What should I do?

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Author Topic: Evaluating a Job Offer  (Read 5658 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Evaluating a Job Offer
« on: July 18, 2014, 11:49:30 PM »
Hi everyone. I'm a long time lurker from the Jacob baton-passing days. I'm at an important decision point this weekend and could use some like-minded advice. I thought the MMM community might be able to lend a hand?

Current situation:

Sr Programmer, $90.9k with a 0-20% EOY bonus (not sure how reliable it is yet). I started this job last fall. I work at home 85% of the time and travel to a distant city via plane every 8 weeks. I'm not fond of air travel but have gotten used to it. The insurance plans are solid and reasonably priced. The company is enormous financially and very old/stable. 

I'm working on an older version of the enterprise software that I develop on/with. I was told when I was hired last fall that I would be participating in an upgrade to the latest & greatest version, a valuable piece of experience in my niche. This upgrade has been indefinitely delayed, although it certainly will happen at some point. Also, when I agreed to employment, there was an 8% 401(k) match that was "suspended" at the beginning of the year. My boss stated (guessed?) that the match may be reinstated eventually and may even be retroactive.

I freelance with a contract that I value at $7k annually, and I value highly the long term business relationship that I've had with this company. It's one of my safety nets - "no matter what happens, I can have a job here tomorrow" - type situation.

With the 401(k) match suspension, the postponed upgrade, and a paltry 1% raise, I started listening to recruiters. Besides these 3 reasons, I am very happy where I'm at right now.

New offer:

Programmer, $108k with a 5-15% bonus (I'd guess that the bonus is more reliable than my current situation). Small company, < 20 employees. 3% Simple IRA match. I would work at home 85-95% of the time, so potentially less travel (good!). Usually, I'd have a 6 hour car ride (mileage reimbursed / possibly a rental), which I'd probably prefer to the ~8 hour airport rigmarole.

The business is solid, with a strong balance sheet and cash flow. Growth is exploding and has a long way to run. They "need to fill in the shoes" they're wearing and recently received a capital injection, hence the strong recruitment. There's a small but non-negligible risk of being bought out, probably resulting in layoffs. I'm not really concerned about that scenario because I'd likely receive a generous severance and find a job the next day.

I'd be developing on the absolute cutting edge, expanding my skill set exponentially with exposure/training in new and highly valuable languages that I'd never see at my current position. I'd also be working primarily in product development, with some client exposure, instead of being part of the ol' IT cost center fun. My professional network would also grow rapidly.


  • Simple IRA instead of 401k, so a loss of $5,500 in annual tax sheltering. Let's call it a $1,400 annual cost. Also worse investment options, but probably not too drastic (Vanguard > Fidelity).
  • Insurance plans are comparable, but cost $960 more annually
  • I'd lose the $7k/yr contract and would not be allowed to freelance with anyone during my employment. My bridge / safety net would be damaged (50%?) but not destroyed. The positive side of this point is that I would gain ~140 hours annually by not doing this extra work on the side.
  • PTO would drop from 22 days to 10/12/15/20 in first/second/fourth/fifth years.
  • I negotiated half of the salary increase because of the loss of my contract and the subpar time off. I also negotiate the fifth year 20 day PTO bump. I'm a bit concerned that salary growth will be constricted because of this negotiation. I'd address that concern with the CEO/owner if I continue negotiations. Offsetting that concern a little bit is the fact that my skillset and value would grow rapidly. They'd be insane to invest in my training, expose me to these new technologies, and not increase my salary in my blazing-hot job market.
  • The work would be significantly more intense and demanding than what I currently do. My hours would likely increase by 5-7 per week.

My thoughts:

It sure is tempting. I calculate the net benefit to be ~$10k annually with an equal Real Wage per Hour. This moves my freedom date up from ~12 years to ~9-10 years remaining. My wife is very hesitant to give up the PTO and for me to log the extra hours per week. I'm mostly in agreement with her and even completely declined the second offer, citing the PTO, since further negotiations seemed to have stalled. She also has a "gut feeling" that I should hold out for better offers, e.g. a better 401(k) match, more PTO, and perhaps even 100% remote work. I agree slightly with her gut feeling but am excited about the possibilities of this organization.

