Author Topic: Lesser benefits at a new job?  (Read 3617 times)

jeromedawg

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Lesser benefits at a new job?
« on: October 06, 2015, 10:04:03 PM »
Hey guys,

Just wanted to get some feedback and your thoughts on benefits when switching jobs. My current company offers pretty great benefits overall (6% 401k match, 4 weeks of paid parental leave, option for HDHP/HSA, Stock options, Tuition assistance, etc). Unfortunately, if you've followed some of my other threads, they're cutting the cord on me with a planned target termination date of next June (2016). That includes a pretty hefty bonus + 20 weeks of severance if I stick it through the end (or if they let any of us go early outside of 'cause' we could still get that bonus + severance). Of course, there was no place to sign into that bonus+severance as a contractual term so they *could* pull the rug out from under but I think that would make them look really bad too (and I'm pretty sure people would be lining up for lawsuits).

Anyway, it leaves me quite a bit of time to job search and I have in fact started. I suppose I can 'afford' to be somewhat picky about it too... at least for now. So that leaves me with the question of whether or not I should be patient or if I should just 'jump' at the next good opportunity that I see, regardless of the benefits. Obviously, I would expect an increase in salary and potentially leverage the retention bonus + severance towards that. But if a company doesn't match 401k, have great health benefits, no stock options, and not willing to pay for training/certification, etc, would you guys consider that to be sort of a deal-breaker? I guess it depends on how big of a bump in salary there would be, and I suppose I probably shouldn't disclose what I currently make to any potential employer for that matter? I don't know - does an increase in salary make up for not-as-good benefits?

I know another important factor is life stage. We just had our first kid (a little over a month now) and I figure at least health benefits should be pretty important at this point in time.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 10:10:18 PM by jplee3 »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2015, 10:26:45 PM »
I wouldn't consider any one thing to be a deal-breaker. You have to look at the whole picture. Even health benefits wouldn't be a necessary condition for me, given that you can buy your own health insurance on your state's ACA exchange. But when comparing a company that doesn't offer health insurance to a company that does, the first company had better be offering at least $10-15k more in salary because that's what I might need to buy a family health plan after being taxed on that salary.

You have some time in your situation. Interview at a few places and don't feel obligated to take the first decent offer that comes along. This is a good time to be working in technology. Don't sell yourself short.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2015, 10:41:43 PM »
I wouldn't consider any one thing to be a deal-breaker. You have to look at the whole picture. Even health benefits wouldn't be a necessary condition for me, given that you can buy your own health insurance on your state's ACA exchange. But when comparing a company that doesn't offer health insurance to a company that does, the first company had better be offering at least $10-15k more in salary because that's what I might need to buy a family health plan after being taxed on that salary.

You have some time in your situation. Interview at a few places and don't feel obligated to take the first decent offer that comes along. This is a good time to be working in technology. Don't sell yourself short.


Thanks... I think one of my shortcomings is that I always tend to take the first offer I can get (well, mostly because I only interviewed at one place at a time in the past). In this case, the company I'm thinking about (if I get an offer) is one where my buddy will be working at and his previous team. They're building things ground-up so it sounds like a pretty good blank-slate opportunity. Additionally, I referred my previous manager from the QA-side, so if he gets in I think it might end up being a really nice work environment (not to say that it isn't right now but I haven't even talked to the CTO or directors at this point in time.... have a meeting/interview scheduled in a couple days).

DaveR

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2015, 10:15:21 AM »
You have some time in your situation. Interview at a few places and don't feel obligated to take the first decent offer that comes along. This is a good time to be working in technology. Don't sell yourself short.

I second this. You have some time, so use it to your advantage. It's the difference between going into an interview thinking "crap, I need this job to pay my rent" versus thinking "I'm in high-demand so show me why working here is a good choice." You're in a position of power, so don't be afraid to negotiate. And it's absolutely worth it (a necessity?)  to shop around a bit to see what is competitive--salary, benefits, work environment, etc, etc.

Eurotexan

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2015, 11:48:21 AM »
I was in an almost identical situation a couple of years ago. The company I was working for was being sold and we were told about a year ahead of time. We had to stay until the sale (or until we were let go) to get the amazing severance and our annual bonus. If we quit, we got nothing.

