Author Topic: Higher pay vs Mental health  (Read 2149 times)

megs33

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Higher pay vs Mental health
« on: July 28, 2017, 10:03:58 AM »
I'm looking for advice regarding career choices.

An opportunity has come up; I've been invited to apply for a position that would be a huge pay raise for me; it would take me from $47,000 to about $77,000 annually.

The problem: the job is high-stress and interacts with people who I used to work with and did not enjoy  being around. It was a very poisonous environment, which was why I left in the first place.

My husband makes $92,000 annually and also works a very high-stress job. We have paid off all of our debt and are working on our mortgage, which we hope to pay off in eight years.

So here's the question: is the additional stress and difficulty of this job worth the boon in salary? The other option is that I stay where I am and work to support my husband as he continues to bear the majority of the weight of our income, but I feel some guilt knowing that he is taxed heavily every day.

Am I smart to think of my mental health, or do i need to pull up my big-girl pants and find a way to succeed in a stressful job in order to shave a few years off our plans to become debt-free? In some ways this would be for my husband because it would mean helping him escape a difficult job faster.

I know it's a difficult question to pose when you don't know our lives; what would you do in a similar situation? Do you have similar experiences with stress vs income, and what do you consider to be worth fighting through?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 10:09:50 AM by megs33 »

birdiegirl

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2017, 10:36:28 AM »
I had one experience with this taking a job where a friend worked to get from about $50k to $65k.  I didn't know the environment was toxic until I got there & only lasted 6 months.  In the morning, I would literally sit in my car when I got the office and have to talk myself into going inside instead of driving away.   I was miserable and couldn't take it anymore so I gave notice with no other job lined up.   I got lucky and it worked out well for me in the end.   A couple weeks later I was back at my previous company (in a different role) and they matched the $65k I had gotten to. 

IMO a toxic environment is never worth the extra $$$.  The only way I could see this be worthwhile for you is to take the job very short term to get the job & salary on your resume and then move again.  Based on what you described it sounds like you'd be taking on a difficult role in an environment with little to no support.  It's setting you up to fail and you could find yourself fighting an uphill battle and just trying to not get fired. 

plog

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2017, 10:40:54 AM »
Old joke-A guy asks a girl if she would sleep with him for a million bucks, she says sure--if you had a million bucks.  He then says, what about $100; she says--'What do you think I am?'  To which he replies--well, we've already established what you are, now we are negotiating.

That's all of us with jobs, its up to us to determine what we will do for how much.  To me, I would turn down that much negativity for such little reward.  Yes, its a considerable reward considering where you are now, but is it ultimately worth it to you?  Only you can answer that. 

Lastly, feel guilty all you want for having less stress than your husband, but increasing yours just to equal things out is a horrible idea.  1. it doesn't help him in the least.  2.  Your relationship now has another stress factor that could lead to you two having problems.


joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2017, 10:41:51 AM »
Quote
Am I smart to think of my mental health

Very :)

And toxic situations like that don't leave one only depressed, increasingly "confused", etc. They also quickly affect one's hormones and other body systems. The toll can be huge.

re: guilt over husband being burdened. Find a third solution, one in which you are not soaking in a vat of poison and he is not taxed.

Laura33

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2017, 10:49:00 AM »
IMO, once you are above the poverty line, the answer to "should I take a job that I know will be toxic" is eminently clear.  No way, no how, under no circumstances short of "gun to head."

You do raise a very legitimate concern about your husband -- one partner shouldn't have to sacrifice happiness/mental health so the other can be happy.  My DH and I have a deal that *both* of us need to be reasonably happy in our jobs, and that if that isn't happening, we keep looking at options until we get there.  But the solution is not to make yourself equally miserable.  There are other paths -- just a few that immediately spring to mind:

-- Keep your job and take over more of the home chores so at least he has a break at home.
-- Look for another higher-paying job.
-- Cut your expenses so he can go part-time or move to a lower-paying position -- a lot of people get by on way less than $150K/yr.
-- Pick up a side hustle.

Etc. etc. etc.   
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 10:54:02 AM by Laura33 »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2017, 11:30:47 AM »
Agree with the above comment. A common decision-making mistake is to create am artificially narrow frame; should I do (a) or (b)? In reality, you have about a thousand alternatives to (a) and (b) and you've artificially constrained the decision in a misguided attempt to make it simpler.

Your insider knowledge about the higher-paying job is a huge advantage. It tells you what you need to know to eliminate that option.

However, your knowledge that you can make five figures more than you currently make is also a huge advantage. It might eliminate the status quo as an attractive option.

For more info on decision-making, I *highly* recommend "Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions In Life and Work" by Chip and Dan Heath.

TartanTallulah

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 01:05:49 PM »

Feel guilty all you want for having less stress than your husband, but increasing yours just to equal things out is a horrible idea.  1. it doesn't help him in the least.  2.  Your relationship now has another stress factor that could lead to you two having problems.

Yes, very much this! A few years ago, I was having meltdowns over the fact that the entire burden of breadwinning was mine and although my husband was performing a valuable role in our household by being available for the children so that I never had to worry about home while I was at work, he could organise his day however he liked and create opportunities to ride his bike, go for a short hike, meet friends, or just do nothing at all for a few hours while I was chained to an office desk being bombarded with tasks for 11 or 12 hours a day. I couldn't understand how someone who professed to love me could sit by and let me be so stressed and not offer to take some of the load off me.

On one occasion when I was sitting in a corner bawling my eyes out, he pointed out that the intention had never been that we would both be stressed, it was that neither of us would be stressed and we'd have time to spend together, and the solution wasn't for him to go out to work, which would add an extra dimension of stress to the household, it was for me to work fewer hours, in a different capacity if necessary.

"But we'll be skint," I protested.

"So? We'll just have to live within our means," DH replied.

I thought at the time that he was living in cloud cuckoo land, and I still don't think he realised how much money we needed just to tick over while all the children were at home, but fundamentally he was right. There was no point in him increasing his stress levels to match mine.

As far as the main question goes, I've walked out of several toxic workplaces while I could still hold my head up high, and wouldn't walk into a workplace I knew to be toxic. I would advise staying where you are for now; other opportunities will present themselves.

megs33

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2017, 02:55:48 PM »
These opinions are exactly what I needed to hear. My decision is a lot easier now. :)

Pigeon

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2017, 04:49:16 PM »
I vote keep looking.  He should start looking, too.  Toxic jobs are horrible.  If you're making enough to get by, you don't need the stress.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2017, 05:22:22 PM »
+1 for keep looking. I recently took a new job and am not loving the culture. I've basically been stressed out every day for three months and it's not fun.

stashgrower

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2017, 12:59:10 AM »
+1 keep looking. Mental health is priceless. You have the skills to get this offer, so now go get offers that are comparable and with better conditions.

Dave1442397

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Re: Higher pay vs Mental health
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2017, 08:28:36 AM »
I wouldn't want the job, however, I might take it anyway, if only for a short time. Why? Because looking for another job when you're making $77k may get you an even higher salary at another company, whereas looking for another job when you're making $47k may limit you to a much smaller increase.

If possible, I'd use it as a stepping stone to a better position. If that's unlikely, then I wouldn't take it.