Should I switch jobs?
July 27, 2015 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I just got a job offer but am in a pretty good place now. I'm trying to decide whether I should take it. Part of that decision is also deciding if I should move to Colorado from Boston.

The new job...
--- is at a company with great values, that really invests in its team. It's very professional development focused, and they place a lot of emphasis on learning and create an environment where it's okay to fail. This culture is great, and slightly more supportive than my current work culture which is more profit driven, but not terrible.
-- the work is slightly more interesting than my current work, but some parts are probably less so. Work here would constantly be challenging which would be both good (bc I'm growing) and bad (maybe overly exhausting).
-- I'd come in at a title one position higher than I currently am.
--It comes with a 15% pay cut. I could definitely whether that, but not ideal. It does come with bonus potential of about 10% but no IRA match (which is 4% immediately vested for me right now).
-- Is it Colorado -- Denver, specifically. So the COL might be low enough that the pay cut wouldn't actually matter.
-- Living in Colorado seems great given the much cheaper rent, the weather, and easy access to the outdoors.
-- Benefits (Vacation, etc) are directly comparable with my current job, so a wash.
-- Has an open floor layout with cubes (no offices).

My current job...
-- Is situated within a wonderful team at a slightly dysfunctional company. Team culture is great and flexible, but there are some annoying company-level processes to deal with.
-- Has confirmed with me that I'll get promoted next cycle and get a raise. I expect the raise will be 10-15% more than my current salary, making the pay cut potentially a lot greater.
-- Has the potential to work part time and keep benefits. This is a huge appeal for me as we think about having kids in the next few years.
-- Has great trust in me, and gives me a lot of flexibility to own and do work as I want.
-- I have a great office. (I know this should be minor, but it's not. I love this office. Big, great lighting, etc. And I might get a standing desk soon.)
-- I could work remotely wherever I wanted, including just for a month or so. (Relevant bc we are thinking about starting to winter somewhere warm while working remotely).

Other context is that my partner can work remotely from anywhere in the U.S. with no COL adjustment (so his salary wouldn't change, so we'd again probably have more overall money moving). We're planning on trying for kids in a year and right now have all of our immediate family members within a 5 hour drive of us, including two parents within an hour and we would love to raise kids near family. We have great friends here too.

But, this city isn't exactly right for us. It's a little too crowded and we always have this fear that rent will go up forever and we'll be priced out of every neighborhood. I'd love to settle down and get a house and a dog but it seems not possible. And the weather is a big factor -- having not a terrible winter seems great (and I have SAD, so would be psychologically great too!)

Essentially, I feel we are making a choice for trying out a new city we'll probably love versus keeping all of our friends and family nearby.

My partner is basically equally ambivalent. He's sees mostly the same pros and cons as I do, though has maybe 10% more interesting in staying bc he's moved a lot in his life.

Thanks in advance for any help!
posted by neematoad to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You break it down to:

Essentially, I feel we are making a choice for trying out a new city we'll probably love versus keeping all of our friends and family nearby.

But just looking at your bullet points, your current position sounds, to me, a lot better than the Colorado position. Add in the idea that if the Boston winters really get you down, you could AirBNB your apartment and go somewhere warm for a while in your current position, and that you can both work remotely from the suburbs or somewhere nearby (or anywhere you want!) if you get priced out of Boston proper, and I think you should stay.
posted by raisindebt at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Curious - have you made a long-distance move as an adult before? Acquiring a friend group from scratch as a grown-up is hard for most people, especially people who work from home (like your partner). So I would think really hard about that.

It doesn't sound like you're happy where you are, either job-wise or location-wise, but you don't sound all that attracted to the Colorado gig either. If you change your mind and want to move back closer to your family and friends, how difficult would it be for you to find another job?

Also are winters in Denver really that much better than they are in Boston? Like, *somewhat* better, sure, but are they *enough* better?

I think you should probably keep looking. The Colorado job doesn't sound good enough to move to Colorado for.
posted by mskyle at 2:01 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

Unless I missed it, you don't include the cost and stress of moving. It's wasteful and inefficient, time-consuming and energy-draining, and a major life event that can upset household equilibrium for several years.

Just the cost of moving PLUS the loss in income would be enough to stop me from making the move. My wife and I moved twice in 12 months, once across country and another time more than 500 miles away, and we have vowed to never do it again without everything being PERFECT at the new location, not just "oh, it's a little better."
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:12 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

Speaking to mskyle's point, Denver winters are pretty easy (at least for me, someone coming from Minnesota).

OP, it sounds like you haven't really sat down to crunch the numbers on the financial side of this. You mentioned differences in base pay, IRA match, and housing costs, but you don't seem to have a good idea of how they all fit together. This is a Major Life Choice, so it's worth sitting down and doing the math. Put together a snapshot of your annual finances, and then find out exactly what the salary/retirement differences look like. Then figure out where you'd want to live in Denver, figure out what kind of place you want to live in, and figure out what that costs. Then figure out what moving cross country. Only then do you know what this looks like from a quantifiable, dollars-and-cents perspective. Also, note that rents and housing prices in Denver have been trending upwards for a while now.

