Author Topic: Career Advice Wanted!  (Read 4106 times)

CobraKreese

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Career Advice Wanted!
« on: September 28, 2015, 07:56:19 PM »
Hello all and good evening!  I could use some advice on what I should do with my current predicament with my work.  I've become very frustrated with where I am and want to make some changes but thought I'd see what everyone thinks.  I really don't have very many like minded individuals in my life that can offer any sort of help so here goes...

I have a job that I get to work from home for doing inside sales for an industrial parts distributor.  Our main office is out of state so that's why I work out of the house.  I have a lot of freedom with my job which I certainly love but my main problem is the money I make.  I currently make 40K a year and I get cheap insurance as well as a 3% 401K company match which I take advantage of.  I really am unhappy with the salary I make, a few years ago I made over 80K selling audio/video equipment but I worked retail hours.  That kind of money isn't necessarily there anymore but I've grown very frustrated with what I make.  My responsibilities for work have grown every single year without much increase in salary...in fact it took 3 years for me to get a raise and has since been over a year since I've had one.  Our numbers for our territory have grown each year and we are on pace to beat last years.

One of the issues that complicates this scenario is that my father is my outside sales rep.  He relies on me quite a bit which frustrates me as I feel like I'm just a secretary having to do menial tasks, simple things like doing his emails for him/spreadsheets etc.  If I were to leave I know it would leave a major hole in the business for him and would make it much harder to operate.  He has such an old school mindset of just being thankful you have a job.  I agree it's good to be thankful for a job but also I don't think it's wrong to want much better for myself.  I got married 2 years ago and my wife has Rheumatoid Arthritis plus she's a teacher.  A goal of mine is to get her out of teaching but currently she makes more than me.  The teaching wears her body out and long term is not good for her health.

I'm out on an island I have very little interaction with anyone, especially with our owners.  I have developed a desire to have my own business at some point and would be great if I could learn from my owners about business.  Even though we have a small company, it's been over two years since I have seen and spoken with our owners.  As I said I feel alone out on an island that really I don't get any support, career growth/training from my bosses.  Every bit of self improvement that I've started to get for myself over the last year has been self taught.  I read constantly, listen to podcasts, take courses, etc trying to learn more about business/investing/real estate. 

So I feel like I Should be looking elsewhere, does 40K a year with the luxury of staying home and not having bosses around me all the time worth it?  I guess the one thing that I can say is that it has afforded me a lot of time during the day when things are slow to study and learn.  I'm up for any advice anyone has no matter how big/small/nice/harsh.  Thank you all please feel free to ask me anything else if needed.

LAGuy

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2015, 08:14:45 PM »
Doesn't sound like it's worth it to you. And that's whose advice matters the most.

rmendpara

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2015, 08:29:53 PM »
To me? No.

To you? That's for you to answer...

Can you elaborate at all about your financial and work/lifestyle goals? It's not right/wrong to want more or less in terms of luxuries, but you have to be willing to make that trade-off depending on what you desire.

mozar

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 09:22:56 PM »
Where does your wife work? Does she work on the island too? If not you could relocate closer to her job and see if there are more job opportunities? Hard to give more advice without more info.

CobraKreese

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2015, 04:23:33 AM »
To me? No.

To you? That's for you to answer...

Can you elaborate at all about your financial and work/lifestyle goals? It's not right/wrong to want more or less in terms of luxuries, but you have to be willing to make that trade-off depending on what you desire.

Thanks for your response.  I certainly enjoy the overall freedom I get with my job but the issue is obviously income.  I feel like if I made around 60K doing this I would be much more satisfied with it.  My wife and I want to be full time real estate investors eventually but this is a job that I could potentially still keep while making more money from real estate than I do with this.  That would be my ultimate goal I'd say is to have the freedom to not need to work for anyone.  I did make over 80K in the past which is a hard pill to swallow to realize a younger me did twice as well as I am currently.  I lately have been reaching out to businessmen I know that run their own companies in search of a mentor that can help me with getting my own business going. 

My wife and I do enjoy traveling and thanks to use travel hacking skills we vacation pretty cheaply.  One of the perks with my job is that I can order very expensive product with a credit card and get fully reimbursed.  I know I have had purchases over $8000 before and pretty easily can have a few thousand a month in spending from purchases. 

