Author Topic: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision UPDATED: DONE!  (Read 2601 times)

red_pill

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The short (and simplified) question is this:

I am currently a junior executive in one company have been offered a position as a senior executive at another company.  The position is a HUGE step up in the amount of influence I would have, and it would be incredibly intellectually challenging.  I would have to get about 3 or 4 promotions in my current job to achieve the same level of influence as this new job.  But strangely, the new job pays just a bit less than my current job.  That said, this isn't about money - either way I can retire in 5 years before I'm 50.  I can't decide what to do - they are very different roles.  Besides intellectual challenge, influence, and pay, what factors would you consider in making this decision? The ones I can think of are schedule flexibility, stress, work/life balance, and future career opportunities.  What am I missing?


Some additional details if you're interested.

Whether or not I take the job, I can retire in 5 years.  So the question is - will I want to retire in 5 years?  If not, then the new job offers me access to other high level positions with increasing degrees of challenge and influence.  If I do want to retire, then the current company offers me more money between now and that 5 year time-frame and less stress. 

The new company is actually where the vast majority of my current company's business is from. So, weirdly, in the new job I would be interacting with my boss's boss's boss's boss.  So, while I could come back to my current job as a junior executive, in all likelihood I could also come back as a senior executive within a few years.  So what would take me probably 8 years to achieve through my current career trajectory would take maybe 3 or 4 years if I took the new job. But within that time there would be opportunity in the new company as well, and at that point I would exceed my current earnings by a substantial margin.  All that to say; although I'd make less now in the new company, within a few years I would far outstrip my current income.  So if I had a 10 year working timeframe (which would put me in my early 50's), the new job could make me much better off.  But even as is I'm in really good shape.

I am unable to leverage this for a promotion in my existing company.  You'd think I could, but their promotion rules would prevent it.

I keep flip flopping on the issue.  My current job is more fun than the new job, but the new job would give me the opportunity to initiate a lot of cool projects and whatnot.   

What factors are relevant in this decision?

UPDATE: I took the new job after applying a decision rule of minimizing frustration and maximizing future career opportunities.  See updated post below.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 11:12:17 AM by red_pill »

Villanelle

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2019, 03:02:17 PM »
If one is way more money than the other, how is the retirement timeline the same? 

Do you have any loose plans for FIRE?  Do they excite you?  That can help you make a guess on whether you will want to keep working longer than your FI date. 

Is there any negotiation room at the new job?  Could your current job offer you a bonus if they can't manage a raise?  Or some additional time off or other flexibility?  Same commute times?


norajean

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 03:24:44 PM »
Some people assume that certain titles convey more influence than they actually do. It really depends on the corporate culture and the boss. If you make the leap, have them clarify exactly how much authority you will have, since that seems to be your motivation.

red_pill

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 03:56:40 PM »
Some people assume that certain titles convey more influence than they actually do. It really depends on the corporate culture and the boss. If you make the leap, have them clarify exactly how much authority you will have, since that seems to be your motivation.

Since I know the company and how it works, and I know who used to have the job, I know for a fact that the position does have influence.  Good points, but in this case that is not an unknown.

That said, I question how much this pursuit of influence should have on the decision.  Not that I have much desire for power, I just like to execute on my ideas and my entire career I have been frustrated with how my bosses usually were afraid or incapable of instituting change.  As I have climbed the ranks somewhat I have found that an appetite to implement change and make tough decisions is an incredibly rare commodity, but one that I possess.  My motivation to take the new job would be to utilize that skill to a greater extent.   

red_pill

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2019, 04:01:26 PM »
If one is way more money than the other, how is the retirement timeline the same? 

It's not way more money.  New job would be $140K all pensionable. Current job is around $155K, but only $140K is pensionable.  Both have almost identical pensions.  So the five year difference is just the $15K per year.  Not like that isn't significant, but the difference between $140K and $155K is not enough to sacrifice happiness for.   

Do you have any loose plans for FIRE?  Do they excite you?  That can help you make a guess on whether you will want to keep working longer than your FI date. 

Great question!  I'll have to think about this.  Thanks!

Is there any negotiation room at the new job?  Could your current job offer you a bonus if they can't manage a raise?  Or some additional time off or other flexibility?  Same commute times?

