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Would you consider a promotion?
Old 07-27-2013, 09:45 AM   #1
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Would you consider a promotion?

Would you accept a director level engineering position for a 30% increase in pay when you are already FI and ready to retire in 2 years? The responsibilities include overall software development of a robotics system, supervising 10 to 12 senior engineers, and coordinating with other functional groups (marketing, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, quality, etc).

Let's suppose currently that you are an individual contributor with modest stress (such as deadline) but interesting work.

Comments?
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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Nope. Worst part of any of my jobs was managing people. If you're FI why torture yourself? Besides, engineers are hard to manage IMO; first boss called us all malcontents!
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
first boss called us all malcontents!
Nice boss? It's kind true that are some engineers who always complain about management, technology, development tools, product development process and FDA regulations. These are ones that would be hard to manage.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:05 AM   #4
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Nice boss? It's kind true that are some engineers who always complain about management, technology, development tools, product development process and FDA regulations. These are ones that would be hard to manage.
I am an engineer who worked his way up to VP Operations over 20 years. Your biggest challenge will be working with the peer group who may impose unreasonable constraints and deadlines on your project (if that will be part of the game). The frustrations will be the result of having no direct control over other functional groups who have demands on your output. Handling the engineers? That's going to be a piece of cake in the long run.

For two years? If you let them know that in two years you are "moving on", will they still want to promote you?
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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I am an engineer who worked his way up to VP Operations over 20 years. Your biggest challenge will be working with the peer group who may impose unreasonable constraints and deadlines on your project (if that will be part of the game). The frustrations will be the result of having no direct control over other functional groups who have demands on your output.
Agreed - managing their expectations and have them on your side would be a formidable task!

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For two years? If you let them know that in two years you are "moving on", will they still want to promote you?
Definitely no!

Thanks for your insights.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:48 AM   #6
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I would not do it.

You might want to take a look at your after tax position instead of the pretax position.

More and more people I know are looking to leave management positions in favor of being individual contributors. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my management positions and was able to retire early and very securely on the large annual bonuses that I earned and on stock options that I exercised at the right time.

But with two years to go...if you really mean this...then why take the headache. Spend the next two years preparing for your retirement instead of worrying about you new position, your performance, the people on your team, or those deadlines and projects that you are worried about.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:53 AM   #7
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Not having a management position the last few years has enabled me to hang around in a low stress job which I enjoy. If I were forced into any other position I'd quit tomorrow.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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It's two years of interesting new challenges. If you don't like it, you can tell them it's not working out and go back to where you are now. If you're playing One More Year (or Two More Years) the 30% boost is great. Plus there's usually bonus opportunity that you won't find out about until you accomplish something. Personally, I would love to have a director who actually knows what it takes to accomplish individual contributor work, not because I expect him to do any of that work, but he is likely a much better leader because of his practical understanding of what's involved.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:25 PM   #9
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Not in a technical field and not set on a FIRE date yet, but I'm about to throw my hat in the ring for my boss's job -- director of our international office. He's leaving in a few weeks and they've already indicated I will become interim director while they run the search, and my reputation in the organization is very strong, so I think I have a good shot at it. It will hopefully involve a significant bump in salary/benefits (boss's package is almost double what I currently get). It will definitely be more stress than my current position as it is currently configured, but at this point I am more worried about what it might be like to work under someone new/unknown than what it will be like to take on the directorship. We're pretty much FIRED already if we decide to stop working/sell our apartment which has appreciated nicely in the 4+ years since we bought it, so I don't really have much to lose. If I get, like and excel at the job I'll probably stay for another 5-10 years. If not, then I'm currently on a one year see how it goes plan.

I guess in relation to your question I would ask if you are the kind of person who really enjoys taking on new and challenging tasks. If so, then I'd go for the promotion. If you value stability/security, then maybe just stick with what you have got while the clock counts down.

For me, another factor is that I could coast along in my current job just fine, but I am actually a bit bored with some aspects of it and I am interested in challenging myself more. One big responsibility of the new director will be to land significant new programming, and I think I will be good at/find that aspect of things interesting. I really enjoy program development work. I'm good at program management as well, but it gets pretty humdrum once things are up, running, and pretty much tweaked to optimal performance level (which is where I feel I currently am with my existing portfolio).
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brett View Post

You might want to take a look at your after tax position instead of the pretax position.
$20K after tax a year.

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But with two years to go...if you really mean this...then why take the headache. Spend the next two years preparing for your retirement instead of worrying about you new position, your performance, the people on your team, or those deadlines and projects that you are worried about.
good advice. Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:34 PM   #11
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From a purely financial perspective, the additional 30% pay & (presumably) potential for larger bonuses sure would never hurt the old nest egg
And you also might consider it if you enjoy a more 'strategic' (vs individual contribution) involvement in a project. Obviously, only you can decide if the intellectual (& financial) positives outweigh the negative of having to manage other engineers.
Sounds like a good problem to have!
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You've got to be kidding me
Old 07-27-2013, 12:50 PM   #12
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You've got to be kidding me

Really? From my perspective, no way in hell I'd trade UP(?), especially if my financial boat was in reasonable order and I was as close as you are.

