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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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  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:54PM (#46336315) Homepage Journal

    Be sure you can trust that you're not being screwed. Some(many?) employers are sociopaths and will take you for a ride on future promises.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:17PM (#46336669)

      Be sure you can trust that you're not being screwed. Some(many?) employers are sociopaths and will take you for a ride on future promises.

      You should assume this by default. Before you take a huge risk, you should ensure that you will be adequately compensated for the risk.

      If they can't compensate you today: get a guarantee of future compensation if they are successful.

      In other words: the pay difference should translate into tangible future benefit.

      Businesses have a way of recording investments.... it's in the form of either issuing you equity shares, or signing a promissory note, for the difference in pay. If you're an owner, you are less likely to be screwed.

      Require something legally enshrined on the books, for your troubles.

      • Get them to commit something to you at 3 month intervals based on performance
        i.e. 90 review with a set rate of compensation based on your performance, 180 review with assignment of position based on work being performed, even simple things like tools to be used, work environment, etc... should be well defined and you should start looking for another job if it looks like they are failing to deliver

      • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:47PM (#46337105)

        "You should assume this by default. Before you take a huge risk, you should ensure that you will be adequately compensated for the risk."

        This is what I was going to say. If you are taking a big risk on their future, you should ask for and get (!) a share of the rewards.

    • by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:21PM (#46336715) Homepage Journal

      The "but" should include "how old are you"?

      Are you in your late 40's or early 50's? The answer is almost always "hell no". Even mid at mid 30's you should think hard.

      • That was my first thought as well! How old are you and do you have a family? :)
      • Any job change in the 40 to 50 year range should be limited to pricey consulting jobs where you can gain a years salary in six months (with the intention of working a full year) or else you are risking losing everything

      • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:41PM (#46337017) Journal

        I disagree strongly.

        There are four good reasons to take a pay cut to switch jobs within a development/IT career when you're older:

        1) Small companies trade pay for responsibility. You make less, but you're in charge of more. Short term, that's lose-lose, but in long term it can be vital to moving up the career ladder. For example, the path: "lead" at big company -> manager at small company -> manager at big company is often the fastest path. Same thing to move from a "some coding" job to a full-time coding job, or becoming an architect, or whatever.

        2) Specific technical skills lose value over time. If you get too far behind what the market wants, accept that you will take a hit to modernize your skills.

        3) You shouldn't expect to make more money just because you get older! For the first 10 years or so, your skills improve noticeably every year, so your pay should go up more than inflation. For the next 10 years: maybe. Improving your ability to contribute isn't just technical any more, and it can be hard to change the things about yourself that you need to, to have more technical influence and reach. But after that? 99% of us top out. Once you grow to your limits, you'll give up any raises (over inflation) whenever you change jobs, because your ability to contribute has plateaued and that's normal.

        4) If you've been working as an engineer for 30 years and you still need the money, you're doing it wrong. At some point you'll be seeking interesting, challenging problems, and 20% pay more or less will be less important than that. Eventually you can afford to "follow your heart". Especially once the kids are gone.

        • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:04PM (#46337341)

          5) You're doing okay financially, but are getting sick of your current job and the new one promises to be more satisfying.

          6) If you *aren't* doing okay financially, consider reorganizing your life to spend less so that 5 is always an option.

          Not everything is about money. Job satisfaction will do far more for your quality of life than a few extra bucks come payday.

        • by curunir ( 98273 ) * on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @05:27PM (#46339077) Homepage Journal

          4) If you've been working as an engineer for 30 years and you still need the money, you're doing it wrong.

          Moreover, I've felt for quite some time that I need to have at least a year's salary saved up so that I can do my job effectively. And by doing my job effectively, I need to feel comfortable saying, among other things:

              * That's illegal/immoral, I'm not going to do it.
              * That's a dumb idea, we shouldn't do it.
              * That's an impossible deadline, I'm not going to agree to meet it.

          If I'm not entirely comfortable with them calling my bluff and losing my job over the issue, I won't feel comfortable saying those things. And, as an engineering leader, I need to be able to say those things if they need to be said.

      • 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!

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Generally, older generations understood that we work to live.