After my "final" rejection, the CEO/owner called to ask me to reconsider over the weekend. They really want me on board. During this call, I also gained the fifth year PTO bump. He explained his thought processes for the second offer, and I said I would think it over. But I'm at a stand-still in my mind. I can't decide.

If I still decline, I'd probably shut down my job search for the rest of the year to collect my EOY bonus and see if current conditions (software upgrade / 401k match) improve. I also have a much anticipated 2 week staycation scheduled for October,  and am curious about the possibility of other opportunities popping up.

Thoughts? Questions? Advice? I'd really appreciate any perspectives that are offered.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 12:02:09 AM by User3 »


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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2014, 01:27:47 AM »
Sounds like you have some leverage and could use the two companies against each other. I would contact your old company and new one and tell them what you want and not what they are offering. Even try and get a third and 4 company in the mix if you can. Tell them How much you want and benefits you are looking for. Put it in writing and send them the offer like how they sent u one. People often under estimate their value in the workplace and settle to whats being offered. Make a strong case why you deserve more and give comparables. Play hardball and say you really like such and such company but a different company is willing to pay more and if they could match it.

But if its just between the 2 companies I would take the new second gig. You dont want to sit on the old job 3 years down the line and think shoulda coulda woulda. Be bold and and take life by the horns and do what you are more passionate about and the money will follow. Sounds like you are ready for a change. I would call that second CEO up and tell him the second offer is 35% lower than what you are looking for and ask him how much he is willing to come up. Tell him you are worth that much and give him some comparables. Tell him you have offers from his competitors as well but you would rather work for them. See what he can come up to and then do the same thing with your current employer.

Best of luck man. You are in a great position and you have some leverage for an even higher paying position. That is some serious income and i hope you save and invest quite a bit of it!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 09:21:13 AM »
I have heard this piece of advice offered by Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post:

Choose one - perhaps the one that you are the more excited about (#2 I dare say) - and then don't tell anybody. Sit on it a few days, having already made your decision.

Then see how you feel about your "choice." Regret? Excitement? Anxiety? Peace?

Because this is obviously not all about the money.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 09:48:56 AM »
Basically more work, less benefits, less flexibility, marginally better pay, trading a job you are "very happy" with for one you have no idea other than that it's higher stress and more hours?

You make about 98k a year vs 108k, but the 108k requires 100+ hours more work a year (5*50=250 for the vs 140 you are currently doing freelance). Additionally you lose 12 days PTO which is another 100 hours additional work.

Are you willing to work 200-300 extra hours a year for about $10,000 extra?  This is the financial decision you are making. If you aren't willing to work 5-6 hours a week right now for $35-50/hr you shouldn't take this job from financial perspectives. If your freelance work can scale (you make $50/hr for this) but you have not been willing to do this, you seemingly do not want to make this trade.

But considering your only stated concerns with your current job are financial factors it would seem quite stupid to take this other job given the above.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 09:59:19 AM »
I think you should take the new job, because you can leverage your expanded skills for an even better job in a year, maybe even more pto and money.
I don't think you'll get better offers w/o the additional skills/exposure.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2014, 12:15:11 PM »
This is a tough one mathematically, even not factoring in the "fun" factor.

I calculate that even though you are gaining $17,100 a year, you are actually losing $12941 per year, leaving a net gain of $4k.

That's your 401k tax loss, plus the $7k side gig, plus the loss in PTO.

PTO at old job is worth about $7691.  PTO at new job is worth about $4150.

I don't even know how to calculate the extra hours, 294 hours a year extra on the new job, even though you are making more money.  How does the 294 hours a year compare to your side gig?

Sorry, I haven't slept in a few days or my calculations would be in table form and more coherent. ;)

Personally, I would not go backwards on the PTO. I  turned down a job for that.  I have gone backwards twice before, but that's a big backwards move.  My most recent job offer was going from 34 days to 19.  Nope, no thanks.  Especially since I have two young kids.

But for a great opportunity?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2014, 12:39:48 PM »
Everyone - thank you so much for your feedback and participation in the poll. These posts are helping me navigate to a decision. I plan to finalize it tomorrow @ 8:00PM.

