Author Topic: major paycut?  (Read 3132 times)

chubbybunny

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major paycut?
« on: April 13, 2016, 09:32:27 AM »
I currently have a pretty cushy job.  Telecommute, set my own hours (can pick up kids from school), and the pay is pretty decent. Company matches 6% into 401k and offers good health insurance.  Only problem is I've been here forever, it's no fun anymore and I'm just SO READY to retire.  I've got about 4 more years to FIRE at our current savings rate.

I also volunteer a couple evenings a week (plus a few Saturdays), with a favorite local non-profit.

Here's my dilemma, they are looking for someone to work full time at this non-profit.  It would be a lot more demanding than my current gig.  Local travel (I'd have to write off mileage on taxes, no reimbursement), later hours and probably more stress.  The kicker is it pays about $50k less than I'm making now (from 86k to 36k)  We can still afford our current lifestyle with DH's salary and our rental income, but we wouldn't be putting much more into retirement savings.  More likely it would stretch out FIRE by a significant amount.

One part of me is thrilled at the idea of working at a job I would do for free anyway.  The other part of me is terrified that I'd grow to despise that job as much as my current one, and I'd then be broke as a result. My husband suggested I wait a couple years and then give it a try.  Anyway, what do you think?  Our current 'stache is about 10 years of living expenses.  Am I just living in fear, or do I stick it out at megacorp until FIRE and then go look for the 30k/year job?

StacheInAFlash

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 09:44:38 AM »
I don't think I would take that job, unless they could come up a sizeable amount on salary. There is also a big difference in being a volunteer for a few hours a week versus a 40+ hour salaried employee actually responsible for important stuff. Are your volunteer responsibilities the same as what the job responsibilities are? I volunteer at a local agency once a week myself, but I definitely wouldn't want it as my actual job. I get to do the "funner" stuff, and because I'm a volunteer it is laid back and stress free because they aren't paying me!

Personally, I would try looking for a different job at the same approximate salary using your same skill set. By the very fact of it being a different job, it will (hopefully) be fun and interesting for at least a while, carrying you the 4 years you need. Then, once you are FIRE, consider taking a job at the non-profit on a part time basis or something if you you really want.

ohana

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 09:46:47 AM »
Isn't this what FI is about?  Being able to do what you want with no regard for the money?

Life is too short to do something you don't love. 

ZiziPB

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2016, 10:11:49 AM »
Money matters aside, I would hesitate to take this job given longer hours, less flexibility and more travel.  I have in the past taken a large paycut but it was for a job with significantly better hours/quality of life and better benefits.

charis

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2016, 10:17:24 AM »
That sounds like a terrible trade off for someone with kids who wants to retire asap. I would like at trying to rework your hours between both places before completely leaving your cushy job.

undercover

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2016, 10:23:32 AM »
Short answer: yes, you're living in fear of doing what you want because you're bound by the golden handcuffs.

You don't know till you try. You don't know what will make you happy, but you probably know with great precision what's making you unhappy.

On the flip side of what I just said, I think all work is pretty much work. I don't think there's a such thing as "I love it so much, I'd do it for free" when it comes to actually having a schedule and a boss. There's a big difference in working on things you love when YOU want vs. when someone else wants it. So I think the mantra of do what you want and you'll never work a day in your life is slightly misleading if we're being realistic. Work is work! Giving up $50k for more stress and responsibility sounds ridiculous! But then again, you're not happy now, so it's not like you're going to lose anything by trying it - you can always do something else. Recognize the cushion you have (or might not have had) and use it to your advantage.

Sure, other people will look at your situation and ask you what the hell you're complaining about, you're in an amazing situation! It might make you feel guilty for even leaving such a cushy position with the thought of what others would think about what you're doing. You just have to remind yourself that they're not in your shoes.

I know that's a lot of conflicting advice - it's because it's not an easy decision and there are no rights or wrong. Ultimately, you will make the decision and it will all work out one way or the other. In general, I don't think anything is worth doing if it makes you unhappy. Absolutely nothing is worth anything without physical/mental health.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 10:28:05 AM by undercover »

I'm a red panda

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2016, 10:30:29 AM »
Personally, I would continue volunteering. Things you do for fun aren't that much fun once they become your job.

Roots&Wings

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 10:34:12 AM »
Personally, I would continue volunteering. Things you do for fun aren't that much fun once they become your job.

+1

And there's much to be said for first trying to shift attitude and rediscover gratitude towards the current cushy job, which could make all the difference. Once FI, that's when I'd consider the other one.

Jacana

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2016, 10:45:14 AM »
Having been on both sides, I can say that not only is volunteering very different from FT work but also that volunteers are treated very differently than FT staff. As staff in charge of volunteers, I had to be  careful of how volunteers were treated, ie not asking them to do the worst jobs, not over stressing them or relying on them too heavily, making sure their roles were engaging (and for the younger crowd fun). As a volunteer, I had the ability to just walk away with no repercussions if things got stressful or annoying. Kind of like FI, it does change your mindset. So just because the volunteer position is your dream job, the FT position may not be.

chubbybunny

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2016, 11:32:34 AM »
Thank you so much for the great advice, on both sides!  You've really helped me make a decision to stick with my current job awhile.  I think the reason the last person left the position was because they put so much on her plate.  She was making calls from home at 8pm just to try to get stuff done.  It's true, I'm more worried about that than I am the pay cut. As a volunteer, I've gone on and on about what they can do better if only someone had time to do it.  But as an employee, they'd probably expect me to do the work THEY want!  I guess I forgot to look at it that way.

It is still something I would like to do, but I would probably only enjoy it if the money wasn't a factor at all.  Maybe it's something I can look into in a few years.  I would have the power to say, "Okay you can pay me crap wages but I'm picking my hours". 

tooqk4u22

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2016, 12:11:23 PM »
One part of me is thrilled at the idea of working at a job I would do for free anyway.  The other part of me is terrified that I'd grow to despise that job as much as my current one, and I'd then be broke as a result.

Money matters aside, I would hesitate to take this job given longer hours, less flexibility and more travel.  I have in the past taken a large paycut but it was for a job with significantly better hours/quality of life and better benefits.

I agree with this as it absolutely gets to the heart of your concern. Even stuff you love and would do for free quickly becomes miserable of you lose all your freedom and other things you value in life.

My husband suggested I wait a couple years and then give it a try.  Anyway, what do you think?  Our current 'stache is about 10 years of living expenses.  Am I just living in fear, or do I stick it out at megacorp until FIRE and then go look for the 30k/year job?

If your stache is 10 years and it requires 25 years to FIRE (at 4% SWR) and all it would take is 4 years to get there...that seems like a good tradeoff - or somewhere in between.

robartsd

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Re: major paycut?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2016, 12:56:49 PM »
I think the pay cut and the time it would add to FIRE is too much to be worth it. I might consider such a move if I was much closer to FIRE (last year or two becomes 3-4 more years). You may be right that a change will make the time left to FIRE better, but I'd look for a better opportunity. If you do take such a position, be sure to set limits to what you'll do for the non-profit. If they can't employ you within those limits, then walk away. If you work for a non-profit below market rates, you should consider part of your work time as volunteering for the non-profit (the % below the market rate for what you're doing) - don't give in to pressure to volunteer extra hours that you really don't want to give.