Author Topic: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?  (Read 8516 times)

Soccermom2b

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Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« on: October 15, 2012, 12:49:51 PM »
I could use some perspective on a career issue I have upcoming.

We're a dual-income, one kid household that is about a decade outside FI.  I like my job (well love it, until my senior supervisor was replaced with a person that I cannot see eye-to-eye with at all).  My job is still great.  Supervision, however, isn't.  I "checked all the boxes" career-wise: worked in a war-zone for a while, worked in other offices (including after the kid was born leaving my poor husband a single-parent dad for a time), and took all the lousy assignments that no one else wanted in a foolish attempt to move up and make more money.  Then, I saw the MMM light. We're still taking a slash and burn look at our expenses and looking at other income sources, but no longer am I envisioning working for several decades more.

I went into my occupation because it was something I believed in - its a "do good things for the world" job for the most part and that's something I love.  If I were to get promoted though, I'd have to leave that aspect of the job behind to focus more on execution and productivity (and work with more individuals who I do not particularly like or respect).  But, the promotion would knock off 25% of the remaining years I have till FI.

So, what would you do if the choice was earlier retirement versus a job that you mostly like but doesn't pay nearly as well?

smalllife

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012, 02:01:49 PM »
I'm making the choice to be happy.  I'd rather work in a mid level income field where I feel that I'm doing good and work for a few more years than sell my soul and hate every second of my remaining career.

DoubleDown

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012, 02:12:44 PM »
My two cents:

I would take the significant raise/promotion to earn that much more (25%!) and move up FI faster. People come and go all the time, you will likely find that what you expect in the new job will not remain that way forever. Plus you might have the increased influence to change it for the better.

Furthermore, once you establish that new, higher-earning benchmark, it's a stepping stone from here on. Although in this recent economic slump it's not uncommon to find people receiving lower wages than they once earned, most often once you hit a higher salary, you can continue to increase from there and demand ever-increasing wages from your current or prospective employers.

I don't under-value the happiness you have in your current position, but I am an optimist that believes you can find a whole lot of happiness in the new position as well, and will definitely find happiness in moving up your financial freedom.

And if worst comes to worst and you REALLY hate the new position, you can always go elsewhere or maybe back to the old position, but with the added bargaining power of "I currently earn X, so you'll have to at least match that."

Richard3

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 02:36:27 PM »
To me it doesn't sound like you want to take the job. 

 "work with more individuals who I do not particularly like or respect"
"and took all the lousy assignments that no one else wanted in a foolish attempt to move up and make more money."

The only argument you offer in favour is  "the promotion would knock off 25% of the remaining years I have till FI." I haven't seen your maths, but it may not be that much - assuming you're going to save all the extra money is optimistic no matter how good your intentions are right now (more work hours is more incentive to outsource as you're so busy, worse job is more incentive to treat yourself, more income means less pressure to make that extra cut to your spending).


savingtofreedom

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2012, 02:51:02 PM »
This is tricky:

Couple of questions for you -

- How likely is it that you will get promoted and when would that happen?

- How do you deal with working with people you don't like/see eye to eye with?

- Are there other companies in your area that would be looking at someone with your skill set?

- This sounds like a pretty big pay bump - is there an increase in stress level/hours worked?

I am all for making as much money as possible but if it takes a detrimental toll on your life it may not be worth it.  I personally know that working with/or for someone that you don't like and that you don't see eye to eye with can be draining.  You may get to FI quicker but how much more miserable could that make you?  If you are the kind of person that can let things slide and when you go home you don't bring work home with you it may be a non-issue.

I would just really analyze the impact to your well-being.  If it is minimal then go for the raise - especially if you have flexibility to move to another company elsewhere.

Good luck!




