Author Topic: How much of a salary bump to move to a place where the grass is less green?  (Read 5246 times)

Vilgan

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Hi all,

I feel like I have a really great job. Ideal boss, great relationships up the chain from there, great work/life balance, a company that always tops "Great companies to work for" surveys on a national scale, etc. Yearly raises are also fine (10-15k bump per year).

However, I hear a lot of chatter from recruiters who toss around numbers that are around 30-40k more than I make now. Some of the possibilities include the large tech firms that everyone knows and others are just regular companies that need software developers with my skillset. I feel like conventional advice would be to stay in a job where you are happy, but dang... 40k more per year is a siren call that can be hard to ignore. I have trouble imaging that I would land in any nightmare scenario and if I did I would just move on pretty quick, but I also feel it is pretty unlikely I'll ever have it as good as I do right now with my current boss, work life balance, job satisfaction, etc.

How do you evaluate salary and the freedom that it provides (potentially shaving years off of my "have to work" career) vs moving from a great job to one that is likely just okay? If staying in a job you are happy makes sense, any advice on ignoring the temptation of more $$?

Exflyboy

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Start interviewing and find out how real that extra $40k really is.. I mean ask for it and see what your offered.

be sure you understand the extra COL and tax structure of the new location.

You then have the option of resigning and hoping they counter offer.. I've never done that as it does carry risk.

Frank

AZlawyer

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Pros | Cons
       |

No joke, get a pad and paper and write them down.  Your question was loaded, and the decision is highly personal.  If you're starting a family, maximizing your free time now may be most important.  If you want to retire as soon as possible so you can move closer to grandkids, maybe it's best to buckle down for a few years and chase the money. 

I also thought this was an interesting Ted Talk on the subject.  If nothing else it will help you take comfort in whatever you choose.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ruth_chang_how_to_make_hard_choices?language=en

Gone Fishing

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Get on glassdoor and talk to anyone you can think of with a relationship with the prospective companies to get a feel for their culture.  IT is an industry known for sweat shops.  From what I have seen, most folks can tolerate 12-24 months in these high pressure envrionments before they go into survival mode, which isn't always pretty. 

When it comes down to it, I believe your direct manager is probably the most important factor in job satisfaction. When working for a large company, your manager can change on a whim from upper management/turnover etc.  I have had 3 different managers in 6 years. One was fine, one was a wimp, and one a tyrant. 

Based on the pay bumps you are getting, I am assuming you are already into or close to 6 figure territory.  Personally, if I had a job I really liked in 6 figure land, I would not jump ship from a near perfect job for another 40k that comes with misery unless I was a year or so away from FIRE and just wanted another experience and a little more gravy on my 'stache, but even then it would be a tough call.  When you are overworked and miserable the calendar slows to a crawl as you grind through each day, and the temptation to just hand over the keys is huge. 

If the salary is just so far off that you can not leave it alone.  Go through the interview process, get an offer and take it back to your current employer.  Explain to them that you do not want to leave, but the salary difference is just too big to ignore and ask for a raise.  If they value you and can afford it, they will probably give it to you.  This must be done tactfully to avoid hard feelings, but it does work.   

MrFrugalChicago

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So I work in IT. Did the job hop thing. Really at the end of the day, work is work is work. The two variables that most impacted me were:

1) Direct boss. A good direct boss in a bad company is years ahead of an average boss in a good company.
2) Pay. at the end of the day, work is for pay.

40k is a big bump. With out knowing your location and cost of living, hard to say. But I would jump ship for 40k. If the new job stunk, then find a new new job at the higher rate. However if I was super happy, I wouldn't jump ship for 10k. I think 20-30k is my make-a-jump-even-if-happy amount, but could be different for everyone.

Goldielocks

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Don't forget about building your career skills and experiences ladder.  Does the new job add or take away where you want to be in seven years?  Think two steps ahead.  More money now can be less money in five years.  FIRE applies here too.

I moved to a small city for COL, but when the job became routine, my bigger city network was shot and jobs locally I was interested in were rare .  with a family, I could not just quit, move and find the next job after.  So plan for where the job will take you next.

orbix

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Something to be sure to factor in to your comparisons- Benefits, including PTO. I stuck with a job that may have paid as much as $15k less than some alternatives because my current employer offered more than double the typical amount of paid vacation (I'm up to 4.5 weeks a year, plus holidays, plus a week at Christmas!), better health coverage, a better match on a 401k, and a solid bonus program.

When you look solely at salary numbers, it'd seem ridiculous not to go, but when you add in everything else, plus how happy you are, it may not be as big a difference as you'd think. Not saying it's not worth it for you to switch, just that it's easy to forget about the other stuff. :)

MrFrugalChicago

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Something to be sure to factor in to your comparisons- Benefits, including PTO. I stuck with a job that may have paid as much as $15k less than some alternatives because my current employer offered more than double the typical amount of paid vacation (I'm up to 4.5 weeks a year, plus holidays, plus a week at Christmas!), better health coverage, a better match on a 401k, and a solid bonus program.

