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How can I make a decision?
July 26, 2012 3:59 PM   Subscribe

I've been debating whether to get a new job. I'm relatively happy in my current job, but I think I could make more money. Please tell me how I can make up my mind.

I'm a teacher of adults, and have been working at my current job for 12 years. Since starting here I have gotten a Masters and, obviously, lots of experience. I'm quite sure I could be paid more elsewhere. The pros of staying in this job are: I really enjoy what I do, and I'm given a lot of freedom to teach creatively (that is, I'm not tied to someone's curriculum). My best friend works in the same office, and that makes working here a lot of fun. I have a lot of security here and good benefits. The cons: despite making a good salary, it's not as much as I could be making elsewhere. I'm worried I'm stagnating and becoming complacent. I think a new challenge could be good for me. There are also some minor stresses here - office politics, difficult colleagues - but that's probably going to the the same anywhere. It's a risk to go elsewhere. My job won't be secure, and I might not like it as much.

I know you can't make up my mind for me, but how do I decide what to do next?
posted by smilingtiger to Work & Money (17 answers total)
 
In my opinion, security is worth a lot.
posted by discopolo at 4:02 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why don't you decide to look around and apply? There is actually no conflict at all until (and if) you get a job offer.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:05 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could it hurt to start interviewing? I don't mean that rhetorically, I mean is your environment/industry conducive to that, or is it a situation where if you're looking for a job, everyone finds out (and you get promptly fired)?
posted by griphus at 4:05 PM on July 26, 2012


Easy: get another offer and use it to negotiate a better salary at your current job. Downside: you should probably be willing to walk if they balk.
posted by supercres at 4:05 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


supercres, we are paid according to a non-negotiable salary grid. (A raise, other than the ones everyone gets, is not possible.)

As to looking for another job: it's not a problem at all. In fact, my current boss would probably be fine with being a reference for me. But I feel like if I got offered something, I'd be pressured into making a decision, rather than deciding now, based on whether I should stay or go.
posted by smilingtiger at 4:10 PM on July 26, 2012


But I feel like if I got offered something, I'd be pressured into making a decision, rather than deciding now, based on whether I should stay or go.

I'm sorry but that's just really silly. You are choosing now between a known environment, pay and benefits package and one you are making up. Choose between real things.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:16 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Good point, DarlingBri, but for the sake of my question, I'd like to know: if I got an offer and all of the pros and cons in my question applied, how would I decide?

Not threadsitting, will now retreat.
posted by smilingtiger at 4:23 PM on July 26, 2012


It depends on the offer
posted by KogeLiz at 4:37 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry but that's just really silly. You are choosing now between a known environment, pay and benefits package and one you are making up. Choose between real things.

It doesn't seem silly. It's like in relationship threads where people say 'don't ask if you should be with boy A or boy B, decide if you should be with boy A while ignoring that boy B exists'.
posted by jacalata at 4:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think that looks at other positions and what they offer is no brainer. If you get an interview, and it feels like it would be a really good fit, THEN you can make the tough decisions. I will say though, that unless you frequently feel like you are strapped for cash, I would have a hard time leaving the secure job that you have now, where regardless of dealing with office politics, you don't have to deal with someone telling you what to teach and when to teach it etc. If I had a job like that where I was relatively happy it would be hard to convince me to leave. It would pretty much have to be a boatload more money.
posted by Quincy at 4:40 PM on July 26, 2012


looks=looking
posted by Quincy at 4:41 PM on July 26, 2012


Your secure job sounds pretty darn great. Are you worried you're not saving enough money, or are you just thinking it's wrong to accept a lower wage than you are worth? And how much worth do you put on things like "working with my best friend". (OMG that would be great.)

The first step in removing yourself from stagnation is recognizing the problem. You've done that. Now what about starting some new club or newsletter or fanzine or something that other people you work with might be interested in doing too? Ok maybe those are all dumb ideas, but I'm saying you can make the choice to change your situation while staying in your current job.
posted by Glinn at 5:47 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


You should always be looking, because with rare exceptions, you will never get raises big enough to make a difference in your quality if life if you stay in the same job. Your employers assess you every single year. If you fail to measure up, or if they run into financial straits, you'd be out the door. You should be evaluating them at least every two years.

Get an offer, then decide. Right now, you're basically asking if you should be proactive in advancing your career, and the answer is yes!
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


we are paid according to a non-negotiable salary grid. (A raise, other than the ones everyone gets, is not possible.)


I worked at a large company that had a supposedly non-negotiable salary grid. The only way to get a bump other than the ones provided for on the grid was to get an offer from another company, which our company would then match (or close to it). People did that a lot, even if they had no interest in leaving. Your company may be different of course; but "non-negotiable" doesn't always mean non-negotiable.
posted by heisenberg at 8:15 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm worried I'm stagnating and becoming complacent.

I think this is the important issue to address, and that the idea of making more money is mostly a distraction. Changing employers might require you to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy -- security, freedom, working alongside friends -- and a modest raise will not make up for those losses. But if you are at risk of stagnation and complacency and changing jobs can help you stay engaged and growing, that's the sort of change that's worth sacrificing for. Focus on figuring out what growth would mean for you, what you'd find challenging and what values might drive you to meet those challenges. When you find an opportunity that makes sense in that light, take it. You might end up making more money, but that shouldn't be the primary goal.
posted by jon1270 at 4:08 AM on July 27, 2012


It always helps to have irons in the fire. I will admit, some of the dumbest career moves I've ever made were chasing money. Your current situation sounds perfect for you, but you're right, to make more money, you'll have to leave a situation where you're comfortable and know the lay of the land. You're the only one who can decide if it's worth it.

I encourage you to send out your resume and see what happens. You never know, you may find an awesome opportunity. You have an advantage. You're already happy where you are and not deseprate to make a change. You are in the enviable position to be looking for a new job to please yourself, not out of a need to escape a terrible situaton or unemployement.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:17 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given that you have a job already, and a pretty good one, why not set a policy of only applying for jobs that are actually more appealing or a step up from what you already have? Last time I was looking, I made a practice of avoiding jobs that were similar to the one I was leaving, only applying to those that were a much better opportunity. Yes, that really limited the number that I applied to, but I wasn't desperate or in a hurry so it didn't matter. In the end, I got the third job I applied for, and taking it wasn't even a debate since it was such an amazing step for me.

And yes, you should always be looking at what else is available, even if you're not planning a move.
posted by scrute at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2012


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