Why, because it isn't really a trade up and 30% in no way reflects the amount of stress, effort and hours that you will be required to work. It's not a reasonable financial trade, in my opinion. Let's say you ONLY add 15% more hours/stress. At time and one-half since you're already working more than 40, it's 22%+ already. And what's worse, 15% more effort is not even close to their expectations. I can guarantee that. The profit motive is insatiable and as an exempt employee your extra hours are basically free.

I'd estimate that my management jobs usually involved at least 33% more effort/stress/hours than the people that worked for me, including engineers and technical staff. Most of my manager peers work 40-50% more hours in their positions. They are making less than most of our administrative staff in $/hr. It's easy to do, the peer pressure, goal setting and expectations will drive you to do so. That's not even talking about the "fun" you'll have in motivating your disgruntled employees.

My recommendation is to be smart, fly under the radar, coast into retirement, take up another hobby, lose some weight, take up a different exercise routine, just do anything else; please don't fall into the ego or "interesting/challenging" work trap. Remember, it's all about dollars per hour. In my opinion, if you don't remember that point, you are going to be very, very sorry.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:05 PM   #13
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No, I wouldn't take the promotion. You may be a bit distracted during the time between now and ER, since you will be planning it and thinking about it. Not a good time to be putting one's all into a new position.

Also I can't imagine dumping such a position in just two years in order to retire; that would leave the next person in a bad situation and I would have felt a little guilty about that.

What you have right now is a known situation that is leading to ER. So I agree with most of the posts prior to this one - - I'd stick with it.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #14
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It will depend on your own situation, but in my case, I only have two words. The second one being "no". I'm barely into the 25% bracket right now after writeoffs and such, so the way I see it, a 30% raise would only get me about 60 cents on the dollar at best, once you take into account state/local taxes and SS. If I was only two years out from retirement as it is, I don't think the extra responsibility would be worth the extra money.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:51 PM   #15
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What happens if they hire a new director who isn't you and he decides he has to make some waves to put his mark on the organization. Maybe he needs scapegoats for perceived dept issues before he started. As a highly paid individual who might have been a rival for his position, can you survive either a strategic firing or a concerted attempt to make your position miserable enough that you quit. How FI are you?
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:19 PM   #16
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growing_older, if that's the case, in today's environment, all Spanky needs to do is document the issues, and press ahead for a severance package and corresponding, 26-52 weeks of UI. Companies today do not want the publicity; especially, for technical or exempt levels of older personnel. Though age discrimination issues are difficult to prove, in this situation it "looks" really bad. Most companies HR also know that it will cost them more in the long term with the attitude/turnover of the remaining staff. If Spanky doesn't want the aggravation, then he'll be done all that much sooner. He's already FI. Personally, I don't see the downside, other than taking the management job.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:12 PM   #17
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Well, everyone's experience seems to be different. I have never seen a successful age discrimination suit by anyone I ever worked with, but I have seen many examples of new management coming in and either cleaning house or making life difficult for current employees which induces them to look for work elsewhere. In rare cases, I have seen people quit due to the unpleasant environment before finding a new job.

You are correct that companies do not want age discrimination suits, and can go to great lengths to avoid them. But in my experience, the effort they expend is in generating documentation that will cover themselves, not in providing generous severance.

Maybe OP's knows their employer well and there are no dangers in working under new (not yet hired) management. Maybe OP is a key contributor and the employer is lucky to have them as an individual contributor for the next two years, if that is the path chosen. No one except OP will be in a great position to weight these considerations, but I do think there are possible upsides to trying the management position (new challenges and opportunity to learn new skills. it's limited in time anyway by OPs FI plans) and there are possible downsides (like unknown new management or being misunderstood as an unambitious slacker) to not taking it. Just as there are also downsides to the promotion (more hours and more stress, possibly lots more) and upsides to staying put (comfort zone and ability to glide into retirement with less stress).
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:34 PM   #18
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Thanks for inputs from everyone. After weighing all the pros and cons, what's right for me is to stay as an individual contributor as I really do not want additional stress and responsibilities at this stage of my life. The additional pay is not needed as I am already FI. Technical work is a lot more appealing and stimulating than managing a team of technical leads, interacting with people from multiple functional groups and making strategic decisions on projects. What's important is to maintain a good work-life balance. Working 60-hour weeks is definitely not my cup of tea.

Again, thanks a lot.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:03 AM   #19
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Would you accept a director level engineering position for a 30% increase in pay when you are already FI and ready to retire in 2 years?
Nope. IMO, FI should mean FI for your intended ER lifestyle and with some margin of contingency, so any more is steering into greed territory.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:51 AM   #20
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If you are already truly FI - meaning if you lost your job today your ER fiances would not be impacted - see the job as an interesting challenge, and plan to retire in two years, why not? What is the worst that can happen?

If you find there is too much stress, just leave... you don't need the money of you are FI. If not, you can build more of an FI cushion if you just bank/invest the additional 30%.

You will be retiring with the VP title, which may help in the future if you ever choose part time work again.

I'm noticing since I hit my FI target the relative personal job stress has gone way down. I took on a couple of "challenging" projects but feel a lot more independent and willing to take risks to meet the objective. Not having to worry about money as much can do wonders for ones outlook.
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