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Am I being greedy?

I make pretty-good money at a pretty-good job.  I mostly like the people I work with.  I have a feeling I've topped out, and the best I can expect is 3-5% a year from here on out.

I have recieved 2 offers in 2 months both paying 25-30% over my current salary.  One wasn't a good fit, but one is a great fit.  Realistically it's the same job as I do now, with a little more recognized leadership.

I live modestly in a very expensive city.  I am married, I want to buy a house and have kids in the next 3-5 years. I want my wife to be able to stay home with the child for the first few years at least.  I am searching for a reason not to take the better-paying job.

Someone suggested attempting to address this with my boss -  is it it possible without letting on that I have other offers?

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

If it's a great fit and better paying, then what's the problem?  If you have some misguided feeling of company loyalty, it's probably safe to say that the organization you work for has no such attachments to you.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Well these kind of things are a bit more complicated. Has the company you work for now given you options which might be worth something now or someday? What are the prospects of advancement for you? How close is your workplace?

25-30% is a big jump in salary but if it is being offered by a startup as usually is the case...you have to evaluate dispassionately whether they will make it..no point in having 6 months of good salary if  after that you have to spend months looking for a good job again

Code Monkey
Monday, August 02, 2004

I do have options, but I have only been at the current gig a year and they are not vested, regardless I am underwater anyway.  The company has had some financial reporting problems lately and the share price is hurting.

The place with the offer is not a start-up, but has a software application as a supplement to their core business,  so I would  be a dev in a revenue-generating area instead of IT.

I need to dig deep on the new company with regards to their financial situation.  They are private and it can be tough to figure out.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

No, you are not being greedy.  You owe it to yourself and your family to make as much as you can.  You deserve to be paid what you can negotiate. 

Your present company does NOT care about you.  If they did, you would already be earning 25-30% more than you are now.  Don’t bother negotiating with them because they will only resent you for having to pay you more.  Also, your colleagues will resent you for bettering yourself. 

Master of the Obvious
Monday, August 02, 2004

Why go to the trouble?  You must not be sharing all the info here, beause this sounds like a no-brainer.

You have the choice to stay in IT with a company with a dubious financial situation, or become a breadwinner in a company that you describe as a great fit with 30% higher salary.  Where's the dilemna?

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Muppet,

Thanks for your input.

Changing jobs is a big deal emotionally and psychologically and is not something I do lightly.  As I mentioned above I am still not 100% that company B is any better off financially than company A.  Similarly, I cannot predict what my potential for growth will be.  For me, there is more to this decision than money.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

why is changing jobs an emotional thing? Either company will drop you in a second whenever you no longer meet their (short term) needs.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

>> why is changing jobs an emotional thing?

For the same reason changing houses is. Like changing schools/colleges is. You will learn more about that in next decade's class. Now, lunch time. Don't forget to eat your veggies.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

LOL.

You must have one stellar job if you equate leaving it with leaving your home.  How sad if you don't.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

"why is changing jobs an emotional thing?"

Since I became responsible for the life of another person(s), I tend not to make these decisions lightly.  But that's just me.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

I'm responsible for my 6 year old daughter, of whom I am a single parent, and that's exactly the reason WHY I'd leave a job for one that paid 30% more in a heartbeat, all other things being equal, which it sounds like they are.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

Thanks muppet.  I think you've made it clear what youre opinion is.  I appreciate the input.

Anyone else have anything to offer?

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
          Yogi Barra

old_timer
Monday, August 02, 2004

I completely understand your position on not just wanting to jump ship for money.

Just because others regard money as the most important thing, doesn't mean you do.

I was in a similar situation 2.5 years ago, when I got an offer almost $10,000 above my current employer.  I had been at my current employer for six months.  The new job called me after having rejected me six months previous.

I was being underpaid, so I told my boss about it.  They gave me a counter offer, and 2.5 years later, I'm still there.  I don't think it was a bad thing to do, because I took a job at a company I wanted to be at regardless of the salary.  I was scared at the time I accepted the job in the first place, being an IT pro and all, unemployed right around 9/11.  It worked out.

Go with your heart.  I did.  It always works.  Trouble is, figuring out which is speaking, your heart or your greed, which is probably why you asked the question in the first place.

