On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

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Bankai
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On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Bankai »

I’m in my current job for 2 years now. It’s an analytical job for a megacorp (I use SAS, R & SQL along with technical niche knowledge) that pays about the average UK wage. A senior position came up which I applied for and got an offer, however, I’m not entirely happy with it. I consider asking for a higher pay rise. Another option is to quit and start semi-ERE.

Why I’m not happy with the offer?

• The pay rise is below 10% for what seems to be substantially more responsibilities for the tiny pay rise
• Accepting it would lock me in on the lowest base salary for this new band and since all pay rises and bonuses are percentage-based, the gap between me & others on this position would only widen over time
• Offer is lowball compared to what they’d give to an external candidate
• Bonus, although potentially higher (+10% of base salary), doesn’t depend on my performance and is not due for over a year anyway
• Notice period more than trebles which would exclude me from many (most?) external opportunities
• I feel a bit burned out & could use a 1-2 years break

I want to ask for more money, basically more than double the pay rise they offered me (midpoint of the range it was advertised for externally), however, I suspect they most likely won’t accept, as it seems to be a practice to offer internally promoted people a minimum possible pay. Another thing is that I verbally accepted the offer couple of weeks ago but haven’t signed anything yet, so I’m not even sure it can still be negotiated.

If they won’t accept my ask for higher pay, I don’t see myself accepting what I see as lowball offer – if I feel bad about it now, I will feel even worse after that and once new responsibilities kick in. In which case, I’d only stay till the end of the year.

What about semi-ERE?

• I could pay my (half of the) mortgage & cover bills & simple food @4%; that’s it, no wants or any margin of safety
• Since my core outgoings are very low, I could cover them with a couple of days of minimum wage job a week, although my hourly rate would go down by 60%
• I could get a similar job for similar pay fairly easily, but on the one hand, these jobs are scarce (in my specific niche) while on the other hand demand > supply for people with some experience; this option would be there for few years before my skills would become obsolete
• I could just make enough by active investing to never need to work again if I can outperform the market by few %age points (my tiny sample size of 6 years of active investing have me outperforming 5 out of 6 with tiny underperformance in 1 year) – I know this makes almost all of you cringe, but it’s an option (a high risk one)

So, I should be happy with being promoted and getting a pay rise. Instead, I’m unhappy & think of asking for quite a lot more, which will likely be met with rejection and lead me to quit in a couple of months (since my career there would be over anyway). I was thinking about it for the last several days and I’m no closer to a decision. I feel like I’m about to talk myself into walking away from a perfectly fine job (decent pay, work from home once a week, not a lot of pressure, good relationship with boss and nice co-workers, 7 weeks vacation) into a very uncertain future, over what’s not really that substantial amount (realistically I don’t think I can get more than an extra 10% rise, if that). I know two years ago I would be delighted knowing I’ll get this promotion. Now, I think I’m worth more, but maybe I’m deluding myself. FU money is here and I’m tempted to use it as leverage because accepting the offer as is would make me feel bad (strange thing to say about promotion and pay rise).

Have I missed anything obvious? What do you guys think?


Smashter
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Smashter »

Bankai wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:36 pm
decent pay, work from home once a week, not a lot of pressure, good relationship with boss and nice co-workers, 7 weeks vacation
Only you know how burned out you truly are, but that does't sound too bad from where I'm sitting. Can you just take a bunch of vacation and think about it? :)

classical_Liberal
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by classical_Liberal »

Do you think you will like the new job? Is there something involved in the new job you want to try/learn? How burnt out are you? don't just go off your gut, ask others close to you if they see burnout.

If you feel have FU money, it's time to start making decisions not based on the money. Either way, if you choose to stay I'd also ask for more money, but don't make that the decision point in and of itself. Also, consider that sabbaticals are pretty acceptable behavior in today's corporate environment. So if you choose sem-re, you probably have at least a year window to get back to doing the same thing you are today without too much trouble. Assuming you're very competent.

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unemployable
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by unemployable »

You come first. Always.

If the thing you'd be signing doesn't bind you to working there for X years, sign it and start looking for new jobs

If it does bind you to a certain term of employment, don't sign it and also start looking for new jobs.

If you get your vacation days paid out when you quit (not sure how this works in the UK), don't use any except to interview

2Birds1Stone
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I would definitely ask for more money, as in 20% bump to your current compensation. Have reasons for why you settled on this amount.

Attrition is expensive for corporations. Replacing a knowledge worker in a white collar setting even more so. You might be surprised that they accept if you stand your ground.

Your expenses are very low, if you're covering housing/food with a 4% draw down, then I doubt you would need more more than a day or two a week of PT work. Would having to work 1-2 days a week throw a wrench in your post career plans? Does the lifestyle you envision for yourself mesh well with still having to work 1-2 days a week at a job? Is seasonal employment a possibility?

