Should I take the job?
August 23, 2006 6:16 PM   Subscribe

I have till tomorrow to decide whether to take this job offer or not. Here's the situation.

Currently I'm working in a very good company, however I don't like it here as much anymore because I'm not getting enough opportunities for growth, not learning enough new things, and the personal relationships within our team are becoming strained (too many big egos). I'm getting pretty good money - 73K with 2.5 total years of experience + 11K bonus this year.

The other company is a famous consulting company, and I'll be doing much more exciting kind of work there, while growing professionally at a lot faster rate. So why would I hesitate to take it? Two problems.

First, the lesser problem. They're not offering me good enough money. At first they offered me 80K base + 4K bonus. After I pointed out that it's just as much total comp that I'm getting now, I asked for 85K (I know, I know, shouldn't have done that), and they increased their offer to 82K. Not exactly a huge jump. However, money's not as important to me as this is an awesome opportunity.

Secondly, a much bigger problem. I just got engaged, and the new job will be a lot of travelling - I'll be working as a consultant, spending Monday - Thursday living in a hotel in another city. coming home on Thursday night. My relationship is very important to me, and I wouldn't want to do anything to hurt it. Even though my fiancee says it's not going to be an issue, it may prove to be a bigger test for our relationship than we want to.

So that's my story. Should I take the job?
posted by zavulon to Work & Money (22 answers total)
How often will you be traveling? Once a month?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:23 PM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

If it was me? No way would I take a job that keeps me separated from my wife for the majority of the week. I don't think that a job should get more time in my life than my life partner does. No effing way.
Keep looking for a new job that will keep you in town. Or at the very most, just sporadic travel.
posted by NoMich at 6:24 PM on August 23, 2006

In my opinion f you're travelling every week, no. Not worth it.
posted by true at 6:24 PM on August 23, 2006

No, you shouldn't. You've already got a decent job, even if it's less exciting, and if you've got qualms about the new job you shouldn't take it. Your fiancee may be right, but you obviously on some level think it will strain your relationship.

My advice would be this: You've got a good job. You've just been offered another good job. You're obviously in demand, so keep looking until you find a job that you have no qualms about taking.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:25 PM on August 23, 2006

Turn down the job.

The traveling (or working 24/7 in general) will ultimately ruin your personal life.

Look for another "new job" if you're tired of your existing job.
posted by bim at 6:28 PM on August 23, 2006

Two thoughts on my part:

1. I don't think anyone can tell you what you know you want to do deep down. Is the money the issue, or are you subconciously trying to talk yourself out of taking this job? Is it that you really don't feel right living away from your SO for part of the week, or that you do like the idea of the professional growth opportunities that you have in your current job?

2. Would you rather be paid well to do something you really don't enjoy, or be paid slightly less to do something that you might actually enjoy?

Either way, whichever decison you make will be the right one for you at this time. Other opportunities will probably come up, but don't let that stop you from taking a chance.

Good Luck.
posted by cholly at 6:34 PM on August 23, 2006

I don't think the new job will necessarily hurt your relationship. The intense longing you'll develop for each others company during this phase could well last you the rest of your lives.

And you'll have some great weekends.
posted by jamjam at 6:35 PM on August 23, 2006

You answered your own question:

"My relationship is very important to me, and I wouldn't want to do anything to hurt it."

Sounds like this new job would hurt it. So that means you wouldn't want to do it.
posted by jbickers at 6:36 PM on August 23, 2006

[moved more to inside]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:39 PM on August 23, 2006

You can put up with bad pay or bad working conditions, but NEVER both at the same time. ;)
posted by bim at 6:41 PM on August 23, 2006

If you decide not to take the new job I would suggest you negotiate as hard as you can for as much money as you can... all very professionally but, like, aim for 100k base. Why? To learn from the process for "the next time". Some mefites might say you're wasting your or the other company's time but I think it's a minor ethical stretch in exchange for additional negotiating skills that could really payoff for you (and your new spouse) down the line.
posted by kaytrem at 6:43 PM on August 23, 2006

Legions of consultant do the 4-day-a-week travel thing and yes, while it is stressful, not all of them endup divorced. Also, it depends what your wife does - one of the Senior VPs where I work (a woman) has a husband who has that 4-day travel schedule, every week. So she works 10 or so hours a day all week, goes home a the normal time Friday and seems to love it. So I have to respectfully disagree with other commenters who say it's absolutely bad. Some people have that schedule and love it. Though I would not expect to do it forever.
posted by GuyZero at 6:51 PM on August 23, 2006

Having done an identical travelling consulting job, I can tell you that it is indeed immensely stressful, but also rewarding. While I did learn more doing that consulting job that I would have sitting at a desk, the travel is much more stressful than you think. Things like vacations, trips to the bank, even doctor's appointments need to be planned well in advance. You'll be tired on the weekends when you get back (most consultants work long days when they are away) You'll miss out on simnple everyday things like dinners with friends or family, happy hours, etc. Even if your fiancee is ok with the travel, I can firsthand that the separation is difficult and wears you down quick (been there, done that).

