CareerFilter: for life or money?
February 25, 2014 8:17 PM Subscribe
Help me navigate a tricky career dilemma! I have two similar but different offers; I'm qualified for both. In the absence of a choice I'd take either one. One is less certainty but more pay and better long-term, the other feels better but the pay and long-term advancement are poor, i.e. I'd have to change jobs to get promoted significantly. I'm 28. Snowflake details below the fold.
Job A is project engineer for construction management, requires relocation (covered by company) to Hawaii and project duration is 3 years. Base salary is 14% higher, which would give me about 1k/mo more after taxes and rent. Estimated salary grows 15-20% yearly. At the 3 year mark when the project is over, I'd be comfortable financially but I'd have to move somewhere else, either staying on with the same outfit or finding a new job. I may not like the next project location.
Job B is technical coordinator for architecture, doesn't require relocation, so I get to stay in Chicago which I'm growing to love. Salary growth is almost flat such that after the same 3 years, I'd be earning about as much as Job A's starting salary. Which worries me a little bit because although it's a livable salary for now, it's not enough to be comfortable buying a condo/house or starting a family on and doesn't grow enough.
My take-home is about $1000 per month more with Job A. Over the span of 3 years, Job A puts 150% (50% more) $ in my pocket as Job B. Benefits are also better, but B is more flexible about PTO and personal vacation. Architects/designers will never earn as much as project engineers and construction PMs, even after licensure (which isn't required on the construction side).
Mefites over 30, did you have a crisis about how much money you weren't earning and wish you'd taken a more lucrative path in your 20s? Conversely, do you wish you hadn't sold out and stuck around in a cool city where you had access to live music, art, etc?
My gut tells me to take the lower-paying Job B because it will make me happier on a daily basis and let me establish roots, but I worry that I'm shooting myself in the foot by locking into a lower-paying career track overall and will struggle with money into my 30s and beyond.
(MeMail me if you want more specifics, I just don't want to post salaries openly)