          Well, my parents are from the WWII/early post-war generation and they're more frugal than anything. Everything downpaid, money in the bank but they keep on skimping and saving. I think they're mentally incapable of splurging and buying something friviously and out of plain luxury, I think it'd make them feel wasteful. So no, I'm not sure they know how to live much. I do know some in my generation whose expenses increase to match any income, but I'm not sure they know how to work to live either, they're most

        • Even in the fulfilling jobs, it is still 5% interesting and 95% dull routine. This is true just about everywhere. Even the rock and roll stars have to spend a lot of time sitting on that tour bus

    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:51PM (#46337163) Homepage Journal

      Some(many?) employers are sociopaths and will take you for a ride on future promises.

      And they have legal systems for doing so - how many times have we heard of developers promised 2% of the company, only to find out that their shares were in a dilutable class and wound up with next to nothing?

      I once had a friend who was offered a relatively large chunk (~5%) of shares in a company with an interesting premise but very little pay. I suggested he ask for a portion (1/5th) of those promised shares as undilutable since he'd be one of the first 10 employees.

      The managers hung up the phone on him immediately and never called him back. Bullet dodged.

  • by RocketScientist ( 15198 ) * on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:56PM (#46336367)

    You'll find about a dozen people in this thread that are gonna say "follow your heart".

    Those people are wrong. That's the last thing you should do.

    I went through this, and it's got upsides and downsides. You need to weigh those against your work-life balance and make a well thought out decision about your priorities.

    The company I left 2 years ago had a rich culture, a workout room, showers (nice to go with the workout room), weekly social things, great work-life balance with a 45 hour or so work week and alternating Friday early out, a great career ladder, and great coffee. The job was mildly interesting, not very challenging, but I had a lot of fun and free time, so I could do contract side work to fill out those needs. Work life balance was awesome, I worked about 40-45 hours a week, and got a lot of time at work to do career development (teach myself new stuff) and learned on the job. Manager was a bit of a git, but hey, nothing's perfect.

    The company I'm at now has no amenities to speak of (ok, coffee, that's it though). No gym, no weekly social things, nothing really. I took a pay cut to come here, but since them I'm making about 35% more, because I'm a good performer and fixed a lot of key infrastructure problems and took a management position. I'm working with more up-to-date technology and doing some cutting-edge things because there wasn't a massive technical legacy to support that prevented it. However, I also work a huge number of insane hours, I'm basically always on call, and I'm getting a lot of great physical job stress effects, which is just great.

    So there's the question. Can you do the stress and the extra work to re-earn the extra (and probably more) money? How important is work-life balance to you? Do you have a family? Do you want to learn a lot of really neat things and do work you can look back on and think "that was really awesome, I can't believe I pulled that off"? Is there a likelihood that the new place will grow to the point where you'll come out ahead in 5 years?

    Those are the questions you need to ask yourself, and you need to be brutally honest about.

    • 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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I totally agree... it's not just your job that you need to consider, but your life as a whole.

    • 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".

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      ... and you need to be brutally honest about.

      This. Also be honest what you really want. What do you understand is a 'carrer' and why do you want it. Is it because you like to lead (manage) people that you wnat to get hgher up, or that you want the money? Or is it knowledge?Do you plan to have or already have kids? Do you want to be a part of their life, or will you be downgrading when that happens?

      What are the downsides for you? e.g. when you are at the bottom, everybody might be your friend, when you get h

    • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:32PM (#46337681)
      This. Be brutally honest with yourself. Especially if a new company is trying to get you for less than you are worth. This raises important questions:

      1. Why can't they afford you? Lack of revenue, or is it a decision to try and muscle in people at lower rates? Both come with their own set of problems.
      2. If they can't afford to pay you what you are worth - what will the rest of the team look like? How will that impact the success of the company (and your own success in the job?)
      3. High expectations in combination with a pay cut suggests a mindset geared towards exploitation and manipulation. That's a giant red flag - others are a company that touts a culture that has high demands of it's employees. Some companies use stress and challenge as a way to keep employees (and their salaries) in check. Avoid like the plague.
      4. Check working hours. Some smaller companies (especially those that either can't afford to pay or choose not to) tend to attract more junior/less competent people. Chances are they are planning on you working more than 40 hours a week (which reduces your effective wages even more).
      • Yeh, if you do the math on my post above, you'll see I'm making about 25% more and working 50% more. My income is up, income/hour is down and my free time is way down. Is that really an income increase? Nope.

