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Should I go for a new job?
Old 04-25-2008, 06:20 PM   #1
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Should I go for a new job?

I hope this isn't too far off the FIRE topic -- for me, anything career related is FIRE-related. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

A bit about me, at the risk of repeating some of my other posts: I am 29, and have worked for the same municipal government for almost 8 years. The job is in general interesting, but the politics have really gotten to me lately--I think that's a problem that gets worse the longer you stay in one place, generally. Or maybe my tolerance for BS has gone down...

The room for growth is limited at my current agency, and looking at my supervisors, what they do doesn't thrill me.

I was offered a new job this afternoon by an engineering firm, doing facility development (related but also quite different from what I have been doing). It involves a lot of local and regional traveling, which I really like. The pay is comparable to my current job.

I feel that it is a good time for me to make a move. It will probably benefit my mental health (I've already cried twice in the last 2 months due to stupid politics at my job, for example). I will be busier, but I will be able to see results of my work.

I guess I am just a little nervous about going into a new industry, and THE PRIVATE SECTOR! Government jobs have a way of draining energy out of people, IMO, but that's all I know and I am a little afraid of the unknown.

Besides the tint of fear, the only things I am concerned about are 1) the less generous vacation schedule (right now I get almost 5 weeks so I am totally spoiled); 2) if I want to have children (probably not, at least not until I'm 35), I don't know if the new company will be as flexible as my cushy govt j*b. But a lot can change in 5 years...

It does involve more driving, both commuting and travel on the job, and I have factored that into my calculations.

I am not too worried about job security at this point. We have some savings, and it's a growing industry that I am looking at.

What do you think? As you can tell, I'm both excited and a little nervous. I hope I haven't looked over some important issue.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:25 PM   #2
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I think that's a problem that gets worse the longer you stay in one place, generally.
Familiarity breeds contempt.

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Or maybe my tolerance for BS has gone down
That too.

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What do you think? As you can tell, I'm both excited and a little nervous. I hope I haven't looked over some important issue.
When I was working, I only changed jobs for a measurable advantage. More pay, less travel, ability for advancement, prospects of learning new skills, getting to work with people I knew and liked working with, etc. You have no idea what the politics or the landscape are at the new job and wont know until you've been in there for a while.

Might be better to develop some skills for coping with politics and job BS. And keep looking until you find a job that gives you a reason to leave one thats coughing up a paycheck.

Oh yeah, and dont wait too long to have kids. I'm 47 and I have a 3 year old pummeling me into the ground right now.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:35 PM   #3
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I'm 47 and I have a 3 year old pummeling me into the ground right now.
The thought of you coping with a teenage son in your 60's ... priceless!
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:36 PM   #4
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Your advice is greatly appreciated.
What CFB said...

For some perspective, I have been where you are, though I only did the muni route for four years. Still, four years was enough to make me complacent and comfortable. But, like you, I grew tired of the political nonsense, some jerk would get elected to the city council and make my life miserable for his own purposes...he had no interest in me or my career. I am now making six times what I made as a city employee, I have real responsibilities, I have comparable benefits, and my boss is not up for election this year.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:52 PM   #5
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What do you think? As you can tell, I'm both excited and a little nervous. I hope I haven't looked over some important issue.
My sympathies on the politics/BS level, which can get pretty deep in some government jobs.

I don't know how it is on the municipal level, but some government jobs have pretty spectacular benefits other than vacation time - - early retirement, lifetime medical, pension, 401K with match, paying half your gym fees, and so on. Hopefully you have compared your benefits with benefits on the new job, or will.

Maybe you can negotiate the vacation time.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:03 PM   #6
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...early retirement, lifetime medical, pension,....
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:32 PM   #7
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The thought of you coping with a teenage son in your 60's ... priceless!
It'll be okay. I'll get to sign up for early social security right after he goes off to college.

Plus I'll have physical size and speed for a while, then deceit and trickery, then money.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:36 PM   #8
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It'll be okay.
Sure it will...until the fateful day when teenagerhood and early onset curmudgeonism cross paths.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:37 PM   #9
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I'm already a curmudgeon.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:12 PM   #10
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I don't know how it is on the municipal level, but some government jobs have pretty spectacular benefits other than vacation time - - early retirement, lifetime medical, pension, 401K with match, paying half your gym fees, and so on. Hopefully you have compared your benefits with benefits on the new job, or will.

Maybe you can negotiate the vacation time.
Unfortunately, the municipal only offer those wonderful bennies (lifetime medical, 401K with match, etc.) for those hired before 1990. Other than the vacation and pension, which is only spectacular if I work until full social security retirement age (again, drastically different from those hired before 1990), there is very little other fringe benefits to speak of. I do plan on negotiate the vacation time with the new company -- thanks for the tip.

Notsoonenough, your summary of a municipal job is exactly my experience. I am working with this particularly difficult City Council member whose only goal is to make himself look good and get re-elected. He is asking me to do a bunch of meaningless work so it looks like he "cares" about the community. Everything is about political horse-trading, and my work is only a part of the chips on the gambling table so he can get what he wants.

CFB, that's a nice list of things to think about. I think the mental benefits are greater than economics. I have this feeling that if I stay with the city too long, I will never have the courage to leave and will be a grumpy, stuck employee, as so many of my coworkers are.