Don't just take the job for one reason; take the job because it offers you better opportunity, closer to home, etc.    Don't reject the new job for loyalty alone.

2 cents from someone who has survived.

survivor
Monday, August 02, 2004

I don't see what the problem is... are you working for family or something?

Greg Hurlman
Monday, August 02, 2004

**Just because others regard money as the most important thing, doesn't mean you do.**

He said the other job is a "great fit".  This sounds like it's more than a money issue, to me.

muppet
Monday, August 02, 2004

thanks, survivor,  that is great feedback.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

How do I let my boss know I'm underpaid without "proof" (i.e. other offers)?

My boss is very young and out of touch with the developer market.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

Generate a report from salary.com, or do a realrates.com search for your area...

Seriously though, why are you having such a hard time leaving a job for more money?  Is there some sort of misplaced loyalty & guilt, or a real reason?

Greg Hurlman
Monday, August 02, 2004

There is some guilt, I suppose. Some loyalty, yes.

Mostly my concern is that I am trading in one set of problems for another, merely for money.

I suppose there is a part of me that would rather stay where I am and be properly compensated. than leave.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

My father gave me one piece of career advice.  He said that the best way up the corporate ladder (with the better salaries to match) is to find a new place to work every few years.  So far, he's right.  If I'd stayed at my first post-graduate job, I'd be, at best, a technical lead, still doing phone support.  Instead, I've gone from phone wonk -> Intranet Admin -> Sr. Web Dev/Admin -> Sr. Tech Specialist, ASP.Net (while job titles don't mean much, the salary's jumped 80% in 3 years) - all with different companies for each job.

Eric Sink said it best*:

You can't eliminate problems, but you can make trades to
get problems that you prefer over the ones you have now.


*http://software.ericsink.com/No_Programmers.html

Greg Hurlman
Monday, August 02, 2004

Any time I'm in a similar situation I go to my boss and tell him frankly about the offer. If they need me -- they make a counter-offer. If not (or not for that money) -- I leave. Seems pretty streight-forward for me... and honest, what's important.

The boss is a human too (well, usually) and he would understand your dilemma. After all, there are great chances he was in the same situation himself.

Vladimir
Monday, August 02, 2004

No, you're not being greedy.

May I politely suggest that you spare no hesitation in going for that new job and enjoy the money and change of scenery. There's no such thing as loyalty and if the place you currently work at valued you they'd be paying you what you're worth.

Their loss. Your gain.

Best of luck!

TheGeezer
Monday, August 02, 2004

Change is always good, it's the natural order of things. Everything has risk, but as long as the risk is based on good principles, it is well worth taking it. Good luck!

robtwister
Monday, August 02, 2004

Read "Die Broke" and get back to us.

He CLAIMS that all you should try to get out of work is a paycheck. Get your satisfaction elsewhere. Get your relationships elsewhere.

Sad approach, but perhaps appropriate for the masses of people living lives of quiet desperation?

Mr.Analogy
Monday, August 02, 2004

Another perspective:

Let's take muppet's situation as an example.  You are a single parent of a young child.  That has a lot of emotional demand.  That child NEEDS you to be able to come home emotionally healthy enough to offer love and nuturing.  You work at job A which pays enough to meet your needs and you are not on welfare or anything.  You get an offer for Job B which pays 30% more.  Those are simple factors easy to wiegh.  Whats not so easy to see at a glance is how happy (fulfilled and satisfied by my professional accomplishments) can I continue to be at job A?  And would I be able to be as happy or more at job B?  If job B has a better description on paper, that doesn't mean that you will be happy.  The people you work with make a big difference, especially the bosses you have to report to.  Is your current manager a "remove the roadblocks and let you work" guy? or a micromanager?  What about the new boss?  Even with a lot more money you can go home every day emotionally drained, and then how much will the extra money be worth to your child?

Just another way to think about it.

Clay Whipkey
Monday, August 02, 2004

Thanks  Clay, I appreciate this.

Unfortunately, given the cost of housing where I live, "good enough" pay will probably not allow me to buy a home without some seriously risky loan games (I live in SoCal).  There is no chance of me paying a 3k mortgage on my own if my wife stays home.  Right now this is a reality that is staring me squarely in the face.

.
Monday, August 02, 2004

All else being equal (and ONLY if all else is truly equal), you should always take the job that pays more. 