No, all negotiation room at the new job has been expended.  I am at the top of the pay rate for the job classification that the new job is in.  Same with current job. Both companies have firmly set pay bands for certain job classifications and they can't be budged by anyone.

Commute times are pretty much the same.  Under 20 minutes.  So not enough difference that it would be the deciding factor.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 04:15:51 PM »
1) One factor you didn’t consider is job stability. Sounds like if you stay with current company, there’s very little chance of being fired or laid off in the next five years. If you move to new company, there’s more uncertainty and possibility of job loss - how much risk, you’ll need to assess.

2) Why haven’t you at least asked new company to meet your current salary? Seems a pretty reasonable thing to say “Gee, I’d love to take your position but it would involve a pay cut, can you increase your offer?”

BECABECA

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2019, 07:43:57 PM »
I’d take the job at the new company. The main rationale for taking the new position is that even if you decide it’s not right for you after a year, you could easily get your old job back (let alone a senior exec position at your old company). But if you don’t take this new job now and regret the decision in a year, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to get another opportunity like this at the new company. And the minor short term pay cut will likely get overtaken with better opportunity for pay raises in the next 5 years.

Basically, you avoid all the opportunity costs by taking the new job since it keeps all your options open.

red_pill

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2019, 10:16:39 PM »
1) One factor you didn’t consider is job stability. Sounds like if you stay with current company, there’s very little chance of being fired or laid off in the next five years. If you move to new company, there’s more uncertainty and possibility of job loss - how much risk, you’ll need to assess.

2) Why haven’t you at least asked new company to meet your current salary? Seems a pretty reasonable thing to say “Gee, I’d love to take your position but it would involve a pay cut, can you increase your offer?”

Job stability is the same on both....nearly 100 percent.  Seriously.

As for the salary match, I negotiated to the absolute highest end of the pay scale for that position.  It's a huge company and they cant alter things like that.  But if I do go, then perhaps in a year or so I could ask for the position to be reclassified or something like that.

LonerMatt

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2019, 10:45:01 PM »
You describe the new work in exclusively positive terms. I can't think of why that isn't a great offer.

I'd be thinking about:
- Does increased responsibility come with new forms of stress? How will I deal with that?
- Does increased responsibility come with more demands on my time? What will my hours look like?
- Does increased responsibility give me the opportunity to affect change/choices that I've been looking to see?
- Will I be able to help the people in my team/company?

Linea_Norway

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2019, 01:36:46 AM »
You describe the new work in exclusively positive terms. I can't think of why that isn't a great offer.

I'd be thinking about:
- Does increased responsibility come with new forms of stress? How will I deal with that?
- Does increased responsibility come with more demands on my time? What will my hours look like?
- Does increased responsibility give me the opportunity to affect change/choices that I've been looking to see?
- Will I be able to help the people in my team/company?

This. Some people on this forum have deliberately chosen jobs with a (slightly) lower income to lower their stress levels. A job with lower income and higher stress could sound like a bad deal. But if you are motivated by having more responsibility and influence, despite the stress, then it might be a good choice for you.

I keep flip flopping on the issue.  My current job is more fun than the new job, but the new job would give me the opportunity to initiate a lot of cool projects and whatnot.   

And, if your current job is more fun, that is a very good argument for keeping it. Five years is a long time to spend in a job that is not fun to work in. If you decide to take the new job, then at least don't burn bridges with your current employer.

mistymoney

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2019, 06:09:47 AM »
What are you hoping to accomplish with the increased influence?

Is it something mission-driven, or ego-driven?


What is the payoff?

clarkfan1979

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2019, 10:03:58 PM »
What are you hoping to accomplish with the increased influence?

Is it something mission-driven, or ego-driven?


What is the payoff?

These comments are very similar to my thoughts. The only way I would consider influence to be a "positive" was if I could more accurately track my results. I'm competitive. I enjoy keeping score. However, if the motivation for "more influence" is purely ego, they tricked you into paying you less and you fell for it.

Malcat

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2019, 05:06:34 AM »
Short answer: If it's the right move for you, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking a pay cut for the job you want.

Longer answer:

The issue at hand here is if this new job really offers a superior working experience, and not even you can really answer that as you've never worked there.

The other issue, is how much regret you will feel if you don't take it.

Based on the language you are using in your posts, I suspect that the job has something of significance to offer you and that you will regret not taking it.

