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Old 01-02-2014, 01:37 PM   #1
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Job changes

Hello, I am looking for some advice about job changes and how to evaluate them when also trying to ER.

Just a little overview of my current situation and why I am looking for some insight. I am 31 years old with an MBA in finance and about 7 years work experience primarily in risk management. That time is split evenly between insurance and mortgage banking. I just received a call today about a position at another bank that would be a risk management role, but focused on model governance. So it would be a new career direction.

I currently work at a megacorp. I was "promoted" last year in title only and got no raise with it. My manager has admitted I am underpaid for the whole time I have worked there. Part of the reason for this is that when I got out of business school the job market was bad and I jumped on the first job I could find. But I am bitter about the 'promotion' with no raise. There are very positive things about my job though. The company gives a 5% 401k match and a 3% pension that they pay 4.5% interest credits on annually. So all in all I get about 8% retirement from the firm for only contributing 5% into my 401k. It's a pretty good deal.

The other issue in my current job is that I do not get a long at all with my boss's boss. Her and I simply do not get along. I think she is rude and unprofessional. She is the type of person who will bombard you with nasty emails and instant messages and then want to talk to you on the phone about what she has been yelling at you about electronically and when she speaks to you on the phone is is nice as can be. Needless to say, my relationship with her has been terrible. Top it off that she is incredibly caught up with office politics, both ones she creates herself and office politics of others. I am not exaggerating when I say she is the worst person I have ever had to work for, and quite frankly I think she is a vile human being.

My actual boss is someone who I have had an up and down relationship with. I worked for him for two years and spent the first 3/4 of last year under a different manager which is when I had to deal with the woman I described above. At times he has been the best boss I have had. At other times he has stepped on people for his own personal gain. But I do give him some credit as he has stepped up and done some things to try and help me since I started having to deal directly with his boss. That said, he and I have had some candid discussions about his boss and my relationship with her and he thinks that she does treat me differently than other people who are considered my peers.


All that being said, I still hesitate to accept the new position. I am trying to go over in my head what would be the appropriate salary to accept. I don't think I should accept a straight lateral salary since I would be losing out on some retirement income from the current 401K match and pension I receive, but how would you all weigh that against the misery of having to deal with someone who is a terrible manager and that you have a terrible relationship with? My career in my current firm is pretty dead in the water. I will probably not get a substantial raise at the megacorp without jumping ship. I am just trying to get some opinions and perspectives before I make a final decision.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:49 PM   #2
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In my megacorp, people change roles within the company frequently (every 3 years or so). So any individual manager situation I know will be temporary. If yours is similar, you can look at the big picture with regards to the poor management.

Salary-wise, I would try to negotiate at least a 10% increase over your current salary. This should help compensate for the lesser retirement benefits.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:24 PM   #3
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I am not exaggerating when I say she is the worst person I have ever had to work for, and quite frankly I think she is a vile human being.
This is reason enough to bail and go someplace else. I found very early on that the people one works with can make or break a job no matter the benefits. What you describe is heart attack stuff. Peruse the forum and you'll find countless examples of people leaving jobs they otherwise liked because of the jerks they had to put up with.

A good-paying job isn't much good if you're dead at 40 because of the stress.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:37 PM   #4
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In my megacorp, people change roles within the company frequently (every 3 years or so). So any individual manager situation I know will be temporary. If yours is similar, you can look at the big picture with regards to the poor management.
I have considered this, however there are other issues too. I turned down internal positions within the firm simply because one of my biggest hangups has to do with how I am compensated. I am not the type of person who is strictly driven by money. I took less money to move to a city where I had friends and family out of grad school because I wanted to be near loved ones.

However, I do want to be compensated fairly. Getting "promoted" with no raise is an insult and slap in the face. I also have the "luxury" of having too much information because my team manages some financials for our organization and compared to others I am underpaid. I have employees who report to me that make more money than me. Taking an internal position or waiting for my boss's boss to move on won't change that.

