Poll

Should I take the demotion?

Yes
9 (52.9%)
No
8 (47.1%)

Total Members Voted: 16

Voting closed: April 18, 2021, 09:10:47 AM

Author Topic: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?  (Read 1457 times)

youngatheart

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Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« on: April 10, 2021, 11:07:37 AM »
Hey All-

I'm in a bit of a quandary regarding my current and future employment.  This topic may be better suited as a case study, but I'll drop it in here first . Long post.  Here goes:


Current work situation: 

-I am currently a single unit manager in a very good veterinary practice.  I have been for nearly a decade.  I work for a great company with great benefits.  My current location is about 45 miles/50 min away from my home.  I am a salary, but nonexempt associate.  The practice discourages overtime, especially expensive hospital leader overtime so my work week is routinely capped at 40 hrs + 10 or so hours of commute.  I make $65,000 w/ bonus potential of up to 20% of my salary.  2020 was a good year and we bonused at the full 20%.  Most years it's around 10%. 

-Work environment is not the greatest.  I work with at least one very mood DVM that is hardly ever held accountable for their behavior by upper management - mostly due to the practice wide desperation for DVM retention to maintain growth.  As it stands, they write their own ticket.  I don't see it changing any time soon.  I have worked with very level-headed DVMs in the past - I know they exist.  This is just my current situation.

-My work schedule is not flexible right now due to current staffing.  We're working to fix this, but it will take a few months to feel the effects.


Current life situation: 

-33, married with 2 children.  My wife was diagnosed with grade 3, stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer) mid 2020.  She has since gone through prescribed treatment and surgery.  She is currently in remission and her prognosis is good.  She, however, is still in some form of treatment for the next year and is currently feeling both the physical and mental aspects of the disease.  My work was flexible enough to allow me to be with her when necessary last year, but that was temporary.  We have two children, 10 and 4. 

-I am also a full-time student.  I started the pursuit of my BA degree almost two years ago and have nearly finished my AA and will be transferring to a university in the spring of 2022.  My goal is to receive either a BA in Human Healthcare Management (w/ the goal of transitioning to human medicine) or a BS in biology (w/ a goal in mind of continued school towards becoming a PA).  The latter would require a Master's degree.  The idea of becoming an individual contributor vs. a manager again is really appealing.


Current Assets:

Mortgage - $60,000 remaining - currently making double + payments

3 vehicles owned

Decent savings and retirement accounts

Net Worth - $201k, conservative


The dilemma:

-In an effort to be closer to home and more available to my family I am evaluating options.  This is not the appropriate time (based on our current medical situation) to switch employers.  I, however, do have the option of taking a voluntary demotion to a support manager position that is far more local to where I live. 

Cons:
-At least a 20% salary reduction, maybe more and no bonus potential
-Loss of total schedule flexibility
-Loss of position/title - whatever mental aspects come with that

Pros:
-No commute
-More time available to focus on family, school and homestead projects (food security is a goal)
-Less responsibility and the ability to leave work at work
-Time to work on alternate income streams, if necessary

Take the demotion?  Lower school schedule?  Change nothing?  Something unique I didn't think of?

I recognize that this is mostly personal decision, but opinions are valued.  Thanks all.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 06:07:32 AM by youngatheart »

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 11:50:16 AM »
Hi youngatheart, here are my thoughts.  I'm pretty risk averse, and I've been a hiring manager for a long time, so that's going to influence my response.

First, congratulations on your education progress and your plans and options for your path forward.  That is great, and it sounds like you're moving in a direction that will be more fulfilling for you than being a "manager" who is coordinating the efforts of expensive, in-demand DVM's.  Working full time, school full time, and young kids is a tough challenge.  Be sure to nurture your relationship with your wife through this.

With your wife's health uncertainty and your education plans, does it really make sense to continue making double payments on your mortgage?  Having more cash/liquidity might be really valuable in the next couple of years, especially if you decide to cut back now, or if you defer your reduction to the future.

Giving up $13,000 per year in salary and another $13,000 in bonus potential is a pretty big loss.  However, if it gets you and your family through the next 2-3 years of schooling and into a higher paying, more satisfying career path, it could all be worth it.