Is that the "right" way to see things? Oh, who fucking knows.
You're not choosing between two execution methods, you seem to like your work and you won't be doing it for much longer anyway.

Do what makes sense for *you*


Poundwise

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2019, 07:27:14 AM »
So how is your current job more "fun" than the new job?

The appeal of the new job, as I understand it, is that it calls to the aspects of your personality that long for exercise.  You are project oriented, and this position would allow you to start and end projects.  You would also be allowed to test out your powers for innovation and leadership.

Early retirement is not everything.   The whole point of FU money is to be able to spend time in the way you like. For some people, that is not rest, but doing different work that might make less money. In which case you are fortunate that the work that interests you is only slightly less lucrative than what you're doing.

Do you feel like a claw hammer that has been only used to extract nails, being asked to hammer nails at last?

To answer your question about what else might you be forgetting:  do you have any responsibilities to support family that might affect your decision? How well do you know the team with whom you would be working? If the company culture is healthy, people you know there seem happy, and you respect the people you'd be working with, the move sounds good.



ender

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 08:03:38 AM »
One factor you aren't considering is the risk factors. @Malkynn mentioned them, but imo they are the most important thing here.

I see two primary ones. First, that you regret not taking the job. How much will you go "gahhh, should have taken it" if you have to deal with things that are unpleasant in your current role?

Second, what is the chance that the new job has a worse culture for some reason and you regret moving into it? You know your current culture/work environment and while it isn't guaranteed to be constant you have a much better confidence in what your current job will be like over the next 5 years than the other one.

Both of these are risks and depending on what you value, are very different in one direction or the other.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2019, 05:47:23 PM »
You describe the new work in exclusively positive terms. I can't think of why that isn't a great offer.

I'd be thinking about:
- Does increased responsibility come with new forms of stress? How will I deal with that?
- Does increased responsibility come with more demands on my time? What will my hours look like?
- Does increased responsibility give me the opportunity to affect change/choices that I've been looking to see?
- Will I be able to help the people in my team/company?

This. Some people on this forum have deliberately chosen jobs with a (slightly) lower income to lower their stress levels. A job with lower income and higher stress could sound like a bad deal. But if you are motivated by having more responsibility and influence, despite the stress, then it might be a good choice for you.

I keep flip flopping on the issue.  My current job is more fun than the new job, but the new job would give me the opportunity to initiate a lot of cool projects and whatnot.   

And, if your current job is more fun, that is a very good argument for keeping it. Five years is a long time to spend in a job that is not fun to work in. If you decide to take the new job, then at least don't burn bridges with your current employer.

This.  Your career is your #1 asset, and it's crazy to consider moving when you aren't getting any more financial upside (e.g. more reward for more risk), even including fun upside. 

I would err on the cautious side when you have a great setup already - they're rare. 

You could add more "influence" in your life through non-job pursuits of a few hours per week, no?  Run a non-profit board or the like?  That's what I've done, personally, which scratches the itch without monkeying with my day job. 

chasesfish

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2019, 05:19:09 AM »
I'm curious what you decided.

I was and some of my former peers are in this situation with a large company.  The deferred comp is nice, but if they ever want to get into Sr. Executive roles, they need to move to a smaller company to get the experience at that level before they can get into something at that same level with a large company.

You already said either way you have financial security.  Now its about having the right intellectual challenge for the next five years.

LWYRUP

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2019, 05:41:58 AM »
I would take the job.  I am believer in being stimulated at work. 

I switched from being a senior associate at a law firm to a government attorney for a paycut.  The volume of work in my agency is so high that I have a rolodex of 12 large law firms that I can (and do) call on a daily basis to help manage things.  Sometimes I have free time and roll up my sleeves and do it myself.  Other times, we have so many deals coming in the door that just outsourcing it all (getting the information about the deal, hiring counsel, coordinating flows of information, supervising the work) has been challenge even if I exempt myself from producing any work product.  I also have far more input now on what we accept vs. reject, our negotiating strategy, our sequencing of work flow, etc.  I work less hard than at a law firm but harder than a typical government worker and everyone internally has been happy with my efforts, so I pretty much get to do my own thing with no micromanagement. 

It's been interesting enough that I would deem it "worth it" even if I was fired tomorrow and found myself "off track" for partnership.  I learned that I hate being bored, love to learn and am willing to take risks to find the career / craft the life I want.  Now that I know that, I can't just go back to a job that's just grinding out work product for a paycheck.