        Was this a bad move? Not really. I've learned a lot and filled out a huge blank spot in my resume. I've now managed a very large database, managed a very busy database, managed replication and mirroring, done a data center move, done 2 hardware refreshes and a DBMS version upgrade. Long term it's

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

      You'll find about a dozen people in this thread that are gonna say "follow your heart".
      Those people are wrong.

      Nope, you are wrong. Your mental health is more important than a little money. When you are happier, you family will be happier. If you don't like where you are, then you don't like it. Often, when it becomes such a chore, it will harm your personal life in other ways.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm... lets trade a high pay, low stress job for a low pay, high stress job. Yup, sounds like a winning decision.

  • by talexb ( 223672 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:00PM (#46336421) Homepage Journal

    This sounds like a great opportunity that comes at a small cost.

    Keep in mind that joining a startup is something that will be rewarding on a couple of levels. You can help guide the technical vision, get to know a good group of people working together on something great.

    You also have to keep your feet on the ground. Don't let common sense be overwhelmed by your local Reality Distortion Field. Don't let your mind wander off about what colour of Lamborghini you're going to buy with your stock options.

    And I hope you left your previous company on good terms -- you never know when you'll meet up with that organization or those people again. The world is a surprisingly small place.

  • Kind of... (Score:5, Informative)

    by aardwolf64 ( 160070 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:00PM (#46336429) Homepage
    I kind of did that. I used to work a nice boring job at a University with excellent benefits (but without high pay or potential for promotion).

    I took a pay cut to work for a statewide bank, and it turned out turned out that job #2 was almost as bad as job #1 as far as upwards mobility.

    I left job #2 for a 50% pay raise at FedEx. High stress, long hours, great potential promotions, great pay. Laid off as part of the cut-back in 2009.

    Here I am working for another University (different large one, but still in the same state). I've got the good benefits and low stress, but my experience outside of the University systems actually got me pretty decent pay when I came back. I still don't really have any promotion opportunities, but I'm in an end-of-career job (as a 35 year old).
    • by Fwipp ( 1473271 )

      I just accepted a job for a 50% pay raise, from one University to another (across the US). Plus, there's still promotion opportunities ahead, with corresponding pay raises.

      Maybe the lesson is not to switch to lower-paying jobs, but simply to switch jobs.

    • Don't take a pay cut to go to the smaller company. If they really value you, they'll at least match your salary or compensate you with equity accordingly. If they can't do that, be concerned.

      OTOH, I could recommend taking a pay cut to go from a small unstable fast paced company to a larger more stable better work-life balance company. Kind of the opposite situation of what you're asking.

  • when a was younger it would have mattered, but not now (I'm 40). I mean if they want quality they must pay it. that is my opinion

    • by davecb ( 6526 ) <> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:12PM (#46336599) Homepage Journal

      Conversely, when you're older than 40, you may want the more challenging job if the old one is stultifying.

      I'm over 60, and have gone from management to volunteer because my company's then major customer was exceedingly political and more than a little broken. So I took three months off and worked pro bono for a group that was a lot like a start-up: no money, tons of pressure, borrowed office space and the only thing free was the coffee. Totally fun!

      That gave me the energy to go back refreshed, to a senior individual-contributor job at a young company.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtfarrell5 ( 1943022 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:02PM (#46336441)
    I find it interesting your concern is that the architects, not developers, make the decisions. I can't recall working for a company, that was successful, that listened to the developers over the architects. I haven't met a developer yet that was both a visionary and a forward thinker. On the other side, if you are young, can pay your bills, and don't mind that the new company could very well be consumed, or shut out, because of your previous employer, I say have fun with it. If you answered no to any of these, think carefully, but remember that those who think long, often think wrong. Good luck.
    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      My experience is quite different. I know a lot of people who do both, including myself. And most architects worth their salt at least did programming in some former life.

      • by ACNeal ( 595975 )

        That's the point. If a company has both Architects and Developers there is an EXPLICIT role definition of decision maker and decision executor. Sure the Architect WAS a developer at one point, but isn't any longer.

        If you have BOTH, then of course you only listen to the architect for design/process changes, and the developer for execution level changes.

        If you have both, and listen to both equally, you simply shouldn't have both. You aren't getting your money's worth from the architect, and there is no cha

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          That's the point. If a company has both Architects and Developers there is an EXPLICIT role definition of decision maker and decision executor. Sure the Architect WAS a developer at one point, but isn't any longer.

