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What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-west
Old 03-04-2005, 03:07 PM   #1
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What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-west

I have a tough decision coming up.

Right now I have a job that pays OK but there is no outlook for major advancement other than the 1 or 2% per year increase. I am set up with a nice house, will be paid off in 12 years, maxing out the 457 plan, and expect to be able to retire when the house is paid off. There is pretty much no opportunity for advancement, I am at the not so lofty "top" re income. This is in a great lake location with all the pluses and the below zero minuses. The job has been pretty rough lately (dealing with lots of stupidity), and out of frustration I started surfing for other jobs.

I will be interviewing for a job in a high desert SW city. Housing costs are higher, but the city is very nice. Because of housing costs, I may not be able to continue to max the 457 plan. However this is a bigger organization and there is opportunity to move up to other positions and even if I stay in the position I am applying for there is opportunity to make more money in the future than I would make at my current job. Health insurance, defined benefit retirement and vacation time are a wash. I am hoping for about 5% increase in income.

If I go for the job, it could delay my retirement by 3 years at the most, and if I am successful in moving up, it could accelerate retirement.

We could start enjoying the great dining and cultural opportunities available that are not available where I live now. Plus the sun shines most of the time. We love to drive and sightsee and this is close to lots of incredible SW places.

I have an interview coming up, and I still need to assess the job to see if it is a good fit for me.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to look at this. Anybody from the midwest ever moved out west?
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-04-2005, 04:26 PM   #2
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

I haven't done so per se, but I was going to college in NE Ohio when I met my wife and we spent a summer in Denver where she grew up. BIG change from the 9 months a year of gray in Ohio. I live in NJ now, and to this day I half wonder why we didn't move out West when the time came for a move. Having the sun out for ~300 days a year is a big deal, IMO.

If there aren't other considerations (proximity to family, etc.) and the new place looks attractive, I would go for it. Everything should not be weighed primarily on its impact on time to FIRE.
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-04-2005, 05:07 PM   #3
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

Go for it; You'll adjust to the desert. If you get it, take it. Bank the 5%. You'll be closer to retirement.
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-04-2005, 09:30 PM   #4
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

I've done it twice. I grew up in Illinois and moved to Arizona after grad school. After 14 years in Arizona I took a job in Iowa for 6 years before moving back to Arizona for retirement.

I love the Southwest. But a word of caution . . . not everyone does. Of course if you aren't really satisfied and happy where you are, what have you really got to loose?

Keep in mind that you'll never know what the right decision is. Once you've decided, no matter how it goes -- incredibly good or terribly bad -- the other decision could always have gone better or worse. So don't overthink it. And good luck.
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-05-2005, 02:24 AM   #5
 
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

I agree with SG. Don't overthink it. And, remember
(or maybe consider upfront) that it may not work out but then you can do something else. Before ER, I moved all the time (guessing average is under 3 years
average between 1970 and 2000). I don't regret any of them. Just made the best of it. My view now is slightly
different as I don't have as much time left to "fix things"
and so I need to get it right the first time, if possible. BTW, I love the Southwest. Just not enough "big water" to suit me.

JG
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-05-2005, 12:10 PM   #6
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

I agree with the above sentiments, although I wouldnt change jobs for a 5% increase. Especially if you've been in your current job for a while, chances are you're underpaid due to weak increases most companies have been doling out.

I'd usually look for a 30% increase when changing jobs, and wouldnt consider it and a major move for less than 15%. Will the hiring company pay for a full relocation? That would lessen the costs significantly. Your current employer might also compensate for that 5% and a little more to keep you. If they wont, then I'd take another job. That would tell me they dont value you. I've gone to 20-25% increases to keep someone, although statistically someone you've paid to stay leaves within a year anyhow.
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-05-2005, 12:50 PM   #7
 
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

Hello TH. I have switched for a lot less than 5%.
In fact, if I was unhappy, a couple of times I took a cut.
Once I had a very attractive offer and accepted it even though I had been on my current job less than a year.
When I gave notice they (my current employer) basically let me write my own ticket. It was too good to pass up so I reneged and stayed put. I always felt guilty about it, but overall
it was the right thing for me and my family.

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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-05-2005, 12:54 PM   #8
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

My take is you're taking a risk and need to be rewarded for that risk. Theres a chance you'll hate the area. Hate the company. They'll hate you. You wont enjoy the job. You'll end up working harder as "the new guy". The company will demand longer hours.

Not worth it for 5%. Thats like dumping muni bonds paying 4% for high yields paying 5%. You're not getting paid enough to take on the added risk.

Plus if you've been in a job for more than a couple of years, and its a reasonably demand job, chances are the 'going rate' is a lot more than what your old company is paying you. They're counting on that same 'risk premium', that you're not going to leave for 5-10%. They set salaries accordingly.
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-05-2005, 03:19 PM   #9
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

Let's see if nwsteve adds his $0.02, here is mine:

5% doesn't cut it unless the new employer pays all moving expenses and you really want to live in the new city. Higher housing costs usually indicate higher cost of living. At 5%, better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.

IMHO 10% would be my bottom line, and then I would consider asking for a retention bonus after 12 or 24 months.

Some employers will reimburse moving expenses after 12 months only. For only a 5% increase it isn't worth the risk unless you feel that your skill set is in demand in the new community.
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we
Old 03-05-2005, 03:34 PM   #10
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Re: What would you do, switching jobs, moving s-we

Skylark,
I encourage you to consider ALL the dimensions of the move. The money needs to make sense but there is a lot more involved when you are talking a move and a new company.
If I read your schedule correctly, you have another 12 years in your current role. That is a long long time to be marching time. That alone would be a good enough reason to be looking. Now where to look and what are the minimum standards is what you really want to spend some head and gut time.
What kind of work, with what kind of people and boss will light your fire for the next 12 years. Get clarity on those issues then you will be able more easily assess if the current opportunity is worth pursueing. If you have not used What Color is Your Parachute before, get a copy from the library. It has some great tools for helping you design your future.
BTW, there is no sin, involved with telling a recruiter or prospective company, what your expectations are. It is very appropriate at some point around the middle of the process to tell the future employer, that based on what you heard, such a move and risk on your part will take a mininum raise of $xx and full coverage of all out of pocket relocation. You will be amazed what you can get by asking.
I agree with TH and others that a move for a move sake if rarely worth 5%. If the job was with a dream company doing dream work and a fabulous boss/people, then it almost does not matter.
BTW just because you got a bite does not mean you can not throw it back when you find it is too small or not edible. Throw the hook back and find something that will match up to your needs for the next 12 years.
Good luck.
Nwsteve
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