If your educational path is uncertain and there is a good chance you might stay in your current profession, stepping back could be quite detrimental.  I know fellow managers and executives who look very negatively on anything other than a steady stair-step upward in career progression.  (That has worked very well for them, so it must be the right {read 'only'} way that careers should progress.)  If you finish your education, then it's an easy story:  "I was working full time, going to school full time, and we had young kids.  I cut back at work so that I was able to be a good partner and finish my schooling, and now I'm a PA (or have a BA) and am ready for a new work challenge!"  If I'm interviewing someone, that totally makes sense and shows me you have vision, a conscience, commitment, and are hard working.  If on the other hand, you don't finish your schooling, you will have given up the manager role, and it may be hard to get a second chance at it.

I wish you the best as you work through this.  If you can make the finances work, it sounds like the change in role could be great for your family.  Giving up ten hours of commuting will save money, and it will give you more time to dedicate at home and to finishing school.  Keep your eyes on the long term prize, invest in your family and yourself, and you'll find the right path for you.

youngatheart

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2021, 12:02:55 PM »
Hi youngatheart, here are my thoughts.  I'm pretty risk averse, and I've been a hiring manager for a long time, so that's going to influence my response.

First, congratulations on your education progress and your plans and options for your path forward.  That is great, and it sounds like you're moving in a direction that will be more fulfilling for you than being a "manager" who is coordinating the efforts of expensive, in-demand DVM's.  Working full time, school full time, and young kids is a tough challenge.  Be sure to nurture your relationship with your wife through this.

With your wife's health uncertainty and your education plans, does it really make sense to continue making double payments on your mortgage?  Having more cash/liquidity might be really valuable in the next couple of years, especially if you decide to cut back now, or if you defer your reduction to the future.

Giving up $13,000 per year in salary and another $13,000 in bonus potential is a pretty big loss.  However, if it gets you and your family through the next 2-3 years of schooling and into a higher paying, more satisfying career path, it could all be worth it.

If your educational path is uncertain and there is a good chance you might stay in your current profession, stepping back could be quite detrimental.  I know fellow managers and executives who look very negatively on anything other than a steady stair-step upward in career progression.  (That has worked very well for them, so it must be the right {read 'only'} way that careers should progress.)  If you finish your education, then it's an easy story:  "I was working full time, going to school full time, and we had young kids.  I cut back at work so that I was able to be a good partner and finish my schooling, and now I'm a PA (or have a BA) and am ready for a new work challenge!"  If I'm interviewing someone, that totally makes sense and shows me you have vision, a conscience, commitment, and are hard working.  If on the other hand, you don't finish your schooling, you will have given up the manager role, and it may be hard to get a second chance at it.

I wish you the best as you work through this.  If you can make the finances work, it sounds like the change in role could be great for your family.  Giving up ten hours of commuting will save money, and it will give you more time to dedicate at home and to finishing school.  Keep your eyes on the long term prize, invest in your family and yourself, and you'll find the right path for you.

Thanks Taran.  I appreciate your reply.  There is actually no chance I'll be staying in my current field.  I work for the best company in veterinary medicine, but I will still never feel quite secure.  Veterinary medicine is progressing, but will always be leagues behind human medicine.  I did worry about how this transition, if taken, would look on my resume, but I figured I could explain it away with determination.

You're correct, if I take the demotion, I'm sure quite that continued double payments on the mortgage will last.  School has not been a significant cost thus far, but will become one as a travel deeper into my education. 

Thank you.

youngatheart

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2021, 09:13:06 AM »
I was really hoping this post would get more traction.  I've added a poll to see if that would get more input, but I really do value all input.  Please don't hesitate.  Thank you.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2021, 10:13:50 AM »
I am v. risk adverse but I voted no, due to your wife's situation it sounds like she's not working and won't be for the next year (understandably), but as sole income provider and a not huge net worth (you didn't really break out how much is liquid, what the size of your emergency fund is etc.) I would be afraid to make that transition. Also you aren't switching to university for another year? I would get through 2021 and then see how things stand.

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 10:46:28 AM »
Wow, that's impressive how much you're able to handle, especially during this past year of craziness.  And I'm very glad your wife is doing so well. 

My answer mostly depends on your spending level and how much of your net worth is accessible.  If taking the demotion means you wouldn't be saving much, or anything, then that would make me very nervous.  I have a 5 year old, and I like to have a decent emergency fund, even with having good health insurance.  That said, when she was younger, we were living on about $20k a year while my husband was in school, but we had several years of spending in funds we could access pretty quickly if we had to.  So if you'd be pretty close to the edge, I'd say stay in your current position and maybe consider dropping school to part time if that's possible. 

If you'd have a decent buffer, either in money coming in or in what you've already saved, then I'd more strongly consider the demotion so you can be there more for your family and avoid burnout. 