Denver is a great city, but it's hard for anyone but you to evaluate how much of a "con" not fitting in in Boston is for you, versus the "pro" of leaving friends and family behind.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2015

It sounds like you're feeling a bit uncomfortable in Boston but it doesn't sound like you're specifically excited about Denver, and this job doesn't sound good enough to prompt a move all by itself.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:26 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've known some folks who've made the move from Boston to Denver. On average I think their winters are better than ours, but they also get crazy snowstorms. Also, the real estate market is apparently heating up there, and while anywhere but NYC and SF is cheaper than Boston, rents in Denver are increasing at the highest rate in the US right now.

If you hate living in the city, but you're open to working there and your office is at least somewhat convenient to public transit, could you consider relocating your housing and commuting in? There are a lot of nice towns and cities in the outskirts of Boston where house prices are a lot lower than in Boston proper, and you could commute via train or ferry.
posted by pie ninja at 2:26 PM on July 27, 2015

This doesn't sound like the right job to make a move on. You list a lot of pros on your current job, and the new job has some big downsides (pay cut, losing family nearby, having to move cross-country, and are they going to cover relocation?). I would at least wait until you get the promotion and raise, if that has been guaranteed, and keep your eyes open for other jobs. It's generally a bad idea to go down in salary unless there is a big, big upside.

Another downside you may not have considered is that, when you move outside a big job hub like Boston is that, if you or your spouse happen to lose your job, there are not tons of other jobs in the same geographical area. Can't necessarily say that about Colorado, even if the industry is pretty good.
posted by permiechickie at 3:12 PM on July 27, 2015

Just as an outsider, having kids without nearby support is stressful (at least, according to the Moms that I am friends with) especially when they're young.

It's definitely not impossible, though. The couples who are good at making friends and building a network seem to weather it the best (although they've usually had a few years head start with making those friends).

If you haven't already, it may be worth talking in detail about how you'd handle different kid-caring scenarios. There's always a solution, but you want to be on the same page now (both with your SO and you're family if you see then playing a role in childcare, even if its just occasional) and not find out later that you two were making decisions based on opposing assumptions. the answers may tilt you one way or another.
posted by ghost phoneme at 3:18 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Relevant question: Have you visited Colorado? Have you spent more than one day there? I've moved many times and cities are never really what you expect until you see them yourself and picture yourself living there while you're there. If this company hasn't flown you out there to see the office, meet the staff, and see Colorado, you should insist that it's a necessary step to make a decision. That will give you an important read on what your gut says.

The thing about moving is that it's one of the most major decisions you can make in life that isn't all that difficult to undo. Sure, moving can be a pain and it can certainly cost you if you have a lot of stuff, but you can always go back to Boston in a year if you're unhappy. The fact that your significant other works remotely makes it even a little easier for you.

Money matters, but it doesn't buy happiness. I think you should focus on assessing how happy you are in Boston, how much you like your current job and whether being away from your family will make you unhappy. You can't predict how well you will get along with your new co-workers, or how well you will like your new job, etc. but you do know how much you like your current co-workers and how well you do your current job. You should make your best guess on the job prospect, but you should also heavily factor in the things you do know for sure. If you are perfectly happy in Boston at your current job, I'd question why you'd want to roll the dice on a situation that could be worse, knowing that you can always go back to Boston but you probably can't go back to your current job.

Now, maybe you aren't wanting to keep your current job and stay in Boston, and you know you want to move. Then you step forward in the thought process to considering whether Colorado offers the lifestyle, amenities, location, cost of living, etc. that you want. I'm just not clear from your question where you are at in this assessment -- whether you actually are actively wanting to leave Boston, or are only considering it because of this opportunity. I'd sort that out first.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:36 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm also noticing upon re-read that you seem to suggest both you and your significant other are in a position to work remotely if you want. Would you consider just asking for that on a full-time basis? Then you can move anywhere. I work remotely and the freedom to choose where you live is something that psychologically has a big effect -- I used to get very annoyed in some of the places I were "forced" to live in for jobs. But now that I picked a place and said, "I don't have to live here, but I choose to live here," I don't feel burdened by any facets of my lifestyle. I don't have that "I'm an outsider" feeling either. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it's liberating getting to choose where to live.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't leave your current job if you want kids soon. But do add their maternity leave policy and flexibility with family stuff into your calculation.
Family nearby to help with the baby? And I'm assuming a community of friends also having babies? Don't move.
posted by k8t at 4:48 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

Also are winters in Denver really that much better than they are in Boston?


We have the occasional blizzard, it's true. But while we do get a lot of normal snowfall (outside of the occasional blizzard), the biggest difference is that we also get lots of 40-, 50-, and 60-degree sunny winter days, so you're not dealing with an entire winter's worth of snow that never melts.

OTOH, the housing market is insane right now and everybody wants to live here, so there's that.
posted by caryatid at 5:07 PM on July 27, 2015

Negotiate semi remote working. Get summer house somewhere hot and nice. Go there in the winter instead of the summer. Difficult with kids in school. Then it becomes a holiday home.
posted by Mistress at 1:44 AM on July 28, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for all of these answers. It gave us a lot to consider. I'm going to turn them down today. I think the combination of friends and family in the area, and the ability for both of us to winter elsewhere, makes my job worth staying at for a while longer, especially if kids are in our near future.
posted by neematoad at 6:26 AM on July 28, 2015

Someone up thread said it better than me. But yeah, making friends in a new city is HARD as an adult and you will need those friends badly when you are a parent. And access to grandparents will be really helpful. Congrats on making a choice.
posted by k8t at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2015

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