Need Career Advice

Hacking employment, improving work, professional development
finity
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm

Need Career Advice

Post by finity » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:13 am

I'm currently working for a relatively big company. I'm pretty happy, have lots of freedom, work <40h/wk, work pretty much whenever I want, no unpaid overtime, work from home 1 day/week, good benefits, union-contracts, no dress code. Salary is ok-ish. Super safe job. We make like a million profit a day, grow at a good clip and we're over 100 years old. Salary increases outside of the union contract are very hard to get by, but raises do happen at least once a year because of the union. Ongoing cust-cutting (but in a friendly way). I can work part time if I like or take a multiple month sabbatical.

I was contacted by a startup in the same field. It's 100% owned by a similarly big and profitable company.

Work would be super-interesting (it's ok now, not bad at all), I could learn a ton, work approx. 40h/week but likely more stress, freedom would likely be little less (say: I'd have to be there from 9am to 3:30pm or 4pm). Working from home is possible, but not as often. No union-contracts. Less benefits. Salary would be 30% higher (no equity), but I'm not sure about future raises. I guess higher paid positions would open up over time. No sabbatical. Part time work probably not in the cards.

I can ride my bike to both, though the startup is +5km/way.

I'd probably not be able to go back to my current job if I leave.

The 9am thing is a bit of a bummer. I like flexible working hours because my SO has to leave very early and I could take care of our (future) kids.

That being said, it'd take me only a few years (like 3-4?) to reach the salary I'd make at the startup if I stay at my company, but it would gradually top off at that point.

Current SR is ~60%, but will be lower soon, because we plan to have kids.

What to do?

Kriegsspiel
Posts: 874
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:28 am

Stay at your happy, low stress job.

IlliniDave
Posts: 2532
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:16 am

I don't have any experience with startups, but they are reputed to be fast-paced risky (part of why the rewards can be higher). If I was about to start having children I don't know that that would be the time where I wanted to complicate my work situation (more hours, less flexibility, probably a lot more stress/competition, benefits?).

finity
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by finity » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:33 am

Thank you both for your perspective.

That's probably the way to go. I'm just feeling like I could forego a once in a decade (or longer) chance to build something from the ground up without having to move (which I don't want to).

The startup won't be in finanical trouble for a long time, if ever. There is no VC or anything, it's split out of the parent as to be free of all the processes and to setup a completly new infrastructure and try new things.The startups' employees coming from the parent company have the option to transfer back to the parent company for some time. How about I negotiate that option for myself? The parent company is pretty similar to my employer and it's also low stress (a friend of mine works there).

If I decide to stay where I am: Would you inform your employer about the offer and leverage it for negotiations? I don't believe it would work, because my last raise is not that long ago, but it may be worth a try? My employer is currently looking to hire dozens of people with my skillset. The rules for raises are pretty strict and usually require some time inbetween raises though.

chenda
Posts: 1119
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by chenda » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:31 am

A good enjoyable job is hard to find, do I'd definitely stick with it it's taking you to your destination.
finity wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:33 am
If I decide to stay where I am: Would you inform your employer about the offer and leverage it for negotiations? I don't believe it would work, because my last raise is not that long ago, but it may be worth a try?
Yes I would, the worse is that they'll say no. I've done this twice in 2 years and always squeezed something out of them. Though I work in an area where there is a supply shortage of qualified people so it wasn't difficult.

Tyler9000
Posts: 1548
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:45 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by Tyler9000 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:49 am

finity wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:33 am
The startup won't be in finanical trouble for a long time, if ever. There is no VC or anything, it's split out of the parent as to be free of all the processes and to setup a completly new infrastructure and try new things.
You know how realtors are great at spinning bad situations? A house may be a complete dump, but the written description will be something like "Blank slate! Bring your updates!" Be careful that this isn't the same thing.

I once worked in a company like this -- small startup spinoff under a massive corporate umbrella. The reason they have to give the sales pitch about being separate from the parent processes is that they know those processes suck. And I bet they really will build a nice company. But the idea that they're ever truly separate is just a facade, as the guys paying the bills always get the final say. In my case, we built a great product and a cool environment and the suits eventually fired everyone overnight.

Don't get me wrong -- I loved working there and would do it again. Follow your gut, and do what makes you happy. I only tell this story to make sure you're not underestimating the risk of the "totally safe startup" sales pitch.

thrifty++
Posts: 856
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by thrifty++ » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:08 pm

I guess it depends on your sensitivity to risk I suppose.
I tend to do riskier things the better my finances get. So what sort of stash do you have at this point and how optimised is your spending and how skilled at reducing it ? But then I guess the fact you are about to have kids throws a spanner into the works as you will be more exposed financially which is a dynamic I don't deal with so you need to factor that in too.