You seem excited by the new job and you are financially secure enough to recover if something went wrong.  So in my view you checked both the boxes for MOVE.  Do it!

mistymoney

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2019, 05:55:43 AM »
What are you hoping to accomplish with the increased influence?

Is it something mission-driven, or ego-driven?


What is the payoff?

These comments are very similar to my thoughts. The only way I would consider influence to be a "positive" was if I could more accurately track my results. I'm competitive. I enjoy keeping score. However, if the motivation for "more influence" is purely ego, they tricked you into paying you less and you fell for it.

Well - I wouldn't necessarily think a trick - or a bad decision if that is what someone wants!

But it might be helpful to clarify, and dig deep on what the motivation and expected payout is on this influence. If someone wants to be able to call the shots and see their vision carried out - that's fine!

red_pill

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision - UPDATED: done
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2019, 11:10:59 AM »
So.... I start the new job in a few weeks.

A few things:

1) The pay was actually a bit better than I thought once I dug into it. The new job would have no after hours or weekend stuff, which is a huge improvement in my lifestyle. 

2) The new job is apparently quite flexible so I can work from home at least once a week.  And it's based off of a 35 hour work week, instead of my current 40 hour work week. Given the level of responsibility, I'm not under any illusions that I'll actually work only 35 hours (just like I work more than 40 now), but at least the baseline expectation is lower.

3) I managed to talk my current company into giving me an extended leave of absence instead of actually quitting. That makes returning WAY easier. And a nice little safety net.  Essentially, I can come back any time I want.  I wouldn't have much say over what specific role I'd go into, but I would retain my seniority and pay band. Oh, and my current company has a better pension and if I return after a few years I can buy back the missing years.  Boom.

While the finances worked out just fine, I'd be okay either way, so the decision wasn't about money.  But I really struggled on what factors to consider in making the decision.  Ultimately I decided to try to minimize frustration and maximize opportunity.  The new job looks to be less frustrating because I'll have the influence to change things that would otherwise annoy me. Whereas at my current job I am a prisoner of the many senior executives who lack imagination or ability to improve things that could actually be easily improved, and that just frustrates me.  In terms of future opportunity, the new job opens a TON of doors and closes almost no doors compared to my current job.  If I were to draw a Venn diagram of job opportunities, almost all of the opportunities of my current job would be contained as a subset of the much larger set of opportunities at my new job.  When I realized that, it pretty much sealed it.

So....we'll see how it goes. I'm super pumped to get started and am leaving on very good terms with the current company.

Thanks, everyone!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 11:21:49 AM by red_pill »

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision UPDATED: DONE!
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2019, 12:08:13 PM »
Congrats and good luck!

jackmipp

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision UPDATED: DONE!
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2019, 12:10:14 PM »
Some people assume that certain titles convey more influence than they actually do. It really depends on the corporate culture and the boss. If you make the leap, have them clarify exactly how much authority you will have, since that seems to be your motivation.


Congrats.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision UPDATED: DONE!
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2019, 01:18:55 PM »
Congrats on taking a job with such good conditions, like working from home and shorter working days.

And a great idea to keep that safety net in case the new job turns out to be a mistake. But try the new job for at least half a year before you draw any conclusion.

I hear you about being frustrated with dinosaurs in your company. They just want to do keep dping things the way they always did, just because of historical reasons. But those historical reasons are not always longer relevant or were decided without good enough information. I have also such a senior coworker, who I often refer to as dinosaur and who is an active obstacle for technical improvements. Last time, I managed to overrun him by first talking to his manager and got her enthusiasm for the modernization.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision UPDATED: DONE!
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2019, 07:56:49 PM »
Congrats and good luck!  That's huge about the lifestyle: it would have altered what I said had I known that.  Time is more important. 

mistymoney

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision UPDATED: DONE!
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2019, 07:37:11 AM »
Congrats! Hope you enjoy it as much as you anticipate!!

Poundwise

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Re: Would you trade money for influence? Big career decision UPDATED: DONE!
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2019, 07:51:22 AM »
Wow, thanks for the update! It's great to read a question from a person who takes input graciously, quickly comes to a decision, and negotiates a winning outcome. Good luck and have fun!