I am leaning towards taking what "break even" would be in terms of salary to make up for the retirement benefits. If that's not on the table I will probably decline and keep looking, but we will see.

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This is reason enough to bail and go someplace else. I found very early on that the people one works with can make or break a job no matter the benefits. What you describe is heart attack stuff. Peruse the forum and you'll find countless examples of people leaving jobs they otherwise liked because of the jerks they had to put up with.

A good-paying job isn't much good if you're dead at 40 because of the stress.
Funny you mention that. Earlier this year I went to the doctor because I was so stressed out and worried about my physical health that I was afraid I was at risk for a heart attack....at 31.

I guess that in and of itself should answer my question about making a change. I am glad you brought that up because I had forgotten about it.

At least my doctor told me I was fine and had nothing to worry about.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:59 PM   #5
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My first thought is "what are you waiting for?" Of course you need to be sure that the new job is going to meet your expectations. But your current situation is not the type of situation you can stick with for the long term.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:08 PM   #6
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You need to read some motivational books about negotiation. Every job change -- internal or external -- is an opportunity for an increase in your compensation that MUST be seized. You are letting them walk all over you, which is a big part of your problem. If you know you are currently undercompensated, why on earth would you be thinking only of using this new opportunity as a chance to get what you are getting now? They came looking for you, remember. Figure out what the market rate for this possible new role is and ask for at least 10% over that.

You might also want to read some books about positive psychology and self esteem. Oh, and the book "The No Asshole Rule" is awesome for providing perspective on asshole bosses and how to deal with them. Bob Sutton's blog is also great (he is the author).

Good luck and hope you find yourself in a better situation soon!
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:21 PM   #7
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So let me get this straight. They have been underpaying you for many years, gave you a "promotion" with no compensation change, some of your subordinates earn more than you earn, your boss' boss is a vile woman you have to deal with regularly and your not sure if you should leave? WTF?

Do some research and find out what this new job should be worth, negotiate a fair package and then accept it and move on and enjoy the new job.

While I would be tempted to accept the new job and then tell current employer that they either need to increase my pay 40% or I'm leaving and see how they react, the better thing would be to just tender your resignation without a fuss.

But if they ask why you're leaving, be candid, firm and polite.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:28 PM   #8
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Definitely move on. At your age you should take some career risk IMO. Remember that in the next few years there will be tons of people retiring (demographics are at work) and you should position yourself now. Don't burn any bridges but move on.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:30 PM   #9
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Let me recommend a book for you. Some good stuff in here.

The New Rites of Passage at $100, 000 +: The Insider's Lifetime Guide to Executive Job-Changing and Faster Career Progress: John Lucht: 9780942785210: Amazon.com: Books

Kindest regards.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:31 PM   #10
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I would move on from such a situation. Research what a typical salary is for the job you are being headhunted for and ask for 10% more. In the meantime, mount a full scale job search to see what else is out there.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:47 PM   #11
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You need to read some motivational books about negotiation. Every job change -- internal or external -- is an opportunity for an increase in your compensation that MUST be seized. You are letting them walk all over you, which is a big part of your problem.
Not as easy as you would think. While my situation with last year's "promotion" was bad, I have been able to get some good raises since I started. The last one just left a bitter taste in my mouth and is just flat out wrong. Unfortunately it is a standard practice, at least in the business area I work in, at the megacorp for raises to not be given when you get promoted unless you are currently not making a salary that is in the "pay grade". When I was promoted I was at the top end of the pay grade for my last position (which I fought hard and earned a nice raise to get when I began managing people), which translates to the low end of the pay grade for the new position. Since I was already being paid in the appropriate pay grade, HR policy says no raise. HR bureaucracy won't let you argue that one if you are internal. I have seen people fail at it, and had to deal with it hiring people. I know I am not the only one with those feelings or experiences with it.

