Career Advice Tuesday – ” Better Job, Less $$$”

April 24, 2012

Dear Infosecleaders:

I wanted to ask a question about compensation as it relates to an opportunity that I am currently pursuing.  First I would like to describe my current situation –

Right now I have a position that I do not enjoy very much.  I work as an identity and access management consultant where I implement enterprise technologies at large companies.  I have been working in this capacity for the past five years.  I travel a great deal (about 80%) – basically every Monday through Thursday.

Due to a combination of my technical skills, my willingness to travel, and my ability to communicate to senior management at my clients I have been paid quite well.  My current compensation is about 200K.  In addition, since I have been traveling so much, I have been able to reduce my living expenses considerably allowing me to save about 300K.

Recently my life has changed a bit.  I have met someone and I want to settle down and find a position that allows me to stay in one place and at the same time challenges me.   Through my network of friends and colleagues, I have located a position that accomplishes these objectives.

There is one catch.  The compensation.

The position pays  a salary of 135K and does not have a bonus. 

I would really like to accept the position but I am having a hard time getting over this hurdle.  In addition, I am not sure how to answer the employers question about my willingness to accept 1/3 less compensation than my current role. 

Any advice would be appreciated,

Settling Dan


Dear Dan:

Let me answer your second question first – the best way to answer your future employer about your willingness to accept considerably less compensation is honestly.    I would explain to them very simply that you understood that your past role was more of a 1099 assignment as opposed to a full time position – where you were receiving a 33% premium for your skill and willingness to live on an airplane.

You should explain to them that you had come to terms with yourself that you were going to sacrifice your personal life in exchange for the ability to save money and develop skill.  In addition, you can explain to them that by being financially responsible you have put yourself in a situation where you could focus on your career – and not be as concerned about money.    If you would like, you could also explain to them that you have met a significant other, and your desire to spend more time with your partner outweighs your desire to earn an additional 65K

This being said, you need to make sure that you are careful to let your future employer know that your drive and your desire to produce excellent results remains with you, and that your work ethic will not change, although you have more of a financial cushion.  The best way to do this would be to demonstrate some examples from your past that can illustrate this characteristic in both personal and professional environments.

To answer your question about money, my feeling is that this is a very personal choice and one that you, yourself will need to deal with and come to terms with .  65K is a large sum of money, however the only positions that will enable you to maintain your compensation will be ones that place you in the same environment as your current role.

If you are offered the role, (before you accept it) – I would like for you to make a list of the things in your life that you will be able to take advantage of with the new role, and to make a list of the things that you will be giving up without the 65K.  In addition, you should also look five and ten years into the future, to see if by accepting this new role, you can place yourself on a trajectory to recapture these earnings in the future.

In the end, if you want to, you can always get back on the airplane, and do the consulting.  My advice is to make the most of your relationship, and to see if you can excel in a new environment better suited for your new life.

Hope this helps,

Lee Kushner

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


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