Peanut
Posts: 369
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:18 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by Peanut » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:17 pm

Sounds like a good opportunity. I say go for it.
finity wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:13 am
I can work part time if I like or take a multiple month sabbatical.

The 9am thing is a bit of a bummer. I like flexible working hours because my SO has to leave very early and I could take care of our (future) kids.
Have you tried to do either one and how likely are you to do either?

You could hypothetically take care of the kids for how long? Unless it's 24/7 you'll be hiring outside care anyway so a more flexible start time doesn't seem that compelling?

Augustus
Posts: 878
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by Augustus » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:50 pm

The decision revolves around a couple factors:
1) how much FU money do you have?
2) how well do you know what the new team will be like?
3) when are you having kids?

Just based on the kid factor alone I'd opt for stability and ease. Your life is going to be flipped upside down for 1-2 years as soon as you pull the trigger on that. IIRC divorce rates skyrocket during the first 2 years of children, it's a very difficult time to transition through, don't make it harder on yourself.

Seppia
Posts: 1008
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by Seppia » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:44 pm

Described as you did, I would not change at all.
Good companies with low stress, flexibility and regular raises are extremely hard to come by

finity
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by finity » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:33 am

Thank you all for your perspectives.
Tyler9000 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:49 am
You know how realtors are great at spinning bad situations? A house may be a complete dump, but the written description will be something like "Blank slate! Bring your updates!" Be careful that this isn't the same thing.
[...]
Don't get me wrong -- I loved working there and would do it again. Follow your gut, and do what makes you happy. I only tell this story to make sure you're not underestimating the risk of the "totally safe startup" sales pitch.
Yeah, I'd totally prefer to be employed by the parent company.

I guess it depends on your sensitivity to risk I suppose.
I tend to do riskier things the better my finances get. So what sort of stash do you have at this point and how optimised is your spending and how skilled at reducing it ? But then I guess the fact you are about to have kids throws a spanner into the works as you will be more exposed financially which is a dynamic I don't deal with so you need to factor that in too.
I actually am quite risk averse. Stash is at 5 years. I could reduce my spending a bit, but I'm happy where I am currently. Kids are far less expensive here than in the US, but they'd still have quite an impact obviously.
Have you tried to do either one and how likely are you to do either?

You could hypothetically take care of the kids for how long? Unless it's 24/7 you'll be hiring outside care anyway so a more flexible start time doesn't seem that compelling?
My SO will be back home at noon or not much later. Her job will be as safe as it gets on this planet. I could reduce working hours (or work longer hours on some days) and reduce the days of outside care. You have a point though. Still, I love my flexibility ;)

I haven't tried yet, but I could imagine to work 20-30hr/week instead of retiring. I like structure in my life and it would reduce the stache I need significantly. I could also see myself doing some longer travel in the future, thus the sabbatical could be useful there. It's not necessary though. We have the right to work part-time in my country if specific criteria are matched, but I think it would be frowned upon (not so at my current employer).
Working part time also increases my per-hour net salary.
The decision revolves around a couple factors:
1) how much FU money do you have?
2) how well do you know what the new team will be like?
3) when are you having kids?
1) 20% FI
2) Very little. It's mostly consultants at the moment, but they will be replaced by people like me ;-)
3) 1.5 - 2 years from now most likely
Described as you did, I would not change at all.
Good companies with low stress, flexibility and regular raises are extremely hard to come by
Thanks. That's true and I'm very grateful for it.

It's just this feeling of opportunity and the chance to significantly increase my SR :lol:

I have to self-reflect about this.

Do I really need the money? :?:
Am I just greedy? :oops:
Would it improve my life long-term? 8-)

The market is hot at the moment. So the question for myself is: How to use it to improve my outcome. Tough call.

thrifty++
Posts: 856
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by thrifty++ » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:20 am

Maybe you could speak to someone who works there in a similar role to find out exactly what it is like. If you don't know anyone already you could ask them for the contact details for such a person. I guess its an employee's version of "reference checking". I do this for every job I go for. It doesn't seem very common but I find it very useful.

prognastat
Posts: 1000
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:30 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by prognastat » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:00 am

Also just because they are under the umbrella of a large corporation doesn't really make it more secure than a regular startup. Sure they might not actually run out of money like a regular startup. However if the larger company decides to go in a different direction or decides that it wasn't worth the investment your job can be gone really fast too if you aren't able to get a guarantee of being transferred to the umbrella company in the event this happens.

Scott 2
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:55 am

Are your skills getting stale at current employer? How long have you been there?

