Author Topic: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?  (Read 5787 times)

Shade00

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Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« on: March 01, 2016, 09:16:45 AM »
Recently my wife and I moved about 600 miles to a bigger city so she could take a great job that she loves. I was fortunate enough to be able to transition within my firm, but into a general position from the specialist position I had occupied previously. What this means is that I now take any cases that come in the door rather than what I know and like. In other words, I really don't like the work I'm doing now, and worse, I am now working for a couple of real jerks. My stress level has gone through the roof since my transition. Chances of promotion here are much worse.

Of course, to complicate matters, the folks at my old office want me back desperately and have offered any number of enticements to bring us back, including a larger office, taking over several clients (which would set me up for easy promotion in two years), etc. With the promotion would come a big jump in pay ($138k next year > $175k) and a bunch of other benefits. I worked in the old office for about 4 years and considered those folks my true friends, and I enjoyed working there. But I digress, because the wife said "no" to moving back.

I have the opportunity for a full-time position working from home, in my specialty. If I took the position, we could move close to my wife's job (she is currently commuting ~15 miles each way) and into a smaller, cheaper home. The caveat is that I would take a big cut in pay, from my current salary of $133k to $75k. The reduced pay would also mean significantly reduced hours and increased job flexibility, as well as greater control over my work. I have never worked from home for any length of time so I do not know if I'll go out of my mind or not. These remote work positions are fairly innovative in the legal field, and it remains to be seen whether they will be stable in the long-term.

We don't have any kids, nor are we planning to have any. We do have significant student loans ($150k) that we are paying down aggressively. Obviously a $60k cut in pay would hinder our progress, but with the new position I would have flexibility to travel with my wife during summers and holidays - as a schoolteacher, she gets much more time off than I do. Retiring early is a goal of mine but I consider a flexible position like this one an end-goal - something that I would do once I am FI.

Anyway, I just wanted to type this out and see if I can get some thoughts. Would you take a big cut in pay for no commute, low stress level, and flexibility? Would you harass your wife until she agrees to move back to our old home (we are still trying to sell our old house)? Would you suck it up and work the 12 hour days for the a-holes for the extra dollars?

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2016, 09:30:10 AM »
If I were making that decision, it wouldn't even be a consideration. I'd jump at the telecommuting job and never look back. $75k is solidly in the "enough" salary range for me, especially if it means going down to one car. Obviously, you may come to a different conclusion.

SailorGirl

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2016, 10:09:02 AM »
One life.  You only have one life.  What would make you happier: Paying down debts or spending time with your wife?

Shade00

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2016, 10:24:56 AM »
Thank you both. I am leaning towards the work-from-home gig, although I do have concerns about the long-term prospects for the job.

SailorGirl, you are right on. It is so difficult for me to even take a week off for Thanksgiving or Christmas, much less getting any kind of other vacation during the year. A few weeks ago we went skiing with family, and I spent a lot of time working anyway. We are young (33 and 30) and it would be wonderful to travel during the summers.

themagicman

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2016, 10:36:56 AM »
If I were making that decision, it wouldn't even be a consideration. I'd jump at the telecommuting job and never look back. $75k is solidly in the "enough" salary range for me, especially if it means going down to one car. Obviously, you may come to a different conclusion.

+1

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2016, 10:39:05 AM »
Working from home is fantastic. Do it.

mxt0133

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2016, 10:57:46 AM »
Any chance you can give the other position a trial run?  Either work two jobs or take some time of from your current job.

I know it might sound unrealistic, but start from there and see if you can get creative to truly get a feel for the second job.

As for the 'working from home is fantastic', well that depends.  The flexibility is great but the lack of human interaction affects some people more drastically than others.  Unless you have a really strong social network, outside of work, that can satisfy your need for human interaction, being along all day can be very isolating.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2016, 10:58:43 AM »
Any chance you can give the other position a trial run?  Either work two jobs or take some time of from your current job.

I know it might sound unrealistic, but start from there and see if you can get creative to truly get a feel for the second job.