          Yes, but no. The architect should make guiding decisions, and developers should be able to decide how to implement the guiding decision. A developer who wants to make decisions should work up to being a Jr Architect/developer. Or just be happy that he gets to select which sort to use, and not focus on the "architectural guideline" that all inputs must be checked for the following input errors...

    • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:48PM (#46337113)

      A company with architects implies that it's infrastructure is somewhat complicated.

      Developers hardly ever use the programs they write, much less understand the environment in which their program runs. What are the business requirements? Regulatory requirements? Technology limitations? Why are those present? Who set them and why?

      These are things architects worry about.

      You, as a developer, usually have no visibility into them in a large company unless you ask. And even if you ask you may not understand them, because it's far, far away from your personal experience.

      if you don't understand why architects are needed, you should be hyper-aware that you're clueless when you go to your next job that requires you to design an architecture. And you will probably fail.

      That's fine for you, because you'll learn. It'll be bad for the company you work for, because they'll have spend money and time on a solution that doesn't work, or at least doesn't work well.

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      Define the difference between visionary and forward thinker exactly? Ah, thats a minor quibble. Architects are supposed to be developers with more wisdom, and hopefully though not always more bredth of knowledge. I'm still technically a developer but I worked in IT between development jobs years ago, and I have significantly more broad knowledge than most of the Arch's that typcially come from strictly Dev/Ops/DBA backgrounds. That doesn't mean they're bad at their jobs, but everyone on the team has somethi

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed. An Architect is there to guide the whole, while the developers are there to make their pieces work.

      Car Analogy: Bigger tires are cooler (cars going to 20" rims in some cases, from 13" being "normal" 20 years ago). So if you are a tire developer, do you try to make the best darned tire/rim decisions you can? What happens when there are other concerns? The developer should be in on all the decisions on brakes? The developer should be in all the meetings on bo
  • if its bullcrap then obviously not.

  • 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 SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @04:09PM (#46338127)

      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 didâ"but only managed to recoup some of what I was owed.

      This is nothing new, nor is it specific to small companies; I think you meant "startups." Textile companies used to do the same BS, not paying workers, during the industrial revolution. It's why, for example, in MA it is a CRIMINAL matter upon the officers of the company if employees are not paid within a certain amount of time for work done. Furthermore, the law is written such that BOTH the state and you individually can pursue action against them concurrently/independently.

      It's also why, if terminated or laid off, you must walk out the door with any and all money owed to you. It's not a defense that the guy who signs the checks is only in on Tuesdays, or they need to figure out how much to take out of your paycheck for purchases from the company canteen, etc. Why? Because they're choosing to end your employment, and they can choose to do so at any time. So they should terminate employment on Tuesday, after they've done the necessary calculations.

      If you are reading this, live in MA (and probably a bunch of other states), and have a pay period that is not at least semi-monthly (biweekly if you're paid hourly) unless you're salaried and agreed to be paid monthly...or you have not been paid within one pay period for your work...stop reading, step outside, and call your State AG immediately, or at least read something like []

      • Indeed. Also in some states (for example Illinois) your vacation/PTO is part of your earned income by law. Withholding that pay when you leave may be as illegal as withholding wages.

  • by tempestdata ( 457317 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:06PM (#46336509)

    Most decent programmers will find themselves in your position at some point in their careers. I did too. I know nothing of your financial situation and commitments (mortgage/family/etc.) but don't take a pay cut if you can at all help it. The fact that you feel any uneasiness would seal the deal.

    I would readily agree to a pay cut in only the following situations :

    1) Need a job desperately and gotta make rent. Hopefully this situation never arises
    2) Major promotion or opportunity in a company I strongly strong believe in. The idea being that I will work my ass off for peanuts, but believe in my heart that I will come away with a huge sum of money at the end, or the ability to make a huge sum of money.
    3) I am going to work for or with someone who is absolutely exceptional and is going to be teaching me something I couldn't already learn on my own.

    It does not sound like you are getting any of those three. If you are bored, keep looking for a better or different job. In the meantime, If you want to scratch your intellectual itch, do it on the weekends.

    You have my 2 cents worth.