I won't lie, it was stressful and a weird atmosphere to work in but I stayed until the end and I am so happy I did. With the payout at the end I financing the down payment for an investment property. I started job hunting a few months before the sale closed (and that date kept moving which was incredibly annoying). I completely lucked out as when I got a new job, I negotiated my start date to the week after my severance date but I was surprised that the employers I was interviewing with understood my predicament and were willing to be flexible on the start date. Some of my co-workers took the first job they got and left the severance and bonus on the table, they really regret that now. I felt quite confident as the job market was, and is, booming and I have particular skills so these are factors to consider, of course.

Obviously this is a different situation but my advice would be to put the feelers out but really try to stick it out. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for those brave enough to reach for it.

mandy_2002

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2015, 12:28:46 PM »
A deciding point for me would be the amount of people with my skill set that would be let go at that time. 
If the job market in your area can support the number of people being "freed" with your abilities, stay for the bonus. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2015, 12:33:07 PM »
Agree on "whole picture".

My current position has way worse insurance coverage than my last two jobs. (Much higher premiums, lower coverage).  I used this to get a several thousand dollar salary bump from the original offer.


You say you can afford to be picky- but as long as you don't have a history of job hopping, I'd take any reasonable offer, and then look again in 2 years.  It always seems to be easier to find a job when you already have one. It can be hard to find one when you've been out of work, even if semi by choice, for any length of time.

mtn

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2015, 12:50:27 PM »
Whole picture. For me, it comes down to basically two things, or two groups of things:

1: My net take home (which is anything going to my checking/savings account or 401k/IRA or pension) after insurance, taxes, cost of living differences, etc. 
2: Paid time off, flexible work schedules, location, the work itself and the people I'm working with, and chances of working more than the general 8-5.

I will say that when I leave this company, IF I leave this company, I will be hard pressed to go to a company with less vacation. This 4 weeks deal is pretty sweet.


AZDude

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2015, 01:11:09 PM »
Problem is that in my experience, the best benefits often come with the added price of horrible working environment. The best benefits come from large corporations or government agencies. Both really suck when it comes to the work environment, flexibility, etc... That is just my limited experience, so yours may be different.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2015, 01:30:37 PM »
I was in an almost identical situation a couple of years ago. The company I was working for was being sold and we were told about a year ahead of time. We had to stay until the sale (or until we were let go) to get the amazing severance and our annual bonus. If we quit, we got nothing.

I won't lie, it was stressful and a weird atmosphere to work in but I stayed until the end and I am so happy I did. With the payout at the end I financing the down payment for an investment property. I started job hunting a few months before the sale closed (and that date kept moving which was incredibly annoying). I completely lucked out as when I got a new job, I negotiated my start date to the week after my severance date but I was surprised that the employers I was interviewing with understood my predicament and were willing to be flexible on the start date. Some of my co-workers took the first job they got and left the severance and bonus on the table, they really regret that now. I felt quite confident as the job market was, and is, booming and I have particular skills so these are factors to consider, of course.

Obviously this is a different situation but my advice would be to put the feelers out but really try to stick it out. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for those brave enough to reach for it.


Thanks everyone for your perspective. The payout I get isn't bad considering that plus severance prob ends up covering my salary for the year. It's something to think about, but I'm not sure how my workload will be impacted if I stay... I have a feeling it's going to increase.

Anyway, if a new company is willing to match and negotiate in the bonus and severance somehow (even a delayed signing bonus), wouldn't that be just as good of a position to take vs staying and trying to stick it thru? Of course, the risk is that the bonus and severance offer I got is not binding or contractual( they didn't make us sign anywhere) which leaves some question of doubt in the back of my mind. Sure, it would look really bad for them if they weasel their way out and rescind the offer for some reason but who knows what could happen between now and June.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 01:38:06 PM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2015, 06:27:24 PM »
Agree on "whole picture".

My current position has way worse insurance coverage than my last two jobs. (Much higher premiums, lower coverage).  I used this to get a several thousand dollar salary bump from the original offer.


You say you can afford to be picky- but as long as you don't have a history of job hopping, I'd take any reasonable offer, and then look again in 2 years.  It always seems to be easier to find a job when you already have one. It can be hard to find one when you've been out of work, even if semi by choice, for any length of time.