As for the 'working from home is fantastic', well that depends.  The flexibility is great but the lack of human interaction affects some people more drastically than others.  Unless you have a really strong social network, outside of work, that can satisfy your need for human interaction, being along all day can be very isolating.

Personally I find dealing with all the people in an office to be tiring and unpleasant. Obviously this will vary with one's personality.

yyc-phil

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2016, 11:03:46 AM »
Working from home is great, I did it for many years, with a monthly trip to the office, and loved it. I was planning to quit my job for good soon, but due to budget cuts, I was offered to work half-time (of course with half-pay and benefits) and work from home, with a quarterly stay at the Yellowknife office for board meetings, starting April 1. This arrangement could last for at least 3-4 years if I agree. The nice thing is that working from home in my case means I could be anywhere in the world as long as I maintain constant telephone contact and can connect to the internet when needed, which is not a problem in most parts of the world nowadays. I haven't given my final answer but I am leaning toward accepting it as it gives me the best of both worlds: a steady and relatively decent income to ease myself into retirement without touching my stash, while giving me the flexibility and time to travel and spend time with my wife.

Le Dérisoire

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 11:23:15 AM »
If I were you I would definitely take the lower paying job.

I did a similar move 2 years ago. I quitted private law to work in a big company (still as a lawyer). Less stress, less time at work, less bullshit, less big ego jerks around, more time to study in fields not related to my work and develop other skills, etc. I earn probably half than what I would earn if I was still in private law, but at least I feel that I’m doing something of my life.

Shade00

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 11:37:56 AM »
Any chance you can give the other position a trial run?  Either work two jobs or take some time of from your current job.

I know it might sound unrealistic, but start from there and see if you can get creative to truly get a feel for the second job.

As for the 'working from home is fantastic', well that depends.  The flexibility is great but the lack of human interaction affects some people more drastically than others.  Unless you have a really strong social network, outside of work, that can satisfy your need for human interaction, being along all day can be very isolating.

Unfortunately I don't see how I could give the other job a trial run. I have to keep my higher-paying job until my house sells. As far as the logistics of it, being a lawyer in a big firm means I have a lot of active matters that I can't just hand off to someone else. If I don't take care of them, they don't get taken care of. We don't have any type of sabbatical option. And due to ethical and professional constraints, I couldn't do both at once.

I have considered the lack of human interaction as well - I do pretty well by myself and don't socialize much at my current office. Maybe that's part of why I'm unhappy here. At my old office I did socialize, because I enjoyed the people and considered them true friends. Going to remote work would probably be OK - I do have a close friend who has his own private practice who I could probably "office share" with occasionally.

So far we have a pretty strong current away from the higher-paying job. My biggest concern remains job security. I have quite a bit of job security in my current position (and would have more if I moved back to my old office), but the new position offers a lot less security, and I don't quite have F-U money yet. I guess most people don't have the job security I'm accustomed to, so maybe it's not something others consider.

mountainstache7

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 11:54:41 AM »
Take the work from home. The flexibility it gives you is incredible. Help with kids, run errands during the day, and my favorite is travel(working/partial working vacations). Less spending on commutes, better use of time. I do not miss the 2 hours per day in traffic.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2016, 12:57:18 PM »
So far we have a pretty strong current away from the higher-paying job. My biggest concern remains job security. I have quite a bit of job security in my current position (and would have more if I moved back to my old office), but the new position offers a lot less security, and I don't quite have F-U money yet. I guess most people don't have the job security I'm accustomed to, so maybe it's not something others consider.

Two things:
-The more flexible, less stressful, less intense job will free up some of your mental energy for other pursuits, which may or may not pay money. Those other pursuits could ramp up if you needed to fill in a job-shaped hole in your life.
-If the telecommute job went away, would you have enough savings and cash flow to bridge you to the next thing?

Shade00

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2016, 01:15:36 PM »
So far we have a pretty strong current away from the higher-paying job. My biggest concern remains job security. I have quite a bit of job security in my current position (and would have more if I moved back to my old office), but the new position offers a lot less security, and I don't quite have F-U money yet. I guess most people don't have the job security I'm accustomed to, so maybe it's not something others consider.