I've often that in that scenario let's say I made 60K a year but had more $ coming in from real estate than I do with my salary that I could probably negotiate a reduction back to 40K but get more benefits.  I'm pretty sure I could get Fridays/Mondays off as well as not being limited to just working from home.  I've already worked plenty on vacation before, I don't need anything more than a laptop, internet connection, and iPhone.  In most cases I can get by with just my phone even.



Where does your wife work? Does she work on the island too? If not you could relocate closer to her job and see if there are more job opportunities? Hard to give more advice without more info.


I should have been more specific, I am sorry I did not mean for the island line to be taken literal lol.  I live in San Antonio so far from an island, and my wife and I recently bought another house to move closer to her teaching job.  We turned my first house into a rental property and that's got us interested in real estate.  Very sorry for not being more clear on that I just meant figuratively, the fact that I do not get much interaction from our company.  In fact I've argued for awhile that my father and I run things ourselves down here to the point that any intervention or things we have to do via the company guidelines are just hinderances to how we do business.  Originally my job was just to be inside sales but it has now transitioned to that as well as accounting, and purchasing.  I rather enjoy the purchasing aspect but the accounting I certainly don't.  Mainly because our accounts are so different in how they operate vs our main office that it causes some conflict with our office accounting.  I'm really quite good in most cases of finding what our customers need in a hurry, often times I'll get emails with little notice requiring parts to be delivered the next day.  We do not stock inventory here locally since we have no office/warehouse here.  Because of this I have to go out and find it quickly and that's why they continue to buy from us.  Also not having a local presence has certainly impacted our ability to add to our book of business.  Customers want us to have local stock instead of having to Next Day Air product into them which I certainly understand.   

I appreciate the feedback so far and welcome more of it, i'm willing to answer whatever questions necessary.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2015, 07:28:30 AM »
It sounds like you're in a tough spot.  Taking a 50% pay cut would be a difficult pill for anyone to swallow.  But I will say this - the freedom you have in your job is extremely attractive to a lot of office dwellers (like me).  Is there any chance you might be able to ask for a raise?  It sounds like you've taken on some extra work functions above and beyond what a typical inside sales rep is responsible for.  That should at least give you some negotiating power.  If you could get a raise (even if it doesn't take your salary back up to $80k), then I think you might be a lot more satisfied with your current job.  Again, that freedom sounds awesome.

CobraKreese

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2015, 08:28:30 AM »
It sounds like you're in a tough spot.  Taking a 50% pay cut would be a difficult pill for anyone to swallow.  But I will say this - the freedom you have in your job is extremely attractive to a lot of office dwellers (like me).  Is there any chance you might be able to ask for a raise?  It sounds like you've taken on some extra work functions above and beyond what a typical inside sales rep is responsible for.  That should at least give you some negotiating power.  If you could get a raise (even if it doesn't take your salary back up to $80k), then I think you might be a lot more satisfied with your current job.  Again, that freedom sounds awesome.

The freedom is awesome I can't argue that.  I also want to be clear that the 80K I once made (I actually think it was 85 :( ) was not in this business and that specific opportunity doesn't exist now.  There are obviously other careers where that might be possible.  My father as the outside sales rep makes about 85K and I'm sure eventually they want me to do that position.  I guess my issue is I'm in a hurry and life is short.  Maybe I just need to be working harder on other pursuits that I can do while keeping this job.  You made me feel a little better telling me that my freedom is awesome at least.   

On the topic of asking for a raise I certainly want to however the issue of working with my father complicates things.  He knows I'm frustrated with my current wages and also how much he depends on me but again he subscribes to the just be happy you have a job mentality.  I think even if I got a raise it would be just a few percentage points.  If I made 60K doing this job I really couldn't complain to much because I'd have much more ammo to grow my wealth.  I def am after FIRE but I could continue doing this even if my income producing assets outgrossed my check.  It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for me and I'd have insurance/benefits taken care of plus I'd stay busy. 

lil_miss_frugal

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2015, 08:41:45 AM »
Doesn't sound like it's worth it to you. And that's whose advice matters the most.

My exact thoughts! You have to do what's best for you and your family.

Easye418

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2015, 10:30:25 AM »
When a career question like this comes up and the entailing post is the length of a short essay (which I read most of), it seems like it is too big of an obstacle to overcome.  Do what works best.