BlueMR2

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 02:37:13 PM »
Ouch.  Voluntary demotions are risky.  Companies will often look down on people that do so, passing them over for opportunities or even looking at them as the first to be laid off/replaced.  With such a small stache that's a huge risk to take even though it would be a great advantage for your family/life.  How's your plan B, C, and D look in case the demotion went sideways?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2021, 03:34:35 PM »
Youíre in a tough spot, you also have A LOT going on. I donít think Iíd take a demotion with what is happening in your life, the money is needed and your current salary isnít that high as it is. If it were me Iíd be inclined to approach work and see if thereís any option at all to keep the current salary at the closer office, Iíd get creative as hell with this. Otherwise Iíd bide my time as long as possible. It canít be easy what youíre going through. Iíd also reach out to family and friends network, as well as any other services that could provide support for the family and your wife. All the best.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2021, 08:18:52 AM »
Although at 33 I'd never take the demotion and different job, reading what you've written I'd lean towards doing it and here are just a few reasons.

You loose flexibility but gain 10hrs a week in commute
You obviously have a lot on your plate, wife situation, two kids and school, 10 hours is a lot of time to gain
You stated less responsibility and the ability to leave work at work so, once you stop making double payments you will probably have less $ stress as well and about the same disposable income
You mentioned the current vet field will definitely not be your ultimate career so there is no real 'career' benefit staying

Must of all, the #1 reason, nothing is certain but you can always make more money, you can't make more time with your kids, your wife and for your continued education and goals.

Just my two cents of course and 33 year old me would say NO WAY but I've learned a lot about time

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2021, 11:58:18 AM »
Congratulations on progressing so far in your goal to get a degree!  it's impressive that you are continuing to make good progress while working an hour away while emotionally/physically supporting an ill wife and two kids.

1. Ask to transfer to an office closer to your home.
2. If no, take the demotion.

You aren't going back into this field.  You can explain it as "My studies took up a great deal of time and I wanted to ensure I gave my best to both work and school."

Unless your mortgage is going to be paid off in a year, I would stop paying double on the mortgage and put the extra money into saving for now.  Having a larger cash cushion can only benefit your right now.  If you are getting too overwhelmed, you also have the option to take FMLA and live on your savings for a few months.   My friend lost her husband after a two-year battle with cancer.  She took FMLA twice, as a three-month lump sum of time.  They got a lot of great memories AND it gave her time to recharge.  You've got to be feeling the stress, and you need to make sure that you are taking care of you.

jmechanical

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2021, 01:42:44 PM »
Unless your mortgage is going to be paid off in a year, I would stop paying double on the mortgage and put the extra money into saving for now.  Having a larger cash cushion can only benefit your right now.

I second this.

I really hope your wife continues doing well in her treatment and recovery.

As far as the voluntary demotion, with a small stache, I'd try to knuckle down and tell yourself "This too shall pass." I've also been toying with the idea of finding something lower stress/less pay, but by changing companies not voluntary demotion. You have an endgame in sight with your education plans and changing careers/getting out of this toxic job. Two to three years of pain left if you go the BA in Human Healthcare Management route, you got this. The closer you get to the BA degree the easier it gets to not let the pressure/responsibility get to you and leave the problems at work. In the meantime keep your resume updated and look for something in the field you want to go into, you might come across your dream job/get hired before you graduate. If you need to vent about the stress come to the forums.

Regarding the disgruntled coworker, maybe try to frame their odd behavior in a way that doesn't affect you. There was a guy who used to drive me up a wall and I found out his wife left him and he never emotionally recovered. I used to get less angry about his behavior because after an episode I'd just think "How sad his life is" Maybe that's bad or just schadenfreude but it stressed me out less dealing with him.


Dee_

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Re: Voluntary Demotion for Work/Life Balance?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2021, 06:55:30 PM »
What's your FI date? Do you project the demotion significantly changing it?

The goal here, as always, is the happiness of you and your family. I took a 80% salary cut (really I went to grad school) to be able to live with my husband, bike to work, and have almost total work flexibility. Then we had a baby. The paycheck would have to be fat to make me do long distance with my husband again and leave the baby. Really fat. Like FI in 6 months fat.

The point is, my quality of life has a price. The only way I would do the exchange if I anticipated that my FUTURE happiness (i.e. post FI) would be significantly greater overall by exchanging a little unhappiness for a short period of time.

You can always make more money. You can't buy more time with your loved ones.