Are you sure there's not more to this story?  Or are you simply experiencing fear of the unknown?

www.ChristopherHawkins.com
Monday, August 02, 2004

I took a job once that paid 26% better than the job I had.  But in twelve weeks they realized they didn't have enough work for me, and I was back looking for a job again.  This is the risk and the reason "." is hesitant, I think.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and he's looking at just 1.25 birds in the bush.

Risk, reward...but some rewards don't justify the risk.  I don't think . is being greedy, though; I think the question of whether he should take the job is fair.  What he needs to ask is whether he'll be able to find another job just as easily if this one folds.  And he may answer yes to that question, in which case the new job is probably worth it.

Kyralessa
Monday, August 02, 2004

the one thing lacking from your rationale, Kyralessa, is that his current job could just as easily fold.  His time with the company doesn't guarantee that it won't.

muppet
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Ok here's some more info:

current company:
* public, more employees (200), with more revenue (16MM)
* unprofitable, but barely so.  growing after downsizing
* is in an established software industry sector (storage)

new company
* private , fewer employees (35), less revenue (3M)
* 'very profitable', after downsizing
* in a non-software market (corporate training)

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

200 people on a revenue of only 16 million? 35 people on a revenue of only 3 million? If you do the math, that's only $80-85k per employee. With overhead that sounds suspiciously little. What kind of salaries do these companies pay? Most people there can't be making much.

sid6581
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

sory, first number should be 32MM, not 16 MM

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What is MM, is that the same as M? i.e. Million?

Chris
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

MM = Million

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

But the second, "very profitable" company still only has a revenue of about $85k per employee. And this is in SoCal as well? Sounds very low.

sid6581
Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Just agreeing with stuff people have already said here:

1.  It seems obvious you are not being greedy.

2.  Typically, the only effective way to tell your boss you are underpaid is to leave.  Bringing him a salary.com survey usually won't get the message across.  It wouldn't with me.

3.  Yes, advancement usually happens in the context of a job change.  This is so true, but most people want it not to be.

4.  I too would worry about joining a company with only 85K revenue per employee  in southern california.  Seems low.

Eric Sink
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

there's no point in bringing it up with your current employer because it sounds like from your post that he's paying you as much as he can afford.

this is your only opportunity to switch to a better paying, upwardly-mobile job.

try switching jobs while supporting a child on one family income.  your risk/reward scenarios will be MUCH more limited.

Kenny
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Unless you have a contractually guaranteed fat severance package where you are now, you're probably just at risk for being unemployed six months from now if you keep the existing job.  You mentioned your current employer has downsized, which means they won't have qualms about doing it again.

Bottom line: take the job, unless you find out some serious red flags about the other company.

NoName
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

You have some goals - buy a house have kids etc.  These require a certain income level. You need a plan to get to that income level or you will never be able to achieve these goals. You need to look at your current job and determine if and when it will pay you enough to reach your goals. If it will not  you will have to leave at some point or give up the goals.  Then look at the new job and determine if it will move you closer to your goals. 

It is a risk but in general to increase your income significantly you will have to change jobs.

John
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Wow excellent feedback.  Regarding 85k per employee as being low - would it change your mind if I told you I was in San Diego?  Low(er) salary seems the norm here.  Thanks all!

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I still think it sounds low. Our revenue per employee is about $300k, and we're in Texas which should be cheaper. I don't know how that other company compares, but they've got to have really low expenses in order to pull this off. Do they have any benefits? 401k matching? Health insurance? How about their offices, are they in a fancy/expensive location or a cheap one?

I'd worry, but that's just me.

sid6581
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

office is brand new and decent.  Compensation stuff I'm still working throuhg, I'll get more info on that, but they do have health / medical / dental / 401k (unsure about matching right now) etc...

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

This doesn't add up. How is it possible to be "very profitable" when you have 35 employees and only 3 million in revenue??? My own company is "very profitable", but we have 7 employees and more than 3 million in revenues. And we are in San Diego, coincidentally.

just me
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

With all those benefits and shiny new offices expenses must be high. Are you sure they're not lying when they say they're "very profitable"? I don't understand how they can do that. Do the math, after salaries and other expenses associated with all those employees it doesn't make sense that they have a lot left over.

sid6581
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

this is great info, I will dig deeper on this issue.

.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

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