  • by shadowknot ( 853491 ) * on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:07PM (#46336513) Homepage Journal
    I took a pay cut to move in to the digital forensics field in 2007 mainly because of the large volume of included training that was offered and the prospect of increased salaries in the future. I feel that it paid off, I got to learn a great deal about a field I was unsure of using software I could never have afforded to purchase on my own. Self study is how I've learned most things in my career but there really is something to be said for having access to experienced real-world professionals.
  • Going after a startup for innovative work might me interesting and rewarding but it might not neccessarily pay your mortgage.
    There are many benefits in working with well established platform and performing maintenance coding.

    Personally, I would never accept pay cut for "I'm bored with my current job".
    You can always find more rewarding job with higher salary if you really want to.
    Just remember you don't have to rush out, and don't let the door hit you in the ass when you leave.
    World is actually annoyin
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:09PM (#46336539) Homepage Journal
    There is a lot to be said about having cash in hand, and benefits. Is part of the idea that the small firm may get big and you will be rewarded greatly? That usually does not happen, so it is a gamble.

    If they desperately need someone to do all this great stuff, I wonder why you have to take a pay cut. Sure, you may be overpaid at you current job because of stress and what not, but i wonder if this new firm is just looking to find someone who will fix the problems cheap and then go away when they do not get a raise.

    Life is certainly more about money. but that is mostly said by people who have it.

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpn o - c o .org> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:10PM (#46336561) Homepage

    If you have a family to support, stay put. You have a good, stable job. Your "boredom" is immaterial to providing for your family. In short, get over yourself. You are working for more than just yourself now.

    If you don't have a family to support: Take it. Now's the time to make your mistakes. The worst thing that happens is that the company goes bust, you have some peanut butter and ramen days as you find another job. If it's just you, then it's no big deal, right?

    • I think you're oversimplifying a little. He doesn't necessarily need to stay put. What he really needs is to not incur much additional risk to his income or to his time with his family, if he has one. That might be possible while changing jobs. Especially if he's marketable enough that, if laid off, he could almost certainly find another job soon after.

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      If you have a family to support, stay put. You have a good, stable job. Your "boredom" is immaterial to providing for your family. In short, get over yourself. You are working for more than just yourself now.

      If you don't have a family to support: Take it. Now's the time to make your mistakes. The worst thing that happens is that the company goes bust, you have some peanut butter and ramen days as you find another job. If it's just you, then it's no big deal, right?

      I'm only in my early thirties, with my first child on the way, but I sure hope I never think like this. Parents don't suddenly become unimportant as soon as the kids arrive. I never let money be a primary factor in my career decisions before, and I don't plan on changing that once there are kids involved. You only have one life to live, and your career is a huge portion of that life. Unfulfilled parents can be far more damaging to children than lower middle class parents.

      As long as this guy is able to meet

    • Unless you're close to the poverty line then providing for your family is not an issue, more money just buys additional luxuries. As long as you have nutritious food in your belly and a roof over your head, having a parent/spouse come home in a good mood and with the time and energy to spend on you is going to be worth a lot more than having them come home late/tired/stressed and spend the evening just watching TV to unwind, no matter how much extra money they earn.

      Do you really want to teach your kids tha

  • Careers are all about money. It cant be better if you are losing income in the process. It can be different, but not *better*.

    • Not if he cannot be promoted at his current position and if wage increases are unlikely.

      Then it's an issue of staying at some place and knowing you can't get more, and possibly lose some of what you get now to start working at a position where NOT being promoted isn't a certainty.

    • Careers are all about money.

      Maybe, but life isn't all about one's career.

      It cant be better if you are losing income in the process.

      Depends on where one's priorities are. Is getting paid an extra $10,000.00 a year if one has to work consistent 60+ hour weeks, get called on the weekend and on vacation, and is generally treated like a slave?

      If one is making more money, but is also destroying one's life and health, one may never get to enjoy the extra income. Money is not everything and won't necessarily buy one happiness.

    • by schlachter ( 862210 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:20PM (#46337523)

      I'd never hire someone with your attitude. Someone who puts money above all else is not the kind of person I want to be around or to employee. Even if your asking salary was well within my budget.

  • It's worth it when you think it's worth it. There's no checklist or mathematical breaking point to tell you when to switch. This sounds more like you lack a solid structure of friends, so you're coming here in search of a support group.

