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Difficult job decision!!!
Old 07-06-2010, 12:25 PM   #1
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Difficult job decision!!!

I'm very lucky in this time of unemployment as I have a choice of 2 jobs and I'd be interested to hear what you guys think I should do. I've made my decision, but won't tell you what it is yet.

I've worked in a university job for 6 years, it's well paid ($130k/year), has fantastic benefits, great medical, 5 weeks vacation, great atmosphere, but I find the work a bit boring and I have to commute 45 mins each way. I have great job security.

I have another job offer that will be more interesting. It's as a contractor to the government and would pay $195k/year if I work 52, 40 hour weeks but has zero benefits. I'd have to pay for health care ($500/month) and any vacation or sick days would be unpaid. Also I'd have to get a security clearance and I'm a US/UK dual citizen so while my prospective employer says it should be ok they cannot assure me of anything. I talked to them about this and they said that they wanted me to work on non classified stuff initially and that the clearance stuff might take a year to come through.

Factor in that I'm 2 to 3 years away from early retirement!
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:44 PM   #2
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Would not your SS and medicare taxes be drastically different? OTOH, as self-employed you could put ~$49K into tax-deferred.

You would have to post the value of the fringe benefits, ....
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:46 PM   #3
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What happens if your security clearance never comes through?
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:48 PM   #4
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I've worked in a university job for 6 years, it's well paid ($130k/year), has fantastic benefits, great medical, 5 weeks vacation, great atmosphere, but I find the work a bit boring and I have to commute 45 mins each way. I have great job security.
I could put up with a lot of boring for this. It's the commute that would be the sticking point.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:50 PM   #5
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Would not your SS and medicare taxes be drastically different? OTOH, as self-employed you could put $49K into tax-deferred.

You would have to post the value of the fringe benefits, ....
In my university job I pay no SS as I work for the state, but I have 11% taken out of my paycheck for state retirement version of 401k and the state puts in 5% of my salary, and then I also put $17k/year into a 457 and another $5k into a 403b.

With the contractor job I'm not self employed, I'd be working for a contractor, they offer a 401k, but no company match.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:51 PM   #6
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What happens if your security clearance never comes through?
I'd be looking for a new job.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:39 PM   #7
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I'd be looking for a new job.
OR....NOT
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:49 PM   #8
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OR....NOT
Well exactly......
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:07 PM   #9
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I'd be looking for a new job.
for a Secret level clearance, it's not too hard to get. It took me about 8, 9 months to get mine(and I'm a naturalized citizen). I think they(the DoD) mostly look to see if you have financial or drug problems and you need to provide all kinds of info from the past 10 years or so including your family, neighbors, employers, etc.

But a Top Secret is a different story...
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:24 PM   #10
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The commute kind of sucks, but otherwise I think your current job sounds like the better deal. With vacation and federal holidays you probably get about 7 weeks off a year. So 40*45= 1800 hours of work, plus 337.5 hours of commuting time (1.5*5*45). Not including benefits your Real Hourly Wage for current job would be 130k/2137.5= $60.82/hour. For the new job, basic wage would be 195k - 6000 extra insurance cost/2080 = $90.86, less 7.5% in additional social security takes you down to $84.05/hour. That is a better hourly wage on the surface, but it is with no vacation, which I would imagine would really wear you out after awhile. At those rates, a week of vacation would cost you $3362 in income lost. if you took the 7 weeks you currently get (not likely, but just as a way of comparing things), your salary would drop by over $23k. So a more comparable salary range for the new job would be 195k - 6000 in added insurance - 23000 in lost PTO = $166,000. Still a significant increase over what you are currently making, but for me personally that would probably not be enough to warrant a change, given the uncertainties of the new position versus the relative stability of the current one. Also want to take into account commute time/cost to new position and increased income tax, which further diminish the relative cost advantage of the new position.

Just my personal opinion. Interested to hear what you decide.

lhamo

PS: Neglected to mention the value of the employer match at the current position. That puts you up by another $6750 over the new position, which has no match. EVen more reason to stick with what you've got. If you are bored, maybe you can develop a sideline business that can propel you into ER or ESR at an earlier date.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:11 PM   #11
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Those who think of a 45minute commute is a hardship never worked in the northeast.
I'm leaning for you to stay in your current job. Besides more money it seems to allow for an easier transition to ER. The new job sounds more stressful.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:21 PM   #12
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If I were in your position the decision would be pretty easy to stay where I am. Six figures with great benefits and job security is hard to beat. Boring is underrated. It's FAR better than being over worked. The commute would be the worst part but not worth leaving if you still need a job. Is the commute in bumper to bumper traffic or just a long distance. If it's just a long distance i'd actually consider it a good thing as it gives you time to unwind after a long day of work.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:31 PM   #13
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The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. The new job would require you to invest a lot of energy over the next few years, there is no paid vacation time, and you might hate it. It's the anti-retirement.

Your current job could be made more tolerable by simple strategies such as audiobooks in the car during your commute. It's a predictable, if slower, path to FI and that in itself can be very satisfying.

I vote for staying put.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:15 PM   #14
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An old saying comes to mind, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"

I would keep the first job, see if there was a way to make it less boring. Also, it has often been my experience, that higher pay entails higher risk. Sometimes job security, sometime physical, but, more money usually means more risk. Only you can decide if that risk is worth it.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:57 PM   #15
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Those who think of a 45minute commute is a hardship never worked in the northeast.
I'm leaning for you to stay in your current job. Besides more money it seems to allow for an easier transition to ER. The new job sounds more stressful.
Or the Bay area...

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Old 07-07-2010, 06:52 AM   #16
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As you describe things, I vote for staying put. I have been beaten to "Better the devil you know than the one you don't". I think your present job sounds much more congenial.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:48 AM   #17
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As you describe things, I vote for staying put. I have been beaten to "Better the devil you know than the one you don't". I think your present job sounds much more congenial.
That's the conclusion I came to. A really big factor was just the level of intrusion into my life that a clearance required and I sort of react against any government imposing such personal conditions on my employment. Obviously it's necessary and a natural born citizen would probably have no trouble with it, but as a UK born citizen it sort of went against the core of my being to deny my UK citizenship.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:55 AM   #18
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for a Secret level clearance, it's not too hard to get. It took me about 8, 9 months to get mine(and I'm a naturalized citizen).
That's what I was told too. I would have to hand in my UK passport and undertake not to use my UK citizenship in anyway. I could rationalize that, but then I started to worry about giving up that personal freedom and I realized that my loyalities were in fact shared between the UK and the US so I felt I'd be applying for the clearance under false pretences and didn't feel comfortable with that.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:47 AM   #19
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So, we have

great job security
fantastic benefits
5 weeks vacation
great atmosphere
but
boring
45 minute commute

vs

some additional income (maybe 20K after tax and medical not including vacation)
but
no benefits
no vacation
no job security
need security clearance

Two questions:
How much impact would the additional cash income make on ER plan?
How much impact would losing job have on ER plan?
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:56 AM   #20
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Two questions:
How much impact would the additional cash income make on ER plan?
How much impact would losing job have on ER plan?
The additional cash wouldn't have too much impact on ER plans. I'd probably enjoy the contractor job a lot more, but I'm scared of loosing a job in this economy. The contractor job didn't feel right so I passed on it. My plan is to sit tight but keep looking for something more enjoyable.
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