Author Topic: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...  (Read 4705 times)

Bo-rrific G

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I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« on: August 19, 2014, 09:44:27 PM »
I am currently working in a very stressful job and industry.  I see stress reduction as my biggest emergency right now but I also have a "debt emergency" in terms of a sizable student loan.  I'm making strides to save the money, but I know that I could do better if I wasn't always running around like a headless chicken.

On a particularly stressful day at work, I received a call regarding a job opportunity and decided to have coffee with the hiring manager, which led to a formal interview, which led to interviews with management, etc, etc.  The company is moving quite fast, and although I wasn't quite ready to make a transition when I agreed to meet for coffee, I now have the opportunity to make a change but feel completely unprepared.   

Please consider this my plea for help:

Current Job
Distance: 4 miles each way

Salary: $125k

Bonus: up to 20% of base (but it could be 0 because it they calculate the amount by a multiplier based on company performance, it was 0 in 2012)

Benefits: 15% discount on stock purchases up to $5k per offering (2 times per year), long term incentive plan vesting 1/3 every year (value of $6.67k per year) with grants happenings on a 3 year rotation, 401(k) matching up to 3%, pension plan (not sure if this is going to survive based on company MO).   

Quality of life: I work pretty long hours; my days are typically 12 hours and I often have vacation, holidays, evenings, and mornings interrupted by work.  I was recently "promoted" but I should highlight that the promotion is a bit of a fake - they forced someone into retirement and had me take over that person's responsibilities.  In other words, I am now doing the work of 2 people.  My boss mentioned that a third job would be folded into mine as my next developmental opportunity meaning that I don't have much hope of improving my quality of life with this job based on the company's MO. 

To make matters worse, my new position is highly visible so I have started to attract some "not so good" attention from "not so good colleagues" that have a reputation for being apt at throwing people under buses.  I've been run-over by unexpected buses twice in the last 6 months.  AND, as of about a month ago, my boss and I have not been getting along.  In case it is valuable information, my boss has and will not change.  While this job technically does not travel, I have regularly taken 3 international trips per year.  This year, the trips all happened back to back (SUCKING BIG TIME).   


Job Offer
Distance: 14 miles each way

Salary: $170k

Bonus: flat 10%

Benefits: This is a non-profit organization so they do not have shareholders or stock.  They do not have a 401(k) plan.  They put a lot of weight on their pension plan; I am waiting for HR to send me more information on this, but they advertise it to be a good benefit (I suspect that this information will be helpful).

In terms of health insurance, this company offers a similar package as my current employer so it isn't worth spelling out. 

Quality of life: I interviewed with a large number of people at the new company and they all claim that the company will offer an improved quality of life.  One of my potential future colleagues warned me that he travels a lot (100k miles this year).  Although I would also travel, he noted that it would not be to the same extent as him and that he had a particularly bad year.

Generally, I have quality of life down as a question mark.  Although the hiring manager, C-suite, and several others claim the company offers a good quality of life, I'm just not sure how much weight to put on this variable.  People can say anything they want.

My stupid concerns regarding the new opportunity:
(1) My current job is prestigious - my mother will flip when she learns that I moved.  I am a first generation US citizen, so the best way I can describe this is by saying that prestige matters a lot to her (and my extended family).

(2) My commute will triple.  The positive is that I live in town and the job is out of town, so I would be going against traffic. Maybe I can find a carpool??? Not sure...

(3) I have regularly changed jobs at the 2 year mark.  I am 2 months shy of my 2 year anniversary with my current job.  I don't know why I care, but this datapoint bothers me. 
 

Conclusion
I would really appreciate your (collective) help in evaluating this opportunity.  I am pretty worn out and I am concerned that I will not think through the opportunity clearly based on temporary/external factors (e.g., exhaustion, emotion).

firelight

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 10:14:48 PM »
I feel you! I work in a high stress job too and totally get the stress emergency part.

For taking the new job vs being in the old one, looks like the new one has a better salary and less stress with more commute and travel. Fast forward a couple of months.... Will you regret not taking the job if you are in the old one? I'd say take it in that case. You can always change jobs again if the new one doesn't suit you in a year or two but at least you'd be out of the current stress filled job.
Or would you be happy in your current job in a couple of months? Seems unlikely from your post about boss, not so good colleagues,etc.

Dicey

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 10:57:08 PM »
Meh, ten years from now (or less) no one will care if you jumped a job a couple of months early. In fact, if you take this job, ten years from now, you could be FIRE.
If you are excited by the job, take it, live on your old budget and bank the increase/pay off your student loans. Your mother's concerns re: prestige should be allayed when you reveal your huge pay bump (in non-specific terms, of course). I'll be following to see what you decide. Good luck to you.

former player

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2014, 12:35:54 AM »
You are currently doing two people's work, you are on notice that you are about to do three people's work, your boss has become uncooperative and your colleagues are actively hostile.  My experience tells me that none of that is going to get better any time soon, and the longer you put up with it the more it will affect you.  Even if quality of life turns out not to be better at the new place, at least you will be closer to paying off your loans/getting to FI.