Two things:
-The more flexible, less stressful, less intense job will free up some of your mental energy for other pursuits, which may or may not pay money. Those other pursuits could ramp up if you needed to fill in a job-shaped hole in your life.
-If the telecommute job went away, would you have enough savings and cash flow to bridge you to the next thing?

Honestly, I have considered getting out of the legal practice and resurrecting my coding skills. It'd be nice to have the time and energy to redevelop those.

We would be OK if the telecommute job went away (assuming we can get our house sold - which would make this possible anyway). Projecting past house sale and if we moved close to my wife's work, our cash flow would be fine without touching savings or investments assuming I qualified for unemployment, but we would have to run a bit lean until I found something else, which we could certainly do. There are state legal jobs I could likely pick up pretty easily that would pay $50-55kish worst case.

Any of these moves will set back my FI plans but I've been pretty miserable the past few months, and I don't see that changing with my current job.

AZDude

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 01:39:25 PM »
I worked from home for awhile, loved it, and left for a higher salary. It was a fucking stupid decision and I wish I had not left.

So obviously, I would take the telecommute position and enjoy life. I found working from home to not really seem like work, especially with reduced/flexible hours. I would do all my errands during the day while "working", and would often take my laptop and work outside or walk down to the local mall and sit in the outdoor food court area.

Seriously, I would lose track of what day of the week it was because everyday sort of felt the same.

Do it.

Cassie

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2016, 03:17:38 PM »
I would work from home with the lower stress job. You will still be making a great salary. All that stress is not worth it.

DirtDiva

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2016, 04:59:42 PM »
Throwing out an idea:  could you speak to your original colleagues and arrange for a telecommuting job with them?

My spouse and I moved 2,000 miles away from his small "boutique" law firm due to wanting to be close to our extended families and to live in a warmer, sunnier environment.  He pitched the idea of telecommuting and his partners all supported it. 

It's been close to a year now and it has worked out great.  He travels back to the firm a few times a year for meetings with clients and to maintain ties.  Otherwise, he Skypes, emails, or talks to his colleagues by phone a few times per day.  He is more productive now than previously, due to fewer interruptions from associates with questions and from friends wanting to banter.

After a few months of working from the house, he now rents an inexpensive office that shares a common waiting area; he enjoys the occasional social interactions with the other office occupants.

Whatever you do, I'm sure it will work out just fine.  Money isn't everything.

dess1313

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2016, 11:40:24 PM »
Recently my wife and I moved about 600 miles to a bigger city so she could take a great job that she loves. I was fortunate enough to be able to transition within my firm, but into a general position from the specialist position I had occupied previously. What this means is that I now take any cases that come in the door rather than what I know and like. In other words, I really don't like the work I'm doing now, and worse, I am now working for a couple of real jerks. My stress level has gone through the roof since my transition. Chances of promotion here are much worse.

Of course, to complicate matters, the folks at my old office want me back desperately and have offered any number of enticements to bring us back, including a larger office, taking over several clients (which would set me up for easy promotion in two years), etc. With the promotion would come a big jump in pay ($138k next year > $175k) and a bunch of other benefits. I worked in the old office for about 4 years and considered those folks my true friends, and I enjoyed working there. But I digress, because the wife said "no" to moving back.

I have the opportunity for a full-time position working from home, in my specialty. If I took the position, we could move close to my wife's job (she is currently commuting ~15 miles each way) and into a smaller, cheaper home. The caveat is that I would take a big cut in pay, from my current salary of $133k to $75k. The reduced pay would also mean significantly reduced hours and increased job flexibility, as well as greater control over my work. I have never worked from home for any length of time so I do not know if I'll go out of my mind or not. These remote work positions are fairly innovative in the legal field, and it remains to be seen whether they will be stable in the long-term.

