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What is wrong with me?
Old 08-20-2013, 11:58 AM   #1
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What is wrong with me?

I've been eagerly anticipating ER for as long as I've been working. Now that we have finally made it to FI, I was planning to quit early next year at 41. My job is just fine, and in fact people often remark that they would do anything to have one like it (good pay, mellow, work from home), but I just don't want to have to think about the pettiness and be bothered when I'm doing other things. So, all was sailing along pretty smoothly until DH landed a very intense job with megacorp in a different state. He loves his work, has no desire to FIRE, and took the job mainly for fun. We moved this summer, and since then over the past 2 months, he has not had a single day off. I've been missing his company a lot.

We work in different specialties in the same field--and enjoy sharing our work lives. Since work is about all the life he has these days, he suggested that I come and work with him at megacorp. I could see the upside, so I started talking with megacorp. I have a second-round interview soon. It's extremely competitive to get hired there, so I may not even get the job. But my real worry is what will happen if I do? Part of me is very concerned that this will be a major mistake. I don't want to work 70 hours a week. I don't want a lot of stress and hassle. I can imagine what my day-to-day life will look like, and it's going to be rough. But at the same time, I feel drawn to it. I think the work would be very engaging and satisfying (as well as stressful and all-consuming). I guess I can quit whenever I want, right? I am afraid, though, that I will wake up one day, find it is 2023, and I didn't do any of the things I was really looking forward to doing (especially traveling). On the other hand, I'm relatively young and it's probably not going to kill me to work my butt off for a little while. I should mention that the pay would probably be about the same as what I'm making now.

What do you think about my situation? Am I crazy for even thinking about doing 10 times the work (with 100 x the stress) for the same money? I kinda feel like something is wrong with my decision making skills right now...
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
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I'd make a list of pros and cons for your current job and the potential new job. Only you know what is best for you.

I half wonder if you aren't just feeling a bit lonely as your husband is so swept-up with his job.

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Old 08-20-2013, 12:23 PM   #3
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Since you already work from home in a low stress job, I would never go to a high stress one for the same pay. To paraphrase {misquote} Canned Heat, 'stress can kill you, Baby.'

You guys can still talk about work at night over dinner. And you can even cut back to part time or retire if that is what you think will make you the happiest. Just because your DH is happy working 70+ hours a week doesn't mean you have to do it.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:00 PM   #4
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Another thought, sunsnow.

You mentioned that you had moved a different state 2 months ago. I imagine, that working from home in a location where you know no one, with a husband who works literally every day straight for 2 months, that you are not only missing your husband but likely you are missing the social connections that you used to have.

Rather than throwing myself into an intense, competitive, pressure-cooker job at a mega-corp for no increase in pay, I'd start looking for ways that I could build some new social contacts -- thru meetup.com groups and similar-interest clubs (hiking, kayaking, knitting, reading, traveling, dining, ballroom dancing, etc), joining a gym, church, etc. This would have the benefit of meeting others as well as getting acquainted with a new location.

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Old 08-20-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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Another thought, sunsnow.

You mentioned that you had moved a different state 2 months ago. I imagine, that working from home in a location where you know no one, with a husband who works literally every day straight for 2 months, that you are not only missing your husband but likely you are missing the social connections that you used to have.

Rather than throwing myself into an intense, competitive, pressure-cooker job at a mega-corp for no increase in pay, I'd start looking for ways that I could build some new social contacts -- thru meetup.com groups and similar-interest clubs (hiking, kayaking, knitting, reading, traveling, dining, ballroom dancing, etc), joining a gym, church, etc. This would have the benefit of meeting others as well as getting acquainted with a new location.

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+1

This is not a competition about who can work hardest. I see no upside to taking on a very stressful job for no increase in pay. Better to find a balanced life for yourself in this new community, and support DH (he will need it!).
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:38 PM   #6
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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Am I crazy for even thinking about doing 10 times the work (with 100 x the stress) for the same money? I kinda feel like something is wrong with my decision making skills right now...
Yes, I think there are. You are missing your husband and contemplating leaving a job you like for one you dread, just to spend time with him. Bad idea. That will only compound your problems and your (I'm guessing) resentment about him neglecting you for work.

I think this is a marital issue, not a work one (except that he sounds like a workaholic). He needs to understand that he is neglecting his relationship with you. It's nice that he has a job he enjoys, but he is spending all his time there, and you miss him. The relationship is suffering for it; you're suffering for it.

You need to talk with him about this, with a counselor if necessary. You do not need to throw away what sounds like a very happy work life of your own in order to spend time with a workaholic husband. He needs to adjust his schedule.

That's my take, anyhow.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:30 PM   #8
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I think you're drawn by the excitement and the desire to make a difference. Feeling wanted and needed by a new job is a very powerful feeling, and would be very satisfying in a lot of ways.
But I think you're right to be concerned about your other goals, and the other posters point about being lonely is a good one. I'd really think about it before accepting this new job.
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:01 PM   #9
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Thank you all so much for the feedback. It's really helpful to hear the chorus of caution. I'm sure you are right: there are certainly less radical and potentially harmful ways to improve my social and marital life. Omni550, thanks for the suggestions. I think I will explore some of those options before I make a final decision. ER Eddie, this might turn into a marital issue, but I don't think it is too serious -- at least I hope not. DH usually doesn't work so many hours, and so I have hope that he will be able to relax into this position once he has had some time to maneuver a bit. I guess I just need to chill and not make everything even worse than it already is...
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:24 PM   #10
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Let me ask the question back to you : how do YOU feel about this situation ? How do you see this relationship in 5 years' time from now ? What are your goals and how do you think you will achieve them ?

