Author Topic: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)  (Read 4619 times)

Dobby

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Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« on: November 07, 2015, 09:01:20 AM »
Hello everyone,

I'm facing a major life decision and thought I'd seek out advice from a group of Internet strangers.  :)  Just kidding, I really do value the opinions of other MMM readers trying to live their lives in better ways.

Bottom line up front:  I had job offer fall in my lap last week from a very large company 10 minutes from home.  At the same time, I was offered a (very nice) promotion at my current job, a job which involves a 1.5hr door-to-door commute.  I''ll need to pick one by Monday and I'm struggling to see the best choice.

The details:  I'm 38, married, kids age 8 and 10.  I really enjoy my current job. I've been there for 2.5 years and I've been responsible for a lot of the growth, development, and hiring of the staff.  I really like my team and the people I work with, too.  The 1.5hr commute is done by bike (to the train station), a long-ass train ride, then a 1/2 mile walk to my office, so no cars involved.  However, 3hrs per day takes its toll and really wears me out.  I have little free time at home with my family during the week.  A typical day is up at 4am and back home around 6:30p.  The promotion is a senior management role that I've been working for over the past couple years and is part of my overall career goal plans. 

The new job is 5 miles away from home which would be a laughably easy bike ride.  I would no longer pay $2550/year on a train pass.  I could leave the house at 7:30a and be home by 5:30p without any problem, plus get my running done in the morning without the need for a 4am wake-up call. The job itself is a bit of a lateral move taking me in a direction I didn't really want to go.  (The core job is doing what I've done successfully for the past 7 years.)  I'd be pushing a "reset" button in many ways, especially when it comes to professional relationships, title and promotion - I'd be looking at another 2-3 years before I'd be eligible for that at the new job. 

Pay and benefits are pretty close: base salary is 5k higher with the promotion, but the newer job has better health insurance.  Current job also has potential for a large yearly bonus (up to 11%) and stocks from an ESOP, but there's no guarantee I'd receive those if the company performs poorly.  Overall earning potential is probably higher at the current job.

The big questions:  How much is all this worth from a quality-of-life perspective?  Does it make sense to stick with the current job, make more money, and ultimately retire sooner?  (I've got an aggressive FI plan of 5-7 years.)  Do I risk the unknowns of a new job, humble myself a bit, and put my career aspirations on hold to reclaim my time? 

I'd definitely love to hear what others think of this, especially if you've found yourself in a similar situation. 

Many thanks,

Chrissy

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2015, 09:22:48 AM »
I've heard cutting a long-ass commute like yours provides personal happiness equal to a $40k/yr raise.

Either take the closer job, or take the promotion, but start trying to leverage it to get a similar job closer to home in about 6 months.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2015, 09:38:54 AM »
It sounds like financially, it's a wash. 5k higher gross salary with 2.5k commuting costs vs 5k lower salary with no commuting costs and better health insurance. This ignores potential bonus and potential earning capacity, because those are only potentials. Plus, the best option for increasing your salary almost always comes from switching companies. Think about how these two options give you about the same amount of money: a lower-level job at a new place and a higher-level job where you are. Don't assume staying will get you to FIRE faster.

That leaves you to decide between what you value more outside of money: your family, your time, and your sleep, or a fucking title?*

You're going to be out of the workplace completely under a decade. How much do you really care about overall career goal plans?

One more question: why do you want to FIRE? (Hint hint: is "spend more time with your family" in there?**)

*Try not to be swayed by my obvious bias.

**OK, go ahead and be swayed.

Dobby

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2015, 03:03:59 PM »

That leaves you to decide between what you value more outside of money: your family, your time, and your sleep, or a fucking title?*

You're going to be out of the workplace completely under a decade. How much do you really care about overall career goal plans?

One more question: why do you want to FIRE? (Hint hint: is "spend more time with your family" in there?**)

*Try not to be swayed by my obvious bias.

**OK, go ahead and be swayed.

Ha! Thanks.  Yes, I'm here looking to be swayed.  The path of least resistance is definitely staying put with the current job. I think I know deep down that the truly badass thing is to ditch the whole "career goals" ambition thing and take the plunge with the new job. 

I forgot to mention a couple things which may (or may not) influence opinions.  First, my current job gives me 5 weeks of vacation, while new job would only be 3 weeks for the next few years.  The other is that my current job allows me to schedule my time however I want.  So, for example, I could be working from the train and only spending 6-7 hours in the office instead of feeling compelled to work a full 8.  I've also been given a green light to work at least one day from home if I wanted to.  (Not sure if I would actually do that because a lot of my job requires face-to-face interaction.) 

mozar

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 09:25:56 PM »
Take the promotion and then leave.

backyardfeast

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 09:35:08 PM »
Wow! Tough one, and too bad about the time pressure!

