Author Topic: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?  (Read 1267 times)

Engineer93

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Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« on: May 21, 2019, 03:52:33 PM »
So Im contemplating a career change and would like some input from others.  My current situation really isnt that bad but what if I could find a job that I truly love and could make a difference?  Right now Im 26 working as an engineer making 85k and a NW somewhere between 550 and 600 (including our house) and my DW makes 45k a year.  According to my boss Ill get a raise to 95k in 15 months and another raise to 115k a year after that as those are the earliest dates I can be promoted.   I dont hate my job but I dont really enjoy it either.  Some days are good and some days are bad and I feel like I could make a bigger impact/difference doing something else.  Ive recently taken a huge interest in urban planning and I find myself thinking about it all the time.  A local college offers a 2 year urban planning masters degree which would cost me a little under 25k.   I havent done much research about what my future salary in that field would be but Im going to safely estimate 60k.   Ive thought about a lot of different options for what I could do.  I could quit now and go to school, or I could wait until Im 30 (roughly millionaire level), or I could wait until FI (maybe 35ish), or I could pursue an urban planning job without a specific degree, though I think I would really enjoy the masters courses.   Ive also thought about working only 20 hours a week in 5-10 years making 60k at my current job.  Ive even thought about quitting in the next 4 years, traveling for a year or two, and then going back to school.   Ill also add my DW supports all of these options.  So, for some of you more experienced mustachians, what would you suggest?

seemsright

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 04:29:41 PM »
My opinion is you are 26 years of age. You have not been a engineer long enough to even start to fully understand what you can do with the job you have. You did not say what type of engineer you are. Your user name is Engineer 93 Which tells me your identity is wrapped up in your job title and your age.

This has nothing to do with the job you have but you are allowing your generation to dictate to you. Ohh...that job looks fun lets go do that ie classic millennial mindset.

Work on your mindset and hold your line. Because if you work the FI bandwagon you will have way more options in 10-15 years.

NorCal

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 04:35:59 PM »
Based on my cynical personal experience, the grass probably isn't greener on the other side.

I spent the first decade of my career searching for the "perfect fit".  I've come to realize it really doesn't exist.  This is at least my experience, and seems to be universal among my friends.

Most jobs have something completely shitty about them.  Bad boss, bad employer, bad coworkers, or meaningless/mindless work.  Some extra special jobs have all of the above.

My advice is to stick with what you're doing (since you like it okay) and make it to FI as quick as possible.  Maybe look at picking it up post-FI if you're still passionate about it?

https://livingafi.com/2016/02/24/definitely-not-purpose/

cincystache

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2019, 05:40:41 PM »
first of all, congrats on 600k NW at age 26. How did you amass that much wealth so fast? Just curious.

If I were in your shoes I would probably keep the engineering gig until I hit FI or at least leanFI and then make the jump once you have a better idea what you want to do long term.

You didn't mention any kids but that is another huge factor to consider. Do you plan to have them? Do you want to be in school while you have kids? (not ideal IMO) Do you want to be throwing yourself into your career when you have young kids? You might really like a boring 9-5 that gives you more time and space to focus on family while your kids are young. All things to consider as you make the decision.

You are in great shape, keep up the accumulation!

Engineer93

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 06:41:36 PM »
Based on my cynical personal experience, the grass probably isn't greener on the other side.

I spent the first decade of my career searching for the "perfect fit".  I've come to realize it really doesn't exist.  This is at least my experience, and seems to be universal among my friends.

Most jobs have something completely shitty about them.  Bad boss, bad employer, bad coworkers, or meaningless/mindless work.  Some extra special jobs have all of the above.

My advice is to stick with what you're doing (since you like it okay) and make it to FI as quick as possible.  Maybe look at picking it up post-FI if you're still passionate about it?

https://livingafi.com/2016/02/24/definitely-not-purpose/

This is kinda the way Ive been thinking, thanks!

Engineer93

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Re: Pursue a job I’d enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 06:45:11 PM »
My opinion is you are 26 years of age. You have not been a engineer long enough to even start to fully understand what you can do with the job you have. You did not say what type of engineer you are. Your user name is Engineer 93 Which tells me your identity is wrapped up in your job title and your age.