They must have been pretty big student loans if you've been on an income of $125K plus bonuses for a couple of years and still haven't paid them off.  A raise of $45K would be a better return on your big investment in education.

Tell your mother about the $45K raise.  It should offset the loss of any amount of prestige.

The Hamster

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2014, 01:49:41 AM »
Stupid concerns are stupid :-D

I think your biggest concern is not knowing if the quality of life in the new job will be better than your current job.  What if it's worse and you are even more stressed?  You just don't know.
That said if you really don't think you can handle your current stress levels you have to give it a go - there is a 50% chance your stress levels will be lower than current.  A build up of stress can be very debilitating and unhealthy as I'm sure you are aware.  No job is worth risking your mental and physical health over.

Tell your mother about the $45K raise.  It should offset the loss of any amount of prestige.

This^

Meh, ten years from now (or less) no one will care if you jumped a job a couple of months early. In fact, if you take this job, ten years from now, you could be FIRE.

And this^

As an aside, I would love to only have to travel 14 miles to work.  My office commute is 70 kilometers one way and about 90km one way if I'm travelling to the airport to fly to site. 

theconcierge

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2014, 02:49:18 AM »
What happens if you don't take the job, and in 6 months you can't handle staying in your job for the reasons you have listed.... How long will it take to find a new job?

You may end up regretting turning it down big time.


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lhamo

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2014, 02:54:17 AM »
You are currently doing two people's work, you are on notice that you are about to do three people's work, your boss has become uncooperative and your colleagues are actively hostile.  My experience tells me that none of that is going to get better any time soon, and the longer you put up with it the more it will affect you.  Even if quality of life turns out not to be better at the new place, at least you will be closer to paying off your loans/getting to FI.


This.

You are on a downhill slope at the current employer already.  It won't get better, and probably will get much worse.  They are asking you to do the impossible, and setting you up for failure.  You are really lucky to have this opportunity to get out now, and at a higher salary level.

People don't tend to lie about work-life balance stuff -- if it isn't there, people notice, and they comment on it, especially when discussing with peers (I wouldn't trust comments just from HR and senior management, as they can be clueless about what life is like in the trenches).  In my case, I would tell people that IN GENERAL my organization is pretty good abut work-life balance, but that for me personally the last year has been a nightmare.  That situation was partly of my own making, though, and due to a perfect storm of complicated things that got dumped in my lap/on my head.  Definitely not the norm, and something you can protect yourself from if you are better about boundary setting than I am. 

Travel for work can be fun if it isn't extensive and the expectations are reasonable.  In my organization people are often able to add some personal days on to an international trip, effectively getting their airfare for a vacation paid for by work.  Might want to poke around a bit more and see if the culture at this place allows for that -- might be a nice extra perk.

The commute to the new place isn't THAT bad and if it works out you could consider moving closer.

Can you give me a hint of what non-profit is hiring at those salary levels?  If they could use someone with extensive China experience I might send you my resume to shop around  :)

lhamo

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2014, 03:03:12 AM »
PS:  Do you really think you have a great potential future at a place that is:

1)  Not meeting its performance targets and not paying out bonuses (sign that either targets are not set realistically or company is not doing well)

2)  Forces people into early retirement and expects someone else to do their job (plus their old one) for lower pay -- creatively reconstituting unrealistic staffing reductions as "developmental opportunities"

3)  Tolerates a culture where employees regularly throw each other under the bus to get ahead

4)  Is rapidly cutting back on employee benefits (judging by your comment about the pension plan and the company's "MO"

It sounds to me like you are on a proverbial sinking ship.  This opportunity might be a life raft.  I'd take it.

Oh, and that would also be a good way to frame this for your mom.  When she starts harping about how could you leave Goldman or whatever, just say "mom, you know what?  everybody thought the Titanic was the most amazing boat that ever sailed until it crashed into that iceberg...."
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 03:05:43 AM by lhamo »

tyd450

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2014, 05:52:48 AM »
Life is too short to be working all the time.

There is a good chance that your quality of life will improve with this new opportunity.

You know your quality of life sucks now and your boss told you it will get worse soon.

The new gig is paying you significantly more guaranteed money.  It is easier to budget on salary than bonus.  A bonus you may not even get.

Not knowing the companies involved or the location -just based on what you have provided - I say do it.


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Bo-rrific G

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2014, 06:43:45 AM »
Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts.  You have all said something I agree with wholeheartedly in different variations, but to quote tyd450 "[l]ife is too short to be working all the time."  It has been a heck of a year for me (filled with loss), and it is very clear to me that the things you remember at end of life have nothing to do with work or your colleagues.