Side note, I used to work retail as well when I was in high school at a big box retailer.  I thought of the same thing as well, I could find a retailer to work for, make good money, and work 15 minutes from my house.  Managers make about the same amount of money as I do now (FA), however, like you said they work retail hours (I'd say close to 10-12 hour shifts 5 days a week).  Not to mention having to deal with people day in and day out.  Not worth it. 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 10:37:37 AM by Easye418 »

NumberCruncher

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2015, 10:34:26 AM »
And the salary is relatively stagnant, too? It's even worse then - with inflation, you're losing money.

I have two main thoughts on this:

(1) You can try to make your current position more comfortable financially and career-wise. Talk to the owners (your bosses?), but bring backup for the financial bits. Best thing would be to read some negotiation advice written by more professional negotiators (I'd suggest "Getting More" by Stuart Diamond), but here's my take:
  • Look up your general job title/function online, see comparable salaries.You need to have something external to compare to. The benefits are nice here? Factor that in - have numbers available. Maybe the insurance is worth $5k/year, maybe it's worth $1500 extra. Know all the numbers going into the conversation.
  • Make a list of your starting duties, to compare to your current duties, in addition to a salary comparison. At this point, also look at what your inflation-adjusted starting salary is compared to your current salary. I have a sneaking suspicion it is less than your current salary, meaning your effective buying power has gone down over the years.
  • Select a salary range that makes sense, a salary that is supported by your research. You may also want to think about other benefits at this stage; maybe you'd be happy at your current salary if you had a formal mentor and some time-defined career plan? (I think you can get both, though)
  • Put together a simple script, if needed, or just go in with a general plan. You may want to separate salary negotiations and career growth conversations.

    For salary negotiations, start off asking if they are happy with your work over the past few years. If so, you can talk about your desired compensation, backed up by the research you've been doing, showing how people in your position (and your experience) make $xx, and how your inflation-adjusted salary has changed over time. Give them time to think about your request and get back to you.

    For a career growth conversation, you probably also want to come in with a plan and maybe a script. Talk about how you admire what they've accomplished (if this is true - be genuine), and that you would love to learn more about business matters. Talk about what you've been doing in your spare time to show how serious and interested you are. Engaged employees are good employees. :)  They may have no clue you're interested in this right now. Having this conversation first might be a good segue into salary discussions, actually, as you could talk about increased compensation for increased duties.

    For these conversations, it's important to not make this one-sided. Don't demand a salary increase unless you're comfortable walking away if need be. They may also have really great ideas about career growth that you haven't even thought of.

(2) Look elsewhere! What, exactly, are the alternatives? I think it would be easier to make this kind of decision if you had a solid alternative.


CobraKreese

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2015, 11:58:40 AM »
And the salary is relatively stagnant, too? It's even worse then - with inflation, you're losing money.

I have two main thoughts on this:

(1) You can try to make your current position more comfortable financially and career-wise. Talk to the owners (your bosses?), but bring backup for the financial bits. Best thing would be to read some negotiation advice written by more professional negotiators (I'd suggest "Getting More" by Stuart Diamond), but here's my take:
  • Look up your general job title/function online, see comparable salaries.You need to have something external to compare to. The benefits are nice here? Factor that in - have numbers available. Maybe the insurance is worth $5k/year, maybe it's worth $1500 extra. Know all the numbers going into the conversation.
  • Make a list of your starting duties, to compare to your current duties, in addition to a salary comparison. At this point, also look at what your inflation-adjusted starting salary is compared to your current salary. I have a sneaking suspicion it is less than your current salary, meaning your effective buying power has gone down over the years.
  • Select a salary range that makes sense, a salary that is supported by your research. You may also want to think about other benefits at this stage; maybe you'd be happy at your current salary if you had a formal mentor and some time-defined career plan? (I think you can get both, though)
  • Put together a simple script, if needed, or just go in with a general plan. You may want to separate salary negotiations and career growth conversations.

    For salary negotiations, start off asking if they are happy with your work over the past few years. If so, you can talk about your desired compensation, backed up by the research you've been doing, showing how people in your position (and your experience) make $xx, and how your inflation-adjusted salary has changed over time. Give them time to think about your request and get back to you.