  • 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 Pope ( 17780 )

    Increase your outside hobbies to fulfill the "boredom" you feel, and maybe that'll cure your blues.

    The answer also REALLY depends on age, relationship, family, etc. More so than can really be addressed here on Slashdot. The fact that you ARE asking is a good sign, though :)

    Do you want to become an architect at some point, so you are able to make the big decisions and decide direction? That may be an option if you want to keep some of the perks of your current job. Do some night classes or w/e and make the

  • There's a reason that "if it ain't broken don't fix it" continues to be the holy grail of engineering. It's because any value function you come up with to evaluate a new opportunity and compare it to an existing, good arrangement is bound to be incomplete. So Value = f(salary, benefits, exciting work) is one part of the story. What about the potential of a Dilbert-like management culture, processes that you don't know yet that you would find out after a year of working at the new place - at which point it w

  • You have it very good. Don't blow it. Use the 'extra' money you now make and the free time you now have to volunteer somewhere (or spend time with your kids, or pursue a hobby, or travel). There are non-profits begging to get work done end-to-end. You can do exactly the same thing, and feel good about it, while keeping your boring job.

    If you are serious, have your payroll deposited into two accounts. One is the lower salary of the exciting job. The other is the 'bonus' money of your current job. You'll

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:26PM (#46336811) Journal
    My answer is simple: when taking the job will improve your life more than having the extra money. I get more respect, have more time off, am happier, and am still able to pay my bills and put money away.
  • In the past 2 years, I've been at 5 companies and taken 2 pay cuts. All voluntary.

    My “compensation pie” is made up of many pieces. Only one of them is salary. The piece of the pie that was sorely missing was "satisfaction" ("happiness", "contentment").

    After 2 years, I finally found a company that *wants* me (my skills and what I have to offer), and actually allows me to contribute. This helps fill my "satisfaction" piece of my "compensation pie”.

    You need to figure out your own pie piec

  • Unless, it is from something you don't like to something you do (for instance from "IT Guy" to "Developer" or vice versa depending on your likes). Even then lowering your pay is simply the one of the options open to you. With a little more looking you might find that you can change and increase you pay. You have to be VERY careful because an employer is looking to minimize his expense and maximize your productivity. So, always bargain hard and start high. You can always move your price down, but you ca
  • When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

    When you can comfortably think it through and say to yourself:
    "This new job looks like it will be way more fulfilling than what I am doing now"
    "This new job looks like it won't have me looking to jump off a bridge every day like my current job"


    When you are financially stable enough to do so. E.g. you can live comfortably enough with your new salary while being able to satisfy debts (loans, mortgages etc.).

    Then you can make your choice. If the new

  • I worked an awful job for more money and now I work a great job for slightly less money. I prefer the job I have now. So I'd say the additional money and benefits aren't worth working at a worse job unless of course you were an idiot and got a mortgage for 54.9999% of your annual income.
  • Hold the phone... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:30PM (#46336863)

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

    So, this company wants you to work for them and take LESS, but they are promising you a better opportunity? I suppose it *might* be true, but I'd be worried about going backwards unless you are changing careers or work locations.

    If you are worried enough about this to consult the sages of SlashDot and actually TAKE some stranger's advice, I suggest you ask the prospective employer for more money (say exactly what you make now) and failing that, keep looking. If they really want you, they will pay, if they won't pay, they don't really want you that bad.

    NEVER go backwards without a reason that is tangible if you can help it. It hardly ever pays you back.

  • About 10 years ago I left a fairly established consulting gig with a company that was winding down operations / being acquired.

    Had to make a decision to move to the new company & stay in the same becoming-boring job or strike out again and search out the small internet startup / potentially rich-making / more exciting and hugely more risky gigs.

    I chose the latter.

    End up getting screwed on the IPO on both of them (one went private instead of public and screwed everyone but the founder), one rene
  • You have the typical recurring "job blues".

    I've had it before - but as you said yourself - you currently have "good benefits, lots of vacation time, very good salary" - not many folks can say that, particularly the last part.

    If you were totally miserable, that would be one thing, but since you are clearly not and are just irritated with the way most companies end up working (that small start-up, if successful, will very likely turn into the same thing eventually), the best idea for personal fulfillment

  • by DigitalSorceress ( 156609 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:46PM (#46337087)

    I took a $10,000 a year paycut when I left my previous employer to come to work for my current company... because I felt that I'd be much happier/have a better quality of work-life (old job was starting to destroy my soul / passion for programming)

    they wanted to hire me at my previous salary, but it was just not possible under their budgets/etc.

