Career Advice Tuesday – “Traveling For Dollars”

February 15, 2011

Dear Infosecleaders:

I am an information security professional who is currently in the process of a job search outside my current company.   I have been interviewing for the pat two months, and I find myself in a situation where I have two opportunities in front of me, and I would like some advice on how to make my decision.

First some background.  I am a happily married husband and father of one, and we are currently expecting our second child (in August).  My wife is a stay at home mom, and I am the sole provider of income for our family.   We both have roots in the area, and are involved in community activities (through our church, youth sports, and others.  One of the main reasons behind my job search was to earn additional money, considering that our family is growing.  The earning potential at my current (soon to be past) employer, is limited at best.

My two opportunities are as follows –

1)   The first is a position with a local company as part of their information security team.  It is a more senior version of my current role, and it has the same demands (commute, work hours, etc.)  The salary is about 10% more – and I have a bonus opportunity for an additional 10% more – so collectively I can make 20% additional.

2)   The second is a position with a professional services firm.  It appears that I have some specific skills (SIM implementation) that are in really high demand because of the experience I have with a particular product.   The company has offered me a salary that is 30% more than I am earning, and I have the ability to earn 20% more in bonus that are paid quarterly.   There is a catch.  I will be expected to travel 80-100% of the time – meaning that I will leave on Monday morning – and expected to be on site until Thursday, possibly Friday (every week)

I am really torn.  The extra money will be a huge help – the ability to earn 50% more than my current compensation will have some dramatic effects on the financial aspects of our lives.  However I am fearful of the effect that the travel will have on my relationship with my family,

Do you have any guidance that you can share with me?

Thanks for your help,

“Up In The Air?”

Dear Mr. Clooney:

“Life is a series of tradeoffs”  (Not sure whom we should credit, but it is definitely applicable)

You are faced with an interesting decision – and find yourself in an interesting position.  First of all, it is good that you have a decision and have some choices – so you are already ahead of the game.

Through 15 years of experience, I have come to learn one thing about recruiting – and that travel is the ultimate life changer.  There are some people who have learned to manage their lives and their personal relationships around business travel, and they have successful careers and home lives that work for them.  On the other hand, people who have never had to travel generally do not understand the impact of extensive time away from home, until it has had a negative effect on their personal relationships.  Sometimes, the effects on a family are disastrous and irreparable.

Based on what you described, my advice is to take your first option.  You will still earn possibly 20% more, and you will be able to be home to be with your growing family.   Although the other opportunity is substantially more lucrative, I think that you may be making a Faustian deal, trading some short term earnings for some big time life changes, which I think could have significant effect on your overall happiness.

Hope this helps,

Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Career Advice Tuesday, Compensation, Interviewing, Position Selection, Skills 


One Response to “Career Advice Tuesday – “Traveling For Dollars””

  1. David on March 31st, 2011 7:29 am

    Take the first job. You can always make more money, you can never make more time – and your children will only grow up once. Don’t miss it, you’ll kick yourself forever if you do.


    The Voice of Experience.