Career Advice Tueday – “For Love or Money”

November 3, 2009

Dear Infosecleaders,

Currently I am faced with a career decision to make and I would like for your guidance. 

Here is my situation – I have been working for my employer for a little more than a year.  I like my job, my manager, and the people that I work with.   All that being said, my compensation is something to be desired.  My employer is known for being a “low payer”, and they can get away with this because of the “coolness” quotient associated with the opportunity.

I have recently been approached by an industry peer about working with him at his current consulting company.  It is a good company, and reputable.   The job offers about 15% more pay, and considerably better benefits.  However, the job is going to reduce my overall quality of life – due to commute and travel.  In addition, I am not confident that I will be working with the same caliber of people that comprise my current team.  Also, I am not sure that the technical components of the position will provide me with the same level of enjoyment as my current responsibilities.

In the background of this is the economy.  I am the sole bread winner in my family and times are a bit tight.  The extra money (around 15-20K) would make a huge difference to me and my family.  There is not doubt that I am feeling the pressure at home.

I am really torn in making this decision.   Can you give me some guidance on this.


“Security Sell-Out?”

Dear “Potential Sell-Out”:

Money is clearly a core reason for working and could be the determining factor in changing positions.  It appears that you have some growing responsibilities at home, and people who count on you for providing for them.   That is a huge undertaking and should not be taken lightly.  Next to your own happiness and satisfaction, the people at home are the ones that matter most.

15% more income is a good amount of money and could make a significant difference in your financial happiness,  but it may take a greater personal toll.  Let me explain:

First, the position appears to take you away from an environment that you enjoy, people you like working with, and technical information security challenges that keep you motivated and focuses.   In the new position, you may develop different skills, but they may not give you the same level of intellectual satisfaction.   Conversely, it is possible that if you are exposed to these new opportunities, you may respond well to them, and they can open your eyes to something that may be more challenging and rewarding. 

Simply put, you need to figure out if you will find happiness and satisfaction in your new role.

Second, is the impact on your quality of life.  I am not sure where you are located but unexpected travel and extensive commuting can be both physically and emotionally draining.    Also, this additional time away from home can cause strain on your personal relationships, especially if you (and your family) have never been exposed to this type of work environment.  This can greatly effect your happiness on a daily basis, and the only saving grace will be that more money is deposited in your account every 2 weeks.

As a side note, the cost of divorce is much greater than 15-20K.

One of the ways to figure out how much travel you will ultimately do, is to ask your potential new peers about the travel demands they have faced over the past 12 months – this should provide you with a good indication of what you could  be getting yourself into.

You have to be real honest with yourself about this, and figure out if your relationships at home can adjust to this life change.

In closing, I think that you need to sit down with yourself first, and figure out if the increase in compensation is fair value for the sacrifice and change that you are going to make.  You have to weigh the reward of money – with the risk of losing job satisfaction.   

If the answer to that question is “yes”, you then need to explain to your spouse what the extra demands of the role will be, and the sacrifice that your family will be making by not having you “around as much.”  You need to make sure that you have their full support and understanding before moving forward.

After this, reflect again.  Think about your career and your financial future (Yes – they are intertwined).  Make your decision.  Once you have made it, be prepared to stick by it, before you share it with anyone.  Move Forward – Full Speed Ahead.

Let us know what you decide, and how this turns out.


Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Career Advice Tuesday 


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