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Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut? 263

An anonymous reader writes "I am currently working for a software company that rakes in a lot of money and has an EBIT that puts other companies to shame. The company is great: good benefits, lots of vacation time, very good salary. However the problem is that their architecture is already established, change is often slow moving, and most of the decisions are made by architects as oppose to developers. I find my job somewhat mundane and I am losing interest. I recently was offered another job, with a small company that doesn't have the capital/revenue stream to provide all the perks that my current employer has. Needless to say, this small company wants someone to take their system into the modern age, which means re-design/new architecture, implementation, maintenance, team lead, etc.... thus, more experience to add to my resume. These are things that I won't be able to do easily in my current job. My concern is that it appears this company has really high expectations, and since I had to take a small pay cut to get this position it leaves a but of uneasiness in my stomach for future promotions/advancements. However I believe in their product, their vision/goals, the people and the future of the company. I feel excited but also scared as its a bit of a gamble. Has anyone else experienced the same thing?"
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Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

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  • Will they pay you? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:06PM (#46336501) Homepage

    I've had it with small companies. During the '00s I twice started with small companies only to hear "pay will be late" at the end of an early pay period, then "pay is just around the corner" by the end of the next pay period. In one case, the CEO simply never paid; I left before the third no-pay period was over, demanding that I be paid for my hours, to which he basically replied "so sue us!" I did—but only managed to recoup some of what I was owed. In the other case, they eventually paid but then promptly fired me for the noises I'd made about leaving due to two periods with no pay; that CEO had the gall to act infuriated and hurt at my lack of loyalty to the company.

    So be sure that a small company with a low capital/revenue stream doesn't mean "You promise to do it for the love of the company if they can't afford to pay you."

  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:09PM (#46336547) Journal

    and great coffee

    In my observation, that is no kidding, the quallitiy of the software development department is correlated to the quallity of the coffee. Regardless whether the coffee is free or not (it is even more ashaming if you have to pay for the coffee and it is bad).

    I only had one exception the previous 30 years where a developer shop had bad coffe but good developers and also a good software / software architecture / development process.

    So my suggestion: check the coffee at the new shop :D

  • Where? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gabereiser ( 1662967 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:20PM (#46336705)
    Where do you work that you get such a laxed environment where Architects are actually doing their jobs and no developer is just cowboy coding architecture into the mix? I want to work there. I think you really need to evaluate where you are and how good you have it. If you want to make architectural decisions, maybe work your way into an architectural role. If you just want to implement XYZ because you think it's cool. You deserve the paycut. I don't want you to take it the wrong way, but a lot of jobs I've worked at has been developers making the architectural decisions and the architecture ends up shit. Be glad you have a committee that cares enough about it to prevent people from implementing anything they feel like. I'd love a job like that.
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:27PM (#46336829) Homepage

    I have always felt that "Ask Slashdot" is the haven for the "simplified answers".

    I'm not going to try to break down the variety of scenarios where he should or shouldn't make the leap. Rather, my focus is on the "big picture"; if he has a family, it's not about his selfish needs anymore. If he doesn't, he can be as selfish as he wants.

  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:48PM (#46337129) Homepage Journal

    Good story. I essentially did this too about 2 years ago, under similar conditions.

    Grew up in the DC area most of my life, and had some good jobs there working for various "Beltway Bandit" engineering firms, with the security clearance, unlimited overtime, occasional 2 week travel... it felt like a scam. Despite all of the perks, I was certain I didn't want to live that way the rest of my life. Plus, vitamin D deficiency from working in SCIFs all day was starting to eat my bones. But I saved up enough money to move the family out to the west coast to finally live a little.

    It was a pretty substantial pay cut, but the cost of living out here West ended up being lower too. We now rent a house 3x the size of our old 2br condo. We're on a strict budget now that the wife stays home to tend to the kids, but everyone is a lot less stressed and doing better in school, and we eat better now than when we hit restaurants half the time. People out here are workaholics in comparison to DC ("Southern Efficiency; Northern Charm"). But they play much harder too. First week at the new job and my boss hands me a beer from his mini-fridge, which would never happen back East. And we have a whole bevy of new places to explore on weekends after having exhausted most of our old haunts.

    So yeah, "follow your heart", but be sure to think it through... you don't want to be changing jobs every year, but you don't want to stagnate at one place for more than 5-10 years without growth either. See the good parts of whatever you end up doing, be prepared to make the sacrifices you're willing to take to make the changes you want in your life, and consider what is your "path of least regret".

  • Doubtful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @05:05PM (#46338779)

    I doubt they are that old. Maybe 30s, probably 20s.

    Generally, older generations understood that we work to live. We can't live without food and shelter is pretty important too.

    Once you get beyond that... all those fun, fulfilling ways to spend the limited time you are alive, few if any get you paid and most cost money. So.. you work for it. Then you take the money and do something that actually has meaning to you. If your job is paying you well and it isn't killing you then you are half way there! Now use your nights, weekends and vacation time to go out and LIVE!!!

    The current generation seems to have it backwards. They live to work. So... they NEED a job that fulfills them. The problem is jobs don't do that. Working sucks. That's why someone is willing to pay you to do it!

    If you have good pay AND good benefit time then you have something worth holding on to. Keep earning that money. Put some away for retirement. Take the rest out with you during that benefit time and enjoy it!

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972