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Thursday, November 5, 2009

which job should I take?

A reader writes:

I have a temporary job working for a federal government agency as a clerk. I have been offered a promotion. The new position would raise my salary from $30,000 to $38,000. Accepting the position would require moving from the large city I currently live in to a much smaller place about 300 miles away. I have never been there and know no one who lives there. The person I would report to is a jerk. I am not sure I could do the job. It would be a challenge. Both jobs, the one I have now and the one I would move to, are temporary and would last about a year.

Reasons to take the new position: (1) More money (2) Better job title (3) One year in the new job would allow me to compete for better jobs with the federal government in the future. (4) Could lose credibility with current management if I decline.

Reasons not to take it: (1) New boss is a jerk (2) Not sure I would like the job (3) Expense of moving (4) Not familiar with the new town I would live in (moving from metro area of 4 million to a city with 100,000 population)

Should I accept the new job?

I can't answer this for you because ultimately it's about what weight you put on each of these factors, but I can point some things out that you should consider as you make your decision:

* Since the new position only lasts a year, are you only planning to stay in the new town for that year and then move again? If so, are you comfortable with a second move so soon after the first?

* You're not sure you could do well at the new job. If you fail at it, how will having a professional failure affect your career outlook afterwards?

* You're not sure you will like the new job, and you already dislike your new boss. So you'll be living in a town where you don't know anyone, with a boss you dislike, and a job that might not be your thing.

* On the other hand, it's only for a year. Are you someone who can stick out a less-than-ideal situation for the pay-off at the end? And how sure are you about that pay-off at the end?

* Are there other ways to advance your career in the ways that you want without making this particular move? Is this really the only available path to get you there?

As for losing credibility if you decline the move, people decline to move to new cities all the time. If your boss doesn't understand that, he's an ass anyway.

Looking at the factors above, it's not a move I personally would make. But it all depends on how you weigh the issues above, not me.

What do others think?


Anonymous said...

I took a job last year for more money, a job I was already hesitant to take. It lasted me 3 weeks (including the 2 weeks prior notice). When I decided to take that job, I thought I could stick it to at least one year. But when your work atmosphere is unbearable, ONE DAY is a long time.

CH1 said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Anonymous. When your boss is a jerk, getting to the end of the work day seems to take forever. Don't take the job if it won't make you happy.

Anonymous said...

Even if you loved the new boss, didn't mind moving, and don't mind small towns, you could still be miserable.
That's my situation now - took a job, moved for it, make almost $10,000 more a year, and it's great for my career...but I hate it.
Every day I ask myself if the better money is worth it, and the answer is always no. But I'm glad that I at least tried, and took that chance for something better.

Anonymous said...

Another thing to factor in is the cost of the move. You will be earning an additional $8000 before taxes. What will be your costs to move, potentially twice?

Will your cost of living decrease or stay the same? Will you be spending more to travel away from this smaller center on weekends?

Considering all of that will you really be taking home more money at the end of the day?

Old Fashioned said...

A year is a really long time if you have a job that is killing you, a boss who is a jerk, and you don't have any friends to hang out with.

I defer to Chris Rock: "People say life is short- no it's not. Life is long- especially if you make the wrong decisions."

Anonymous said...

Money isn't everything. If the boss is a jerk, then I could care less what the money is. If you're going to be working somewhere, then at least enjoy it, even if you could get more money elsewhere.

Going to work happy is much more important - working with a bad boss drains your energy and makes you miserable.

Sam Diener said...

I think you said everything you need to say with "the boss is a jerk." I agree happiness if SO important!

Kerry Scott said...

What is your alternative, exactly?

One thing I've learned about myself is that I have to like my boss. I can put up with all kinds of other stuff if I have a boss I like...but even the greatest job doesn't work for me if my boss is a jerk. On that basis alone I'd probably pass (unless I was about to be unemployed altogether, with no prospects).

I do think that moving to a town you've never been to before can be a fun adventure. I've done it a number of times, from coast to coast. I wouldn't do it for a sucky boss though.

Julie O'Malley said...

No way is $8,000 going to make up for the huge negatives you've listed.

George A Guajardo said...

From where I'm standing, it sounds like your mind is made up. There's nothing wrong with it. The negatives sound pretty negative and the positives aren't positive enough so far as I can tell.

Unless the equation changes (paid relocation costs, cost of living increase, permanent position, etc.), it doesn't seem like your heart is in it. And your heart has to be in it to put up with a year of bad bosses.

Anonymous said...

I quit an unbearable job, I'm still unemployed, and I am STILL confident I made the right decision.

Being miserable in the place where you spend 8+ hours a day is NOT worth it. Sure, we all have to tolerate some unpleasant aspects of our jobs. But hating your boss, not being sure of your abilities in the new job, and moving to a new city is just too much. And also, the additional salary may sound like a lot, but when you stretch that over 12 months and take out taxes, I think you'll find that it doesn't make a huge difference.

If you enjoy your current job, stay. The grass usually isn't greener on the other side.

[Phew, sorry for the marathon post...After working at a terrible, negative office, I really feel passionate about this!]

Anonymous said...

I had a job where I wanted to cry every morning before I went to work. I was miserable all day. I hated it. HATED IT. It wasn't just me - we had over 100% turnover. (RYDER CORPORATE FINANCE - oh did I say that out loud?)

I could not get out of there fast enough. I worked there a year and a day so I would not have to pay my relo. If you know in advance you are not going to like it, don't do it. After taxes, you're going to have about an extra $450 a month. Is it worth it?

Anonymous said...

I didn't take the job and I think I made the right decision. Thanks to all for your comments.