The "beat the market" strategy sounds terrible, and you will feel even worse making a big mistake with your nest egg than you would from accepting a promotion for less money than you think you're worth.

I echo the comments above re: burn out. It doesn't sound like you're burnt out, leverage that FU$ for a bigger raise and see what happens! The option to quit is always there.

Quadalupe
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Quadalupe »

I would ( try to) a larger raise and a shorter notice period. Depending on the company/manager, you could also try to meet in the middle, i.e. 15% raise now, 10% raise in six months if you are doing good work. The second raise should be seperate from the normal raise cycle.

If you can pull something like this off, you’re in a great position. More cashflow, bigger stash and a more senior job title. This might help in the job search.

And if it doesn’t work out, no worries! You already have boatloads of money, so you can afford 6 months off to search for a job in the worst case. So basically, you’re doing great either way.

steveo73
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by steveo73 »

I would stay but I would raise the point that the pay rise appears small.

Jin+Guice
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Jin+Guice »

Don't forget when you have FU money (which it sounds like you have a lot of) they don't own you, you own them!

You should quit immediately (or at the end of the year or whatever) if you are highly burned out or work is holding you back from doing something more important (like web of goals shit).

If you are content with your job and life then you should ask for a bigger raise. Like many others said, your chances are probably better than you think. If not getting the raise or promotion is really a deal breaker for you (and it sounds like it is) then be ready to walk if they don't give it to you. This will drastically increase your negotiating position. If you decide that 10% is actually o.k. (again because you are content in your job) or it's possible for you to stay at you current position, then be prepared to do that if they reject your request.

I don't think you're in either of these situations. From what you wrote, I think you're in a middle position. It sounds like you're burnt out, but not to a point of crisis. It sounds like your job is o.k., but not great. You have a lot of options in this position, but it really comes down to how badly you need time off and if that new job is worth it (even at a 20% raise).

There are a few things that I don't think you're considering. It sounds like keeping your old job is not an option? If it is, then consider that position too. Does taking the new job and staying in it for 6 months-2 years have any possible benefits beyond the money? Are there skills you could learn? Do you cross any significant FI thresholds? Does it make moving to another more desirable job easier? Is it worth just to take it and then start looking for new jobs immediately? Basically, is there any advantage to this job besides the extra money and holding steady with an o.k. job?

7 weeks of vacation sounds like a shit ton to Americans. If you are kind of burned out but not in crisis, can you just take a month off paid?

It sounds like you've got a bunch of in demand skills. Is there any part-time or freelance work available in that area? Maybe you'd have to do a little training and take a pay cut, but you'd be above minimum wage and have more freedom. Is there some other kind of work you're interested in that you could do part-time? I work 2 days a week and it's a categorically different life than working 5 days a week. I'm not sure what your other expenditures are or how your frugal skills are, but for me, $200-$300/ month above basic needs is living like a king. It really wouldn't take that much work to make that much. Also consider what you are going to do with all of your copious amounts of freedom.


So to summarize, if you're in the position I think you're in, look at possible ways to leverage the new position with your current employer into something better and also look more deeply into finding part-time work that isn't just minimum wage (unless there's a minimum wage job that you are super into).


I'm very conservative when it comes to investments because I have no skills. Counting on higher investment returns that you are not 100% confident in is a bad idea. Unless you are skilled enough to have some system of hedges worked out, I would personally look at your NW and then cut that number in half. What do you do if that happens the day after you quit? How does your line of work fair in a recession? Can you get another shittier job easily so you aren't forced to sell while prices are low? Don't let this worst case scenario scare you into thinking you don't have the power. YOU HAVE THE POWER. It's totally possible that you have a good investing year and you are able to cover all your expenses with investments (but you'll only know this after it happens). Just don't count on it and have a plan for what happens if the shit hits the fan.


I don't want to punt on being the person who tells everyone to quit and semi-ERE. If you are burned out or you just really don't want to do the job, you certainly have more than enough to semi-ERE. If this is the case, I truly believe it is more dangerous for you to stay than quit. If you are fried to a crisp don't forget to give yourself some time to do nothing just to decompress.

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Bankai
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Bankai »

Thanks everyone for the advice. I had a chat with my boss today, outlined why I don't think the offer is ideal and asked for 20%. Kept it short, factual and to the point. My boss seemed calm and understanding, but it's not up to him really - we'll see how this is received higher up the chain. From the conversations I had, it seems I made a high-risk high reward move as 20% is a lot. I already feel better since having the conversation and I feel like I'll be OK with either result - if they agree, I stay, if they won't, I decline the promotion and leave by year-end; I 'might' accept 15% or more, but probably will stick to 20%.