This has nothing to do with the job you have but you are allowing your generation to dictate to you. Ohh...that job looks fun lets go do that ie classic millennial mindset.

Work on your mindset and hold your line. Because if you work the FI bandwagon you will have way more options in 10-15 years.

What’s funny is the engineering portion of my job is the part I enjoy the least.  I enjoy more management or project management portions but of course that takes more experience than I currently have.

Thanks for the advice!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 06:51:55 PM by Engineer93 »

Engineer93

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Re: Pursue a job I’d enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2019, 06:51:30 PM »
first of all, congrats on 600k NW at age 26. How did you amass that much wealth so fast? Just curious.

If I were in your shoes I would probably keep the engineering gig until I hit FI or at least leanFI and then make the jump once you have a better idea what you want to do long term.

You didn't mention any kids but that is another huge factor to consider. Do you plan to have them? Do you want to be in school while you have kids? (not ideal IMO) Do you want to be throwing yourself into your career when you have young kids? You might really like a boring 9-5 that gives you more time and space to focus on family while your kids are young. All things to consider as you make the decision.

You are in great shape, keep up the accumulation!

I was extremely fortunate to receive a gift from a relative who passed when I was really young.  I got 250k upon graduation 3 years ago and besides using 70k for a down payment on a house I haven’t spent any of it.  That along with maxing out my 401k and IRA have gotten me somewhere in the upper 500k net worth range.

We do plan on having kids in the next 5ish years, and I think my job now would be great for when that happens.  I definitely wouldn’t be going to school or trying to start a new job with young kids.

I appreciate the advice!

Linea_Norway

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 01:08:29 AM »
My opinion is you are 26 years of age. You have not been a engineer long enough to even start to fully understand what you can do with the job you have. You did not say what type of engineer you are. Your user name is Engineer 93 Which tells me your identity is wrapped up in your job title and your age.

This has nothing to do with the job you have but you are allowing your generation to dictate to you. Ohh...that job looks fun lets go do that ie classic millennial mindset.

Work on your mindset and hold your line. Because if you work the FI bandwagon you will have way more options in 10-15 years.

Whats funny is the engineering portion of my job is the part I enjoy the least.  I enjoy more management or project management portions but of course that takes more experience than I currently have.

Thanks for the advice!

If you have already been promised some pay raises, there might be options for you. Try to be enthusiastic about management task and project management. Tell your boss you are looking for such a function. It will probably come. Keep in mind that a management function might be more stressful and require you to work more overtime hours (for free?).

Most jobs suck in some aspects. We usually live through it because we have a life outside work that we look forward to. If you can indeed be FI within a few years and you don't work in a toxic environment, I would probably sit it out for some years.

As you can afford it, it is also an option to start working part time, if you want to spend more time on your private life.

jfer_rose

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 03:52:45 AM »
What sort of Engineer are you? If you are a Civil Engineer you may be able to transition without additional schooling. For example, a firm that has Engineers and Planners, such as in Transportation. These types of companies sometimes have cross-discipline projects where Planners and Engineers work together. It can be a way to start gaining Urban Planning experience. Also, I envy your love of Project Management. That's among my least favorite part of my job but is required at my seniority level.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 11:17:09 AM »
About 8 years ago, I switched careers in engineering, from a megacorp to a startup. The very generous compensation at the old job was about the only thing I liked about it. My new job entailed a significant pay cut, but I love almost everything about it.

It sounds like there's a lot more about your job than you like, and you'd be taking a huge pay cut. I heartily agree with seemsright--you'd be well served by giving it a few more years before jumping ship. 

Geographer

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 05:48:36 PM »
What sort of Engineer are you? If you are a Civil Engineer you may be able to transition without additional schooling. For example, a firm that has Engineers and Planners, such as in Transportation. These types of companies sometimes have cross-discipline projects where Planners and Engineers work together. It can be a way to start gaining Urban Planning experience. Also, I envy your love of Project Management. That's among my least favorite part of my job but is required at my seniority level.

I agree with this. Several engineering disciplines, notably Civil Engineering, have a high degree of reciprocity when it comes to education and experience. Plus, I think the urban planning field would be super rewarding and I've always considered it! You'd get to help make cities more walkable, bike-able, etc.