Enderland's and mm1970's posts resonate with me. When I boil it all down - am I willing to work more for $10k - under the conditions that I'd be exposed to better technologies and take the intangibles risk of a new job (like the supervisor? work too demanding? etc). 

The better technologies would expand my job market 15X. For those technically interested - I'd be working with C# and HTML5, along with a newer version of the enterprise software. Now - that sounds great on the surface, but I would equate it to keeping warm by a bonfire versus expanding it to a forest fire. My current 1X job market is extremely strong, so there would be a marginal utility factor here.

When I read the post I wrote to my wife, she said it seemed as though I was leaning toward accepting. In my conscious brain, I was thinking more along the lines of 50/50. I may have underrated how much I like my current position. I think this can be explained by the excitement of the interview process and offers versus the familiarity of the current role.

Right now, I'm 60/40 in favor of staying. I've been trying to envision the intensity/demand changes on my time. I've also been considering the possibility of better offers down the road if I decline this one.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2014, 05:58:57 PM »
You don't say how old you are but it's hard to put a value on varied experience. I recently took three days off work to prep for and go to an interview. It's a startup company in a new industry to me and a challenging job where my experience will mesh well. I was nervous because of the level of comfort and flexibility I have now, but the prospects and culture at my current place are grim.

I didn't get the job. Bummed. My friend who works there said that the engineers lived me. The executives... That I didn't really meet with... Decided they need another exec. instead.

I have been in my specific industry for 14 years. I know a lot and have learned a lot. When I look at my very favorite boss, I realize that he has a TON more experience in a variety of industries and that is one of the reasons he is so awesome. So you cannot discount the importance of learning new things.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2014, 06:42:56 PM »
Take it. Your current job got dead-ended. I'm sure that "eventually" the upgrade will happen. Or the entire system will be shut down and everyone working on it laid off. Shit happens, yo. This is the first stage of that shit happening.

I'd sacrifice money to work on cutting edge instead of legacy support. You're gaining money. The rest - meh, there's good and there's bad.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2014, 02:26:10 PM »
After reaching 80% certainty that I would stay, I've flip flopped. I'm now 65/35 toward taking the offer.

Not taking the offer would be the easy thing to do. I would be backing down from a potentially fulfilling challenge and looking away from an obvious career building opportunity. I am OK with the extra hours. They're worth the time investment to gain skill and resources that will help me reach freedom faster. My #1 goal over the next decade-ish is to continually increase my family's fiscal security and overall happiness until eventually I achieve what we're all targeting here - absolute financial independence. Taking the offer is in line with that goal.

I'm going to finalize my decision over a nice dinner in about 4 hours. Any remaining thoughts or advice?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2014, 02:36:53 PM »
Easy decision.

Would you regret not taking this offer? Is it exciting enough and would it make you marketable enough (to negate the effect of a buyout risk).

There is something to be said about building your "brand" and "personal value". The only consideration for you, is are you willing to put in the extra hours to do that?

Try and see your career on a 3-5 year horizon. WIll you be better off by having spent some time with this new company?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2014, 07:27:53 PM »
If its not the right place for you to go next, keep looking.  You don't need to rush into a change, esp as it will mean giving up your "safety backup" and so much PTO.  And esp as it sounds like you will have other offers easily enough.


  • Bristles
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2014, 02:01:43 AM »
Idk how your last round of negotiation went on PTO, but if you're on the fence and the new company hasn't told you it's their best and final offer, you could push a little harder there and ask them to help make this an easier decision for you.  Ask them if there's any operational reason they can't give you 20 days from year 1, and see what they say.  Based on what you've written, it sounds like the move would be good.  Good luck!


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2014, 01:47:08 PM »
I would take it.  Get the varied experience and don't look back!!

FYI, I am "Enterprise Cost Center" and have been trying to find a better job on an off for two years.  No luck.  Not enough of a network and what I do here doesn't seem to jibe anywhere. 

After a year or two of hard work, you can split to something a bit more balanced.


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Re: Evaluating a Job Offer
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2014, 08:09:54 PM »
Well?  Did you take the job, or not?  :)
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