Author Topic: Not settling and "taking calculated risks" in the context of jobs and FIRE  (Read 2696 times)

jeromedawg

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Hi all,

Was just wondering what your thoughts are on the subject of interviewing for different jobs and "settling" on one versus looking for that "dream job" or holding out on offers in order to get one that's higher paying.

My SIL recently told me, before I accepted the offer for my current position (telecommuting with a large well-known company and at a decent salary - roughly 20% more than where I was at before), that I should not necessarily take this in relation to another position I was interviewing for (but ultimately did not get) that was more dynamic and *seemed* to offer a better career growth/path progression. But even though I didn't get that offer, it seemed like there was this unspoken advice that I still should hold out on the offer (that I ended up taking) in favor of interviewing for a company that would offer these same benefits (as far as career growth etc).
I can't say my current job *doesn't* offer these things but I'm sure there certainly are more dynamic positions out there. So it also got me thinking about how a lot of people say things like "if you're young, take all the [calculated] risk you can afford to take" which seems to jive with the perspective that I shouldn't have "settled" and should have kept looking.

The situation I was in was of course a not very good one - a few months earlier in Sept I had received notification of advance termination come June 2016, and we had just had newborn son in August. So a big part of why I took the offer I took was for the longer-term stability. But I still think back on the whole "calculated risk" argument and wonder... should I have held out in favor of landing something bigger and better (because I'm relatively young still)? I'm sure I could have negotiated better terms for the offer I took as well but now that it's in the past, hindsight is 20/20.

I think all who have argued in favor of "calculated risk" that I've spoken to in the context of jobs and "not settling" are of the mindset that they would retire [and perhaps filthily rich] at the "ripe normal age of 65" or whatever.  Also, who says I *can't* look for something "more dynamic" in the meantime? I think the argument would just boil down to "well, what's the best use of your time and maximizing your time to build up your skillset, etc?"

What say you, fellow Mustachians?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2016, 03:06:38 PM by jplee3 »

letired

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'Settled' is in the eye of the beholder. It's really easy for outsiders to say 'oh you should totally do x', but they aren't the ones who have to figure out how to make your life work when it comes down to it.

I also object to the notion of 'dream job' or 'dream career'. It's too similar to the notion that if you love what you do,
"you'll never work another day in your life" or some equally inane and exploitive bs. Do what you love/pursue your dream is a pretty way of saying 'make bad economic choices' so someone else can profit off of your desperation and idealism. /cynic

Also, dreams change. I 'dreamed' of a career in ecology. Turns out, you have to practically work yourself to death for the privilege of earning ~40k/year and my academic advisor was a total nutcase. So my new 'dream' was a a goal: a career where there were actual jobs available in my area and the possibility of earning over 50k/year.

When I accepted my first new career job, I totally should have 'held out' for a better job, but a) I had no way of knowing that job was kind of shitty (the company talked good talk) and b) I had no other job offers from my other interviews and was coming up on my savings deadline and was living in my friends' spare room. So yeah. I took the job offer and negotiated with what I had for the salary I needed. When I figured out it wasn't a job that would get me where I wanted to be (better skills/career growth, more money for FIRE), I started interviewing till I found something that seemed like a better match. In a few years, my current job might no longer match my goals, and I'll probably look around again to see what's out there.

TL;DR It is really easy to use hindsight and make judgements about other people's lives. Ultimately you are the one who has to make the choices that are right for you. And dreams are dumb, goals are better.

Mother Fussbudget

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A job in the hand, is worth dozens on the job boards.

Working from home has it's own challenges - research *that* topic on the forums - but overall it's a great situation to be in. 

One might slow their job search once they've landed a position, but why not continue to browse for better jobs?  People do it all the time.

GrowingTheGreen

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A job in the hand, is worth dozens on the job boards.

Working from home has it's own challenges - research *that* topic on the forums - but overall it's a great situation to be in. 

One might slow their job search once they've landed a position, but why not continue to browse for better jobs?  People do it all the time.

I came here to say "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," but I think your metaphor is much more suitable for this scenario.

You're only doing yourself a disservice if you don't poke around and see what else is out there.  Even if it is only once per year.  If you don't see anything you like, then keep plugging away where you're at.  Your company is constantly evaluating their investments--one of which is you.  You should be constantly evaluating your situation.

lhamo

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A lot of "opportunities" are really just a disaster waiting to happen.  I took a significant paycut when I took my last job, but at the time it was totally the right thing to do and I was very happy there for about 5 years.  Then we made the decision to put the kids in more expensive schools, and I started feeling pressure to look around for something better paying.  Then my boss left and they gave me a fake, temporary promotion.  Worst thing that ever happened to me careerwise, most likely, as now there will always be that question when people look at my cv -- why didn't you get promoted from acting director to director? Yes, I can explain it, and most people understand the organizational politics (especially if they have been through it or witnessed it close up), but it still looks bad.  HOWEVER, in hindsight I know that if they HAD actually promoted me I would have been miserable, and probably would have had a nervous breakdown.  I was close to it when I finally decided to leave.  And now, realistically, I probably don't have to work again unless I want to.  So while the whole thing may have been disasterous from a traditional career perspective, it was absolutely the right thing at the right time for me, because it allowed me to at least (semi)-FIRE.

You taking this position at this time is allowing your wife to step back from work while your baby is young, which seems to be something you both want.  Don't second guess yourself.  Do keep your eyes open for other opportunities, but don't let mainstream opinion sway your decisions.  Your values and goals are not necessarily mainstream values and goals.  Be true to yourself and seek what is best for you and your family.  Nothing else matters.

pbkmaine

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Not settling and "taking calculated risks" in the context of jobs and FIRE
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2016, 08:57:37 PM »
I was in a partner track job at a Big Four accounting firm. I was being mentored; they really wanted me to make it. I loved the job, my clients, and the people I worked with. I got to be a guest on NPR regularly. It was FUN. The problem? It was half a country away from DH, his kids, and the rest of my family. In the end, I picked personal life over job, and went back East. No regrets.

DebtFreeBy25

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I was in a partner track job at a Big Four accounting firm. I was being mentored; they really wanted me to make it. I loved the job, my clients, and the people I worked with. I got to be a guest on NPR regularly. It was FUN. The problem? It was half a country away from DH, his kids, and the rest of my family. In the end, I picked personal life over job, and went back East. No regrets.

Congrats! It takes guts to choose your life over a job. I'm surprised that even at that level your firm wasn't able to work something out so you could move back East.

pbkmaine

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They would have taken me in NYC, but the job would have been entirely different, not partner track, and not well suited to my skills.