Key questions: what does your wife think?  and, as above, given that you want to be FIRE in 5 years, is the new job one that you could be happy in for 5 years?  It's a really short period of time, especially when you factor in the year or two it takes to get your bearings.

Remember, too, that it's often easier to save $ when you're not as tired and stressed from long days, so I think the advice that financially it's a wash is true.  So the real question is: what's your 5 year goal?  Is it short term quality of life? Savings? Flexibility and more vacation time?  Or just making it to FI in the most painless way possible (which seems to mean take the new job)?

Is there any way to leverage your promotion with the new company to get the 5 weeks vacation?


humbleMouse

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 01:36:45 AM »
I didn't see anything in your post stating why you can't move closer to your current job.  Is there any chance you can move?  If not, why?

AK

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 05:52:49 AM »
Try renegotiating with the new employer to get higher pay and time off. Many employers start at the low end of their "range" so there's wiggle room to go higher if the candidate counters. If you can do that, take the new job, especially with 5 years to FIRE.

Personally, getting up really early everyday for 5 years is something I couldn't do especially with a 3 hour daily commute.

Let us know how it turns out.

Hey It's Me

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2015, 07:23:30 AM »
Given this new information of the fewer vacation days, I would not take the new job as it stands. This new role isn't giving you any of the traditional benefits of taking a new job. They aren't offering you more money, or more benefits, or a higher title. You wouldn't even consider the role if it wasn't closer to your house. And what happens if the company decides to move in 6 months? You're stuck with an inferior job and fewer opportunities.

Do two things:
1) Re-negotiate with the new job that the current offer is inferior to your salary with the promotion you're getting. State the reasons clearly. See if they improve the offer by ~10% or more. (Realistically the break-even point.)
2) If the above doesn't happen, take the promotion instead. Then use it as leverage to apply for other jobs. Trust me, you'll be way more qualified for equivalent external leadership roles in six months than you are now.

Dobby

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 07:22:45 AM »
Thanks everyone who replied.  To quickly address some of the follow-up questions:
  • Negotiating pay isn't an option.  The company is based in Germany and does things in a more European way - you're hired into a specific level and everyone in that level gets the same salary.
  • Vacation is in a similar situation, but I called the hiring director last night and got clarification.  It turns out vacation is 3 weeks for my first year, then 4 weeks for years 2-4, 5 weeks at the 5 year mark and 6 weeks after 10 years.  This does not include sick time.  In fact, there is no sick time at my level - if you're sick, you simply don't come into work and it doesn't count against any time at all.  My current job is 5 weeks and uses the PTO concept of vacation and sick all bundled together.  I think the new job is a better deal in this regard.
  • Moving is not an option for a number of reasons: uprooting the kids from their schools/friends, my wife's job is 5 minutes away, family is 5 mins away (this is huge when you have kids)

My wife and I had a couple very good conversations this weekend and decided that the new job was the best choice for us.  While the promotion and accolades are very nice to have right now, in 3 months they will be forgotten and I will be stuck dealing with a 3hr commute.  Great opportunities this close to home are pretty rare and the time I spend with my family is more valuable than anything a company can offer me.  And it's still a 16% increase on a salary that was already more than enough!

Thanks again.

JLee

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 08:43:37 AM »
I think you've made the right decision.

Another way I've calculated similar-ish situations is to factor my hourly salary including commuting time. If you were gone from home for 14 hours a day vs 9 hours at your new job, I'd run the numbers and compare your hourly rate.

irishbear99

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 10:15:03 AM »
I see you've already made your decision, but I wanted to add to the discussion. I recently took a lateral career move in which I cut my commute time from 3 hrs round trip to about 20 minutes round trip (if we hit all the red lights). It is 100% worth it. I did the math and realized I'm getting more than 500 hours per year of my life back. It's the greatest thing to look at the clock in the evening, see it's 5:30, and know I've been home for more than an hour whereas at my old job I'd just be getting home (if I was lucky).

backyardfeast

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 10:23:05 AM »
Congratulations!!  It sounds like a wonderful shift for your family that will make a big difference for the next years until you are FI!

Sibley

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Re: Dilemma: New job (close to home) vs old job (getting promoted)
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 10:37:34 AM »
I have a similar commute now. Glad you're getting rid of it, I would do so in a heartbeat.