    I took the job anyway because I felt their culture and my work quality of life would jsut be a great match.

    Now, a couple years later, I've more than made up the difference in pay (proved my worth and the $$$ got found) and am just stupidly happy with this job.

    It's actually true that the worst days at my current job are still better than most of the best days for the last 3 years of my previous one.

    Basically, I've tried to always value happiness more than pure financial gain, and I've reaped the rewards of "love what you do for a living and you'll never ~work~ another day in your life".

    Good Luck

  • We dont want to afford you, will you come work for us for chump change?

    They can afford you, they just hope you will be stupid and be blinded by the "opportunity".

  • I’m 51 and been through many variations– upsized, downsized, self-employment, public, private, smalls, large, leveraged buyouts you name it.
    . I’ve left for money, I’ve left bad bosses, I’ve left for security, and I’ve left for geography. Also know that I’ve never had any difficulty getting a new job at any age. I just jumped companies last year at age 50. Once I decided on a change, it took 3 months to find a new job across the county while keeping the old gig. (Middle age crazy, wanted a climate change). If you’re competent and can communicate, there is a need.. Granted I’m in management now (10+ years) rather than programming and we have to maximize the skill set we have as well as always keep growing.

    Outside of Government work, if your name isn’t over the door, you (IT) are a disposable commodity. You are the first to get cut in lean times and the last to get hired in good ones. Also, know that nobody is ever indispensable. Leverage and balance those facts to your advantage. Nobody will watch out for your ass but you.

    To answer your question: Know what makes you happy. Form an ultimate game plan of what you want and where you want to end up. Every opportunity must past a simple litmus test: Does it lead you closer to end game? Only you can answer that. Good Luck.
  • most of the decisions are made by architects as oppose to developers.

    This is probably a good thing. Ideally all software developers would be good software architects as well, and we could always trust them to make good high level design choices. In practice this is just not the case. My suggestion to anyone the position of wanting to make higher level design choices is to do whatever you can to get that sort of a promotion or to do what the OP is contemplating and move to a smaller company where the head (maybe only) developer (i.e. you) *is* the architect.

    Lots of people

  • 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

    Be vary wary of this line. I've had friends do this exact same jump and it is usually followed by heart-break and another job search. Many small companies say that this is what they want, but what usually happens is that the established culture just will not change and you end up as "that guy" who steps on everyone's egos and ends up not "being the right fit after all".

  • by larwe ( 858929 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:14PM (#46337455)
    I worked for about eight years for a Fortune 500 (actually its ranking was two digits... and it wasn't #99). Benefits were great, pay was very good since they let me relocate from NYC (cripplingly high taxes) to FL (no state or city taxes) and keep my NYC salary and bonus. Flipside, I'd already had to change career paths entirely within the organization (from engineering to product management) in order to get a promotion, because the peristalsis was just too slow. And on every side, beset by "you can't get there from here" processes and conflicting goals. The analogy I used was that the company was trying to use a standard process built around the nuclear weapons industry in order to make toy dolls, and wondering why it could never get a project finished in time to be relevant. The only turnover to speak of was people who came in, tried to get things done, and were either torpedoed by vested interests, or gave up the struggle and moved on to other pastures where they could satisfy their thirst for meaningful achievement. About a year ago, I happened across a job posting for a small software company close to my new home in FL. Much smaller, but *DOING THINGS* and generally accelerating upwards. I negotiated the same salary, but no bonus, no 401k match, and generally smaller benefits all round. So I took a "pay" cut of perhaps $20-25k, all things considered, but I do not regret the move for one microsecond; I've already had one promotion, of a sort, and I enjoy what I do (when I'm not cursing at it - hey, this is software, after all! :)). Other people in my position might have felt differently - especially those closer to retirement and looking to stick with a dead-end railroad job to harvest benefits. I'm not young, but I'm also not anywhere near an age where retirement will be possible. And a considerable amount of my personal happiness is tied up in the question "what useful thing did I get done today?" TL;DR: this is a personal decision and you have to decide how much risk you're willing to stomach. And yes there is the possibility you'll be screwed, either maliciously or simply because your employer had expectations beyond what any one person can achieve. All of us on the other side of the internets can't make the judgement call for you as to whether this is a possible malice situation - you've spoken to this new employer, we haven't - and as for the expectations-too-high part, the way to manage this is with explicit goals, preferably chopped up into slices no bigger than three months. Check in frequently to make sure management knows how you're progressing and what things are slowing you down.
  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:30PM (#46337659)

    wants someone to take their system into the modern age, which means re-design/new architecture, implementation, maintenance, team lead, etc

    Do you mean you got a chance to work on /. Beta?

