Two Corporate Jobs w/Great Benefits - Help?
February 26, 2018 6:37 PM   Subscribe

I need to choose whether to stay at my current job with great benefits or take a job offer for a new position also with great benefits. I'm having a really difficult time weighing the pros and cons of each and would like input. Snowflakes inside.

I've been working at a non-HQ office of a large tech company for about 4 years. The job pays well, is in a very desirable location within my city (and is only a 15-minute commute from home). I have excellent benefits in every way (medical, 401(k), stock, flexible schedule and unlimited PTO, lengthy parental leave, etc.) I have my own office with a door, no dress code, healthy food onsite, etc. The culture of the company is very authentically dedicated to providing employees a strong work/life balance which is great for my out-of-work life. The actual work I do leans a little to the boring side for me at this point, but I can usually convince myself that's an acceptable price to pay for all of the positives. Most of the people I work with are either in a different location or don't come into the office very often, and the majority of people who work in my office are on other teams and are very heads-down, quiet types - meaning, I don't have a ton of fun at work. Again, basically ok, but I am a little lonely/isolated at times.

Over the last few years I've had a few different opportunities/interviews with other tech companies, but I've always discontinued the process at some point due to the strength of the benefits at my current job. Recently I was approached by a hiring manager from another tech company with interest in having me interview for what is essentially the same job I'm doing now, in my same city, also in a non-HQ office which is literally RIGHT next door to my current office. So, in taking this job, I'd be preserving my commute and familiarity with all my go-to spots for coffee, lunch, etc. I'd be doing very similar work with very similar benefits, but in what seems to be a pretty different work environment - open work spaces, dog friendly, different team with more outgoing personalities, etc. Interviews are complete, an offer has been extended, and I just cannot make a decision.

The struggle comes down to familiarity/comfort/stability with boredom vs. new challenges/culture, all with great benefits. Tech company #2 is generally more visible and "sexy", which totally doesn't matter to me but seems to matter to most people I talk to (i.e. the automatic response is "you have an offer from Company X? Awesome!"). When I've considered leaving my job in the past, the biggest negative for me is the loneliness/lack of connection I feel with my colleagues, but I'm not sure if I'm totally off-base in prioritizing a connection because I previously worked in jobs where my co-workers became my close friends. That has absolutely not happened in my current job, but I do realize it also might not ever happen again as a natural consequence of age, family situation, etc. However, I have this nagging thought that maybe I would be a happier person overall if my colleagues were the type to chat off and on during the day and know me as a person (which hasn't happened in 4 years at current job). But man am I spoiled with flexibility.

If you were in my position or were talking this through with a friend, what would be the most relevant points to consider? Neither job is my "dream job," but the work is something I've been doing for a number of years and I don't really plan to move industries/roles in the next few years.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would be do some very careful research around the work/life balance of the new company. Tech companies in particular have a reputation for offering excellent benefits but with so much pressure to perform that everyone works crazy hours and virtually no one takes advanatage of the generous PTO. Your current set-up seems unusual (in a good way!), don't make assumptions about the new one.
posted by metahawk at 6:52 PM on February 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

You should be getting a pay bump in this move. If you aren't that is strange. If money would make this decision easier I'd go ask for more. If it wouldn't then I kind of wonder whether you really want to leave your nice setup.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:08 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'd also consider your best estimate about the longer-term growth/stability outlook for "sexy company" vs. current company. Especially if "family situation" means you have people dependent on your steady income, I'd definitely put that factor high on my list when deciding whether to jump ship from current job to SexyFunTimes job.
posted by drlith at 8:11 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Push for a signing bonus if you're not getting a pay bump.

If I understand correctly, you're going from one largecorp to another largecorp, both away from the mothership, so there aren't gaggles of 22 year olds running around campus at 8pm playing pinball and then going back to the office to code until 11. Neither presents a chance of folding in the near future.