We don't have any kids, nor are we planning to have any. We do have significant student loans ($150k) that we are paying down aggressively. Obviously a $60k cut in pay would hinder our progress, but with the new position I would have flexibility to travel with my wife during summers and holidays - as a schoolteacher, she gets much more time off than I do. Retiring early is a goal of mine but I consider a flexible position like this one an end-goal - something that I would do once I am FI.

Anyway, I just wanted to type this out and see if I can get some thoughts. Would you take a big cut in pay for no commute, low stress level, and flexibility? Would you harass your wife until she agrees to move back to our old home (we are still trying to sell our old house)? Would you suck it up and work the 12 hour days for the a-holes for the extra dollars?


15 miles might be a lot to some on here, but with only one partner traveling, and a fuel efficient car its not bad from my relative perspective.  would you incur costs of selling a house if you were to move?  or are you renting right now?  If you were to incur big costs in moving you'd have to see if the overall cost of living closer would be much cheaper than where you are now.  sometimes getting closer can mean a LOT more expense

have you pitched to your old firm the idea of remote working from home?  if they want you back so badly, they may take you up on some sort of offer.  you could also negotiate covering travel expenses for a 2-4x a year trip back to the home office for meetings and such.  Even if the salary wasn't quite as high, if you enjoy it that's an important fact.  working for someone you hate will just make everything worse, as you seem to be already finding out.  working for someone you like, even at a slightly lower pay could easily be worth it.

also having the flexibility to work around your wife's schedule is HUGE.  I am a shift worker and the only thing i hate about my job is missing holidays with the family.  you can't get that time back.  you can always make more $ later, but you can't make up for lost memories

Shade00

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2016, 08:07:15 AM »
DirtDiva and dess1313, the thought actually occurred to me last night that my current firm may be willing to do that. I might be able to get them to pay me even more than the $75k job, keeping my current benefits, given my current profitability for the firm - even a $100k salary would keep me very profitable for the firm even with them eating some occasional travel costs.

dess1313, there are no house sale costs associated with moving closer to my wife's job. We own our house in the old location, which we are still trying to sell, and we are renting a house that is midway-ish between our two current jobs in the new city - her drive (about 15 miles each way) is a little further than mine (which is 8-10 miles depending on Waze's preference). If we moved close to her job, we would be about 2 miles away. While there is expense associated with our current commuting, the biggest factor is the time - her drive is generally at least 30 minutes each way each day. Cutting that down to 5 or so would be a true relief.

DirtDiva, thank you for sharing your husband's experience. With the technology we have available, there is really no reason I couldn't continue working for my old office (I should note that I just moved offices within our firm - I did not change firms) remotely, especially if I took a reduced salary. Since I am a litigator, it does mean I do have to travel more frequently for depositions and hearings. That is where the firm would have to eat some expense - it is unlikely our clients would agree to pay for my travel costs. Recently I have been traveling back to the old office at least once a month for a week. That has been working out fine because we still have our old house, where I can stay during these trips. Obviously that will change when we sell the house.

dess1313

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2016, 05:21:38 PM »
if you only have a rental right now then definitely move closer!  good luck with the negotiating!

Shade00

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2016, 04:35:03 PM »
Thank you all for the support. I have a follow-up call with the remote work prospect on Monday morning. I intend to talk to my old boss that day about an alternate work situation. Hopefully I will have  a report soon!

webguy

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Re: Sweet work from home gig or keep up the grind?
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2016, 04:02:23 AM »
I would also recommend the flexible working from home option. I work from home now and love it. My wife and I took a 3 month vacation to Mexico last year and I worked while we were down there. It was awesome! Can't beat the flexibility, especially if the alternative is being stuck in a stressful office with some a-holes.

I used to work an awesome job in a small fun office with flexible hours and people I liked but ended up leaving for a higher paying job in a large corporate company. I hated it and ended up taking a pay cut to go back to my old job just 2 months later. There's a huge amount of value in working a job you enjoy and that doesn't stress you out. I actually ended up using my spare time at the job to built a side business which is now my main source of income and earning almost 10x what I used to earn. Having the time and energy to work on other things outside of work is a huge perk that shouldn't be overlooked.