Soccermom2b

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 03:47:14 PM »
"I haven't seen your maths, but it may not be that much - assuming you're going to save all the extra money is optimistic no matter how good your intentions are right now (more work hours is more incentive to outsource as you're so busy, worse job is more incentive to treat yourself, more income means less pressure to make that extra cut to your spending)."

we're still baby 'staches in my house, but there's a fair probability that we can save 90-100% of the extra money.  We have a house that we are well on-track of paying off quickly (and possibly sooner if we refi - although I'm still crunching numbers on whether that makes financial sense or not).  Young SM2b still has several more years of spendy daycare but our neighborhood school is within biking distance of home and is of an acceptable (albeit not pre-ivy league preparatory, but he'll get over that) quality such that once daycare is paid for, that'll chop a lot off our monthly expenses.  However, you are right...its likely my hours will increase as a promotion includes additional stress and work.  (There's also the additional issue that if I stay in my present position I might get to start teleworking a day or two each week, whereas the promotion doesn't have a flying feathers chance in Hades of doing so).  So, there might just be more outsourcing of food preparation or (worse in my opinion) outsourced caretaking of young SM2b for after-school activities.  I appreciate the discussion here, as you all are helping me flesh out issues I haven't really considered (including the need to do a risk-assesment of whether 100% of all the added money will actually go to savings).

---

"How likely is it that you will get promoted and when would that happen?"

More likely than not.  I've been groomed for the job.  However, my boss leaves this year, so the person selecting changes too.  There's no guarantees in life.

"How do you deal with working with people you don't like/see eye to eye with?"

Not very well.  However, my senior supervisor is my senior supervisor no matter what position I'm in, so I'm screwed on that point no matter what.

"Are there other companies in your area that would be looking at someone with your skill set?"

Yes, but not doing exactly what I'm doing - and I'd be on the opposite side of "doing good things for the world".

"This sounds like a pretty big pay bump - is there an increase in stress level/hours worked?"

Definitely an increase in stress level and while not a guarantee, I think its highly likely that the hours worked would increase as well as the requirements to travel.

"I am all for making as much money as possible but if it takes a detrimental toll on your life it may not be worth it."

This is the conclusion I am leaning towards as well...however, as a baby 'stache, I'm having issues getting over my ego of "I'm not going to move up any higher", "I'm not going to make the big bucks"...I know I'm whining, and I know once I'm FI and have an FU 'stache, I won't care...

okits

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 05:20:39 PM »
This is the conclusion I am leaning towards as well...however, as a baby 'stache, I'm having issues getting over my ego of "I'm not going to move up any higher", "I'm not going to make the big bucks"...I know I'm whining, and I know once I'm FI and have an FU 'stache, I won't care...

I very much understand that nagging source of vanity in the background (I suspect you'll wish you had punched it in the face if you pursue the higher pay for its own sake.)  As DoubleDOwn said, you could always try the promotion and go back to your old job/move onto another role if it's not for you. It just sounds like you're considering trading some of your job satisfaction and happiness for higher pay which, though shortening your time to FI, might make it seem much, much longer.

totoro

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 07:07:44 PM »
Life is time limited.  I could very easily double my salary and half my time to FI - but I don't want to.  I like working PT and being there for the kids after school.  If the stress/family impact costs more than the increase in wage do not do it.  Money is only one measure of cost once basic needs are met.  FI is not a basic need, it is a goal but if the cost of reaching the goal is loss of current happiness then something is out of whack.

offroad

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2012, 01:49:46 AM »
Agreeing with many others. Have to weight the pluses and minuses. If you have the talent take the higher paying job. Shortens your FI path regardless of how long you stay in it.  As long as there is no career stigma that will follow you from a change, you can always go back. And regardless your FI is that much closer.

jrhampt

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2012, 07:09:49 AM »
The chance to telecommute in your current position is huge; I work 2 days a week from home currently, and I wouldn't consider another position unless it had the same opportunity.  I save so much money and time this way, plus there's less stress, I eat better, and I can exercise in the middle of the day (basement/hiking trails within walking distance).  I hear you about your ego wanting the promotion - I am occasionally tempted myself.  My husband just walked away from a high stress position for a small pay cut and a lower stress position closer to home, and it is so worth it.  Can you ask about telecommuting now or at your next annual review?  I think once you experience that perk, you won't have regrets about not going for the promotion.