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What do you think about my situation? Am I crazy for even thinking about doing 10 times the work (with 100 x the stress) for the same money? I kinda feel like something is wrong with my decision making skills right now...
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:32 PM   #11
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ER Eddie, this might turn into a marital issue, but I don't think it is too serious -- at least I hope not. DH usually doesn't work so many hours, and so I have hope that he will be able to relax into this position once he has had some time to maneuver a bit. I guess I just need to chill and not make everything even worse than it already is...
By "marital issue," I just meant something you need to let him know about, not some deep-rooted problem. ... Just make sure he understands that you're really missing him, that you want him around more ... whatever it is that you're feeling about it. That's what I was trying to say.

Hopefully, he will hear you and dial back his work hours. You sound like you've got a work arrangement you really like -- that is really rare and not something to throw away, just because hubby is over-involved in his work. He needs to be reminded that he is wanted/needed at home.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:16 PM   #12
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I think it is a bad idea to have both people in a marriage work for the same company. Too many bad things can go wrong. You could both be downsized at the same time and your income stream goes "poof". The company could fail. An issue or problem with management by one person could adversely affect the spouse. Etc, etc, etc.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:42 AM   #13
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I think it is a bad idea to have both people in a marriage work for the same company. Too many bad things can go wrong. You could both be downsized at the same time and your income stream goes "poof". The company could fail. An issue or problem with management by one person could adversely affect the spouse. Etc, etc, etc.
The OP said they are FI, so presumably a dual layoff or dual quitting is no big deal?

To the OP: the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I don't think you should jump into the high stress job. My guess is you've been in lockstep with your SO for so long that his move out of lockstep has you off kilter. Maybe give him a year or so to see if he just needs a final hurrah before exiting work?

I also agree with others to try to form new ties and bonds where you are now.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:43 AM   #14
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I think it is a bad idea to have both people in a marriage work for the same company. Too many bad things can go wrong. You could both be downsized at the same time and your income stream goes "poof". The company could fail. An issue or problem with management by one person could adversely affect the spouse. Etc, etc, etc.
+1. Not only in the same company, but you mentioned working with him. Like same department, same group? Bad idea in my mind. Too many things to go wrong.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:49 PM   #15
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Don't even consider it. You are underestimating the difference in stress levels from probably near nil to no limit. Your on top of the hill looking down at the poor schleps in the valley. Why go down there just because there's a bright neon sign off in the distance?
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:00 PM   #16
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Here's an update. I had the interview yesterday, and from a technical standpoint it went extremely well. It was a lot of fun to talk about my field with really smart, insightful people. However, of everyone who interviewed me, not a single person could tell me anything positive about working there. In fact, one guy said that no one in the department had been there more than 2 years, and that the previous person in the position for which I was interviewing had left after just 6 months. When I asked another person how the "team spirit" there was, he said that people are really mean to each other when they are getting close to their deadlines. Everyone I spoke with referred to the work environment as a "pressure cooker". Good grief. I thank you all again so much for the sanity check -- I would probably not have asked the questions I did (that ended up revealing so much about the dysfunction there) had it not been for you guys. I am not going to take this job.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:20 PM   #17
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Excellent. Sounds like a miserable place to work. And now you'll appreciate your current situation even more, knowing you dodged a bullet and how bad it could've been.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:10 PM   #18
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Here's an update. I had the interview yesterday, and from a technical standpoint it went extremely well. It was a lot of fun to talk about my field with really smart, insightful people. However, of everyone who interviewed me, not a single person could tell me anything positive about working there. In fact, one guy said that no one in the department had been there more than 2 years, and that the previous person in the position for which I was interviewing had left after just 6 months. When I asked another person how the "team spirit" there was, he said that people are really mean to each other when they are getting close to their deadlines. Everyone I spoke with referred to the work environment as a "pressure cooker". Good grief. I thank you all again so much for the sanity check -- I would probably not have asked the questions I did (that ended up revealing so much about the dysfunction there) had it not been for you guys. I am not going to take this job.
Glad to hear that you asked the right questions to uncover what it's really like to work there. Now you can continue at your work-from-home job with a smile on your face.

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Old 08-26-2013, 10:46 AM   #19
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people are really mean to each other
That's... surprisingly honest. Why would they ever tell that to an interviewee?
BTW, you made the right choice, obviously.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:47 AM   #20
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That's... surprisingly honest. Why would they ever tell that to an interviewee?
BTW, you made the right choice, obviously.

Good questions in one-on-ones almost always get direct and honest answers. Back in the past, I was in the same situation as OP (except pay was a big upgrade) and made the mistake of going ahead. I asked several current employees "would you tell your spouse or best friend to work here" and several variations of that style of question and got nothing but red flags, including a lot of "no, I wouldn't tell them to come work here". The other classic way to get at delicate topics is to have the questionee guess what his or her coworkers would say; e.g., what do you think your closest co-worker friends would say is the worst thing about working here?
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