  • If it is a small paycut, then you can perhaps get more. I have experienced this same several times. Each situation is different. Sometimes you need to follow your feeling, sometimes you need to be rational.

    What can help is to make a personal vission and mission statement. Write it down and let others read it and ask them if that is something they recognize you in. Don't leave out your non-work related goals.

    If anything, t will help you understand what you actually want and where your priorities are. Then co

  • The important part is having no regrets.
    If you don't do it now, you'll always regret not having taken this opportunity. Do it and put all of your self behind it.
    Even if the small company fails to grow as expected, you'll have gained valuable experience. Being involved with a start-up is a great experience not just on technical aspects, but on human and economic ones as well.

  • If you agree to a pay cut, then you do so with the complete and full understanding that it will be very difficult to make that up down the road. You will almost certainly have to leave the new company to go to yet another job to make up for the salary you are giving up. And note that there are no guarantees that you will be able to find another job that will pay you more, especially if you don't live in a large metro area. If you really think that you must take the other job, hold out for the same money.
    • I think a lot of it also depends on the financial health of the person in question. Right now, leaving my stable and boring and well paying job is out of the question because I still have a giant stinking hole of student loans I am frantically trying to fill. After that, I will need to get a new vehicle. Once I've gotten a new car (ideally paid for in cash up front) and I've lost the albatross of student loans, then I can consider jumping ship to a start-up or moving along to contract work. Until then, s
  • 100% (Score:5, Funny)

    by FlopEJoe ( 784551 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @03:34PM (#46337707)
    100% you should absolutely take the new job. Run, don't walk.

    Side note... where do you work now? Like... specifically what's the address to send resumes?

  • There are lots of things to consider beyond just pay. How stable is the new company? What are the long term prospects of both companies and your positions? What is best for your career? Health Benefits? Even something as seemingly unimportant as whether or it significantly lengthens or shortens your commute can matter.

    I left in both cases and went to jobs that ultimately didn't work out but they both opened doors to other opportunities I wouldn't have otherwise had.

    One thing I do recommend is that if
  • In a large company, you are a specialist. You will have the opportunity to become a specialist in another area of the work if you want, but nobody gets to be a soup to nuts guy. The grass may look greener on the designers' side of the fence but it isn't. They're just as constrained as you are.

    On the other hand, it's stable. They'll pay you reliably and well.

    In a small startup, you are a generalist. You won't just have the opportunity to do everything, you'll have to. And you have to get good enough at it to

  • Putting all the finances, benefits aside for a moment (since they've been covered to death earlier), you have to realize that modernizing an existing established piece of software is a huge mine field. Trust this from soneone who's had to deal with several large projects varying from small refactoring of existing architectures to complete software rewrites. There aren't many happy problems, as you'll often face problems with integration, performance, ops support, stakeholder buy-in's, resistence from users

  • most of the decisions are made by architects as oppose to developers

    Sounds like you either want to be an architect, but are unqualified, or you don't know what an architect does (or is supposed to do).

    Skill up and move to architecture, that sounds like what you want to do. But you should probably stop hating on them before you become one of them. If you were a better developer, you'd have more respect for them. So maybe you should work on your skills for what you do now, first.

    • Except when the 'architects' dictate which 'software platform' (aka: expensive IBM frameworks) must be used for all future development, regardless of it being fit for purpose or not.

  • over anything else.

    I've been thru so many downsizings (mostly due to outsourcing or the company outright failing and having to cut expensive employees such as myself) that I'll take a stable company over an 'exciting' one.

    a cut in salary is nasty, too! I would not prefer to do that and the longer you hold your current higher paying job, the more 'area under the curve' you accumulate. the cost of living is NOT going down and so taking a pay cut is a double cut, effectively. its going backwards.

    I would onl

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling