Author Topic: State job (California) - pay and benefits  (Read 3539 times)

john c

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #50 on: April 19, 2021, 02:32:55 AM »
According to Mr. Google there's at least one dual immersion Mandarin program in Sacramento. Have you looked into it? If this is an option then the state job w/ relocation to Sac is, IMO, a no-brainer. Much lower cost of living (modest houses within $350-400k). Job security. Lower stress. Good potential for short/easy commute. Easy access to Tahoe, wine country, lakes, SF Bay Area, and the rest of NorCal, and the ocean isn't *that* far away. Sac is an interesting city, and the downtown has recently experienced a renaissance as people have spilled over from the Bay Area.

The biggest downside I can think of is the pay cut. And there may be some truth to how this impacts "upward mobility." But why do you care if you're seriously considering Coast or Barista FIRE? Give the state thing a try for a few years in Sac, if you don't like it then you're already in a LCOL area so Coast/Barista FIRE becomes that much easier.

I lived in the Sacramento area for 7 years, it total.  The weather is rough, especially if you're coming from OC or the Bay Area.  105 degrees in the summertime, and chilly in the wintertime.  The air is horrific, especially in fire season, the traffic is very bad, the water is generally well water (at least on the west side) and bad.  The schools in Sac are bad, though less so in Penryn or Davis.  If I were thinking of moving to Sacramento, I'd keep going up to Reno.  Reno is no great shakes, but at least the air is breathable, the water drinkable, and taxes are low.  Summers in Reno are better than Sacramento, though the winters are much worse.

If the OP is from OC, and likes OC, they'll hate it.  If they want out of OC, it's not a bad place to try out for a few years.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #51 on: April 19, 2021, 10:23:46 AM »
According to Mr. Google there's at least one dual immersion Mandarin program in Sacramento. Have you looked into it? If this is an option then the state job w/ relocation to Sac is, IMO, a no-brainer. Much lower cost of living (modest houses within $350-400k). Job security. Lower stress. Good potential for short/easy commute. Easy access to Tahoe, wine country, lakes, SF Bay Area, and the rest of NorCal, and the ocean isn't *that* far away. Sac is an interesting city, and the downtown has recently experienced a renaissance as people have spilled over from the Bay Area.

The biggest downside I can think of is the pay cut. And there may be some truth to how this impacts "upward mobility." But why do you care if you're seriously considering Coast or Barista FIRE? Give the state thing a try for a few years in Sac, if you don't like it then you're already in a LCOL area so Coast/Barista FIRE becomes that much easier.

I lived in the Sacramento area for 7 years, it total.  The weather is rough, especially if you're coming from OC or the Bay Area.  105 degrees in the summertime, and chilly in the wintertime.  The air is horrific, especially in fire season, the traffic is very bad, the water is generally well water (at least on the west side) and bad.  The schools in Sac are bad, though less so in Penryn or Davis.  If I were thinking of moving to Sacramento, I'd keep going up to Reno.  Reno is no great shakes, but at least the air is breathable, the water drinkable, and taxes are low.  Summers in Reno are better than Sacramento, though the winters are much worse.

If the OP is from OC, and likes OC, they'll hate it.  If they want out of OC, it's not a bad place to try out for a few years.

Thanks for the feedback and reminder about heat in Sacramento :( That was another factor I 'forgot' about haha. I don't do well in the heat... I mean, I suppose I could get used to it but I've been spoiled down in OC with the ocean breezes. I also have sinus/nose/allergy issues (chronic vasomotor rhinitis per a previous doctor) so air quality is a big deal for me... we have some friends (more so acquaintances) who live in the Reno area and they seem to like it up there. But yea, the immersion program is a pretty big deal too. I keep coming thinking about Vancouver, WA through all this... I wonder how working for WA state is haha

FINate

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #52 on: April 19, 2021, 10:29:41 AM »
I lived in the Sacramento area for 7 years, it total.  The weather is rough, especially if you're coming from OC or the Bay Area.  105 degrees in the summertime, and chilly in the wintertime.  The air is horrific, especially in fire season, the traffic is very bad, the water is generally well water (at least on the west side) and bad.  The schools in Sac are bad, though less so in Penryn or Davis.  If I were thinking of moving to Sacramento, I'd keep going up to Reno.  Reno is no great shakes, but at least the air is breathable, the water drinkable, and taxes are low.  Summers in Reno are better than Sacramento, though the winters are much worse.

If the OP is from OC, and likes OC, they'll hate it.  If they want out of OC, it's not a bad place to try out for a few years.

Like/dislike is not binary, nor is liking OC mutuality exclusive of liking other areas. Life is far more nuanced. I've lived/worked in a handful of very different countries and states. You know what, I've love them all. Not saying they're all equal, some come with certain frustrations/problems that make day-to-day living much less alluring. But what one values is highly personal so rather than like/dislike, real-life usually comes down to a bunch of tradeoffs. Maybe OP values job stability and LCOL and low stress over the OC climate, or maybe not. Only he can decide what best aligns with his values.

Since we're on the topic of climate, IMO this is often overrated, especially within most of the continental US. This is my opinion, not speaking for OP or anyone else.  Also not saying it doesn't matter at all, but it's not such a big deal. You just adapt and dress appropriately. Last year we moved from coastal California to the high desert. The amount of hand-wringing we heard about the "terrible" climate was absolutely ridiculous. Yes, it gets hot here, pretty normal to hit 105. But, like Sac, it's a dry heat and quite pleasant. Mornings are amazing even on the hottest days. I bring extra water while mountain biking, and may go earlier to avoid the heat of the day if it's going to be hot, but that's about it. But it also means we wear shorts and flip-flops even late a night, enjoy dinners and drinks in the backyard as the day cools off, swim at the lakes/rivers, enjoy an occasional summer thunder storm, and thoroughly enjoy all summer has to offer.  Similar story for winter. Yes, it gets below freezing and we get some snow, but we dress for it, and we do a lot of skiing/sledding/snowshoeing/etc. This doesn't mean I hate the Mediterranean climate we came from, a foggy summer morning will always bring me nostalgically back to my childhood.  But we actually prefer the change of seasons every 3 months.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 11:42:46 AM by FINate »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #53 on: April 19, 2021, 11:09:37 AM »
Most positions have a probation period of 6 or 12 months; during probation you can be let go without cause. After passing probation it is much more difficult to get rid of you. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to get a reduction in time base approved; but once established in the new time base, you'd be pretty safe in assuming you can keep it. Exploring part-time potential for a particular position as an outsider would be difficult, so you'd probably be best off seeking to go part-time only after establishing yourself in a full-time position. There are very few positions that are established and recruited at part-time. To receive state employee medical benefits, the requirement is at least half time.

Sacramento definitely has summer. March, April, and October are usually quite nice here. May through September tend to be hot though much of the day. November through February can be cool and rainy (or not rainy in drought years) with frosty mornings in December and January. I think the heat is manageable. I was born and raised here in a house that did not have central A/C - still living here without it. Most of the time we have high diurnal temperature swings and can pull in cool air at night after the delta breeze kicks in (delta breeze can be somewhat location specific within the region) - a high velocity whole house fan can be very useful here. Yes there are some periods in summer when the delta breeze fails and we hide out in the room with the window AC unit for a few days, but most days we don't run it at all. Fire season air quality problems were an issue last year though - I plan to experiment with air filters in the intake windows in the future. Fire season air quality has gotten pretty bad here in several recent years.

Looks like there are at least 3 schools offering MIP in the Sacramento region (as you said, none past grade 8). K-6 at William Land Elementary in Sacramento City Unified, K-8 at Sacramento Mandarin School (a charter school), K-5 at Buckeye Union in El Dorado Hills (significant commute to downtown).

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #54 on: April 19, 2021, 02:14:48 PM »
Potential development here but my current manager just texted me asking if I had given his info to someone as a referral for me. He mentioned that he got a VM about a referral but spelled the hiring manager's name wrong. So I'm pretty sure it's the same person who I interviewed with though. It's a bit complicated of a backstory but I asked my manager if I could use him as a referral a month ago when I was not reporting to him (he was a prior manager at that point in time). In the past week he brought me back into his group.

Anyway, it sounds like the hiring manager for that position I applied for is now pinging the contacts I listed down as referrals. So they may very well be moving forward with extending an offer.

This would come as a large paycut (currently I'm at $140k and I'd be going down to $108k) and I also have a feeling they'll be pushing to relocate me to Sacramento... perhaps not in the immediate or near term but "as soon as things open back up" which could be within the year or so.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 02:17:01 PM by jeromedawg »

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #55 on: April 19, 2021, 02:35:11 PM »
At your current pay I probably wouldn't move to Sacraghetto - well I wouldn't move there for any amount of pay and that's were most of my extended family is. Weather is not to my liking at all. While I don't love the OC even on the coast, I really dislike Sac. But YMMV. Since my family is from the Auburn area (much nicer) and Tahoe (MUCH nicer) and there are many very nice areas close to Sac but too far to commute, you may be able to do some kind of flex-time thing and live close enough to.go to Sac once a week or so and WFH the rest of the time. I believe lots of state office jobs offer this kind of thing. The beauty if a state or fed job is that you'll be eligible for jobs anywhere in the state and an insider track for current employees looking to lateral. So even if Sac isn't ideal you may be able to relocate elsewhere.

ETA: Just remembered you are mainly moving for school so guess my ideas won't work.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 02:38:25 PM by spartana »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #56 on: April 19, 2021, 02:40:52 PM »
At your current pay I'd probably wouldn't move to Sacraghetto - well I wouldn't.move.there for any amount of pay and that's were.most of my extended family is. Weather is not to my liking at all. While I don't love the OC even on the coast, I really dislike Sac. But YMMV. Since my family is from Auburn area (much nicer) and there are many very nice areas close to Sac but too far to commute, you may be able to do some kind of flex-time thing and live close enough to.go to Sac once a week or so and WFH the rest of the time. I believe lots of state office jobs offer this kind of thing. The beauty if a state or fed job is that you'll be eligible for jobs anywhere in the state and an insider track for current employees looking to lateral. So even if Sac isn't ideal you may be able to relocate elsewhere.

Sacraghetto! LOL - one of my old college roommates lived in Rancho Cordova and I never heard him raving about how great it was up there haha.

I think we would probably dislike it up there as well. I never got the greatest 'feeling' about that area, having lived up in the Bay Area (Alameda). I don't think my parents would have enjoyed living in that area either. Normally, I'd say that we might be open to moving to the Bay Area and being closer to my side of the family but A) it would be near my family (lol) B) it would be closer to my brother in law (my wife has a complicated/semi-dysfunctional relationship with him and would prefer not to keep in touch with him but only does so out of familial obligation) and C) home prices are even more insane there than they are here.

I was thinking about the 'flex' situation you describe though - I *might* be willing to travel up there once a quarter or so for a few days to a week each time but 1) the pay cut would still feel burdensome and 2) they'd need to pay for my airfare lol.

BTW: you said "at your current pay I wouldn't move to Sacraghetto" - IF they were to allow me to continue WFH in OC (maybe with the stipulation that I go in once a quarter or so) would you still not be inclined to go for it based on the pay cut issue? The more I think of it the more I cringe. In terms of lateral mobility that's appealing but I would eventually want to work the salary back into the higher range too. So if, practically, this might just mean "taking a pay cut for 2-3 years" that might be more reasonable.

At the same time, I don't know how much longer I'll have at my current place either.... kinda feels like a toss-up.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 03:03:15 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #57 on: April 19, 2021, 03:58:01 PM »
My brother and someone else pointed out it was a bad idea to list my manager as a reference just because things could get awkward. The thing is, when I asked him to be a reference that was when I wasn't reporting to him - he knew prior to this that I wasn't happy with the team I was on and that I wanted out. I actually asked him to consider me if there were any vacancies on his team and he did at some point (it didn't pan out because the move was blocked at a higher level). Not to mention the current state of the company - things have really gone down the drain and a lot of people have been jumping ship to other places or are playing "keep alive" as long as possible. I think he understands the position I'm in because he likely doesn't feel very at ease himself. He and I have a very good working relationship and have built good rapport over the past 5 years. We also have a very good personal relationship - most of our 1x1s would revolve around discussions around family life, sports, etc... things most friends would talk about. It was like 20-25mins of personal talk and 5-10 minutes of work updates/talk. So admittedly, I have felt very comfortable being candid and open with him - there's a pretty high level of trust there. Honestly, I don't think this will negatively impact things much if at all now that I'm back under his wing. He has always exemplified the traits of a good manager who supports his employees in various ways.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 03:59:47 PM by jeromedawg »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #58 on: April 19, 2021, 04:12:16 PM »
BTW: you said "at your current pay I wouldn't move to Sacraghetto" - IF they were to allow me to continue WFH in OC (maybe with the stipulation that I go in once a quarter or so) would you still not be inclined to go for it based on the pay cut issue? The more I think of it the more I cringe. In terms of lateral mobility that's appealing but I would eventually want to work the salary back into the higher range too. So if, practically, this might just mean "taking a pay cut for 2-3 years" that might be more reasonable.

At the same time, I don't know how much longer I'll have at my current place either.... kinda feels like a toss-up.
The rate you mention sounds like the top of the IT Specialist I pay, so increasing your pay would likely require promoting to another position. If you did negotiate 100% telework for this position, you might find yourself needing to renegotiate similar terms for each promotion. If you move up through the IT classifications to IT Manager II promoting every other year, you'd get back to your current pay rate in 6-8 years.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #59 on: April 19, 2021, 04:33:24 PM »
BTW: you said "at your current pay I wouldn't move to Sacraghetto" - IF they were to allow me to continue WFH in OC (maybe with the stipulation that I go in once a quarter or so) would you still not be inclined to go for it based on the pay cut issue? The more I think of it the more I cringe. In terms of lateral mobility that's appealing but I would eventually want to work the salary back into the higher range too. So if, practically, this might just mean "taking a pay cut for 2-3 years" that might be more reasonable.

At the same time, I don't know how much longer I'll have at my current place either.... kinda feels like a toss-up.
The rate you mention sounds like the top of the IT Specialist I pay, so increasing your pay would likely require promoting to another position. If you did negotiate 100% telework for this position, you might find yourself needing to renegotiate similar terms for each promotion. If you move up through the IT classifications to IT Manager II promoting every other year, you'd get back to your current pay rate in 6-8 years.

Yea, I think top of range was right around $9k per month (outside of the current pay reductions). Of course, factoring in overtime and benefits I don't know what that number might look like as it relates to total pay/compensation but possibly up to an additional 10%~

How realistic/difficult is it to get that kind of promotion every other year btw? That seems quite aggressive...

If I were to factor the company covered portion of health coverage, 401k match, HSA and other profit sharing, this would add a little bit more than what I quoted too.

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #60 on: April 19, 2021, 04:58:09 PM »
How realistic/difficult is it to get that kind of promotion every other year btw? That seems quite aggressive...
It does seem quite aggressive. I wouldn't plan on it. You'd probably have to be both very good and very lucky to promote that quickly. I just put it out there as a "best case" scenario to getting back to your current pay; it would not be taking a pay cut for 2-3 years; you'd be taking a permanent pay cut that might get less deep over time but would basically always be below your current pay.

I find Sacramento a nice enough place to live. The ocean and the mountains are both close enough for day trips. Traffic and cost of living aren't as horrible as the bay area and southern California. But nothing really makes me think it would be the right fit for you unless you're primarily looking to go to a lower cost of living so that you can afford to take a pay cut into a lower stress job.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #61 on: April 19, 2021, 05:02:34 PM »
How realistic/difficult is it to get that kind of promotion every other year btw? That seems quite aggressive...
It does seem quite aggressive. I wouldn't plan on it. You'd probably have to be both very good and very lucky to promote that quickly. I just put it out there as a "best case" scenario to getting back to your current pay; it would not be taking a pay cut for 2-3 years; you'd be taking a permanent pay cut that might get less deep over time but would basically always be below your current pay.

I find Sacramento a nice enough place to live. The ocean and the mountains are both close enough for day trips. Traffic and cost of living aren't as horrible as the bay area and southern California. But nothing really makes me think it would be the right fit for you unless you're primarily looking to go to a lower cost of living so that you can afford to take a pay cut into a lower stress job.

Ah ok. Thanks for the insight.

Yea, I think I'd sort of be jumping the gun to sacrifice on quality of life when I don't even know what's going on with the current job - I could be "safe" for all I know now that I've been brought back into the fold of my prior manager (whom I have a great relationship with). My job, currently as-is, is about as low stress as it can get (this wasn't the case in the first couple years though), although the stress levels could go up now that they've effectively reduced the size of the team. If I had the option to stick it out and had the confidence that it would be stable enough to where I could be a lifer, I would - I was hoping to retire/early retire here but the current state of affairs has given a different outlook in that regard.

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #62 on: April 19, 2021, 05:26:00 PM »
Yea, I think I'd sort of be jumping the gun to sacrifice on quality of life when I don't even know what's going on with the current job - I could be "safe" for all I know now that I've been brought back into the fold of my prior manager (whom I have a great relationship with). My job, currently as-is, is about as low stress as it can get (this wasn't the case in the first couple years though), although the stress levels could go up now that they've effectively reduced the size of the team. If I had the option to stick it out and had the confidence that it would be stable enough to where I could be a lifer, I would - I was hoping to retire/early retire here but the current state of affairs has given a different outlook in that regard.
Sounds to me like you have the skills needed to be able to get a job reasonably quickly if the need arises. Of course losing a job would be stressful for anyone, but have you thought much about why you are concerned about job security? A good emergency fund should provide much more security than any job can.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #63 on: April 19, 2021, 05:52:57 PM »
Yea, I think I'd sort of be jumping the gun to sacrifice on quality of life when I don't even know what's going on with the current job - I could be "safe" for all I know now that I've been brought back into the fold of my prior manager (whom I have a great relationship with). My job, currently as-is, is about as low stress as it can get (this wasn't the case in the first couple years though), although the stress levels could go up now that they've effectively reduced the size of the team. If I had the option to stick it out and had the confidence that it would be stable enough to where I could be a lifer, I would - I was hoping to retire/early retire here but the current state of affairs has given a different outlook in that regard.
Sounds to me like you have the skills needed to be able to get a job reasonably quickly if the need arises. Of course losing a job would be stressful for anyone, but have you thought much about why you are concerned about job security? A good emergency fund should provide much more security than any job can.

It could be imposter syndrome but I don't feel that way at all... I feel quite the opposite - this is the only interview/position I've been able to get and I've sent my resume out for more than a dozen other positions. What I'd much rather do aside from all of this is ultimately just work for myself or figure out how to generate a large portion of the income I'm at now via side hustles. Of course, that feels like a bit of a pipe dream since I have no clue how to get there.

The job security thing is really just closely tied with wanting to continue living in the current HCOL area (primarily here for the schooling and locale) and eventually/hopefully trying to purchase a home around here.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 06:01:56 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #64 on: April 19, 2021, 07:34:17 PM »
Update: they extended the offer to me but provided no details about the salary, benefits or telework/relocation situation. I inquired back requesting for more information on all of those items.


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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #65 on: April 20, 2021, 02:57:01 AM »
Congratulations on the offer, I hope if you don't take it that it gives you confidence that there are jobs out there for you if you end up leaving your current one.

Joel

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #66 on: April 20, 2021, 08:55:17 AM »
As someone who has spent the last 10 years in Sacramento, some of these comments are pretty extreme especially for those based on hear-say. There are good and bad neighborhoods here like any other large metropolitan area. Canít escape the heat in the summer though.

Working for a government agency is my worst nightmare though, so nothing to say on that topic.

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #67 on: April 20, 2021, 09:04:15 AM »
BTW: you said "at your current pay I wouldn't move to Sacraghetto" - IF they were to allow me to continue WFH in OC (maybe with the stipulation that I go in once a quarter or so) would you still not be inclined to go for it based on the pay cut issue? The more I think of it the more I cringe. In terms of lateral mobility that's appealing but I would eventually want to work the salary back into the higher range too. So if, practically, this might just mean "taking a pay cut for 2-3 years" that might be more reasonable.

At the same time, I don't know how much longer I'll have at my current place either.... kinda feels like a toss-up.
The rate you mention sounds like the top of the IT Specialist I pay, so increasing your pay would likely require promoting to another position. If you did negotiate 100% telework for this position, you might find yourself needing to renegotiate similar terms for each promotion. If you move up through the IT classifications to IT Manager II promoting every other year, you'd get back to your current pay rate in 6-8 years.
I have a friend who was an IT guy for Caltrans and lived in Sac (he is the one who named it Sacroghetto) and he had to make a lateral move within the state to earn a higher salary. Its very common for public employees to be at the top of their pay scale for years and years (forever) unless they transition to a different position.

As for me, who worked all over the state until I advanced to a higher level, I was much less concerned about the pay then I was about the job (gotta like what I did) and the location and would have taken a big pay cut to have those. So no, living in Sac (which really isn't terrible) for even higher pay wouldn't have been appealing at all. Again YMMV.

 Congrats on the offer too. What does your spouse and kids think about it? That's a big factor imho. If possible, you should take a short trip up there to check it out
 Some nice communities nearby and interesting places.

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #68 on: April 20, 2021, 09:12:51 AM »
As someone who has spent the last 10 years in Sacramento, some of these comments are pretty extreme especially for those based on hear-say. There are good and bad neighborhoods here like any other large metropolitan area. Can’t escape the heat in the summer though.

Working for a government agency is my worst nightmare though, so nothing to say on that topic.
I was somewhat joking and don't think its bad there (again most of my family is from there or nearby and state employees). I actually thought it would be a good place to FIRE if someone wanted to be centrally located to so many cool places a couple hours drive in any direction, stay in Calif, be in a city but out of LA or Bay area housing market. But the weather and some other things are tough there If you can't get away whenever you want but are a full time worker. I do love the easy access to the Sierra, coat, redwoods, wine country, Yosemite and all the state parks. A FIREee could really take full.advantage of those areas without the high costs to live closer.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 09:16:57 AM by spartana »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #69 on: April 20, 2021, 09:30:00 AM »
Congratulations on the offer, I hope if you don't take it that it gives you confidence that there are jobs out there for you if you end up leaving your current one.

BTW: you said "at your current pay I wouldn't move to Sacraghetto" - IF they were to allow me to continue WFH in OC (maybe with the stipulation that I go in once a quarter or so) would you still not be inclined to go for it based on the pay cut issue? The more I think of it the more I cringe. In terms of lateral mobility that's appealing but I would eventually want to work the salary back into the higher range too. So if, practically, this might just mean "taking a pay cut for 2-3 years" that might be more reasonable.

At the same time, I don't know how much longer I'll have at my current place either.... kinda feels like a toss-up.
The rate you mention sounds like the top of the IT Specialist I pay, so increasing your pay would likely require promoting to another position. If you did negotiate 100% telework for this position, you might find yourself needing to renegotiate similar terms for each promotion. If you move up through the IT classifications to IT Manager II promoting every other year, you'd get back to your current pay rate in 6-8 years.
I have a friend who was an IT guy for Caltrans and lived in Sac (he is the one who named it Sacroghetto) and he had to make a lateral move within the state to earn a higher salary. Its very common for public employees to be at the top of their pay scale for years and years (forever) unless they transition to a different position.

As for me, who worked all over the state until I advanced to a higher level, I was much less concerned about the pay then I was about the job (gotta like what I did) and the location and would have taken a big pay cut to have those. So no, living in Sac (which really isn't terrible) for even higher pay wouldn't have been appealing at all. Again YMMV.

 Congrats on the offer too. What does your spouse and kids think about it? That's a big factor imho. If possible, you should take a short trip up there to check it out
 Some nice communities nearby and interesting places.

Thanks - she's really not interested at all. A big factor is that we have no immediate family there. My family would be in the Bay Area which isn't that far but then we'd be leaving my in-laws behind down here. My wife is hesitant on us moving in light of this because it would mean that we're either "ditching" them or that we have to convince them to move and leave their social network (all of their friends are in SoCal).

I'm still waiting on hearing back from the hiring manager about my questions though regarding what the actual salary/pay will be as well as if relocation is going to be required. I also wanted to ask him about what the hours look like and if I'd be exempt or non-exempt. If OT is a thing, then it might be worth considering. Of course, I don't really do a lot of OT in my current position/salary. I'm torn about the idea of leaving my current group now that my prior manager (who I really like) pulled me back onto his team but the overarching concerns of where upper management and the company as a whole are heading is a bit worrisome (e.g. even though I was moved to what I think is a more 'protected/shielded' place, that may not mean a whole lot if upper management is making hardline top-down decisions)

Confidence wise, I feel mixed about it - good that I was able to get an offer but imposter syndrome still kicking in telling me I applied for a position that I'd be "settling" on since the pay and rank are less. 
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 09:32:13 AM by jeromedawg »

FINate

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #70 on: April 20, 2021, 09:42:41 AM »
I agree, it's worth a short visit to check things out. Plus some 'puter time researching neighborhoods potential employment location(s), etc.

Not sure what you're looking for, but I see older close-in neighborhoods like Oak Park and many others that are probably even more affordable (e.g. not one of the "hottest neighborhoods"), with the potential for almost no commute, nice parks, walkable/bikeable, and in striking distance to downtown. I would be all over that because it's my jam. But if you prefer further out in the 'burbs there's even more of that, and much cheaper.

Schools, air quality, crime, climate, commute... these are all about quality of life, and it matters, so do your homework. But at the same time, be aware that there's a long history of snobbery from coastal areas. A lot of the stereotypes about the Central Valley are dated or exaggerated. Sometimes I think coastal elites transited through the worst part of Merced during a summer heat wave on their way to Yosemite and extrapolated from that that the entire CV is terrible, or "the armpit of California" as I often heard. All things considered it may not be a good fit for you, but IMO it's to your detriment to summarily reject it as an option without giving it a fair shake. 

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #71 on: April 20, 2021, 09:47:31 AM »
Aren't you FI already? Or maybe lean FI? I think you said you were and working primarily to be busy or for benefits. If that's the case then does it matter if you accept or not prior to your current job ending (which it may not). Why not just stay in.the OC at your current job, keep renting and stash the extra rather then buy in this crazy housing market, and then, if your job does end eventually, make a decision then. You'll have tons of options to move to a LCOL area or even stay put in OC and "do nothing" for awhile but enjoy some down time until you find an ideal CoastFIRE job in an ideal location where your kids can go to immersion school. If you are in Irvine or close by (or any of the Asian American communities around here) your kids will have a much greater opportunity to learn Mandarin then in other places.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #72 on: April 20, 2021, 10:07:17 AM »
Aren't you FI already? Or maybe lean FI? I think you said you were and working primarily to be busy or for benefits. If that's the case then does it matter if you accept or not prior to your current job ending (which it may not). Why not just stay in.the OC at your current job, keep renting and stash the extra rather then buy in this crazy housing market, and then, if your job does end eventually, make a decision then. You'll have tons of options to move to a LCOL area or even stay put in OC and "do nothing" for awhile but enjoy some down time until you find an ideal CoastFIRE job in an ideal location where your kids can go to immersion school. If you are in Irvine or close by (or any of the Asian American communities around here) your kids will have a much greater opportunity to learn Mandarin then in other places.

I technically am FI but if we were to purchase a home, even after waiting for things to settle down, I don't think that would be the case or it would put a pretty big dent in the overall timeline. I keep saying I'd like to FIRE whenever possible and before 50... I'm sort of leaning towards what you're saying though as far as sticking it out and riding the current job till it ends (if it does). I suppose I can afford to be 'picky' about the job hunt at the current moment since I'm still gainfully employed. Although, a lot of ppl tell me it's more stressful looking for a job while unemployed. I'm not sure about that - that's probably if you don't have any funds to live off of.

My wife has the expectation that I need to work/provide income and she's willing to chip in but is really depending on me to take on the bulk of it. I told her that if we want to buy a home, especially, she's going to probably need to pickup more side gigs/income to help with that unless I get some crazy promotion or opportunity where I'm making a lot more than where I'm at now.
Another factor at play here is deciding whether or not to try for a 3rd kid. Doing so I think will be another 'lifestyle' shakeup and things will only get more expensive.  Everyone keeps saying just to be content with two but I've always known I wanted at least 3 kids from the get-go. We're currently down in Laguna Niguel and actually moved out of Irvine. Bergeson is the immersion school the kids will be at. We learned this year that Irvine started up a Mandarin charter school too; I guess we could have waited around for that but either way I wanted to get out of our old condo too. It would have been hard buying a place even in Irvine had we decided to stay! I tend to like a lot of the newer homes in our immediate area (Rancho Niguel) and prices were actually 'reasonable' to where I think we could have rolled the funds from the condo directly over to something here and taken a smaller/reasonable loan out on a bigger place. We decided to rent though to feel things out and not overcommit, and so of course the timing had to work out where the housing prices were accelerated and pushed us out.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 10:11:16 AM by jeromedawg »

Sandi_k

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #73 on: April 20, 2021, 10:22:22 AM »
We have friends who live in Fair Oaks (a suburb of Sacramento) and they love it. Older rambling home, larger yard, space for a deck, an in-ground pool, established trees.

Shopping is in malls, and it's not what I would consider "walkable" - things are indeed spread out a bit. But access to Tahoe, the Bay Area, and an up-and-coming airport have made it a good move for them. They came up ~ 5 years ago from Ventura County, and have adapted well.

They moved from an 1100 SF 3 Brm/2Ba townhome with a tiny yard, to a 2500 SF, 4 Brm, 3.5 Bath single family home, purchased for $390k (now Redfin is showing $605k value).

I think it's a doable move, but family matters, and there's no denying that a SoCal coastal town is a different vibe from Sacramento.


jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #74 on: April 20, 2021, 10:26:18 AM »
Update on the offer: I just got a response back from the hiring manager again and he's basically saying that HR has to review my credentials and experience to determine salary before giving me a number. I think he wants me to commit to the offer before knowing the number which would seem like a foolish move on my part. I'm not quite sure how to respond on this. Am I suppose to continue pressing for and asking for the salary amount *without* actually responding with formal acceptance of the offer? e.g. "In order for me to make a decision on accepting the offer, I need the actual salary amount that I would be receiving for this position" ?

As far as the telework situation, he's wanting to talk with me on the phone about it - I'm not really sure what to make of that but it I'm anticipating, and sounds like it could very well be: "you can WFH for now but ultimately the state makes the call and if they institute back to office, you'll have to relocate" - if I took the job, I'd be locked into that expectation and very well might have to move (again, something we're not wanting to do in the near term) else they could probably drop me especially if "back to office" was instituted within a year as I'd be in the probationary period.

EDIT: my friend who works for LA County told me that he didn't know his exact salary number/range until AFTER he signed his paperwork w/ HR. I think it would be risky for me to accept the offer if I am not going to know my salary ahead of time. The low and mid point ranges for ITS I are not going to be ranges I'd be comfortable with currently. I was operating under the assumption that I'd likely qualify for high range but given the 'unknowns' and if it's true that I won't know until after signing in more places I think it's too risky.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 11:14:47 AM by jeromedawg »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #75 on: April 20, 2021, 11:12:01 AM »
I'm still waiting on hearing back from the hiring manager about my questions though regarding what the actual salary/pay will be as well as if relocation is going to be required. I also wanted to ask him about what the hours look like and if I'd be exempt or non-exempt. If OT is a thing, then it might be worth considering. Of course, I don't really do a lot of OT in my current position/salary.
I'm pretty sure IT Specialist series classifications are non-exempt. In most cases, OT is rare in state jobs, but the description you provided earlier sounded like this could be an exception.

Not sure what you're looking for, but I see older close-in neighborhoods like Oak Park and many others that are probably even more affordable (e.g. not one of the "hottest neighborhoods"), with the potential for almost no commute, nice parks, walkable/bikeable, and in striking distance to downtown. I would be all over that because it's my jam. But if you prefer further out in the 'burbs there's even more of that, and much cheaper.
Oak Park used to be part of "Sacroghetto", but has been gentrifying significantly in recent years (particularly North and Central Oak Park; the further away from downtown and UC Davis Med Center the less the impact of gentrification).

Although, a lot of ppl tell me it's more stressful looking for a job while unemployed. I'm not sure about that - that's probably if you don't have any funds to live off of.
Worrying about how to pay the bills is very stressful. If you have a 12 month emergency fund and a positive attitude, 3-6 months looking for a job while unemployed shouldn't be too stressful.

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #76 on: April 20, 2021, 11:27:18 AM »
Aren't you FI already? Or maybe lean FI? I think you said you were and working primarily to be busy or for benefits. If that's the case then does it matter if you accept or not prior to your current job ending (which it may not). Why not just stay in.the OC at your current job, keep renting and stash the extra rather then buy in this crazy housing market, and then, if your job does end eventually, make a decision then. You'll have tons of options to move to a LCOL area or even stay put in OC and "do nothing" for awhile but enjoy some down time until you find an ideal CoastFIRE job in an ideal location where your kids can go to immersion school. If you are in Irvine or close by (or any of the Asian American communities around here) your kids will have a much greater opportunity to learn Mandarin then in other places.

I technically am FI but if we were to purchase a home, even after waiting for things to settle down, I don't think that would be the case or it would put a pretty big dent in the overall timeline. I keep saying I'd like to FIRE whenever possible and before 50... I'm sort of leaning towards what you're saying though as far as sticking it out and riding the current job till it ends (if it does). I suppose I can afford to be 'picky' about the job hunt at the current moment since I'm still gainfully employed. Although, a lot of ppl tell me it's more stressful looking for a job while unemployed. I'm not sure about that - that's probably if you don't have any funds to live off of.

My wife has the expectation that I need to work/provide income and she's willing to chip in but is really depending on me to take on the bulk of it. I told her that if we want to buy a home, especially, she's going to probably need to pickup more side gigs/income to help with that unless I get some crazy promotion or opportunity where I'm making a lot more than where I'm at now.
Another factor at play here is deciding whether or not to try for a 3rd kid. Doing so I think will be another 'lifestyle' shakeup and things will only get more expensive.  Everyone keeps saying just to be content with two but I've always known I wanted at least 3 kids from the get-go. We're currently down in Laguna Niguel and actually moved out of Irvine. Bergeson is the immersion school the kids will be at. We learned this year that Irvine started up a Mandarin charter school too; I guess we could have waited around for that but either way I wanted to get out of our old condo too. It would have been hard buying a place even in Irvine had we decided to stay! I tend to like a lot of the newer homes in our immediate area (Rancho Niguel) and prices were actually 'reasonable' to where I think we could have rolled the funds from the condo directly over to something here and taken a smaller/reasonable loan out on a bigger place. We decided to rent though to feel things out and not overcommit, and so of course the timing had to work out where the housing prices were accelerated and pushed us out.
Laguna Niguel is very nice (I spent a lot of time working with "The Feds" at the Ziggurat) and there are lots of  master planned communities like that on the outskirts of Sac. Of course those places have Mello Roos taxes so they will cost more if you buy in either location. FWIW it does sound like you and your family would be better off staying at your current job and renting just for the flexibility right now. Cheaper then divorce ;-)!

As for the Sac job - definitely get a written pay and step/level quote before agreeing to anything. It's public record anyways so you can look it up yourself. While pay isn't negotiable,  which step/grade you start is. If they offer you a start at the bottom you can show you are qualified for the next grade (IT Guy 2 instead of 1) which is generally higher pay and doesn't top out as low. Never a guarantee you'll be offered a promotion to the next grade level unless someone retires or dies and they need a person to fill that spot.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #77 on: April 20, 2021, 11:48:49 AM »
Aren't you FI already? Or maybe lean FI? I think you said you were and working primarily to be busy or for benefits. If that's the case then does it matter if you accept or not prior to your current job ending (which it may not). Why not just stay in.the OC at your current job, keep renting and stash the extra rather then buy in this crazy housing market, and then, if your job does end eventually, make a decision then. You'll have tons of options to move to a LCOL area or even stay put in OC and "do nothing" for awhile but enjoy some down time until you find an ideal CoastFIRE job in an ideal location where your kids can go to immersion school. If you are in Irvine or close by (or any of the Asian American communities around here) your kids will have a much greater opportunity to learn Mandarin then in other places.

I technically am FI but if we were to purchase a home, even after waiting for things to settle down, I don't think that would be the case or it would put a pretty big dent in the overall timeline. I keep saying I'd like to FIRE whenever possible and before 50... I'm sort of leaning towards what you're saying though as far as sticking it out and riding the current job till it ends (if it does). I suppose I can afford to be 'picky' about the job hunt at the current moment since I'm still gainfully employed. Although, a lot of ppl tell me it's more stressful looking for a job while unemployed. I'm not sure about that - that's probably if you don't have any funds to live off of.

My wife has the expectation that I need to work/provide income and she's willing to chip in but is really depending on me to take on the bulk of it. I told her that if we want to buy a home, especially, she's going to probably need to pickup more side gigs/income to help with that unless I get some crazy promotion or opportunity where I'm making a lot more than where I'm at now.
Another factor at play here is deciding whether or not to try for a 3rd kid. Doing so I think will be another 'lifestyle' shakeup and things will only get more expensive.  Everyone keeps saying just to be content with two but I've always known I wanted at least 3 kids from the get-go. We're currently down in Laguna Niguel and actually moved out of Irvine. Bergeson is the immersion school the kids will be at. We learned this year that Irvine started up a Mandarin charter school too; I guess we could have waited around for that but either way I wanted to get out of our old condo too. It would have been hard buying a place even in Irvine had we decided to stay! I tend to like a lot of the newer homes in our immediate area (Rancho Niguel) and prices were actually 'reasonable' to where I think we could have rolled the funds from the condo directly over to something here and taken a smaller/reasonable loan out on a bigger place. We decided to rent though to feel things out and not overcommit, and so of course the timing had to work out where the housing prices were accelerated and pushed us out.
Laguna Niguel is very nice (I spent a lot of time working with "The Feds" at the Ziggurat) and there are lots of  master planned communities like that on the outskirts of Sac. Of course those places have Mello Roos taxes so they will cost more if you buy in either location. FWIW it does sound like you and your family would be better off staying at your current job and renting just for the flexibility right now. Cheaper then divorce ;-)!

As for the Sac job - definitely get a written pay and step/level quote before agreeing to anything. It's public record anyways so you can look it up yourself. While pay isn't negotiable,  which step/grade you start is. If they offer you a start at the bottom you can show you are qualified for the next grade (IT Guy 2 instead of 1) which is generally higher pay and doesn't top out as low. Never a guarantee you'll be offered a promotion to the next grade level unless someone retires or dies and they need a person to fill that spot.

We really like it here - I was wondering what that building was and recently found out :) I applied for a position with the IRS there but not sure what will come of it. I'd be highly inclined to take a position working there though, especially with the IRS. Seems pretty hard to get a foot in the door though.

RE: Mello roos, I don't think I've seen mello roos anywhere around here. For sure they have it in Irvine. I'm wondering if LN used to have mello roos and now that enough time has passed, all requirements for paying it are done. I know it's one of those things that doesn't last forever and generally it's intended for newer communities and developments. I don't think there has been any new construction around here in a while.

So when you say the step/grade you start at is negotiable, practically what would this look like in my situation? Am I to insist that they give me the written quote of the step/grade/level BEFORE I accept anything? It seems like they're kind of pushing back on this. If they do start me low or mid, what would I "show" to justify that I'm qualified? Even then, within each step there are still pretty wide ranges:
$5,562.00 - $7,454.00 A
$6,116.00 - $8,197.00 B
$6,715.00 - $8,999.00 C

I don't think I can afford to take anything less than top of range C, especially if we were looking to buy a home in the next few years or so.

Aside from job stability with the state (of course, my friend at the county doesn't believe state jobs are that stable as he had heard of numerous layoffs), the only 'saving grace' about taking a pay cut with this position is that I'd be working on projects that should sharpen my infosec skills and likely update a lot of them. Current job there's very little on the job "skill upkeep" types of experience... I can certainly learn things on the side and take courses or whatever if I wanted to but that's not quite the same as "on the job" experience. I don't know how important that really is at this stage in my career...

As far as promotions, it seems like you'd have to look outside the immediate department and try for another position elsewhere (which could be subject to a relocation requirement as well unless you are looking for openings that are local to your area) more than anything.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 11:57:54 AM by jeromedawg »

cchrissyy

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #78 on: April 20, 2021, 12:00:13 PM »
Sacramento is nicer than people are giving it credit for!

If your wife isn't interested, this idea is a non-starter.

I hope you take the offer as a positive sign you are hirable, but there is no need to get into details on the salary or anything more in the weeds since you know you are not going to move. It's a waste of everybody's time. CONGRATS on the offer though!

I think you should stay at your current company as long as the work/team/manager are good, and I think the fear of being forced out in the future by relocation or getting a settlement from a downsizing event are worth exploring in your own head or with a therapist. What is so scary about having to job hunt someday? what is so scary about a separation package? What would you do if you had to live off your substantial savings for a while? Write out the exact steps. How bad is that really? Why are you tempted to preemptively accept lower pay and move to a city your whole family doesn't prefer? Is it really so awful to move after a lay off that you would go ahead and make yourself do those steps now just to avoid being pushed into them later?

If you believe you can coast-fire and it's what you want to do, I don't think it starts with taking a state job just for perceived stability and benefits. I think it starts by asking yourself what kind of work you'd do if money were not an object, and where would you be living. IMO the point of being almost-fire, or coasting, is you don't have the pressure to earn so you can finally do what you want, such as working fewer hours, or finding new work that is more satisfying but lower-paid.


My advice again
- keep your job
- work on your anxiety
- figure out the 3rd child thing before you buy
- figure out if there is a more enjoyable job or location or hourly schedule that you can work which supports your family without needing to maximize income.

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #79 on: April 20, 2021, 12:08:01 PM »
Yes that's the grades I was talking about. So for example they could offer you the top pay of grade A - which is higher then the bottom pay of grade B - but there is no going up in pay from grade A (topped out) unless you can get into grade B. That may be automatic for some agencies or positions but wasn't for mine (long ago). Small weird agency with a Director, one senior person, and then various grades for the few lower level employees. Many who were topped out with no raises or promotions for years. I only got into the director position because first the director retired and then the senior person who was slated to take the director job (and me to move into the senior position) also retired so I was able to move up 2 higher levels without having to go to change jobs. If neither retired I'd have been "stuck". That might not be the same with office type jobs where there are many more opportunities.

In any case you should get a formal offer with exact starting pay and exact grade you'd be starting at before having to accept. That's crazy in the public sector where most jobs will show the pay scale and range they are starting a new hire at in their job descriptions.

I just googled a state job very similar to my old job (different agency but similar requirements and experience) and it listed the various grades. My understanding is that they will tell you exactly which range and pay you'll start at before hiring. That range and which pay step you start at may be negotiable so ask. Of course it is unlikely they would hire you at the top pay scale of the top grade but doesn't hurt to ask. You got the mad FU money ( and FI money if you move elsewhere) and that is huge.

« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 12:34:08 PM by spartana »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #80 on: April 20, 2021, 12:13:23 PM »
Sacramento is nicer than people are giving it credit for!

If your wife isn't interested, this idea is a non-starter.

I hope you take the offer as a positive sign you are hirable, but there is no need to get into details on the salary or anything more in the weeds since you know you are not going to move. It's a waste of everybody's time. CONGRATS on the offer though!

I think you should stay at your current company as long as the work/team/manager are good, and I think the fear of being forced out in the future by relocation or getting a settlement from a downsizing event are worth exploring in your own head or with a therapist. What is so scary about having to job hunt someday? what is so scary about a separation package? What would you do if you had to live off your substantial savings for a while? Write out the exact steps. How bad is that really? Why are you tempted to preemptively accept lower pay and move to a city your whole family doesn't prefer? Is it really so awful to move after a lay off that you would go ahead and make yourself do those steps now just to avoid being pushed into them later?

If you believe you can coast-fire and it's what you want to do, I don't think it starts with taking a state job just for perceived stability and benefits. I think it starts by asking yourself what kind of work you'd do if money were not an object, and where would you be living. IMO the point of being almost-fire, or coasting, is you don't have the pressure to earn so you can finally do what you want, such as working fewer hours, or finding new work that is more satisfying but lower-paid.


My advice again
- keep your job
- work on your anxiety
- figure out the 3rd child thing before you buy
- figure out if there is a more enjoyable job or location or hourly schedule that you can work which supports your family without needing to maximize income.


Thanks! It is an encouraging sign but I feel like I still need to work on sharpening things a bit more (e.g. polishing resume, skillset, etc).

I'm leaning towards staying as well. And good points about addressing the fears - I think a lot of it has to do with the pressure I feel about "being the breadwinner" in addition to the thoughts of purchasing a home in the near future (maybe not this year but perhaps in the next few years). The overall anxiety of it stems from getting ourselves into a bad situation where I've lost the job but where we've also taken on an enormous amount of debt (mortgage) prior to that event. A lot of "what ifs" at play for sure.

On that note: I think Coast fire can only happen if we are forever-renters. Maybe we have to accept that fact if I want to "work for myself" or whatever. But both my wife and I really want a home for our kids to grow up in.

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #81 on: April 20, 2021, 02:52:00 PM »
So when you say the step/grade you start at is negotiable, practically what would this look like in my situation? Am I to insist that they give me the written quote of the step/grade/level BEFORE I accept anything? It seems like they're kind of pushing back on this. If they do start me low or mid, what would I "show" to justify that I'm qualified? Even then, within each step there are still pretty wide ranges:
$5,562.00 - $7,454.00 A
$6,116.00 - $8,197.00 B
$6,715.00 - $8,999.00 C

I don't think I can afford to take anything less than top of range C, especially if we were looking to buy a home in the next few years or so.

Aside from job stability with the state (of course, my friend at the county doesn't believe state jobs are that stable as he had heard of numerous layoffs), the only 'saving grace' about taking a pay cut with this position is that I'd be working on projects that should sharpen my infosec skills and likely update a lot of them. Current job there's very little on the job "skill upkeep" types of experience... I can certainly learn things on the side and take courses or whatever if I wanted to but that's not quite the same as "on the job" experience. I don't know how important that really is at this stage in my career...

As far as promotions, it seems like you'd have to look outside the immediate department and try for another position elsewhere (which could be subject to a relocation requirement as well unless you are looking for openings that are local to your area) more than anything.
I don't know if a position can be established as a range A or B position or if all IT Spec I positions can be filled at range C. If the position can be filled at range C and you qualify for range C, you would be placed in range C immediately. There is also a process that I am not familiar with for hiring above the minimum. I'm not familiar with that process and those responsible for selecting who to hire may not be familiar with the process either. Your questions about starting salary might need to be directed to a classification and pay analyst in the department's HR office. If you are at the top of range C, then you'd have no raise unless you promote to a higher classification (except for union negotiated general salary increases).

Layoffs are not common, but could happen. All layoffs are done based on seniority. If you might be subject to a layoff, you would be given special priority in other state jobs you apply to (unless the position would be considered a promotion). This would start at least 120 days before layoff.

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #82 on: April 20, 2021, 02:57:33 PM »
Are you guys adamant about staying in a HCOL area? Or in owning a more upscale house? If not then there are a million places you can retire to that have much lower cost housing (and much less emphasis on being living an upscale upwardly mobile life). I sold my home recently and waiting BF's house sale to close and will then be looking for something lower cost which will (hopefully) be a better environmental on all fronts. And if we can't find a lower COL area that we like, we are happy to drasticly downscale our housing expectations - whether renting or buying - if staying in a HCOL area.  Is that something you guys have considered? Might make having a 3rd child more easily doable financially AND have the added benefit of more free time with less financial worry.

 
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 03:00:53 PM by spartana »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #83 on: April 20, 2021, 03:06:32 PM »
So when you say the step/grade you start at is negotiable, practically what would this look like in my situation? Am I to insist that they give me the written quote of the step/grade/level BEFORE I accept anything? It seems like they're kind of pushing back on this. If they do start me low or mid, what would I "show" to justify that I'm qualified? Even then, within each step there are still pretty wide ranges:
$5,562.00 - $7,454.00 A
$6,116.00 - $8,197.00 B
$6,715.00 - $8,999.00 C

I don't think I can afford to take anything less than top of range C, especially if we were looking to buy a home in the next few years or so.

Aside from job stability with the state (of course, my friend at the county doesn't believe state jobs are that stable as he had heard of numerous layoffs), the only 'saving grace' about taking a pay cut with this position is that I'd be working on projects that should sharpen my infosec skills and likely update a lot of them. Current job there's very little on the job "skill upkeep" types of experience... I can certainly learn things on the side and take courses or whatever if I wanted to but that's not quite the same as "on the job" experience. I don't know how important that really is at this stage in my career...

As far as promotions, it seems like you'd have to look outside the immediate department and try for another position elsewhere (which could be subject to a relocation requirement as well unless you are looking for openings that are local to your area) more than anything.
I don't know if a position can be established as a range A or B position or if all IT Spec I positions can be filled at range C. If the position can be filled at range C and you qualify for range C, you would be placed in range C immediately. There is also a process that I am not familiar with for hiring above the minimum. I'm not familiar with that process and those responsible for selecting who to hire may not be familiar with the process either. Your questions about starting salary might need to be directed to a classification and pay analyst in the department's HR office. If you are at the top of range C, then you'd have no raise unless you promote to a higher classification (except for union negotiated general salary increases).

Layoffs are not common, but could happen. All layoffs are done based on seniority. If you might be subject to a layoff, you would be given special priority in other state jobs you apply to (unless the position would be considered a promotion). This would start at least 120 days before layoff.

It seems like for that ITS I position, you're going to be placed in one of those ranges based on your past experience & credentials? When you say there's a process for hiring above the minimum, in what sense do you mean? Let's say the offer was clarified to start at $6715 in range C. Is the process you're referring to one where I would be trying to negotiate the $8999 max or closer to it? And if, hypothetically, I were to start at $8999, are you saying there would be no pay increase even for inflation adjustment?

I do wonder about transferring to other ITS roles and how realistic the chances of getting those other positions are if you don't have the specific experience they are requiring (e.g. I might be doing infosec stuff now but if a layoff occurs and there are only ITS positions that are non-infosec/technical in other areas where I don't have that experience, would I still have a chance?). Seeing how often they open up positions though, I don't think there would be too big of a concern but who knows... are there a lot state employees who have gotten displaced to the point where they are no longer working for the state?


Are you guys adamant about staying in a HCOL area? Or in owning a more upscale house? If not then there are a million places you can retire to that have much lower cost housing (and much less emphasis on being living an upscale upwardly mobile life). I sold my home recently and waiting BF's house sale to close and will then be looking for something lower cost which will (hopefully) be a better environmental on all fronts. And if we can't find a lower COL area that we like, we are happy to drasticly downscale our housing expectations - whether renting or buying - if staying in a HCOL area.  Is that something you guys have considered? Might make having a 3rd child more easily doable financially AND have the added benefit of more free time with less financial worry.

We *really* like it down here. We don't need a super fancy house - a "basic" 3/2 or 4/2 is fine. I'm good with finding a 'fixer-upper' or low curb appeal home (that hasn't been updated or maintained much) and pouring some sweaty equity into it. But as you know pricing is just insane anywhere and everywhere.
The big thing for us the immersion program and second thing is not moving any further away from the in-laws. I mean, we could, in theory, move closer to my in-laws but I think we'd be giving up on the immersion more or less. The other option is for my in-laws to sell their current place and move to Seal Beach or Laguna Woods so they're closer by. Frankly, I'd be hesitant having them move to Seal Beach in lieu of this - https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/03/24/seal-beach-anti-asian-letter/ - so Laguna Woods would be most preferable. That still doesn't resolve the issue of lower cost housing for us though - we basically would have to be willing to live further in-land (East Mission Viejo and Lake Forest) and deal with the commute. Or perhaps entertain the idea of moving into a new build around the Great Park in Irvine or Baker Ranch. Another thought that has been on our minds has been getting SFH with an ADU or buying an SFH with a large lot where an ADU could be built out. For that we would want to have our in-laws sell their place and pool our monies together to increase the buying power. They could live in the ADU and provide sitting for our kids while they're still able and this could potentially free my wife up a bit more for being able to work part time gigs that she might enjoy (assistant for her friend, instacart shopping, etc). 

This goes back to the Vancouver discussion - aside from the concerns over weather and lack of sun, cost of living and housing *should* be lower there and they do have what seems to be a pretty comprehensive immersion program. The issues would be that this is a pretty huge move and we would still have to consider my in-laws (we might even try selling them on the idea of moving with us... not sure if they'd buy into it).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 03:35:02 PM by jeromedawg »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #84 on: April 20, 2021, 03:31:37 PM »
It seems like for that ITS I position, you're going to be placed in one of those ranges based on your past experience & credentials? When you say there's a process for hiring above the minimum, in what sense do you mean? Let's say the offer was clarified to start at $6715 in range C. Is the process you're referring to one where I would be trying to negotiate the $8999 max or closer to it? And if, hypothetically, I were to start at $8999, are you saying there would be no pay increase even for inflation adjustment?
Basically yes. There is a reasonable chance that they'd look at your past experience and current salary and just offer you the top of range C without you having to ask for it. When the unions negotiate contracts every 3 years, they usually include general salary increases that more or less follow inflation, but there is no automatic COLA for state workers. The 2020 and 2021 increases for SEIU were postponed to 2022 in an agreement reached May or June 2020 based on COVID related expectations of revenue shortages, so the $8999 rate was set in July 2019. State pensions do follow an automatic COLA.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #85 on: April 20, 2021, 03:42:56 PM »
It seems like for that ITS I position, you're going to be placed in one of those ranges based on your past experience & credentials? When you say there's a process for hiring above the minimum, in what sense do you mean? Let's say the offer was clarified to start at $6715 in range C. Is the process you're referring to one where I would be trying to negotiate the $8999 max or closer to it? And if, hypothetically, I were to start at $8999, are you saying there would be no pay increase even for inflation adjustment?
Basically yes. There is a reasonable chance that they'd look at your past experience and current salary and just offer you the top of range C without you having to ask for it. When the unions negotiate contracts every 3 years, they usually include general salary increases that more or less follow inflation, but there is no automatic COLA for state workers. The 2020 and 2021 increases for SEIU were postponed to 2022 in an agreement reached May or June 2020 based on COVID related expectations of revenue shortages, so the $8999 rate was set in July 2019. State pensions do follow an automatic COLA.

Interesting. So in short, the SEIU (Union) bargains for the COLA increases. And in this case the 2020 and 2021 increases have been postponed but will the be "folded" into 2022? What would that look like percentage wise? Like a 6% increase in wage once 2022 comes? Could that change or be rescinded at all or is it pretty much set in stone?

When you say state pensions follow an automatic COLA, I'm assuming that just means whatever you're paid out in your pension is COLA'ed at that point in time?

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #86 on: April 20, 2021, 05:01:15 PM »
Interesting. So in short, the SEIU (Union) bargains for the COLA increases. And in this case the 2020 and 2021 increases have been postponed but will the be "folded" into 2022? What would that look like percentage wise? Like a 6% increase in wage once 2022 comes? Could that change or be rescinded at all or is it pretty much set in stone?
The contract included a 2.5% increase in July 2020 and 2% increase in July 2021. The agreement on COVID related cuts had provisions for delaying both these increase and applying a furlough (9.23% cut in exchange for 16 hour/month in leave credits) until July 2022. The economy hasn't suffered as much as was feared a year ago, so I actually think we'll end up getting some increase this year (some combination of ending/reducing the furlough and/or getting some increase in basis) - the agreement had specific metrics on things that would reduce the cuts early and stipulated that no additional cuts would occur. Since these provisions all end with the contract, nothing is 100% set in stone, but unless the state and union come to an agreement to continue these cuts, they will expire at the end of June 2022 even if a new contract is not reached on time - so state workers can expect a 4.5% increase and end of furloughs in July 2022. I do think that the delayed increases will reduce the leeway the union has to negotiate increases as part of the 2022 contract.

When you say state pensions follow an automatic COLA, I'm assuming that just means whatever you're paid out in your pension is COLA'ed at that point in time?
Yes. CalPERS would be the source for details.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #87 on: April 20, 2021, 05:24:37 PM »
UPDATE: I just spoke with the hiring manager on the phone... some salient points of consideration:

1) He was telling me that he and the rest of the leadership in his department are very much open to the idea of telework - in short: he would be fine with me teleworking but....
    1b) with the caveat that any future requirements there are to meet in person, I would *not* be reimbursed for travel/commute (and presumably food and lodging) expenses
    1c) I pointed out the policy for telework and reimbursements (https://www.calhr.ca.gov/employees/Pages/telework-policy.aspx and https://www.calhr.ca.gov/employees/Pages/travel-reimbursements.aspx) and he 
         was reminding me that the travel reimbursement is strictly for the purpose of training type events, in which case showing up for an on-site meeting is not under the umbrella of (thinking about this, I don't see why he
         couldn't just budget for "all team training" once or twice a year and that way I could get reimbursement, even if it's partial)


2) The position is EXEMPT so there is no overtime. He countered that by saying that they are very flexible and would come up with arrangements to 'make up' for any time worked outside hours (sounded like comp time) They are very "conscious of work/life balance" and try to honor it based on what he was saying. I'm not sure what the time keeping process is with the state but per the telework policy it seems you have to fill out a daily time card/report..?

3) The salary numbers are currently being worked on by HR and he told me it would take probably 2-3 days or so for them to get the exact number/compensation. I told him this is very important for me to be able to viably make a decision but also hinted that it is not the only thing dictating whether or not I will take the position.

NOTE: Regarding the telework situation, the hiring manager told me at first that as they slowly open things back up for "return to office" he may want to meet in person more frequently but he was not divulging much about how often that would be. At first he said maybe twice or every month. Then as we talked more about telework/remote work and my current situation his tone slightly changed to being "more flexible" and maybe asking for in person meetings once or twice a year or once a quarter.

I should say that I have it in my mind that I'm very much leaning towards NOT taking the position just due to the pay reduction concern. While I understand the state benefits are mostly great, it would still be difficult to make a sensible justification to drop down from my current salary.

EDIT: just saw the snippet regarding "commute" in the midst of telework -
"Expenses Incurred While Working a Telework Schedule
Expenses incurred as a result of working a telework schedule will not be reimbursed by the State including, but not limited to, the following: usage fees for privately owned computers, utility costs associated with the use of telephone, computer or occupation of the home, or travel to the Central office if required to come in on a telework day."

So it also sounds like they may not provide a work computer/laptop or phone and that I'd have to use my personal computer and VPN in? Not sure how I feel about that as currently I have a dedicate work laptop and phone.


@spartana or @robartsd - what percentage of your state income goes to pension? From what I understand, this amount cannot be changed or altered, right? I found this snippet:
"Based on data over the past 20 years ending June 30, 2020, for every dollar CalPERS pays in pensions: 55 cents comes from investment earnings. 32 cents from employer contributions. 13 cents from employee contributions." - so to figure "total pay/compensation" I'd have to know the mandatory contribution percentage X my annual salary X .32 if I understand correctly... if it's something like 8% (which is what my county friend says he has to contribute) then that would translate to $2560 if you have a salary of say $100k.

After re-calculating and estimating *TOTAL* compensation (not base salary), I think the percentage decrease would actually be around 14-15% primarily due to the health care benefit which seems to be pretty significant. If we're just talking about base pay though, the percentage decrease is more like 27% (presumably this should drop down a little less when 2022 comes around and the COLAs kick back in).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 10:49:21 PM by jeromedawg »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #88 on: April 20, 2021, 06:04:47 PM »
So it also sounds like they may not provide a work computer/laptop or phone and that I'd have to use my personal computer and VPN in? Not sure how I feel about that as currently I have a dedicate work laptop and phone.
You'd very likely be issued a work laptop and connect to the office over VPN. If using your personal computer, you'd likely log into a computer in the office with a remote desktop technology rather than running software directly on your equipment. You would not likely be issued accessories like monitors and keyboards for telework. Work phone would vary based on responsibilities. Hiring manager would likely know what equipment would be assigned. You'd probably need to go to the office to get set up with equipment.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #89 on: April 20, 2021, 10:13:52 PM »
One other semi-related question but how to Federal jobs compare to State jobs? Are the benefits more or less the same? And is there less or more stigma when it comes to how the private sector views federal employees?

Mrs. Sloth

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #90 on: April 20, 2021, 11:23:54 PM »
OK, so aside from working to try to get or maximize pension and health retirement benefits offered by the state... would any of you (current or former state/fed/gov employees) actually recommend working in the public sector in the context of Coast or Barista FIRE particularly for the 'stability' along with the health benefits, etc *while* gainfully employed there (at least until you're actually ready to fully quit and retire)?

Once you work for the state for a year and are off probation, you can pretty much tell them that you're moving down to 32 hours a week or whatever and that's pretty much it.  This is in California, anyways.  Unless you're in a public safety job, they can't do much about it.  There's a limit to what is considered full time, I think 30 or 32 hours, and as long as you don't drop below it, you get full benefits.  Your pay is reduced, of course, and that affects your retirement.

/\ This wouldnt work for my job because there is no clear line with the work in terms of how much can be done based on x hours.  From those who done the part-time thing (temporary basis due to birth of a child, etc), they all said they did the same amount of work, just with less hours and therefore less pay.

In terms of coasting with a govt job, I think it really depends on the job itself. I couldn't do it with my job and can't wait to get out soon!

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #91 on: April 21, 2021, 10:39:04 AM »
So it also sounds like they may not provide a work computer/laptop or phone and that I'd have to use my personal computer and VPN in? Not sure how I feel about that as currently I have a dedicate work laptop and phone.
You'd very likely be issued a work laptop and connect to the office over VPN. If using your personal computer, you'd likely log into a computer in the office with a remote desktop technology rather than running software directly on your equipment. You would not likely be issued accessories like monitors and keyboards for telework. Work phone would vary based on responsibilities. Hiring manager would likely know what equipment would be assigned. You'd probably need to go to the office to get set up with equipment.
I wasn't WFH too much (although did reports from home or while in the field often) but travelled thru out the state so was issued laptop, phone and a state vehicle as well as other things I required to do my job. I imagine for a f/t WFH person they would supply everything you needed. Quality and tech advances might not be up to par with whatever you are use to though.

As for your other question - I paid 7% towards my state pension and my agency matched that. I didn't pay into SS though (but did toward Medicare) but most new hires pay into a pension and SS. My agency wasn't unionized.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 10:41:08 AM by spartana »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #92 on: April 21, 2021, 11:40:10 AM »
So it also sounds like they may not provide a work computer/laptop or phone and that I'd have to use my personal computer and VPN in? Not sure how I feel about that as currently I have a dedicate work laptop and phone.
You'd very likely be issued a work laptop and connect to the office over VPN. If using your personal computer, you'd likely log into a computer in the office with a remote desktop technology rather than running software directly on your equipment. You would not likely be issued accessories like monitors and keyboards for telework. Work phone would vary based on responsibilities. Hiring manager would likely know what equipment would be assigned. You'd probably need to go to the office to get set up with equipment.
I wasn't WFH too much (although did reports from home or while in the field often) but travelled thru out the state so was issued laptop, phone and a state vehicle as well as other things I required to do my job. I imagine for a f/t WFH person they would supply everything you needed. Quality and tech advances might not be up to par with whatever you are use to though.

As for your other question - I paid 7% towards my state pension and my agency matched that. I didn't pay into SS though (but did toward Medicare) but most new hires pay into a pension and SS. My agency wasn't unionized.

Maybe it depends on the position but according to the telework policy, they aren't obligated to provide any equipment:
"Telework Environment
Equipment, Software, Services, Maintenance, Repair, and Replacement
CalHR will not purchase computers, software, software licenses, Internet or phone services or office equipment such as printers, fax machines, calculators, or furniture for in-home telework.
 
In addition, the selection, installation, maintenance, repair or replacement of employee-owned equipment and software is the responsibility of the employee. Computer equipment should have a configuration that is compatible with CalHR's Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. In the event of equipment malfunction, the teleworker must notify his/her supervisor immediately. If repairs will take some time, the teleworker may be asked to report to the main office until the equipment is usable."

Not sure if any of this can be written off via income taxes but I guess that would be the next best thing...

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #93 on: April 21, 2021, 12:49:38 PM »
That seems pretty insecure to have employees using their own equipment and presumably logging into a central system on it.  When I worked from home I had a dedicated work laptop with company software plus secure router separate from my home system plus a special home-working login.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #94 on: April 21, 2021, 12:58:59 PM »
That seems pretty insecure to have employees using their own equipment and presumably logging into a central system on it.  When I worked from home I had a dedicated work laptop with company software plus secure router separate from my home system plus a special home-working login.

Definitely a liability IMO. Not so much the fact that you have to VPN as much as if the employee has viruses and malware on their system that could potentially be 'transferred' into the corporate/govt network. I have a feeling they'd want to issue me a state owned laptop given that. This is also an infosec position, so I'd be surprised if they're lax on that kind of stuff.

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #95 on: April 21, 2021, 03:39:11 PM »
That seems pretty insecure to have employees using their own equipment and presumably logging into a central system on it.  When I worked from home I had a dedicated work laptop with company software plus secure router separate from my home system plus a special home-working login.

Definitely a liability IMO. Not so much the fact that you have to VPN as much as if the employee has viruses and malware on their system that could potentially be 'transferred' into the corporate/govt network. I have a feeling they'd want to issue me a state owned laptop given that. This is also an infosec position, so I'd be surprised if they're lax on that kind of stuff.
My agency does not allow VPN connections from personal equipment, but does allow remote desktop access from personal equipment in some cases. I think the CalHR language is mostly just making sure employees don't come back for extra compensation if they use personal equipment for work (with or without instruction to do so). I'm sure than no positions require employees to provide their own equipment, but positions that are not required to telework MAY require employees choosing to telework to provide some needed resources (such as forwarding your desk phone to a personal line or using a personal computer to remote into your desktop at work).

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #96 on: April 21, 2021, 05:20:23 PM »
Anyone here work for the fed?

I forgot I received a notification that I quality for a grade 11 position last week for a position with the Dept of Defense (HQed out of Seaside, CA near Monterey) - haven't been contacted about it but the pay would be even less than the state position though.

I *just* got another notification a few minutes ago for a grade 13 position that I qualify for - I was told my resume/info has been passed up to the hiring official and they will decide on whether or not to contact me. That position is with the Dept of Energy (based out of Portland).

All fed jobs appear to be open for telework but likely require some amount of travel, which I wouldn't mind if it's paid for haha

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #97 on: April 21, 2021, 06:11:19 PM »
UPDATE: just heard back from the hiring manager with an update on a few things I asked about

1) I'm in the 2% @ 62 Retirement formula

2) A dept issued laptop would be provided

3) I'd fall into ITS I Range C at $6715 (this is a 42% reduction in current pay base+bonus... if I threw out bonus it would still be a 38% decrease)

4) I may be eligible for reimbursement as required by the business as long as it is infrequent (possibly once a quarter)


I think this likely solidifies the decision for me as far as the range they placed me in. $80k a year salary is not going to cut it. I realize I can probably negotiate this up but with the max ceiling being $102k and me already not being comfortable taking even that big of a pay-cut, I think the outlook is pretty low on this one.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 06:23:25 PM by jeromedawg »

Another Reader

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #98 on: April 21, 2021, 09:39:14 PM »
I know people that did what you are doing but they did it ten years later after a more lucrative career and some job hopping.  As they neared 50, the handwriting was on the wall.  They did 10 or 15 years in a government position and took the small pension plus the health insurance benefits at retirement.  Funded the 457 plan while they were there because the kids were out of the nest.  What you would be doing if you jumped today is shutting a lot of doors at too young of an age.  You will not be able to go back to the private sector because your skills will be out of date and your work ethic questioned.  It's a dead end.

These people cannot offer you what you want or need.  In your shoes, I would thank them for the offer and move on.  Start aggressively job hunting in the area where you want to live. Stick with the private sector for another 10 years.  Then revisit coast FI.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #99 on: April 21, 2021, 09:54:17 PM »
I know people that did what you are doing but they did it ten years later after a more lucrative career and some job hopping.  As they neared 50, the handwriting was on the wall.  They did 10 or 15 years in a government position and took the small pension plus the health insurance benefits at retirement.  Funded the 457 plan while they were there because the kids were out of the nest.  What you would be doing if you jumped today is shutting a lot of doors at too young of an age.  You will not be able to go back to the private sector because your skills will be out of date and your work ethic questioned.  It's a dead end.

These people cannot offer you what you want or need.  In your shoes, I would thank them for the offer and move on.  Start aggressively job hunting in the area where you want to live. Stick with the private sector for another 10 years.  Then revisit coast FI.

Thanks for reaffirming the decision I'm planning on making. It doesn't seem like a very sensible choice at this point. I am curious about some of the Federal jobs with Dept of Energy or Dept of Defense, which seem to generally offer higher pay.  Even working for LA County seems like a pretty good proposition considering the pay grades and benefits. Basically, with government it sounds like there are good jobs that exist but are pretty rare and harder to find. Possibly something in edu or public utilities might be better suited if I wanted to look outside private sector. I'll probably need to get one more cert (CISSP) to really stay 'relevant' and marketable in the private sector at this point though.