Do I stay or do I go (to a new company)
April 26, 2012 6:50 AM   Subscribe

I've been offered a position at another company. Should I leave my current comfortable job at a lowly-regarded company for a scary new one at a more well-respected company? Will you help me weigh the pros and cons?

I have been working at a very small company for the past 2 years since graduating college - we have shrunk from about 35 to 25 employees since I started there due to a mix of layoffs and people jumping ship. People are generally unhappy there, though I personally am quite comfortable. We have also lost a good portion of our business since I started. Sounds pretty shitty right?

I've been offered a job at another company in town that is bigger (about 100 employees) where I would work on a large, nationally recognized client. The larger company is an all around better and more highly respected company (locally, at least) - they win more awards and do better work. Sounds awesome right?

There are pros and cons to both companies that are truly tearing me up. They are:

Small, shrinking company:

- They pay me awesomely, especially for someone with only 2 years experience in a traditionally low-paying industry
- They treat me really well and respect my opinions
- They understand that I am still learning, and while business might be down, my supervisor is smart and awesome and patient. She is supportive, extremely experienced, and answers all of my questions
- Despite layoffs and losing business, they have assured me that I have job security there (the CEO personally told me in private that he appreciates my work and wishes to see me grow with the company) - I feel inclined to believe them

The larger, awesome, well respected company (I've asked around and gotten "the dirt"):

- Even though they are large and well respected, the department that I would be working in is brand spanking new and frankly, still very unorganized. They are not recognized for this department - it is a facet of their business they're trying to grow
- I spoke to someone who used to work there and they informed me that they still "don't quite know what they're doing" in this department. They said they wouldn't be surprised if they "really need my help"
- Will not pay me AS awesomely as my current company, but still way above average. There is a large chance I could negotiate back up.
- I have no grasp of job security. Big national client relationship could end at any time.
- Here's the big twist: My future supervisor over there - who DOES have a lot of experience like my current one - apparently has one foot out the door. I know this because he applied to my current company a few months ago after having spent only 6 months at this one. This is a huge, huge red flag.

However, it's been two years and my work ethic at my current company is diminishing. Things are starting to get very stagnant and mundane and I'm sort of pulling my hair out. I crave a change of scenery, I just wish it was a change of scenery somewhere I felt really good about career-wise.

Metafilter - what would you do? Is change for the sake of change always a good thing? Or should I turn down the offer, keep my head down, and continue searching?

I realize this is all vague, feel free to message me if you need more details.
posted by windbox to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was all for the new company until you noted you'll be taking a pay cut. If you can negotiate your salary up to at least what you're making now, do it. Otherwise, stay where you are until an offer that doesn't include lowering your market value comes along.
posted by xingcat at 6:53 AM on April 26, 2012

It doesn't sound like it's a change for the sake of change, it sounds to me like some sort of stepping stone. It sounds like both places have risks for getting laid off. You should go somewhere you can make a difference and it sounds like the new job can give you that opportunity. Yeah it's a red flag that your future supervisor might be checking out, but you know what, maybe that could be your next job.

Try to use this:

I spoke to someone who used to work there and they informed me that they still "don't quite know what they're doing" in this department. They said they wouldn't be surprised if they "really need my help"

to negotiate a starting salary that matches what you earn now. Take what you know about their situation and come up with some sort of analysis of how their situation looks to you and what you think you could offer. You want to show them that they can't not have you.
posted by like_neon at 7:06 AM on April 26, 2012

I should note, I'm fairly confident I can negotiate everything back up to where I am now. It's only about a 10% paycut but I'd still feel better NOT taking a cut.
posted by windbox at 7:20 AM on April 26, 2012

I would raise xingcat one, and say that you should require a significant boost in pay in order to change jobs. I'd want a 10% or so increase, but that's just off the dome without knowing any of the numbers.

Generally, the primary reason people changes jobs these days is for a bump in pay. It's rare that a company offers a genuine "raise" to people anymore. In fact, taking a job without getting a raise in pay can be a red flag for employers down the road who look at your pay history. Don't just think about your current situation. This affects the big picture, too.
posted by Citrus at 7:29 AM on April 26, 2012

I appreciate your advice, Citrus, but I should clarify that I am already way-above-average paid and would hate to "price myself out" of other opportunities. I mean I'm not Mr. Moneybags or anything by any means, but I work in a particularly stingy industry especially when it comes to junior-level people like me. I've done research and found I make about 20% or 30% above what I should be for my experience level, I think my company was just really desperate to keep me at one point when a lot of people were quitting.
posted by windbox at 7:42 AM on April 26, 2012

Despite layoffs and losing business, they have assured me that I have job security there (the CEO personally told me in private that he appreciates my work and wishes to see me grow with the company) - I feel inclined to believe them

Look, I worked at a job where I expressed real doubts about taking a promotion, as I feared it would make me a target of layoffs. I was told, in so many words, that as long as the company was around I would have a place there. Three months later, the owners declared bankruptcy and I was laid off. I am sure that the CEO wants to see you grow with the company, but he is not going to continue paying you if it means taking food off his own table. If your company has lost a significant portion of their business in the last two years, you do not have job security.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:04 AM on April 26, 2012

I would absolutely not move. The CEO of your current, better paying and more stable job wants to see you grow with the company. If you are bored, bring it up and ask for more responsibility where you are. The red flag for me, as for you, as current people at the big company are trying to escape.
posted by procrastination at 8:23 AM on April 26, 2012

In your shoes, here's what I'd do: I'd reach out to my boss, let them know I was offered this opportunity at this larger firm -- and that I knew such a move could be good for my long-term career and look good on my resume -- but also that they'd treated me extremely well and I was extremely happy there, and frankly the benefits of staying put in reality far outweigh the on-paper benefits of going to the other company.

Then I'd chase that with "however, having received the offer and given it some thought, it really helped me focus on my future with this company. You've said that I have security, and I'm grateful, but I'm also ready for some more responsibility. We don't have to talk money and title quite yet, but let's talk opportunity, because I'm ready to step up if you've got something that fits."

You'd be sending a very, very clear message (provided you were brief, cordial and firm in your messaging, no wishy-washiness or implication that you were angling for a raise): the message is "I could leave, but I don't want to leave, because I'm motivated to do my best job for this company. Please give me opportunities that match my level of dedication and motivation."
posted by davejay at 12:38 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Tips for safe and anonymous blogging   |   What DO I want to be when I grow up? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.