Is it worth leaving one job for another for the same pay?
August 29, 2014 11:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm employed now but have been job-searching for a few months. I've finally found a company that I'd like to work for. The disappointing part is, the final offer they've made is for a lower salary than I'd wanted; after crunching the numbers, I would be earning the same as what I earn at my current job, with no title change. Is it a good idea to move to a new employer for equivalent pay, if the only discernable difference between the two is that the new job seems more interesting?

One wrinkle: The base salary in the offer is subject to review after 4 months, at which point it's likely I'd get a significant bump in pay. If I stay at my current job, I stand a good chance of being promoted within the next six months, which would come with a slightly smaller pay jump than what I could potentially get at the new job after 4 months.

I'm not unhappy at my current job, but I'm pretty bored and feel kind of unmotivated due to several beloved coworkers leaving, and the lack of interesting work of late. But my current work environment is mostly great, and I have a lot of flexibility - not to mention I've built up seniority after several years here.

Overall, both companies pay below market for my field, but both have decent benefits (health, 401k, vacation and bonus policies are very similar). I really like the people at both companies, and the work environment at the new place seems nice too -- it's kind of eerie how similar the two companies are, so I honestly don't know if the risk of leaving is worth it.

Is the new job offer worth taking, knowing that the work might be a little bit more interesting than what I have now, or should I stay, or try looking for something better?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Keep your job, get the new title, and leverage that to get a job at the new level with a company that pays market rate. Don't leave right before a promotion. Work your ass off to get the promotion.
posted by studioaudience at 11:45 PM on August 29, 2014 [5 favorites]

Take my thoughts with a pinch of salt because (a) I live in the UK and (b) I'm probably not in your profession ...

Having said that, this whole "review after 4 months" sounds like a rather dodgy way for a company to imply that it'll be paying more than it really is without any contractual obligation to do so. In other words, they could pull a fast one.

Using purely made up numbers, lets say the offer is for $30k but after 4 months it could go to $40k. You may go for the role because you think that the role is going to pay somewhere around the $40k mark. In reality when the review comes around they could offer you a token rise (of say $1k) and now you're in a role earning $31k. Much less than the $40k they implied that you could earn.

I could be wrong, but the point of a review after 4 months appears to me to be so that they don't have to commit to any number higher than (our hypothetical) $30k.

Personally, I'd pass, look for something that does pay much better whilst at the same time go for your promotion at your current company.

If you find a role that pays much better and gives you that promotion you are shooting for in your current company then move (because it's now guaranteed). If you don't find that role, then you get the promotion at your current place and then move sideways into another company (along with another pay rise on top of the one you just got for your promotion).
posted by mr_silver at 1:24 AM on August 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

Every job offer is a negotiation process, if you don't need the job, turn it down and explain the salary isn't quite high enough. Having already gone through the whole recruitment process, they are very likely to come back with a higher offer.
posted by Lanark at 2:39 AM on August 30, 2014 [11 favorites]

Never count on a future salary promise. Too many have been burned that way. I would stay with the current job.
posted by learnsome at 3:08 AM on August 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

You know what you have at your current job. If we peg the odds of the new job being better at 50/50, which sounds pretty fair given your descriptions, you are essentially switching jobs on the hope that a coin flip goes your way.

I wouldn't do that.
posted by COD at 5:06 AM on August 30, 2014

Stay with your current job, and keep looking. Also, start drumming up more interesting projects in your current job. "Hey boss, I've got some bandwidth and I'd love to work on the Foo project with the Bah department."

I've had two new jobs in the past year and frankly, being the new guy SUCKS! You're comfortable because you're proficient, it's a wonderful place to be.

Keep looking for the much better job, with more interesting projects and better pay. You only do a lateral move if there are NO other options.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:34 AM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Last in, first out. Stay where you are. That's the sensible, boring advice. Now here is the proper advice:
Imagine staying where you are. Notice how this make your feel. Imagine moving to the next job. Notice how this makes you feel. God gave us instinct. Use it. Sometimes we just have to jump for no reason. If it feels better to jump than to stay still then, jump.
posted by myselfasme at 5:45 AM on August 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

All other things being equal, a lateral move is only worth taking if you know you have gotten everything you can out of the current job and you can define how the new challenges at the new job are going to enhance your career, allow you to develop skills that will make you more marketable, make you happier, etc.

I'm not seeing that here. I nth staying at the current job and continuing to look for something better while you see how the promotion is going to pan out. The latter may offer you the new challenges you seek.
posted by jazzbaby at 6:22 AM on August 30, 2014

The grass is always greener .... So, the other job seems to be more interesting ... and that's it? Stay where you are and keep looking for jobs which are clearly superior to your current one. Meanwhile, buckle down and make sure you get that promotion at your current job.
posted by aroberge at 7:48 AM on August 30, 2014

I agree with staying, though I see it as more borderline than other posters do.

Is their final offer really their final offer? If you're about to walk away anyway, why not swing for the fences and ask again for what you really want?

If you stay, keep looking around. If you stay and get promoted, don't let the promotion derail the search. Several years at the same place is usually too long.
posted by mattu at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2014

I did this with my last job change, only because the new employer is much, much smaller with more room for growth.

I'd only advise it if you have more opportunity/potential at the new gig.
posted by Twicketface at 10:38 AM on August 30, 2014

Assuming the pay is the same or better, or same with better down the road ...

When you're old and grey and looking back over your life, do you want to remember the times you pursued things that interested you or will you be content knowing you kept up the steady humdrum of "just a decent job"?
posted by aryma at 10:31 PM on August 30, 2014

I had a good office job at a missile factory that I traded in for a job at a university that paid about 3/4 of my salary because I woke up one day and realized I didn't want to be part of building missiles; this was not an easy change to make but I never regretted it.

I kept the job at the university in the agriculture department for two years and was bored out of my mind. Finally I gave in and applied for and got a job in the astronomy department - same level, same pay, different world entirely. Oh My God what a thrill it was to be caught up in what totally rocked my world - astronomy! Yee-hah! And, just for the record, I had excellent recommendations from the missile factory, the ag dept, and later, the astronomy dept.

Many years later I made a complete career change under duress (moved to small-town America and no office work available) to the medical field as a CNA in a nursing home and then later in a hospital. Again, a really dramatic change, but I fell in love all over again - it was incredibly satisfying to come home at night and feel that I'd actually made someone's day better! Kids were grown and I could have left the area and gone back to a good-paying job, but I loved what I was doing. A long story leads to a friend with a scholarship to nursing school who hadn't the education (or, honestly, the intelligence) to understand the work - I did her work for her just for the love of learning the material. Spent the rest of my working days in the medical field - as an LPN and then a medical transcriptionist for eleven years (the one in the office who studied every report and learned everything she could - drove some of the others nuts).

There aren't enough fields of interest for me. I never got rich, that's for sure, and I'm sure I could have done much better financially had I just stayed at the university and retired from there 25 years later, but I'm glad I pursued what kept my work alive and my heart engaged.

Good luck on your choices - now and later.
posted by aryma at 10:49 PM on August 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Basically your question boils down to asking if you should leave the known and familiar for the new and unknown.

You'll need to consider what the value of simply being in a new environment is against the possibility of getting a raise at your current job. I wouldn't count on a raise at the new company unless you have a very good reason to believe this is the usual way things are done there.

Whether the new job being interesting is enough to make it "worth it" has to do with your personal values and what exactly you consider to have worth, which may well be different than the personal values of the people answering your question.
posted by yohko at 12:06 AM on August 31, 2014

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