I spoke with the firm today and have a contingent offer letter coming. The compensation piece has worked out okay. I figure getting away from my SVP (boss's boss) alone is worth 10%, but the offer we have settled on will be a nice raise. Despite losing some 401k match and pension benefits I still think I will come out ahead.

Planning to wait until later this month to give notice though, after bonus payouts. Speaking of which, my current firm pays their 401k match in a lump sum which I will receive for 2013 on February 1st. Has anyone had any experience with an employer trying to stop you from receiving an already earned benefit like that after giving notice?

I plan to give notice on 1/27 which will be after my bonus check is in my bank account. I figure giving notice then would make it hard to stop the 401k match from going through, but I also wouldn't put it past my current employer to do it to try and save a buck. Not sure if they would be able to since technically it's already been earned since it's from 2013. I don't have a lot of experience with leaving firms since the only other significant job change I made was to go to graduate school in my mid-20's.

Either way, thanks for the feedback on this. It is nice to get the perspective of like minded individuals on how to deal with these situations.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:55 PM   #12
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Grow a set and stand up for yourself. Nobody is going to look out for you, except you. If you are competent and do a good job, your skill set will be wanted by someone and hopefully someone who will pay what you are worth. Regardless of your education and degrees, you are no doubt one of many in a pool of professionals. If you start your career being crapped on and don't address it head on, expect a lifetime of the same. You and only you control your career, trust yourself and your gut.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:03 PM   #13
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Job changes

I also would suggest trying to distance yourself emotionally from difficult coworkers or supervisors--try not to get drawn into the drama they might create, and probably better not to discuss them with others (I know that is hard, but staying above it all will make you look better and the difficult coworkers worse).

There are a couple of fairly recent threads here about timing your resignation to after bonuses are paid, and also about dealing with counteroffers your current employer might throw at you, which you could search for. I'll see if I can find them. eTA: here is the thread about counteroffers--I think there is some discussion in it re bonuses. Did you get a counteroffer when quitting? What did you do?
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:49 PM   #14
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....Planning to wait until later this month to give notice though, after bonus payouts. Speaking of which, my current firm pays their 401k match in a lump sum which I will receive for 2013 on February 1st. Has anyone had any experience with an employer trying to stop you from receiving an already earned benefit like that after giving notice?

I plan to give notice on 1/27 which will be after my bonus check is in my bank account. I figure giving notice then would make it hard to stop the 401k match from going through, but I also wouldn't put it past my current employer to do it to try and save a buck. Not sure if they would be able to since technically it's already been earned since it's from 2013. I don't have a lot of experience with leaving firms since the only other significant job change I made was to go to graduate school in my mid-20's. ...
Congratulations!!!

While I agree with you that your 2013 bonus or 401k match should not be at issue since they were for 2013, companies sometimes do strange things so I would give notice after the bonus is in the bank and your 401k account has been credited with the match. If they tried to claw them back at that point you would have good evidence to prevail in a dispute on them. And make a copy of the 401k statement with the posting.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:51 PM   #15
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While I agree with you that your 2013 bonus or 401k match should not be at issue since they were for 2013, companies sometimes do strange things so I would give notice after the bonus is in the bank and your 401k account has been credited with the match. If they tried to claw them back at that point you would have good evidence to prevail in a dispute on them. And make a copy of the 401k statement with the posting.
I agree. There are only a few days between January 27 and February 1. Don't give them any excuse. Companies can be ruthless about money, even when they are legally obligated to pay. I would suggest waiting till the match shows up in your 401k account.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:57 PM   #16
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At age 31, it sounds like you are doing the right thing to go, though I agree with the timing feedback above. I would only put up with a super stressful job situation if it was for a short time and I knew the end was in site, either by a planned ER about to happen or a certain change in the workplace stressors coming soon. Life is both too short and too long to stay endlessly in a bad situation.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:04 PM   #17
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Good move and great advice. I'm with some of the folk, some employer's will do anything, sometimes legal. Get a written explaination of policy on termination vs. bonuses. If you don't think its correct; we've used the US fair wage and labor department before. Understand your rights and move on. There's many opportunities out there. Your EX employer taught you a good lesson, sraight from my school of hard knocks.
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P.S. - I think I know your ex boss.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:27 PM   #18
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Agree with all, clearly from your description move on, I would wait till after bonus. Also leave on good terms without comment on any of the bad actor's like boss's boss, I've been amazed how small the industry in any field really is. Having them thinking highly of you may someday benefit you any satisfaction you'd get from telling them what you think of them is fleeting.
I wish you good luck, maximizing salary does maximize savings ability when you lbym.
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Old 01-06-2014, 06:36 PM   #19
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So I have a couple follow up questions that have come to me about those who have made prior job changes. These are not related to whether or not to make the change, but in rolling over 401k's, etc.