Soccermom2b

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2012, 08:41:49 AM »
The chance to telecommute in your current position is huge; I work 2 days a week from home currently, and I wouldn't consider another position unless it had the same opportunity.  I save so much money and time this way, plus there's less stress, I eat better, and I can exercise in the middle of the day (basement/hiking trails within walking distance).  I hear you about your ego wanting the promotion - I am occasionally tempted myself.  My husband just walked away from a high stress position for a small pay cut and a lower stress position closer to home, and it is so worth it.  Can you ask about telecommuting now or at your next annual review?  I think once you experience that perk, you won't have regrets about not going for the promotion.

I can ask for telecommuting at any time, however, there is a tremendous stigma in my office against those who do telecommute.  Taking on telecommuting is basically the same thing as giving up any chance of a promotion.  I've reached out to this board to get some feel for issues that others would consider if they are in this same position, and my non-mustachian commute (33 miles each way...however, the husband works 10 miles in the opposite direction) really makes telework a valuable consideration.  When I worked in other offices, I walked to work and miss 1) the daily required exercise to get to work and 2) the hours of my life that were not spent cursing at other drivers on the highway.  With young SocM2b in the picture, that time that I'm not spending with him is even more valuable.  Working from home would give me the advantages of biking down to his daycare at lunch (like Mr. SocM2b does almost daily).

lhamo

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2012, 07:17:07 AM »
I have been in a similar position and would recommend you stay with the low stress job.  The value of having relatively less responsibility/stress while your kids are young will most likely more than make up for the financial benefits of the higher stress position -- especially as higher stress is likely to lead to more spending-as-compensation-for-misery as well as throwing cash at problems you need to solve quickly (including things like "what the heck are we going to eat tonight it is six oclock and there is nothing in the fridge!")

My story:  was mid-level management in my previous organization, doing work that made a difference (non-profit) and that I loved but organization was extremely dysfunctional.  Hit a glass ceiling, hard, and realized it was the beginning of the end.  Arranged my exit strategy but no job lined up.  Eventually found something that was in a related field, but easier and much less stressful.  Took a 20% paycut but got better benefits (lower insurance costs, better employer retirement contribution).  Have a horrible commute but other than that it has been a great decision.  I have MUCH lower stress and have the energy to make up savings elsewhere.  Have managed to get consistent raises and am now back to where I was salarywise when I left the other place.  I will have to keep working a few more years to get to FI, but it is a much more pleasant journey.  The old path I was on was literally going to put me in the hospital from either a physical or mental breakdown (I'm not joking -- I have seen colleagues and former colleagues have both mental and physical breakdowns largely caused by the stress of working with the dysfunctional director). 

The telecommuting option is great and you can seal your flexible job/minimize risk of future promotion pressure by taking it, so I would try to get moving on that.  I would telecommute in a minute if my boss was open to it, but he has already stated quite clearly that he will only allow it on an irregular basis.  Fine -- just one more incentive to give notice as soon as we are FI.

Some people in my current organization seem to think I was hired/am being groomed to take my boss's place at some point, but I'm not really interested.  He's a mensch, but works ridiculous hours (works at least a 1/2 day every weekend just to stay on top of the stuff he can't get done during the week) and I'm not interested in that.

 

DoubleDown

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Re: Unhappy promotion v. happy go-nowhere career?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 08:02:47 AM »
After reading further about the significant negatives you anticipate in the new job, I'm inclined to switch my original advice, which was take the higher salary as a stepping-stone. I thought you were anticipating some more minor inconveniences and dealing with a-holes, which you would find in any job, lower or higher level. But instead it sounds like you think you'll be fairly miserable.

It all comes down to: Do you want to work to live, or live to work?

For me, I can find happiness even in a rough work environment that pays me enough to hit FI early, but I understand that's not for everybody. If you're going to be miserable, stick with what makes you happy!