If you were single, I'd tell you to take the job in a heartbeat. Given your situation, though, I'd recommend you give it serious consideration, both for and against. It is certainly tough from the emotional/relationship point of view, and is not for everyone, but the professional opportunities are certainly worth it.
posted by galimatias at 7:09 PM on August 23, 2006

The traveling will be hard on your relationship, but not necessarily hurtful. My boyfriend worked for a brand name consulting company for a few years, and it was hard, but we made it through just fine. And there are a lot of perks to the travel. We were able to take a lot of vacations using just points that we would otherwise never be able to afford. Also, I'm not sure if your company does this, but one thing he could do was fly me out to his project site instead of coming home for the weekend, and the company would pay for the ticket. And there's always the possibilty of getting staffed on a local job too.

Words of caution though, though the company will say Thursday return, in my experience this is only true about half the time. Also, you will end up working late nights and weekends occasionally. And there's plenty of big egos in consulting too! Though you would probably not be stuck with them for a long time.

If you do take the job, my best advice for making it work is talk on the phone at least daily. You really learn how to communicate when you're not able to see each other, and my bf and I probably have a closer relationship because of that than we would have otherwise.
posted by orangskye at 7:10 PM on August 23, 2006

Go with your gut instinct - turn it down. Although your head says "It's a good opportunity," your gut is telling you, "it's the same money and too much time on the road." When the right job comes along, your head and your gut will be in agreement.
posted by MrZero at 7:13 PM on August 23, 2006

I think over the long term, it might be better for the relationship.

Bad for the relationship in the near term - not as much "together time." Or in an emergency.

But every week will be a departure and a reunion.

How far away is the city? For example, I know some people who travel from Phila to NYC (and usually one night overnight)

If you were working only M-Thurs., I'd do it. But...if it was work friday too...and also 2+ hours away? Yeah. Not enough money. And the link is the cost of your personal life.
posted by filmgeek at 8:51 PM on August 23, 2006

One of my professors once told me that consulting is like a pimping game. They're out to bill you for as many hours as they can, and you're getting a fraction of the revenue.

Seriously, though... it can be done, as long as you both are leading compatible lives. If your financee is also leading a busy, hectic life, and you can synchronize your downtime, then it would probably work out. If she's doing 9-5 and spending a lot of time on her own, it'll be much harder.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:11 PM on August 23, 2006

The world doesn't need another consultant; a happy family is a different story.
posted by oxford blue at 10:55 PM on August 23, 2006

Seems like you're getting a pretty tightly balanced argument here. Perhaps you need a circuit breaker. An uncomfortable but potentially useful though experiment: imagine that something terrible happens in the next three months, like an illness or death in the family (your side or hers). How do your prospects look depending on which job you're in? Can you provide or get the support that you need? I'm not assuming that the new job opportunity would necessarily be the most limiting — it also depends on the quality of your work relations at the present job. The point is that if things aren't smooth sailing some time in the near future, how well positioned will you be to deal with it? Your fiancee, and anyone else you care about, will likely be better off if you are able to function at your best to help them in a time of crisis. If your job would get in the way of this then that's a pretty serious consideration in my opinion.
posted by ads at 1:57 AM on August 24, 2006

If you haven't already done so, it might be helpful to the decision-making process to ask your fiancee whether "not an issue" means "I'm willing to sacrifice for your career satisfaction" or "I would probably enjoy having a few days a week to myself."

Some people hate being alone, others don't mind, and yet others positively wilt without quite a bit of time on their own.
posted by taz at 2:11 AM on August 24, 2006

A big question: are you and your fiancee planning on having children? If you are interested in staying with this new job for longterm, consider how you might feel being a long distance parent (and the effect it might have on your wife who would essentially be a single parent 4 days a week).
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2006

Yeah; the biggest consideration everyone seems to be making here is "what will fiancee think?"

So, given that I agree with all of them -- especially the ones who say "some people would *prefer* it that way -- author Robert Parker (of Spenser fame) and wife Joan sleep on separate floors of a 3 story brownstone in Boston -- I think it's time for a really *in depth* conversation about that.

Since you posted this yesterday, I'm probably too late; how did it work out? :-)
posted by baylink at 3:14 PM on August 24, 2006

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