My current employer has a great 401k plan in terms of what they offer to invest. Lots of low cost index funds. I think the highest expense ratio I have is around 0.10. Most everything is between 0.02 and 0.10. Tough to beat that. They also have a lot of variety which has allowed me to construct a portfolio I was really comfortable with.

The new employer only offers two index stock funds. Both are vanguard funds. One is a essentially tracking the S&P, the other is an international fund. Everything else is actively managed with an expense ratio somewhere between 0.85 and as high as 1.69. Way too high for my liking if I can avoid it. They do offer target date retirement funds as well, but I would much rather set my own asset allocation with indexes.

All that said, I am trying to figure out what the best solution is with my current 401k. Should I roll it over to the new employer and come up with some kind of allocation across the two Vanguard funds and the Target date funds? Or would I be better off rolling it into an IRA and selecting low cost indexes that way? I currently have a Roth IRA that is all low cost ETFs. I don't want to lose the power of compounding on my 401k so I am thinking it will be best to roll over to the new 401k since I can contribute more to the 401k plan on a yearly basis. However I really want to maximize my savings and not lose out on the benefits of compounding. I am curious for any feedback on how others would approach this and if there are things I should consider that I am overlooking.

One other thing that has come up for me. I have about $6500 in credit card debt that I am hoping to pay off this year. The bonus check that I am holding out for may cover all of it (doubtful though). If it doesn't, I have a pension with the current firm of about $6000 that will be mine to roll into an IRA and do whatever I want with. Ideally I would roll it into an IRA, however it is very tempting to pay the penalty and taxes on that lump sum and use it and my bonus check to pay off the credit card. Anything left over I would move to the Roth IRA. I would anticipate that even if I had to tap the pension to pay the credit card, there would be some left over. Would anyone else consider doing that to pay off the credit card as a "one time only" type thing?

LBYM is a relatively new phenomenon to me. I have always believed in saving for retirement, but have struggled at times to implement it in all areas of life. I have no doubt that if I pay the credit card off with the pension check that it will be gone for good as I have adjusted my lifestyle alot the last two years and paid it down already from about 12k. I just don't know if taking a chunk of money designated for retirement is a good idea or not. It's obviously not a habit I want to get into, but as a one time thing it may be beneficial. Even if I don't tap the pension account I will get the card paid down in the next year or so.

Sorry for the long winded posts and questions, these are just things I have been pondering over and trying to figure out what makes the most sense from a FIRE standpoint!

Thanks to everyone for their comments and feedback so far!
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:00 PM   #20
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How much are you making? Only reason why I ask is why would you even consider taking money out of your retirement(pension).

I would advise no on taking money out of any retirement account to pay CC debt .

And good move on leaving for a new firm. I was in the same situtation as you. Got promoted twice in Megacorp and didn't get a raise. Asked other people and they said they never got a raise either because it's Megacorp policy to only give raise if your change job. I also thought I was having a heart attack and got checked out by the doctor. Turned out I didn't have a heart problem, but have other healthy problem because of crazy co-worker I have to deal with.
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