Makes sense. Yea, I don't have a super-long job history. Everywhere I've worked I've been there for 2-3 years. Yea, it seems a little risky waiting out for the benefit.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2015, 06:43:47 PM »
Problem is that in my experience, the best benefits often come with the added price of horrible working environment. The best benefits come from large corporations or government agencies. Both really suck when it comes to the work environment, flexibility, etc... That is just my limited experience, so yours may be different.

I guess I got lucky this last time around. The second company I worked for had terrible benefits and the working environment was also horrible... the only "plus" about it was the higher salary they offered initially going in. But I soon learned after how bad it was. And back then I was young, dumb and had no clue about regarding the importance of benefits (the place had no 401k and the only thing they had was gym membership and maybe decent health benefits lol). The company after that had decent benefits and was a decent work environment but I was on-call part time too, so didn't like that. The current place has the best benefits and had a really awesome working environment with super-flexible hours and managers. Everyone was very chill and laid back. Of course, now that they've gone through major layoffs, it has become quite a sucky place to go into work at but I still don't *dread* it like I might have with other jobs.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2015, 07:13:39 PM »
Whole picture. For me, it comes down to basically two things, or two groups of things:

1: My net take home (which is anything going to my checking/savings account or 401k/IRA or pension) after insurance, taxes, cost of living differences, etc. 
2: Paid time off, flexible work schedules, location, the work itself and the people I'm working with, and chances of working more than the general 8-5.

I will say that when I leave this company, IF I leave this company, I will be hard pressed to go to a company with less vacation. This 4 weeks deal is pretty sweet.

So for your first point, I'm specifically wondering about pre-tax vs post-tax net take home at this point. Especially the 401k matching. I mean, I guess that's another one of those things where you just have to figure how much a match would equate to in terms of a salary bump. Depending on the company too, especially if I tell them about the golden handcuffs, they could come back and say "well you're getting let go anyway so a bump in your salary to accommodate for 401k matching and stock options is off the table" - I guess there's only so much give and take. And on the other hand if I don't say anything about getting let go, they may oblige to bumping the salary to match my 401k-matching and stock option benefits. I'm curious about my friend who will be starting there though - he apparently doesn't fully know about the benefits and it sounds like is joining because he probably will be getting paid a lot and probably doesn't care about those other things. And of course, it's an easy-in for him because he doesn't really have to interview since he knows everyone in the group already and is practically recruiting for them now.

JRA64

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2015, 07:53:37 PM »
I also think Whole Picture, with the caveat that the Whole Picture can change after you take the job.

Benefits at my company have been steadily eroding over the years. 401k match is half of what it was when I joined. The match is now paid out only at the end of the year, so if you quit part way through the year, no match. Vacation plans revised, I lost a couple of days last year. Higher healthcare costs. Training budgets slashed, the last training I took, I had to charge half of my time to PTO. Other things are considered "policies" like our severance policy which could change at any time with no notice. But no salary cuts, and some raises every year; althogh other companies in my industry reportedly have done salary cuts.

All things being equal, I might be tempted to take the job with a commensurately higher salary, on the hope that fewer things would be taken away. But in the end it would probably be the intangible things that made the decision for me - is the work interesting? are the people good? does the company encourage a good work-life balance or is lots of overtime expectedc?

jeromedawg

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Re: Lesser benefits at a new job?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2015, 12:49:41 AM »
I also think Whole Picture, with the caveat that the Whole Picture can change after you take the job.

Benefits at my company have been steadily eroding over the years. 401k match is half of what it was when I joined. The match is now paid out only at the end of the year, so if you quit part way through the year, no match. Vacation plans revised, I lost a couple of days last year. Higher healthcare costs. Training budgets slashed, the last training I took, I had to charge half of my time to PTO. Other things are considered "policies" like our severance policy which could change at any time with no notice. But no salary cuts, and some raises every year; althogh other companies in my industry reportedly have done salary cuts.

All things being equal, I might be tempted to take the job with a commensurately higher salary, on the hope that fewer things would be taken away. But in the end it would probably be the intangible things that made the decision for me - is the work interesting? are the people good? does the company encourage a good work-life balance or is lots of overtime expectedc?

Good point. I've definitely heard of companies taking away benefits, although perhaps not to the extent you described. But I'm not surprised at that. I guess the main things really do end up being total salary and work/life balance as overriding factors....for the most part.