Should I stay working here?
March 18, 2010 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Should I stay at this job or should I go?

I am a 26 year old business analyst who has been working at an insurance company for the last 3 years. Prior to that I was a Business analyst at a very large financial firm for about two years. In total I have 5 years of experience doing what I am doing and in the last three I have gotten near-perfect reviews from my boss. Also (and I'll explain why this is relevant later) I graduated from NYU with a Philosophy degree.

Though I work in a very large company we have been hit really hard by the recession, my raises the last two years have been few to non-existent, and other opportunities within the company seem to lead nowhere or have a similar amount of pay. After 5 years and because, at least according to my reviews, I am good at what I do I would like a promotion to Sr. business analyst, or at least a bump in my salary, I have come to the realization that despite my boss' best intentions the odds of either happening are low. However the job has some perks:

1) I get to leave on time every day as my boss only cares about getting the work done and not doing "extra-hours"

2) My boss is very flexible with my schedule (for example I get to go the gym around 2pm, instead of having a lunch hour), he is also flexible with my vacation days.

3) I am not micro-managed (big big plus)

4) Because I have a philosophy degree when I look for jobs sometimes I see the dreaded "must have finance degree or mba preferred" that I feel makes it more difficult for me to move into another position. I am planning on getting an MBA in order to help with this situation. Because I've been at this position for the last three years I dont have to learn anything new and I should be able to comfortable attend school part-time in addition the company may help me pay for it.......

5) In case is not clear boss is amazing and I really like working for him.

These are the reasons why I want to get another job:

1) I have a credit card debt of about 10k. I really want to pay this off as it feels as a big weight on my back.

2) Because my salary hasn't really progressed in the last 3 years I feel stuck and even after I complete the MBA I feel I wont get the salary bump that I deserve (If I make 70k why would you raise me to 100 when you can give me 85...if I am making 85k then there's a higher ceiling for me to negotiate).

3) I have a big need to show progression in my career and right now I am not sure whether that is the case.

To complicate matters I have been studying for the GMAT for the last 6 months and my best score so far has been a 600 (not enough to go back to my alma matter for an MBA) and I am wondering whether is worthwhile to get the MBA altogether if I am not able to go there (will going to Baruch help me improve my salary?).I can keep on studying, but after taking a Manhattan GMAT course I am frustrated with the math and not sure how much I will improve.

Hive, what do you think is the best course of action in my case?
posted by The1andonly to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So you were a Business Analyst before, and you're a Business Analyst now, but what do you want to DO? Would you just go to another company and do the same job there for a little more money?
posted by smalls at 5:36 PM on March 18, 2010

Actively look for other jobs and if you find something that seems like a good fit and there is (enough) more money involved, then take it. Don't quit until you have your next job. Meanwhile, actively pursue getting admission to a few area schools. If you get in, go for it, while maintaining your current job. Do continue to look for new jobs.. if you find one, go ahead and ask about tuition reimbursement.. decide to move to the new job based on how flexible they can be while you continue school, whether they do offer reimbursement or not, and whether the pay is enough.

Also: pay off that credit card as soon as possible. Note this may conflict with advice above (re: paying tuition).. but as long as you can service the debt enough to reduce the balance every month, some would argue that the investment in the degree will pay greater life long dividends than the cost of the interest you'll be paying on the credit card debt while you're in school.
posted by mbatch at 5:38 PM on March 18, 2010

Apply for the jobs even if they stipulate a not-philosophy degree. That may only be necessary for applicants without five years' experience, at least for some jobs. If after six months of sending out five applications a week, you aren't getting more than one interview a month but you are getting feedback that your degree is wrong, that could be an indication you can't progress without another degree.

"even after I complete the MBA I feel I wont get the salary bump that I deserve (If I make 70k why would you raise me to 100 when you can give me 85...if I am making 85k then there's a higher ceiling for me to negotiate)"

After my Master's I was looking for a job that paid in line with industry standards after years of stagnation in a job that paid very very poorly. Recruiters fought tooth and nail to get me to reveal what my salary had been. "So we can tell how much responsibility you had." "So we can tell how good you are." "So we can work out how much you need to live on and then factor the commuting costs into that." They could have pulled all my fingernails off and I wouldn't have told them how much I made in that job. Eventually I got a job that paid the industry standard.

