Author Topic: Advice on job possibility with worse pay, worse benefits, worse vacation?  (Read 5176 times)

onemorebike

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I've got a second interview for a new job this week and I've been trying to think about the financial implications, versus the difficult to measure pieces.

I currently make around 59,000 a year and work from home in a job with VERY generous PTO. The day to day of the job has become very "high level" with a national organization that has a great deal of clout in my field. Working here has done wonders for my career but after 4 years I'm missing the real world work environment and the feeling of accomplishing things "on the ground".

I don't know the pay of the new possible job, but estimate it at between 45,000 and 52,000 based on orgs 990s. I presume the PTO/bennies package is worse and I'm guessing I'd be required to work more than I currently do but it would be back on the ground in a field I absolutely love, doing work that would challenge me and get me riding my bicycle to and from the job again which used to be one of my favorite parts of the day.

My wife and I have reviewed the financials, and we could make it work financially (in fact she is thinking about dialing her hours back to 30 a week at the same time) - though we would be running a much tighter ship than we have in the past. In a way, I think our spending drifts sometimes because of the "coping" I do with working from home includes going out and spending $$ on food, alcohol, coffee to get out into the "real world".

Am I crazy to think the new job is the bees knees? Should I suck it up and stick with the golden goose I've been given or break away to feed my soul more than my retirement account?

irononmaiden

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Sounds like you have a really sweet deal right now.

This isn't quite the same, but have you thought about renting desk space in a shared office to simulate a traditional work environment? (Not sure where you live; I just know there are tons of them in my city.)

Or doing side work/volunteering that fulfills the "on the ground" need without giving up your current job?

Nothing stopping you from doing a morning bike ride on your own, either.

FWIW, I work from home with lots of time off and I wouldn't even give it up for more money.

loki

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There's no way I'd leave a better paying job at home for a lesser paying one away from home.

homehandymum

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This isn't quite the same, but have you thought about renting desk space in a shared office to simulate a traditional work environment? (Not sure where you live; I just know there are tons of them in my city.)

+1 to this.  I have a friend who does this.  He's an independent contractor but shares office space with his main client.

JPinDC

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You also may be able to work out of your local library, even for just a few hours a day or a day or two a week if that helps you feel like you've gotten out of the house.

I second looking for an opportunity to volunteer in the field, especially if you have a lot of PTO to use. Is there any chance that the organizations are close enough in mission that you might be able to spend your current company's time working on something (in or out of the office) for the nonprofit company 2?

ch12

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Sounds like you have a really sweet deal right now.

This isn't quite the same, but have you thought about renting desk space in a shared office to simulate a traditional work environment? (Not sure where you live; I just know there are tons of them in my city.)

Or doing side work/volunteering that fulfills the "on the ground" need without giving up your current job?

Nothing stopping you from doing a morning bike ride on your own, either.

FWIW, I work from home with lots of time off and I wouldn't even give it up for more money.

+1 on all of this

You should do what makes you the most happy.

What I would do in your shoes:
  • Start a side business or start volunteering at a worthy cause. Both (either?) of them will give you that sense of achievement and soul food that you crave.
  • Go for a morning bike ride. You're lucky enough to work from home, so bringing along your cell phone in case they need you and going for a ride at 9 AM (when all the other poor suckers are in the office) should be fun.
  • I'm going to float another option, though I agree that renting a desk for a few hundred bucks is a good investment. What if you hit the library? (WHILE I TYPED THIS, SOMEONE SAID THE SAME THING!) It's a cheap way to mix it up. Human interaction is way more important than I realized. When I was on vacation with my parents, I was climbing the walls from not talking enough. We were fairly active during that vacation (lunches and dinners with neighbors and family, sightseeing, circus-seeing, etc.), but I spent the first 2 hours back at work constantly talking with my officemate and the guy next door. We're social creatures, and when you isolate yourself in your house, it's hard.

For your amusement, part of The Oatmeal's comic on working from home:


You can check out the full comic here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home

It seems like a double whammy to your finances if you and your wife simultaneously take pay cuts. It's possible, but it's not comfortable.

irononmaiden

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@ch12: The "loss of regimen" part of that comic hits home. I'm doing Friday's work right now! Fuuuuuuuck.

loki

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ch12

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@ch12: The "loss of regimen" part of that comic hits home. I'm doing Friday's work right now! Fuuuuuuuck.

Buddy, that's not confined to work at home folks. I work for a software company, and I could easily VPN in right now and work on 6 hours of work that isn't related to the deadline I have at 8 AM on Thursday for which I need to do quite a few hours of work.

irononmaiden

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Blerg. Yuck.

onemorebike

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Thank you for some very thoughtful replies. (I love the Oatmeal and have had that comic posted on my wall for some time!)

I think I may have left some things out. I'm very good at working from home, I do find time to ride here and there and in particular, to coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, etc. I came from a background in nonprofit project and program management and have quickly elevated to a role in policy within my current organization. I'm so much a face to face, people person that a lot of this work is just eating me up. Again, great job, love the mission, but the work just isn't playing to my strengths. It is probably worth mentioning that this job runs on grants and right now there are enough grants to cover my income through December - though my org is very resourceful and gets award big grants constantly.

I am hoping the new job will pay more than I've estimated, but who knows? This job is also, surprisingly considering the paycut, a career step up as I'd be running a small nonprofit. It is one of those opportunities where if I didn't understand nonprofits from working in them and the content so well from years of working in that type of nonprofit I wouldn't be as qualified for the job - so may not be qualified for another role as a nonprofit ED for years to come.

Again, thanks for your thoughts, the blatant outcry that I was pretty much crazy has helped balance my decision some. Second interview is in about 24 hours so I'm hoping to have some concrete numbers to be thinking with soon here.

soccerluvof4

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I too would never give up working out of home for lesser money let alone the same amount of money. At times yea it can be lonely ? but overall its just to good to not have the abitlity to do what i want when i want

onemorebike

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Yeah, lonely doesn't describe it. I've got two young kids and often feel like I rarely get away from the house between doing my work and raising my kids - particularly in the winter time.

As for volunteering etc., I actually joined a board for a cause I believe in when I started the work at home thing. It went wonderfully but eventually I felt overwhelmed between the board work, paid work and the work of raising my children. Realized it would be better for me to find a job that incorporates it all into one, so I left the board after 4 years.

Eric

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I'll chime in to say that you should do it.  If you were 2 years away from FIRE, maybe it'd be better to stick it out, but being miserable at work everyday is no way to go through life.  If this will make you happier, then it's worth it.  Plus, like you said, despite the probable step down in pay, it's a step up in responsibility.  That could definitely open some future doors for you.

Thegoblinchief

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Personal happiness is important, but it might help putting together a list of what will be better about this new job versus your current one.

Getting out of the house and riding your bike, for example, can easily be fixed in current situation. I am a SAHD but I get out of the house every day, either before my DW goes to work or after dinner.
Riding my bike is a great stress reliever.

onemorebike

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UPDATE: I'm one of the final two candidates and now know for certain that the pay is 11,000 less, a week's less vacation each year. I've got to wait another week to see if there is an actual offer to work with...:(

feelingroovy

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Bummer on the update.

I worked at home, self-employed for four years.  About a year and a half ago I rented an office downtown to force me out of the house. 

I laughed out loud at that Oatmeal comic because it's ALL TRUE.  I realized at some point that I had gone two weeks without leaving the house.  Even to get the mail! 

But I love what I do.

I think the best thing for you to remember is there aren't only two jobs out there--the one you have and the one you're interviewing for.  If you get the offer, negotiate hard, at least for more vacation.  But it's not like this is your last chance to get another job.