Thanks a lot for the opportunity to discuss my situation and for your thoughtful feedback!
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:14 PM   #11
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It'll be okay. I'll get to sign up for early social security right after he goes off to college.

Plus I'll have physical size and speed for a while, then deceit and trickery, then money.
Heck, I've already found I can't out wrestle the cat.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:26 PM   #12
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:38 PM   #13
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I cant wash one unless theres a toilet with a study lid involved.
Not sure if this has been posted on the funny video page:

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Old 04-25-2008, 09:54 PM   #14
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I think the "only change jobs for a measurable advantage" makes sense if you're reasonably content in your job. If you're pretty miserable at your job, a change of scenery isn't a bad idea if you're not giving anything up.
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:08 AM   #15
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Thanks, RunningBum. My thoughts exactly. Even if I only like the new job for, say, 5 years, that's 5 more years of happy work than I currently have.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:35 AM   #16
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I am 29 too young to be tied down, and have worked for the same municipal government for almost 8 years you've certainly given the job a chance. The job is in general interesting a plus not all of us have, but the politics have really gotten to me lately--I think that's a problem that gets worse the longer you stay in one place, generally. Understand there are "politics" everywhere including the private sector, only a matter of degree, you have to decide if it's excessive.

The room for growth is limited at my current agency, and looking at my supervisors, what they do doesn't thrill me. If you apply yourself, the opportunities are far greater in the private sector.

I was offered a new job this afternoon by an engineering firm, doing facility development (related but also quite different from what I have been doing). It involves a lot of local and regional traveling, which I really like. The pay is comparable to my current job. Sounds good, but sounds like it might be somewhat sudden - I address that near the end.

I feel that it is a good time for me to make a move. It will probably benefit my mental health (I've already cried twice in the last 2 months due to stupid politics at my job, for example). I will be busier, but I will be able to see results of my work. Busy is good IMHO. Although it can be overwhelming at times, being too busy is far better than not having enough to do. Busy makes the time fly by and increases sense of accomplishment. Being bored at work is a slow death...

I guess I am just a little nervous about going into a new industry, and THE PRIVATE SECTOR! There are far more opportunities in the private sector. Government jobs have a way of draining energy out of people, IMO, but that's all I know and I am a little afraid of the unknown.

Besides the tint of fear, the only things I am concerned about are 1) the less generous vacation schedule (right now I get almost 5 weeks so I am totally spoiled) Afraid you're going to start all over on vacation almost anywhere you go. Tough I realize but you're going to be working for about 30 more years...do you want to be unhappy 47 weeks/year where you are just for the 5 week off?; 2) if I want to have children (probably not, at least not until I'm 35), I don't know if the new company will be as flexible as my cushy govt j*b. But a lot can change in 5 years...

It does involve more driving, both commuting and travel on the job, and I have factored that into my calculations.

I am not too worried about job security at this point. We have some savings, and it's a growing industry that I am looking at.

What do you think? As you can tell, I'm both excited and a little nervous. Absolutely normal I hope I haven't looked over some important issue. Sure doesn't look like it. I would only add, sounds like you are interested in the engineering job, so it might be a good move. But this is a big step in your life and the last thing you want to do is trade one bad situation for another. Don't just take any job to escape the muni job. You can never know for sure, but if you're comfortable that you can expect the new job to provide the challenge, environment, type of work, etc. that you're looking for - make the move to better your quality of life. You're going to spend about 1/3rd of your waking hours for another 30 years or so working, make the most of it. Most people are not so lucky, but work can be enjoyable overall. If you can find a job that you enjoy, your quality of life will improve immensely - see my signature quote. And good luck.
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Thanks!!
Old 04-27-2008, 05:19 PM   #17
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Thanks!!

Thanks, Midpack! That was very insightful. I think I'm going to call another person (a friend of a friend) who works in the same engineering firm, to get a better sense of the company's culture. Overall, the people working there struck me as generally happy. I'll keep my eyes open. Thanks a ton!
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:23 PM   #18
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GoodSense, I do a bit of facilities planning during my current job as a financial analyst which is really just a title. I'm more of a multi-purpose monkey. Monkeys and peanuts aside, it's actually quite a bit of fun to be on the phone wheeling and dealing especially when you're the one spending the money. It's also quite challenging because unlike programming or making financial models, if you mess up, there's no undo button.

BTW, being bored at work is no problem for me. I use Excel and SQL, so I could be doing the group's budget or sales, or I could be building my own valuation models for my own "training". The funny thing is that the training material looks exactly like some small company I'm targeting.
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:33 PM   #19
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I think the "only change jobs for a measurable advantage" makes sense if you're reasonably content in your job. If you're pretty miserable at your job, a change of scenery isn't a bad idea if you're not giving anything up.
But wouldn't going from a job you hate to one you like with all others things being equal be a change with a measurable advantage

Just me thinking...
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:04 PM   #20
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But wouldn't going from a job you hate to one you like with all others things being equal be a change with a measurable advantage

Just me thinking...
Salary/benefits/vacation time/etc are measurable. How much you like a job is less measurable, especially since you don't know how much you'll like the new job.
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