You sound young to anchor on comfortable working conditions.

Ignoring the money, what stands out to me, is the startup offering super interesting work. That can make every day really great.

Something I really love about small companies is the absence of bureaucracy. Even if the days can be chaotic, it beats sitting in change control meetings or HR trainings.

Is your wife's income enough to cover household expenses if things are not as promised?

I've observed it is relatively common for someone to leave a company for a few years, develop new skills, and then return with a higher level title. What makes you think current company wouldn't take you back?

cimorene12
Posts: 601
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:30 pm

I'd stick with your current job because you have a lot more flexibility that way.

SavingWithBabies
Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:50 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by SavingWithBabies » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:40 pm

finity wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:13 am
I guess higher paid positions would open up over time.
My experience with working in startups is that this is not true[*]. You will most likely get your next raise by switching employers. If you're not in an area that has multiple startups, that is a bit of a problem. Perhaps as it's a parent-funded startup, things will be different enough that my experience does not apply.

Should you do it? Sounds like you're going to regret not doing it so why not? My risk tolerance is fairly high though.

* My experience is yes, such positions do open up but typically they want you to keep doing what you do best and hire someone new for the new position. There isn't as much thought/focus around promoting. Again, might be specific to fast money (vc-funded) startups and my experience is limited to technical roles.

finity
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by finity » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:53 pm

Thanks to all of you.

I've talked with my boss. A big raise will be hard to get, because I'd need another 2-3 years to qualify (yes, performance is not that important. Doing good on that. He isn't calling the shots on raises.) We will both think about other solutions.
thrifty++ wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:20 am
Maybe you could speak to someone who works there in a similar role to find out exactly what it is like.
I'll try to find someone.
prognastat wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:00 am
However if the larger company decides to go in a different direction or decides that it wasn't worth the investment your job can be gone really fast too if you aren't able to get a guarantee of being transferred to the umbrella company in the event this happens.
I'll see what is possible on that front.
Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:55 am
Are your skills getting stale at current employer? How long have you been there?
No. 5 years.
Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:55 am
You sound young to anchor on comfortable working conditions.
Yes ... but I like my job :)
Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:55 am
Is your wife's income enough to cover household expenses if things are not as promised?
Yes, but not yet. Will take a few years.
Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:55 am
I've observed it is relatively common for someone to leave a company for a few years, develop new skills, and then return with a higher level title. What makes you think current company wouldn't take you back?
Loyality and yadda yadda ;-) I could be wrong. Conditions will be worse anyways (already are for new hires)
cimorene12 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:30 pm
I'd stick with your current job because you have a lot more flexibility that way.
Thanks.
SavingWithBabies wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:40 pm
My experience with working in startups is that this is not true[*]. You will most likely get your next raise by switching employers. If you're not in an area that has multiple startups, that is a bit of a problem. Perhaps as it's a parent-funded startup, things will be different enough that my experience does not apply.
Thanks for that insight. Not many startups. Europe...

Scott 2
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by Scott 2 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:14 pm

I didn't realize you were based in Europe
My perspective comes from tech in the US. I am strongly biased in favor of small company work.

Based on your tenure, ability to keep growing at current company, and state of your wife's career, I would not make the jump. I don't think the salary premium is sufficient for the added risk and loss of freedom.

That ability to keep growing professionally is key in my recommendation. I've seen people stay at an easy company for too long, then find they are unemployable, because they repeated the same year of dated experience 10 times.

TheWanderingScholar
Posts: 560
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:04 am

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by TheWanderingScholar » Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:18 pm

From what I have read, both original post and your replies, I advise you to stay and enjoying your spot.

finity
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm

Re: Need Career Advice

Post by finity » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:07 pm

I had a talk with a friend at the startups' parent company and he advised me to stay where I am based on what he has heard.
Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:14 pm
I didn't realize you were based in Europe
My perspective comes from tech in the US. I am strongly biased in favor of small company work.
I'll take that as a compliment for my English skills :lol:
Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:14 pm

Based on your tenure, ability to keep growing at current company, and state of your wife's career, I would not make the jump. I don't think the salary premium is sufficient for the added risk and loss of freedom.

That ability to keep growing professionally is key in my recommendation. I've seen people stay at an easy company for too long, then find they are unemployable, because they repeated the same year of dated experience 10 times.
Believe it or not, your post was very helpful.
TheWanderingScholar wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:18 pm
From what I have read, both original post and your replies, I advise you to stay and enjoying your spot.
That's what I'm going to do - I told the recruiter I'm going to stay at my company.

In the end my current work is still aligned with my interests, goals and values.

Again, thanks to all of you. Every POV was helpful in making my decision.

Post Reply