the lower end of his salary range. Which means he might not accept their offer if it's one of many, or would negotiate hard on salary, or would jump for more money when he gets the chance. All depends on how well you sell the story of why you're switching.

You can tell them, in addition to saying you enjoy the coding work more, that the stress of PM was affecting your health. The downshifting responsibilities due to stress/health is easily understood, and is usually true at some level.

What did you tell this interviewer when they brought up their concerns?

Do you need a salaried position, or could you switch the kinds of consulting work you do? Sounds like you have the network, and it frees you up to choose projects you're interested in and set your hours.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2019, 01:15:31 PM »
Or they could assume that he's desperate to leave his current job for some reason and is applying to a lot of jobs, with this one on the lower end of his salary range. Which means he might not accept their offer if it's one of many, or would negotiate hard on salary, or would jump for more money when he gets the chance. All depends on how well you sell the story of why you're switching.

That's certainly all possible, which is part of what this is about:

Quote
In an interview, surely your recent experience as a project manager will come up, and surely that's a great opportunity for you to talk about how you're interested in coding, not project management.

He's going to have to sell his interest in the new job.  Personally I would not do that by saying how my previous job damaged my health or made me miserable.  You run the risk of looking like fragile damaged goods (regardless of whether that's fair or accurate).  I'd rather emphasize that after doing project management for a while, I realized how much I missed my true passion of coding.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2019, 01:27:32 PM »
Right, he needs to sell his interest in the new job one way or another. I was saying they might not believe that he just wants to code, because they might have heard that line before, when it wasn't true. If he can make the case for it, sure. If he still runs into skepticism, that's another option to try. When I applied for an individual contributor job while managing a team of analysts, I got the same questions. Why did I want to take a step down? I told them I didn't enjoy managing, it was too stressful, and I liked the analyst part of my job better. I got the job.

But it seems unlikely that someone that prominent in the tech community would have a problem finding a gig, whether FT, PT, or consulting.

brian313313

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2019, 05:23:35 PM »
Thanks for the input. Just to be clear, I'm a consultant, not a project manager. There are a lot of project management responsibilities as a consultant. It's also high-visibility every day. If I have an off-day it gets noticed.

As far as the job morphing, it's more a matter of my time investment getting started. Also, I'm FI because I live in a rural area. I'm at least down an AirBNB stay. I've had this happen to me several times during my career. 

I should probably just stick with contracting/consulting but I've found that the most interesting projects are usually with perm jobs. I also can't do the big companies now that I don't "need" the money. They just pretty much suck and are not worth it at this point. Most contract positions are with big companies. I've been working with a consulting firm as a stand-by for when they get busy. It's not really panning out so well though because I have a lot of non-paid bench time where they tell me I'll be starting soon. I don't get paid but I'm also not completely free during these times. Sometimes after waiting they don't get the project or they use a more junior resource that's on thier staff.


Malkynn

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2019, 04:23:17 AM »
Just be honest that you really want to go back into coding and that you are completely comfortable with the reduced pay long term.

They might not give you the job. That's a risk with job interviews no matter what you say.

Don't get too hung up on it though, just be genuine and enthusiastic, put your best foot forward and see what happens. There's no magical way to frame this willingness to take a pay cut that guarantees you get the job, so just don't overthink or overemphasize it.

Have a simple answer prepared for if they question it, like: "I've run my numbers carefully, and I'm very comfortable with the prospective income, and very excited to get back to coding."

They'll either like you and give you the benefit of the doubt or they won't.

BicycleB

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2019, 11:11:26 AM »
@brian313313, I think it's a judgment call.

If you like, when you need a comeback to their concern that you might quit, say "I'm happy to hear that's what your concern is. Personally, I'm LOOKING for a place that's stable, because I've reached the career stage of wanting to focus on my favorite skills, and those are coding. I want to just code for YEARS.

I know it's hard to distinguish a person who really means it from the person who just says that to cover up their inability to find higher paying work. I admire your own ability to do these tricky tasks. Personally, I'm just looking for a stable coding spot because for me that's the easiest and funnest job. I think my career will be more sustainable by focusing this way."

In other words, maybe acknowledging their concern and adding the personal respect piece before repeating your position might help them believe you. At least it shows you understand them and can talk their language. Good luck.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 11:41:22 AM by BicycleB »

effigy98

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2019, 05:27:23 PM »
You should just tell the recruiter you make the top end range of what the job usually pays. You have little chance to get the job if they feel you are a flight risk before they even hire you. It costs a lot of money to hire you then even more to get you up to speed and producing in most tech jobs. Nobody wants to risk you leaving when you feel like you are underpaid. Being honest you will not get hired by many recruiters and leads...

brian313313

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2019, 09:36:57 AM »
I realized that I'm not in any rush. I can just wait until the right opportunity comes along. I am going to stick with contracting. I don't want to be busy long-term. In contract positions, they don't usually concern themselves as much. Unfortunately, there are not as many contract positions these days. It used to be that about half the positions were contract. Now it is only about 10%. I only need one though...

Thanks for all the friendly advice.

NorthernMonkey

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2019, 04:33:50 AM »
If you're well known in the community, then I'd try and make it well known that you're always interested in the right opportunity.

Or you could just lie. Most recruiters aren't as diligent as you imagine

use2betrix

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2019, 07:57:16 AM »
Why not tell them that as consultant the work isnít steady (as you stated) and youíre looking for some stability in a long term position? Sure itís a pay cut, but you want the consistency. They donít need to know actual numbers of your current position. Even if they do, just reinforce that you want stability and are looking for a more technical role as opposed to a management type role.

HipGnosis

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Re: Post FI - Pay Cut - Tell new employer
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2019, 09:15:33 AM »
I think OP and many of you are over-thinking this.
Just tell people that you tried project management and found it's not your forte (or 'cup of tea').

I tried project management and was frustrated with the excuses people would give for not meeting what they said they or their dept. would do!