    For a career growth conversation, you probably also want to come in with a plan and maybe a script. Talk about how you admire what they've accomplished (if this is true - be genuine), and that you would love to learn more about business matters. Talk about what you've been doing in your spare time to show how serious and interested you are. Engaged employees are good employees. :)  They may have no clue you're interested in this right now. Having this conversation first might be a good segue into salary discussions, actually, as you could talk about increased compensation for increased duties.

    For these conversations, it's important to not make this one-sided. Don't demand a salary increase unless you're comfortable walking away if need be. They may also have really great ideas about career growth that you haven't even thought of.

(2) Look elsewhere! What, exactly, are the alternatives? I think it would be easier to make this kind of decision if you had a solid alternative.

Some great advice here thank you.  Yes my salary has become stagnant.  I was told last year when i got my raise that it would not take this long again to get a raise.  I'm guessing that means it might take just shy of 3 years this time lol.  I won't stick around much longer if it goes at that pace.  I'm for sure going to see the year out and work on some of my other side projects.  I'm hopeful that maybe start of next year things will change.  As a matter of fact last year they were supposed to implement an incentive plan for 2015 but that never happened. 

I guess I've been a little intimidated to approach them about learning the business side of things, mainly because they are several states away.  Perhaps I shouldn't let that be a hinderance to my progress.  Originally they talked to me about possibly being a branch manager one day.  We have enough business that more than covers our costs but I'm not sure we have enough at this point that would want them to start throwing major money down here.  We are continuing to work on it and add accounts. 

I actually have reached out to a couple businessmen locally to me, one in particular used to be a customer of mine when I sold A/V equipment.  I'm supposed to meet with him this Friday.  I guess I'm in a tricky spot where if I to commit more time to my current job instead of potentially building my own business it could pay more short term.  However obviously long term it could hurt me, it's the opportunity cost that I think about.  My two owners lead a great life I'd imagine most people would love to be in their shoes as far as what they make and lifestyles they have. 

I think I like the idea of approaching them more on the business/career growth side of things and seeing what happens.  Thanks all for the input so far I'd like more feedback and conversation from anybody!  It's like I said I don't have office workers and certainly not any friends that are like minded. 

CobraKreese

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2015, 11:55:07 AM »
Just wanted to post on here for anyone that is interested in my progress.  I met last week with a gentleman that owns a business within my current industry that happened to be a customer of mine when I sold Audio/Video equipment.  I was impressed with my meeting with this guy he works really he hard he's full time owner as well as a full time pilot. 

I'm currently in the process of being brought on a freelance (I emphasize free I won't be getting paid) basis.  I'm wanting to trade some of my skills for more knowledge about owning a business and making more money.  It's interesting some of the viewpoints I find on this site sometimes and wanted to hear what others had to say.  I imagine quite a few here would not be into working with this guy because he's such a hard worker.  I currently again work from home so I have lots of freedoms in that sense but don't make the money I'd like.  It has turned into a job offer or anything just yet but if things go well I could potentially get an offer to hire me away from my current gig.  It's so hard to factor in how much it would take for me to leave because of the working from home aspect that I have.  I don't think 10K a year more is worth the difference (not only that but I think my company would match and want to keep me).  Anyway does anyone have any thoughts on any of this?  How much more would working from home be worth to you a year?  Thanks all I love the feedback here.

mozar

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 04:56:45 PM »
Will you need to buy a car? Factor in gas, maintenance, commuting time, and benefits.

CobraKreese

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 05:50:55 PM »
Will you need to buy a car? Factor in gas, maintenance, commuting time, and benefits.

Currently we have 2 cars, one was a gift from my wife's parents it's an older 2001 Pontiac but it only has 104K miles on it.  The other is a Honda Civic Hybrid that I owe about 4,000 on still.  We have a pretty low rate on it, I sometimes need a car when she's at work.  I can usually get by with only using the car 1-2 a week though.  Would be really hard to sell it though

mozar

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Re: Career Advice Wanted!
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2015, 05:57:16 PM »
What I meant is to calculating the cost of commuting and wear and tear on the car to help you come up with a number. In addition you can look up the salaries of positions that you are seeking. You can search "how much does a person doing x make" to help figure out salaries. There is also glassdoor, and payscale. It make take 2 or 3 job changes to get back up to where you were.