Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

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sunshinebeat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:25 am

Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by sunshinebeat »

Here's my situation:

- Late 30s, USA HCOL area, married, young kid. DH having career challenges. 6-figure student loan debt. Our house is a duplex in an average town with an average school district, not fancy.
- I have two Ivy League degrees. I was raised by immigrants who were not well-educated but did okay in small business; I always had a do-gooder orientation; I was never enthused about the idea of working in an office the rest of my life --> in my 20s I didn't know how/didn't try very hard to make the most of my academic successes financially.
- I've been working over a decade in non-profit, health-related jobs, working with data in one way or another.
- I have a mild/moderate physical disability. Basically an inner ear problem that affects balance and vision, and strains my cognitive resources in certain contexts (noise and artificial lighting, having to stand or walk while talking, turning my head from side to side during meetings). I have had this issue for many many years, to varying degrees, but only got the diagnosis last year. This has definitely affected my career progression and earnings.
- In addition to physical surroundings, diet is a major part of managing my condition -- another point for working from home, so I don't have to do as much planning and carrying of my food for the day.
- I am recently undergoing a new (to me) treatment approach that has potential to start making a huge difference in my condition over the next several months.
- I'm tired of constantly working so hard and pushing myself so much over the years, with little to show for it, knowing something was probably wrong but not quite what, unable to enjoy all my interests. I also haven't been the mom I want to be.
- I am on short-term disability at the moment, and although I like my job and the people there, the thought of going back into the noisy, artificially-lit, gray, crowded office isn't very appealing. Though they do let me work remotely part of the time. Salary is about $100K. I rarely have to work more than 40 hours and benefits are okay. I don't love my job. I feel a little guilty thinking about leaving. I don't think this job is the best way for the world to utilize me, and probably not the best way for me to earn. I do think they might let me reduce my hours as an accommodation if I ask. I am sort of in-between IT and "business" (i.e. non-IT, lol). I moved from another department to IT and have sort of straddled developer, BA, project management-type roles. Few in my current organization seem to have much experience/knowledge re: data analysis, even in IT where I see more skill in moving data around than actually getting insights out of it.

Some things that appeal to me (individually or in combination):
- Not be tired struggling with commuting and a sub-optimal office environment
- More time and more flexibility in schedule, for some or all of these: Parenting, Socializing, Gardening/Permaculture, Entrepreneurial ideas, Hobbies, Wellness, Taking care of our home... (a lot of these can be combined with parenting, yay!)
- >80% remote work. Better yet, 100% from anywhere, so I can go overseas with DD for her summer vacations (and DH or other family members, friends). We have a lot of extended family overseas and even a teeny bit of land.
- Less financial pressure in short-term and long-term. Work toward eventual FI, especially considering my condition could get worse.
- Gain more data skills; use my existing skills more fully. I can do a whole lot with hospital data but maybe I would learn a lot more elsewhere, perhaps at a larger organization (more volume of data), or even in another industry more advanced in use of data? Work with people with more similar interests, whom I can learn more from. My experience includes statistical programming, research methods, using and developing analytics tools, presentation; I might enjoy moving more toward data science.
- A more sunny and dry climate could be better for me (and lower cost in some places), though distance from family is a big consideration.

Thanks so much for reading and any thoughts you might share :)

reepicheep
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:45 am

Re: Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by reepicheep »

I hear actuaries do very well for themselves. Insurance is one of the few games in town that seem to have a realistic idea of the future we're going to get (as John Michael Greer would say). You'd be very employable, from what I understand.

I don't know about the possibility of remote work in that field.

I wonder how much your current skills would transfer over?

sunshinebeat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:25 am

Re: Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by sunshinebeat »

@reepicheep, thanks for the actuary suggestion. I've started looking into the exams a little bit. My math skills are a little rusty, but it's worth considering. Appreciate any additional insights anyone may have on this.

Maybe I should also look into HEOR in pharmaceuticals?

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by ZAFCorrection »

Based on my old roommate's story, the math is fairly basic; if you can understand up to basic calculus and probability, you are fine (at least at the level he was playing at). It seems to be a lot more important that you can wrangle Excel efficiently than actually being great at math. Passing the exams/modules seems to be mostly about memorizing stuff and writing shit up in exactly the style the cartel organization likes to see. Though, at least in health insurance consulting, actuarial work is kinda soul-sucking. If you are the kind of person who needs to make a difference at work, it's probably going to be horrible. My friend is not afflicted with any altruism, but he has commented extensively on the pointlessness of a lot of the work.

sunshinebeat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:25 am

Re: Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by sunshinebeat »

@ZAFcorrections, thanks. Do you remember if he said anything about the amount of hours required?

reepicheep
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:45 am

Re: Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by reepicheep »

My former landlord did medical coding work for various hospitals remotely their entire adult life, until they got their BA and then their MA in their late 50's. They are now self-employed as a LPC. (Side note: This person is mildly heroic and super cool).

It was looking at doctor's chart notes and then turning them into something that insurance companies understood, I think. Her last job before she went into grad school full time (which she quit pretty quickly, tbh), the hospital sent her a bunch of fancy computer equipment to set up and work from home on. Seemed like the coding gig is almost entirely work-from-home contract work, these days. I imagine more and more of it is becoming automated, however.

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by ZAFCorrection »

@sunshinebeat:

From what I saw, he could get away with sub-40 hour weeks most of the time. There were various times of the year when the health insurance companies his consulting firm worked for had to get their numbers in to federal regulators. At that point, he was working probably 50 hour weeks. I think his current job is even more relaxed. One detail is the companies often let you spend some fraction of workday hours studying for exams/modules (still getting paid). They incentivize leveling up (FSA is the max iirc) because they can bill more. I don't know if that is just a consultant thing. The story might be a lot different for in-house actuaries.

sunshinebeat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:25 am

Re: Opportunity cost of current job? Data skills, $, remote

Post by sunshinebeat »

I've been thinking lately that I probably could be taking more initiative or "job crafting"(?) at my current organization to make it more of a win-win-win for everyone.

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