Here are some things I'd tell a friend:

- What level are you being hired in as? You might have to really press your recruiter / hiring manager to give you a firm answer on this. Is this the level where you are no longer expected to get yourself promoted? Are you past that level at your current job? Do you care?
- Assuming the new job doesn't have "unlimited" vacation, can you handle being dropped to 3 weeks a year again (or whatever it might be)?
- Do you like being new at a job? Some people are uneasy when they don't know everything. Some people find it freeing.
- If you have audible gastrointestinal discomforts, open offices are slightly worse. On the upside, your teammates will be wearing noise-isolating headphones a lot.
- If the gregarious fun person who held the team together leaves and the team loses some of its joy, how easy will it be for you to move to another team?
- If all else really is equal, it is ok to move to a company for the name.

(my bias: I made a very similar move in my mid-20s and am happy I made it.)
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:09 AM on February 27, 2018

Oh, and --

- Is the composition of your compensation changing? i.e. your salary may be the same, but you might have more of a bonus target / stock. Some people are in the camp of "salary = king and everything else is gravy"; others leave a company when they stop getting stock.
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:13 AM on February 27, 2018

An open workspace is really, really annoying compared to an office.

But I'll say the number one thing is culture & trajectory. If a company is growing and doing well, and has a good strategy to do so for the next 10 years - employees will be happy and encouraged and getting bonuses and needs will be met and people will be hired.

If a company is flat or declining - all hell breaks loose. I'd avoid the second situation no matter what!
posted by bbqturtle at 7:21 AM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Most of my jobs have been in these open work environments. In one job I was offered an office to myself down in a remote corner and I turned it down for the loud, open, desk-shared space because team building and friends. That was a dumb move because:

• Most colleagues don't want to be your friend.
• Many employees go into work early, headphones in, and work through lunch. They want to get out and go home. You can't socialize with people who are not there to socialize.
• Open office environments tend to encourage unhealthy butt-in-a-chair cultures. Do you want to compete for who can stay at work the longest?
• People around you will not fix the fact that you're under-challenged and bored with your core work tasks. You need a different kind of job, not the same job in an open office.

I'm one of the few people at my company who telecommutes 90% of the time. 98% of the people who find this out want my working situation. They complain about their edgy open plan work environment all the time. And these people are not all friends with each other. Most are just trying to get through the day with as little human interaction as possible and would be annoyed if someone like you came in all chatty-like.

You are correct that you literally will not find the kind of setup that you have at this company. It is extremely rare. If you value the flexibility and benefits of this position at all, I would see if there is any way you could make a lateral move in the company that would provide you with more stimulating work. And enhance your relationships outside of work so you don't feel lonely.

Don't forget that it could also be an age thing, too. The older you get, the less likely you are going to make friends at all. Previous jobs where your colleagues were your closest friends was probably due to a college-type scenario that you won't experience again.
posted by ticktickatick at 10:05 PM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

From what you've written, it sounds like your two gripes are (a) somewhat boring work, and (b) no socializing at work. Would the new job fix (a)? It sounded like you'd be doing basically the same work you do now. And as for (b), I'll second a lot of what ticktickatick said about open plan environments. Are you sure your potential future teammates are actually chatty and social? Most tech people in open plan setups wear noise-canceling headphones all day.

If you do feel that the new job would fix (a) and/or (b), you have to weigh that against the possible loss of some of the good things you've got at your current place. Does the new place offer the same work-life balance, unlimited PTO, flexibility, etc? Even if it does, keep in mind that new jobs require you to prove yourself, so if you make this switch you should be prepared to sacrifice some work-life balance for awhile. For me personally, having to prove myself all over again + the potential risk of losing some of the good things I like about my current place + the knowledge that there would be things I wouldn't like about the new place (there always are) would keep me at my current company. However, I probably wouldn't even have interviewed at the new place because of this, and you did, so you're probably more open to change than I am!

Best of luck whatever you decide.
posted by sunflower16 at 2:12 AM on February 28, 2018

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