When you look solely at salary numbers, it'd seem ridiculous not to go, but when you add in everything else, plus how happy you are, it may not be as big a difference as you'd think. Not saying it's not worth it for you to switch, just that it's easy to forget about the other stuff. :)

ya this for sure. Many offer letters wont say 401k match %, or bonus potential, or such. Usually need to probe a little to get the full numbers, then add it all up and see.

jadbgee

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Another IT guy here to add a plus one for the two guys just above.  Salary is a small part of the picture.  If I looked at my salary alone, I'd jump ship in a heartbeat.  Beyond that salary, though, I get a remarkably steady 23% bonus and a pension.  Not to mention, I get to grow a real mustache alongside my money mustache.  It'd take a lot for me to go back into the suit and tie world where I'd have to shave my beard.  You gotta dig and find out more about them.  Health insurance is a big one, too.  If you're not on an independent plan, the cost for health insurance alone could differ from employer to employer by hundreds per month.

  • Culture
  • 401k Match
  • Paid Vacation
  • Pension
  • etc.

darkadams00

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I'm an analyst for an extremely great company. Salary is just an unbelievably small part of the puzzle for me, and my benefits are so good, I would have to jump from, say the 70th pay percentile to the 90th percentile in my field to consider it. I expect a person in their 20's to be unsettled, more ready to jump ship, and overall willing to chase salary. And those are the ones I look at long and hard before suggesting for a hire in my department. The best employees we hire are the ones who are 6-8 years into the field and have worked for a couple sweat shops, chasing the bigger bucks. They've learned a lot about the expectations that comes with the big paycheck/few benefits and decided whether they like that lifestyle or not. They've also decided that they like the work and don't want to migrate to project management or sales. The points mentioned in previous posts are just a few of the points to consider. I'll add a few more that I've experienced on my job.

*A promise not to lay off workers during the 2009 economic downturn. We actually created a new department during 2008-2009.
*Unlimited sick days. If you're sick, stay home. If you're not, let's do some cool stuff. I claimed my first sick day in almost six years this year.
*No hassle for office equipment. Neck causing an issue--ergo orders a new chair. Need a second monitor, order it. Need third-party software for development, open a ticket.
*Drinks/coffee/tea/snacks--free every day. Little items like this add up over a year.
*Discount Center--company coordinates with over 150 local businesses to offer employee discounts, e.g. cell phones, auto mechanics, home repairmen, airlines, hotels, rental cars, amusements, etc. I've saved a couple thousand dollars here.
*Subsidized cafeterias--I usually pack my lunch, but I save on the breakfasts after I bike in and the occasional team lunches.
*Local with great biking conditions and reasonable public transit. If I lived where I do now and switched companies, I would either need to work from home (not fun for me) or drive 30+ minutes to work. Instead, I bike about 40 minutes and arrive at work awake and ready to go and then recharge on the commute home. And everything I need is no more than four miles away, again easy to do on a bike.

...and the list goes on and on. Even though we have one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry, I'm still amazed when people leave. Different priorities, I guess.

All in all, I don't agree that work is work is work. I'm gainfully employed, but I haven't had five soul-sucking days this year. I visit about 20 clients a year--usually state/federal government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. I haven't been in one yet where the environment or the personnel was as interesting or engaging, and many are downright depressing. A 25% pay increase wouldn't even make me turn my head. But you'll have to evaluate your own pros and cons.

chasesfish

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I am in a completely different industry, but get the exact same phone calls.  I've always stayed and here's why:

- I already make enough money, a ridiculous salary relative to the rest of the world/US
- 40k bump is really 24k after taxes
- The company I work for contributes more towards benefits than most
- I've worked for really good managers and a stable company, even if we have our challenges day to day
- The company/industry I work in tends to promote from within.  If you change companies, you've basically thrown a giant glass ceiling above you
- There's a predictable bonus and some deferred stock that cuts the base salary gap.

The only time I've really gone down the path was with a manager that others really respected, then we had an improvement in leadership and I wouldn't consider it now.

VirginiaBob

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Mode Note: Response removed, suggesting to break all sorts of laws and engage in predatory, stalking behavior - said tongue in cheek (hopefully) or not, isn't acceptable on the forums.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 10:10:41 AM by swick »

Davids

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Interview and learn about the company, worst case scenario is they do not even offer you the job then it is a moot point. If they offer you the job and it is $40K more than you make, negotiate to get some more. Nothing wrong with exploring other options even if you are happy in your current role.

aschmidt2930

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How long do you plan on working?  If your current company is giving you a 10-15k raise every year, you may actually make more in the long-term with your current company.  The new company may offer 30-40k more today, but what kind of raises do they give out?  Unfortunately that's typically tough information to gather.. But if they're a 3%, raises for inflation type company in 3-4 years your salary could be identical with both companies.