Scott 2
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Scott 2 »

Speaking as someone who has declined a promotion - if it's work you want to do, I would suggest accepting whatever their best offer is. Let them talk you into it, with a promise to reconsider compensation at review time, after you both get a better sense of the value you can provide in the position. Your employer has an overall compensation strategy, and it may truly tie your manager's hands.

Taking the promotion, you'll be positioned much better to look externally to the company, with your new higher level title and pay. If it turns out you cannot do better, you also avoid losing the opportunity.

I'm still at the employer I declined a promotion at. It took years for me to work back into the same level I previously declined. I was not happy working for people I should have been peering with. It lead to a lot of conflict.

Nuuka
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Nuuka »

To be honest, I don’t see any problem of just accepting the offer. You will get nice raise and get challenging job. Your resume improves in case you want to change to another job. I don’t think your negotiation position is particularly strong if you have just 2 years of history within the company, sorry to say.

As to semi retirement, i don’t see much sense working in low paying work since you are already in high-paying work now. You would be selling your time very cheap.

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Bankai
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Bankai »

Two months later, I'm quite happy that I both asked for more money and accepted the (improved) offer. Total pay rise between base pay and on target bonus ended up being 25% which is nothing to sneeze at. I also have an option to make extra money for being 'on-call' but I'm going to wait with this until I get more settled in the new role.

The new job is challenging with a much larger workload as well as higher expectations and autonomy. The project that was waiting for me... I cursed a lot over the first few weeks but it's getting better as I get a better grip on it. I'm not out of the woods yet, but it's moving it the right direction. Overall, I enjoy the challenge (and money).

I also made a mistake of googling how much my job pays in the US and it's $95k on average. If it was only about money I would seriously consider moving as it's over 60% more than what I get here in the UK. But it's not, I quite like it here and also the recent topic on moving to the US isn't very encouraging either.

A couple of days ago I had an interesting 15-minute chat with the director of our department. I basically asked him a question and then listened to his insights on building a 'career'. He painted an interesting picture of how to approach this (S. Covey's 'begin with the end in mind' comes to mind) and shared some wrong ways to do this that he sees all the time when recruiting for more senior roles. I'm not looking to have a full-blown career as I hope to be done in 3 years, but it was interesting nonetheless and I might use some of his suggestions. So it looks to me that I will be staying where I am for another few years and maybe it's my final job, who knows?

steveo73
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by steveo73 »

Great update. It's interesting when you are looking to be done in a small number of years because promotions and opportunities may not be what you want.

ertyu
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by ertyu »

I would accept the promotion, grind it out for a year then seek to use it as a stepping stone to find a better paying job with another company

wolf
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by wolf »

Great update Bankai and congrats to the higher pay! 25% is huge. So, deliberately coasting to FI then?

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Bankai
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by Bankai »

Actually, it looks that way - I saved half of what I need (12.5x annual expenses) and there's no pressure anymore. I stay where I am as money is OK, the job is still interesting, and the boss and colleagues nice. And, I have no desire for another promotion or starting from scratch somewhere else. But... I can walk away at any time and take a looong holiday. Feels good! Probably feels even better at 25x or 33x?

wolf
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by wolf »

I am also deliberately coasting to FI. Job-wise I am in a similar situation as you. I got a pay rise too. And I know that my job is pretty safe for the next few years. So, instead of changing something drastically I try out things/activities here and there. That will increase my cost, but I now it is the right time to experiment. It doesn't matter if I work one or two years longer, in order to increase my passive income cash flow.

12,5x, 25x, 33x ... are nice round numbers, which carries a meaning. I'd like to differentiate between process (the journey towards those numbers) and the goal (achieving such numbers). If you once achieved those numbers, how long do you talk/think about them. For me it was/is always increasing the bar. I'v mastered many milestones in the last few years. But I didn't think too long about them. And I only remember them sporadically. Of course I am very grateful for achieving them and I am proud a little bit as well. But after achieving one goal there will be (always) another one. So my thinking strives many times into the future. I became aware of that and I don't know for sure what to think about it. Buddhists talk about "to want". I think that is the root of all thinking regarding goals... Well, back to the real world. Gotta work to do. Take care Bankai!

SustainableHappiness
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by SustainableHappiness »

Quitting with FU money has worked out well (2+ years out) for me and my family. I highly recommend it if your exit plan if fairly robust. The scariness wore off after a couple months of realizing my life doesn't end when my primary career and cash flow did. I've ended up in a higher autonomy gig with interesting side gigs and way more time to raise babies. Not saying that's the way it goes for everyone, but *sometimes* walking away from some security leads to good things and it usually leads to interesting innovation at the very least. I also talk to much more interesting people in general now. This can't be understated.

But if you like your job...stay put, brah.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: On the crossroads – should I accept a promotion, ask for more money or quit and do semi-ERE?

Post by SustainableHappiness »

I also make about 30-40% less (depending on where my old bonuses ended up).

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