Now that I'm jobhunting again, I wanted to see how it would work if, this time, I revealed what I made at that job. Sure enough, recruiters are desperate to haggle me down. You'd think that such irrefutable evidence of how GOOD I was would make them want to snap me up.

There are lots of rational arguments for why you should make 100K, just do the analysis, figure out why those arguments apply to your situation, and then stick to your guns. Again, if after six months you aren't getting offers and you are getting consistent feedback that you're too expensive, you can lower your price.

Finally, it's good that you appreciate your no-sweat job. A no-sweat job is something you appreciate more and more when you're in a sweatshop from hell job. No, that is not a way of telling you you should be satisfied when you're not. I'm just sayin'.
posted by tel3path at 5:39 PM on March 18, 2010

Also, I came back to say what tel3path just did: Apply for the jobs even if they stipulate a not-philosophy degree. It takes mere minutes to write a cover letter, print a resume, and mail it. It also takes a mere minute or two to following up by phone in a week or two if you have not heard anything.
posted by mbatch at 5:41 PM on March 18, 2010

I have a bachelor's degree in English and almost a bachelor's degree in philosophy, and have worked in finance positions since I graduated college 11 years ago.

While it is true that your resume won't get through the "must have MBA" or "must have finance degree" filters, it is nonetheless also true that you have a large body of practical knowledge that you have acquired over the years. You need to network with people in your industry and get your resume in front of them.

As for business school. What do you want to do with the MBA? If you want to work in finance, you may find that the CFA is a better path. It's certainly less expensive, though it is not as broadly applicable, and it is not at all applicable if you want to move out of finance. Or, perhaps I'm mis-reading your question and you're not really in a finance role and don't want one.

In any event, feel free to contact me via MeMail if you want some ideas from someone with a somewhat similar background.
posted by dfriedman at 7:16 PM on March 18, 2010

Smalls: I like what I am doing but I want to do it at a higher level and earn the industry standard for my amount of experience.

dfriedman: Thank you so much for your advice. I find that an MBA is 10X more acceptable than a philosophy degree, and it's also better aligned with my goals as I am interested in broader fields such as economics and would not want to be in solely a quantitative field but more of managerial/entrepreneurial one sometime down the road. CFA is something to look into however.
posted by The1andonly at 5:51 AM on March 19, 2010

Well, if you want a managerial or entrepreneurial role, then the CFA would be a waste of time for you, and an MBA would be a better course.

That being said, the other thing to consider is that you're in New York City. There are literally thousands of people with whom you can be networking every day. So, get out there, call people up, pick their brains, etc. This will help you no matter what your path.
posted by dfriedman at 6:38 AM on March 19, 2010

You're in the same boat as me and in the same industry. They definately want the MBA if you're going to stay in that field. Yea they'll do the small bumps at that company but another company probably won't. And if they're paying for it, consider that a raise becuase it's worth something when you move on and you can justify a larger bump.

MBA people in my company are treated like gods. I have a MA and they could give 2 flying ferrets about my experience/degrees. Go for it.

Yes $10k is a lot to you but in reality? It's really not. Did you try credit union, rate searching, balance transfers? Could you do any side analyst jobs?
posted by stormpooper at 7:38 AM on March 19, 2010

Having your company (partially) fund your MBA is a huge benefit. If you think 600 is the best you are going to do on the GMAT, then it seems like you should just go for it -- apply to several schools -- I'm sure that there are several reputable MBA programs in NYC.

From what I understand, if you have Harvard, Stanford, or one of those other "top 10" names on your diploma, it matters. I don't think Baruch is in that top 10. If you're not in the top 10, then they're all about the same unless you get to the "degree mill" or online-only programs where people might look askance at the name of the school.

And, don't over-estimate your earning ability. I have not had a raise in over 2 years. My pay was cut 10% over a year ago. 5% was returned in the fall, and we are just about to see the other 5%. There's rumors of merit increases, but I'll believe it when I see it. This is the worst market for job-seekers I've seen in my career (mid-80's to present). I work for a fortune 500 company on the west coast at a director level (and I got the company to sponsor the MBA degree I received in the fall of 2008 -- yea!).
posted by elmay at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2010

« Older bay area newspaper blues   |   Help give my third grade son ideas for a fun... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.