I don't know why this offer and opportunity has been so hard for me to digest.  I am simply not excited (as I have been with all other transitions), and instead I'm focused on the risks.  My explanation so far has been that I am jaded (the current job was supposed to offer me a balance) and that I suffer from the "fear of letting people down" (I work for "THE" person in my field and I was recommended to him by someone I look up to tremendously).

I am taking all of your comments in, now if only I could figure out a way to take a day off and think...I have to respond to the new company by tomorrow. 

Have any of you ever asked for a shadow day?  That's one thing I thought of this morning.  My boss will be out of town on Friday and I could spend a day with the new group to see how it functions. That might be a good way for me to buy myself another day to think on the offer. 

       

Bo-rrific G

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2014, 06:57:47 AM »
In response to this:

"They must have been pretty big student loans if you've been on an income of $125K plus bonuses for a couple of years and still haven't paid them off.  A raise of $45K would be a better return on your big investment in education."

Yes they are pretty big but not unsurmountable.  Here's my timeline: I started out making less than half of my current salary.  The first 3 years I scrounged to create an emergency fund just in case I became victim to the market (2008-2010), then I went back to school part time (paying as I went so I would not worsen my situation), my husband lost his job and was out of work for 6 months at the end of 2012, and I did not get to my current salary until January 2013. 

I know that I should have made more progress since then, but in headless chicken mode I have fallen victim to stupid luxuries to save time (eating out too much) and improve my mood (not a car, but things that add up).

I truly am grateful for the help y'all. 

Dee18

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2014, 07:28:31 AM »
If you do take the new job, try to work out a break in between jobs.  A few weeks with no work responsibilities could recharge you.  You may be having a hard time getting excited about the opportunity because you are worn out, from work and from a year of loss.  Congratulations on the good work that led to this new job offer!

Lis

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2014, 07:36:03 AM »
I don't know why this offer and opportunity has been so hard for me to digest.  I am simply not excited (as I have been with all other transitions), and instead I'm focused on the risks.  My explanation so far has been that I am jaded (the current job was supposed to offer me a balance) and that I suffer from the "fear of letting people down" (I work for "THE" person in my field and I was recommended to him by someone I look up to tremendously).

I just had this conversation with a friend a few months or so ago in a similar situation. He hated his old job, he was given too many responsibilities (company was taking on more clients but not growing in terms of employees), and he started to become miserable. But when he was given the opportunity to jump ship which looked phenomenal on paper (as does yours), he was hesitant too. You kinda get sucked into this mindset that jobs suck, so this new job is gonna be rough too, so why bother switching?

When he switched, his first couple of months were rough. They didn't properly train him, he was often asked to do things he wasn't sure how to do, and we'd often hear "it was a terrible mistake leaving!" You might fall victim to that too for a little bit. Just stick it out and keep your chin up! It really does sound like your quality of life will improve with this job!

As for a shadow day - never hurts to ask. If this new company really wants you (and it sounds like they do), they'd be open to it. The only reason I could think of them saying no is if there are any confidentiality policies in place that would prevent outsiders from seeing things (depends on the industry). Even then, it wouldn't hurt to ask!

tyd450

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2014, 07:43:34 AM »
Here is a random thought ... Do you know anyone that works for this new company that isn't involved with the interview/hiring process?

Even if it was someone you just met once or maybe someone you know of?

I would give them a call or reach out to them on linked in and pick their brain.  Tell them you are considering a position and have a few questions about the culture,typical work day, etc.


former player

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2014, 09:54:47 AM »
Sorry if I came across as harsh about repaying student loans.  It sounds as though you have been doing a lot of the right things, and have just taken your foot off the pedal a bit lately.

Re your doubts about taking the job - you say you are currently working at a level below "THE" person in your field.  It sounds to me as though the job you are being offered is to work at the same level as "THE" person in your field.  Your new employer may even be paying you more than "THE" person is being paid.  So perhaps some of your hesitation is that you haven't quite realised that you are about to step out of your current boss's shadow and step up to the same level?  In which case, I think you need to tell yourself "I have been working for the expert in this field for nearly 2 years, I know what they do and how they work.  In those 2 years I've learnt so much I've outgrown that sidekick role, which is why my boss is not longer so supportive, and why this new organisation has offered me all this money.   I have everything to gain by taking it, rather than stagnating where I am".

Also, you say that you were recommended for your current job by someone you look up to tremendously.  If you can, get in touch with that person and talk this offer over with them.  I bet they will be delighted to hear from you and will say you should take the job.

