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Old 03-11-2012, 11:12 PM   #21
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I had more personal motives, i.e. growing family, less hours, less travel, shorter commute, work from home, etc.

For me, I'm no longer interested in the title, I'm working to further build college/spoil my kids and DW/me funds. I'm seriously thinking of hanging up the Megacorp job for pure contract work (think of the title of Analyst or Associate) ... playing with numbers, but can cover my expenses with about 4 months of work.
I can relate to the personal items. I'd be home at a more reasonable time everyday - more time with family - and the shorter commute would be a big plus.

I also spent time contemplating contract work, but the going rate for what I do is about on par with the new offer, after you add in the benefits/time-off. Plus there's more upside with the full-time job since there will be merit increases, etc, and I get to learn new things, where with a contract gig I'd most likely be doing the same type of work.

But I can see ending my career with contracting. If I could work a few months out of the year and cover my expenses, then that's a great way to semi-retire.

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In terms of finding less stressful situations, some stress comes from within. It reflects the demands we put upon ourselves and we carry that with us everywhere we go. Before changing jobs to lower the stress it is important to understand oneself. One question people should ask of themselves is how well they can embrace the choices they make. If they are able to accept all outcomes, deal with unexpected consequences and move on with little regret, it is easier to change. Those that look back too often revisiting their past choices tend to fall into new holes.
This is a great point. I'm not one to ponder much on past choices. Sure there's a number of things I wish I did differently, but what's the point focusing on something you can't change?

I prefer to look at pros/cons and then go with whatever I decide and don't look back. There's a lot of pros for me moving in this case, but the amount of money left on the table hurts. I need to let go...

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In the OP's case, would the lower stress job opportunity or something similar be likely available after 1-2 more years in the current higher paying job? If the answer is yes, it would be the third option to consider.
I have thought about this option. I could hang out at my current job for a few more years and then move, but I'd still have to deal with the current environment and the bs. Instead, I could spend the next 1-2 years learning new things, while gradually building up my salary and overall worth at a new company.

My only concern here is that I find the new environment isn't much better than the old one. But I've done a lot of researching on this point and every indication so far tells me it's a better environment.

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It's only money. You can get more of that some other place and find another path to retirement. Once you destroy your health, though, it's hard to get that back.

Ironically a career change might make you more creative, more productive, and more prone to pay raises. You never know where a move like this will take you, especially if it has the potential to make you happier.

You'll also be living more cheaply when you're not confronted with the lifestyle expenses of high stress, a weakened immune system, and possible cardiac/stroke rehab.
It's hard (for me) to let go of the money. But you're right, it is only money. And it's not like we'd be starving. We have good chunk saved away and even with this change, we'd still be able to save.

Even my MIL said go for it. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some study out there that shows being happier and learning new things in a job correlates with better long-term compensation. If not, maybe I should make myself case study #1.

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Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
The new job sounds attractive. If it were me, I would go for it.

The fact that you are considering it tells us that your work conditions are important to you as well. Listen to your heart.
After reading all the comments, I feel like calling the recruiter and asking when I can start.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories and thoughts. It's been very helpful.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:19 PM   #22
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Yes I have. I considered my health (physical and mental both) to be more important.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:27 PM   #23
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It's hard (for me) to let go of the money. But you're right, it is only money. And it's not like we'd be starving. We have good chunk saved away and even with this change, we'd still be able to save.
We conservatively calculated my spouse's foregone income at $750K-$1M. But the improvement in our quality of life was priceless.

She left active duty in early 2001. Had she stuck around for the money, she would've reported aboard her next command in August 2001... and spent most of the following two years forecasting military flight weather for aircraft strikes from the Arabian Gulf into Afghanistan & Iraq. You wouldn't believe how much tax-free combat pay she would've pulled in for that duty-- of course there's the part about not being home for most of the following two years.

She did her share in the Reserves and earned a promotion that she never would have received on active duty. I ran a spreadsheet a few years ago where I calculated that her Reserve pay and her Reserve pension will catch up with her foregone active-duty pay/pension when she's about 88 years old. She has the genes to beat the calendar, and now she has the motivation to beat the Dept of Defense out of the money too...
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:31 PM   #24
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Yes, I was working for a big company in a small office doing pre-sales and consulting. One of my customer's encoured me to apply on a job. The pay was less and I gave up a company car and other perks, but the work was more to my liking and there was a lot of job security. I lived below my means so there was no hardship in taking the pay cut.

1.5 years after taking the new job we had a re-org and I ended up getting a promotion, which put me back to my old pay level.

It was a good move on my part.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:56 PM   #25
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Yes, I was working for a big company in a small office doing pre-sales and consulting. One of my customer's encoured me to apply on a job. The pay was less and I gave up a company car and other perks, but the work was more to my liking and there was a lot of job security. I lived below my means so there was no hardship in taking the pay cut.

1.5 years after taking the new job we had a re-org and I ended up getting a promotion, which put me back to my old pay level.

It was a good move on my part.
My move to a less paying job turned out to be very good too. Happy employees are productive employees, is what I figure.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:06 AM   #26
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In 2007 (at the ripe age of 31), I left the family business to try a new career where I was getting away from a truly toxic environment (both family and construction contracting were combining to create an unbearable environment). The one thing I had going for me was a great bonus from finishing off a project, as well as several years of relatively high salary/bonuses. I accepted roughly a 15% initial salary cut, plus a 20% retirement plan contribution cut (total about 35%). Oh, and then my new employer cut everyone's salary by 15% after 1 year there due to the 2008 meltdown (endured that for 2 whole years, where my new position was at a whopping 50% or so below what I had been at).

Was it worth it? Well, it was the first time I'd be working for a non-family member. For the first 6 months, I thought I had made a mistake, given the personality traits of my new boss. However, I learned to deal with him, and eventually realized that it was truly less stressful (and relatively more enjoyable) than my previous career.

My words of advice: Make sure that what you are transitioning to is truly better, and not just your current feeling of "the grass is always greener over there"....and to avoid realizing that once you're "over there", the grass actually wasn't greener, just a different shade of the same green, with different bullsh*t you have to deal with.

If it's a cut in salary that's not insurmountable (and only delays ER by 1 year out of 10 years), and you think there might be fiscal benefits to your move down the road, then go for it! Just make sure you're not going to be substituting one load of crap for another load once you make the switch.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:35 AM   #27
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No, but I would have no problem changing if it means that I am happier with the new less paying job.
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Has anyone ever taken a job for less ?
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:19 AM   #28
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I left my previous position with nothing lined up and my options wide open -- but it was after they tried to cut my salary 20%, so I pretty munch knew my future there was limited, to say the least.

I ended up getting a job that paid about 20% less than my previous position, but had much better work-life balance and benefits. My share of health insurance and copays/deductibles dropped significantly, and I started getting a major employer-funded retirement benefit at 1 year in (starting with 7.5% -- it will go up to 10% when I hit 5 years in next year, and up to 12% in another five years if I am still there). I also went from working for a totally sociopathic boss (not kidding -- he had already driven one person to a nervous breakdown and I wasn't far from one when I left) to working for a real mensch. I still have some areas of frustration/dysfunction to deal with in my new job, but it is much more manageable than the previous one. I am mostly able to leave work at work and enjoy my time at home with my family on evenings and weekends. I have a horrible commute, and new boss won't let me work from home more than occassionally, but that is really the only downside. I have gotten substantial raises each year and am now pretty much back to where I was when I left the old place. I might have gotten some cost of living adjustments there but not likely I would have gotten raises -- and that's assuming I managed to stay out of inpatient psych facilities, which is not a given considering how close to the edge I was when I left.

Also, don't underestimate how much you spend in compensating for a stressful work environment. I hardly ever feel the need to treat myself anymore, and I have energy for cost-saving shopping and cooking strategies on the weekend that help me save money that I probably would have been spending on convenience type stuff.

I'd go for the new position myself, given the factors you described.

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Old 03-12-2012, 07:33 AM   #29
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Yes, I have. I once quit a top-paying job with no job in hand because the boss was the most offensive man I ever worked for.... Who I work for and my work conditions are very important to me. Life is too short to suffer.

Ed
I could have written that. I was 40 and working for a bully boss in an extremely toxic environment at a mega-corp. Went home crying many nights. Ironically, they thought I was very good at what I did and just kept piling it on. In the midst of all that stress, I was diagnosed with breast cancer (hmmm - is there a link there?) After surgeries, chemo, and a fair amount of time off and when I was getting healthy, I put in for a downgrade. The toxic group said I couldn't leave, that they needed me. I said, I've been out for 3 months and you got along just fine. So I took the downgrade to a much better group (for me). A year later I left mega-corp after 22 years. I thought I was just going to hang on until I could get retirement, but then I figured, heck, in 8 years I could be dead, why be miserable??

Life is too short. Do what makes you happy.

P.S. I just retired after 15 years at the company-after-megacorp. Never once regretted my decision. It was an awesome company and the perfect environment for me.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:28 AM   #30
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I did once take a job for about 20% less than what I was making at the time. I coincided with a move to a more rural area and while I was making 20% less, I found that my cost of living was less as well and overall my quality of life was much better.

A friend of mine changed jobs a few years ago and is much more reinvigorated and enjoys his new job immensely - so much so that even though he is FI and could RE, he is still working.

Go with your gut.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:50 AM   #31
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Who I work for and my work conditions are very important to me. Life is too short to suffer.

The fact that you are considering it tells us that your work conditions are important to you as well. Listen to your heart.

Ed
Smartest man in the room.
I have quit quite a few jobs. Money was never the reason I quit, never the reason I accepted the next one. If you are suffering now, no amount of money will make up for that.

If the new job is interesting, challenging, and offers a work climate that is well-suited to your temperament, then I'd take it regardless of it being a cut from your current pay. I've found that even when I took a job for less, in no time at all I'd be back to evens paywise.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:38 AM   #32
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I hope to someday, as a bridge between my current j*b and full retirement. I can regularly feel what job stress is doing to my body and it's just not worth it above and beyond what we need for a reasonable standard of living.

If other issues (spousal/investment income, health insurance, etc.) were adequately addressed, I'd quit tomorrow and look for something I'd prefer to do, probably part-time.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:21 AM   #33
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A couple of times and no regrets either.

I transferred from uniform patrol to a fraud unit and took about a $6k effective pay cut because there was lots of overtime in patrol and very little in fraud. But what I got was straight day work, no rotating shifts, with weekends and holidays off and a lot less stress.

Six months later people were saying "Wow, you look a lot better" so that one was a no-brainer.

The second time was when we moved to WV. Had we stayed in the DC area and I'd gone to work for one of the "Beltway Bandit" contractors and DW stayed at her job our income would now be ~$300k/year. Even in DC that's a very comfortable income.

Six months after we moved one of my sisters said "You two look more relaxed that I've seen you in years". You can't buy that.

Come to find out there are a lot of people in WV who have made that choice.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:37 AM   #34
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I recently left for "less pay." While I got a $20k bump in salary, I walked away from one of the best 401(k) matching plans out there, a vested defined benefit plan and significant bonuses (~20-30% of base pay). I have some of the worse benefits in my industry, but the improvement in life (because of location) has left my wife and I with no regrets.
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:25 PM   #35
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This would be the second time I will need to make a similar decision. Occasionally, life will make the decision for you like being unemployed versus accepting a much lower paying part-time job I would never otherwise consider is a no brainer. Having to make the decision is harder because if it doesn't work out, you would only have yourself to blame for your circumstances. Based on your posting, since it would not affect your quality of life or greatly impact your retirement plus you made the new job and trade off sound great, my advice is go for it. Worst case scenario, unless you are contracted to your new job for set number of years, you can always leave and look for better. A few of my friends signed contracts for minimum of 3 years but they were so miserable they wanted to break their contracts and were willing to face the consequences. They did it for a $30K+ sign-on bonus and huge compensation packages. All survived it and vowed never to do it again but the money is hard to pass up for most so few "did it" again.
Ultimate decision, quality of life or less pay but a difference that won’t affect impact your life much or derail you retirement. I wish you the best. I just wish my choice is that simple.
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:50 PM   #36
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Yep here. Went into sales in 03. In 05 got out. Went from making $90k+ to $65k (office job). Didn't really enjoy sales and the hours (irregular) and DW didn't like leaving for work and me in my skibby's drinking coffee while I "did" emails.

After I went back to the office, she noticed the house wasn't as clean and we hired a lawn guy...

In hindsight, probably a good thing as my big client got gobbled up by another and I would have lost the biz anyhoo in 08.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:47 PM   #37
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It's only money. You can get more of that some other place and find another path to retirement. Once you destroy your health, though, it's hard to get that back.
My DH put up with his psycho boss until he no longer could. He has not worked since 05/2010 and his mental health has not improved. I am sure that he will not ever work again. I had hoped that his mental health would improve once he was away from work, but so far it has not. Money is not everything.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:47 PM   #38
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My DH put up with his psycho boss until he no longer could. He has not worked since 05/2010 and his mental health has not improved. I am sure that he will not ever work again. I had hoped that his mental health would improve once he was away from work, but so far it has not. Money is not everything.
Wow, dreamer, I am sorry to hear that. I worry a lot about the toll my DHs job is taking on him and have thought all along that he'd be happier when he quit. That isn't always the case.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:16 PM   #39
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I once left a job that paid very well, however, I worked extremely long hours and new owners came in. They offered me a new position as they were hiring someone to fill my position. I did feel comfortable with what was happening so I told them I would wind down the position that I had and leave.

I took less money initially but move on to something even better than I had.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:57 AM   #40
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Wow, dreamer, I am sorry to hear that. I worry a lot about the toll my DHs job is taking on him and have thought all along that he'd be happier when he quit. That isn't always the case.
I know my wife has a lot of the same concerns about me and she really wants to help me get out and pursue other low-pay (or no-pay) options that are better for my physical and mental health. That in turn increases my guilt and stress, feeling like my inability to adequately cope with corporate BS is putting more pressure on her. Sigh.
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