Recently, I took a pay cut for a job which is more exciting, fast-paced, and a better commute. And at your already large net worth for your age, the compounding will have a huge effect. I'd say go for it!

Linea_Norway

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2019, 12:29:09 AM »
Recently, I took a pay cut for a job which is more exciting, fast-paced, and a better commute. And at your already large net worth for your age, the compounding will have a huge effect. I'd say go for it!

When I started at my current job, I also took a paycut. But this job has only 37,5 working hours a week, against 40 in most other jobs. It is s much closer to where I live, so I don't need to take the train to the city (which I hated). And if I have enough time, I can even walk to work (7,5 km one way). Also, I switched from being a consultant and not being in control of where in the city I would work, to having a fixed place to work. The job is also highly relevant for my education.

mistymoney

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 07:20:53 AM »
Just an anecdote from me.

I made a career switch that I did not want to make in 2001. I was "doing what I loved" but did not love the company, company was bought and it got worse.

Layoffs ensued.

After 911, no was hiring and I was out of work, severance gone, and it was tough. I saw an ad one day and read through it several time - just so shocked I could apply for anything, things were so scarce. I got the job too, and it was an industry change I did not want, but - ya - food, ya know?

I progressed and did well, but never really "got into it" - After both I and the economy stabilized, I made a few attempts to go back  - interviews, headhunters, etc.

Surprisingly! I found myself getting depressed during the interviews, felt like it was a big step back. I was also able to specialize within my new industry in something that was a bit adjacent to the old one and I really tried to focus/specialize in that. But after conquering that piece - that isn't the part I like best!

After about a decade, I had grown to love the new industry - I found my place in it so to speak. It had seemed so much routine and not creative - but it is actually more so than the old industry. It just took about 10 years for me to gain the knowledge base and insight over 3 different companies and to build my personal brand and prestige within the industry to feel as on top of it all and as creative as I was in the old one.

So - that's me!

Why did you go into engineering? What did you hope to do/accomplish?

What other companies are a possibility for you? How would those companies perhaps be a better fit for what you most enjoy?

You do have a great base of savings, but given your great position, think also about sticking it out until 30 and massively save. You would indeed be set and could pursue more passion project type jobs, while also giving engineering more of a chance to shine for you.

JLee

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 07:43:44 AM »
If you absolutely hated your job and it was soul-crushing and terrible, maybe.

When it's "I liiike it but I don't looove it", taking a 50% pay cut sounds like a horrible plan.  Can you use your spare time to volunteer with organizations relevant to your interests and feel like you are making a difference that way?

You're less than a decade out from being able to do whatever you want without worrying about the paycheck.  If you cut your salary and future growth prospects now, it's likely going to take a long time to recover from that.

Your salary at your age is exceedingly fortunate - I didn't reach that level until I was 30, and that's in a HCOL area.

FWIW the highest 10% of urban planners earned less than you're likely to be making in a couple of years. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/mobile/urban-and-regional-planners.htm

The lowest 10% make half of what you do.

COEE

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2019, 02:22:59 AM »
My thoughts:

Don't take or keep a job based on promises of promotions without something in writing.  This is called 'dangling the carrot' - and my experience is that it almost NEVER works out.  Personnel changes happen, or people forget that conversation that you held onto, or there's been a bad quarter, month, week, etc.  If they won't put it in writing, then it won't happen.

You're fortunate to have a high NW for your age.  Do what pleases you (and your DW, of course).

I did a quick analysis and your salaries are such, that if you can save 50% of it for ~10 years, you can have the rest of your life to do whatever you damn well please - forever - including urban planning.  If you chose to do urban planning now, your nest egg is so large, it only delays getting to the same spot by 4 or 5 years.  That is the same 4 years that you'll be in college or traveling.  It's basically a year-for-year penalty.

See attached analysis - I took some liberties in thinking you might want a $750k house to go with your $45k/year spending - requiring ~2M net worth.  The numbers don't add up completely due to some of the money going to taxes... which I swagged, but are reasonable.  During low income years you may not pay any taxes.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 02:25:52 AM by COEE »

FatFI2025

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Re: Pursue a job Id enjoy, even if it lowers my salary?
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2019, 01:57:14 PM »
I would take the classes, but not quit the engineering job. See if your interest is still as high after a few years and then you can take the leap when you're CoastFI.