Goldielocks

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2014, 06:30:39 PM »



Quality of life: I work pretty long hours; my days are typically 12 hours and I often have vacation, holidays, evenings, and mornings interrupted by work.  I was recently "promoted" but I should highlight that the promotion is a bit of a fake - they forced someone into retirement and had me take over that person's responsibilities.  In other words, I am now doing the work of 2 people.  My boss mentioned that a third job would be folded into mine as my next developmental opportunity meaning that I don't have much hope of improving my quality of life with this job based on the company's MO. 

 

Quality of life: I interviewed with a large number of people at the new company and they all claim that the company will offer an improved quality of life.  One of my potential future colleagues warned me that he travels a lot (100k miles this year).  Although I would also travel, he noted that it would not be to the same extent as him and that he had a particularly bad year.

Generally, I have quality of life down as a question mark.  Although the hiring manager, C-suite, and several others claim the company offers a good quality of life, I'm just not sure how much weight to put on this variable.  People can say anything they want.

 


Okay,  quality of life is a big one.

I am worried about two things that contradict -- people who say new company will be much better, yet an employee travels 100k.   You indicated that your three (only three!) trips "back to back sucked big time".

Definitely determine how much travel you will be doing.   I love to travel with work, but I am finding that my 2-3 trips per month are seriously causing me to think about part - time FIRE, after only a year at this level.   (Part time FIRE is my term for part time or quitting for a year, or otherwise making only 30% of my current pay).

14 miles is not a huge difference unless it is "walk versus car" for you.

the 2 year job change may not be bad, depending on your industry.   Eventually you will need to commit to 5yr + to get ahead with your resume....   Would this job be it for you?  can you see yourself there for 10years?  Is it large enough to give you variety over your next 10 years?  Alternatively, $170k can put you at FIRE before this becomes a problem.


Bo-rrific G

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2014, 08:08:28 PM »
I will figure out the quote thing eventually... for now:

"I am worried about two things that contradict -- people who say new company will be much better, yet an employee travels 100k.   You indicated that your three (only three!) trips "back to back sucked big time".

Definitely determine how much travel you will be doing.   I love to travel with work, but I am finding that my 2-3 trips per month are seriously causing me to think about part - time FIRE, after only a year at this level.   (Part time FIRE is my term for part time or quitting for a year, or otherwise making only 30% of my current pay)."


I should be clear: my three back to back trips were to pretty rough countries.  The first took me 38 hours to arrive, required anti-malaria medicine (which simply sucks), and it was right at the beginning of the Ebola virus outbreak in the country.  The second took me right at 24 hours in coach, the country itself wasn't too much of a challenge but the conditions were rough.  I was then home for 4 days waiting for a visa and left on a two week trip.  The two weeks were actually fun because I lived in the country 10 years ago and simply love the food there.  Once I touched US soil, I then learned I had to make a 3 day pit-stop in DC, so there I went... In total, I was gone from the last week of May to the 18th of July.   

My understanding is that the new job offer would require travel at my discretion.  The hiring manager agreed to let me shadow for a day, so I will be asking all kinds of questions to figure this piece out.

I don't know how you do it being on 2-3 trips per month!!!  I currently have a colleague with a similar travel schedule to you.  I hope you find a good balance in your career soon for the sake of your FIRE goals.


"the 2 year job change may not be bad, depending on your industry.   Eventually you will need to commit to 5yr + to get ahead with your resume....   Would this job be it for you?  can you see yourself there for 10years?  Is it large enough to give you variety over your next 10 years?  Alternatively, $170k can put you at FIRE before this becomes a problem."


I think you are right about the 5+ commitment and I am hoping that this job is the one that makes it easy to stay.  I want a career and love the idea of their pension. 

Your new employer may even be paying you more than "THE" person is being paid. 

I WISH!!! :) :) :) I could FIRE in a year if I earned what my boss takes home just on base pay.  Add a bonus and I could do it in 6 months!  In all honesty, I am not interested in reaching his level.  My current boss has sacrificed so much to get where he is.   

Bo-rrific G

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2014, 08:10:30 PM »
Here is a random thought ... Do you know anyone that works for this new company that isn't involved with the interview/hiring process?

Even if it was someone you just met once or maybe someone you know of?

I would give them a call or reach out to them on linked in and pick their brain.  Tell them you are considering a position and have a few questions about the culture,typical work day, etc.

A friend of a friend works there.  It is a very different department but the person claims to love it there.  I am taking that as a positive. :) 

missj

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Re: I need help evaluating a job opportunity...
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 11:40:16 PM »
sounds like it should be an easy decision, taking the new job.  but you wouldn't have posted it if it were easy.

it's easy to stay in a rut, even if it's a bad rut, because it's familiar and humans generally fear change.

But it sounds like, in your situation your current job is so bad with prospects of getting worse that the chances of the next place being better are pretty good.  Factor in a hefty raise and BINGO!