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Money vs Job Satisfaction, where is the balance?


Money vs Job Satisfaction, where is the balance?

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james marriot
james marriot
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Im currently in a job i really enjoy. As a consultant for a small specialized database consultancy firm I get to see inside a lot of companies, I work for an exceptionally gifted and patient Database Architect/Developer and learn more on a weekly basis than i did in a month in my previous role. I really like how much experience and learning i am getting.

But, for my region the salary is just average for a DBA/DB Dev. There are quite a few companies over here that are offering 20% or more in an annual salary. I would be committed to just one company though (not something i relish as i get bored easily), do a fair bit more on call work, and id be back being a very small cog in a giant machine, something i really don't relish.

But 20% more is a lot of money. With a wife & with purchasing some house, & saving for the kids college fund that 20% would go a long way.

I could ( and will) talk to my company but i have visibility to finances and am pretty sure they cant give me much of a wage increase.

I know its my own decision, but id like some viewpoints from folk who may have dealt with this before. What choice did you make and what factors helped you decide?
jasona.work
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Really, this is going to get the same answer as many of the technical questions do.
It depends...

I would think that (within reason) a relatively unsatisfying job with great pay would be fine, just like a lower paying job with high job satisfaction would be fine. It all really comes down to *your* situation.

For me, I've reached the pointed of not being satisfied with my current job (read some of my other posts if you want details) and the pay doesn't compensate (nor is it likely too any time soon,) so I have currently started to process of interviewing for a new position at a new company (currently I don't know what the pay rate might be, so I've not burned any bridges with my current employer {they don't know I'm looking})

About the only suggestion I might have, would be for you and your wife to discuss what you might want to do, and to also discuss it with your current employer.
SQLCharger
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It also depends on the stage of your career.
During the first few years, you may want to be in a 'learning' environment, where the balance is on the side of knowledge acquisition. Learning the ropes, so to speak.
Apprentice. Money is of low importance at this stage, building up relevant experience is the first priority. Some people even work (effectively) for free in order to be around experts in their chosen field. Brilliance rubs off sometimes.

A few years later you may feel that you've learned what you had to learn from 'masters' and now is the time to spread your wings and fly from the low-paying nest. Money is now more important.

Of course family obligations complicate things...

Cheers,

JohnA

MCM: SQL2008
GSquared
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First, figure out if you need the extra money, or want the extra money. There's a big difference between need and want.

If you need the extra money, then the decision is made. Get a higher paying job and suffer what you have to for it.

If you merely want the extra money, then you need to make the decision at a bit deeper level.

One point to keep in mind in any decision like this, is that stress (easily caused by an unpleasant job) is expensive. It can do amazing things to boost your medical expenses, just for one thing. And an unpleasant work environment can easily spill over into your personal life.

But, regardless, the first calculation is need/want on the extra money. You'll need to budget, plan, and do the math.

- Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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Brandie Tarvin
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I agree with GSquared on this issue, but there's something else you can do to assist yourself in making the decision.

Check your network for DBAs who work at the "20% higher pay" companies. If you don't have any contacts who work for those companies, ask them to introduce you to someone who does. Inside intelligence is vital at this moment. You need to get the scoop on the corporate culture and job expectations before you make the move.

There's nothing worse than making a move for higher pay only to find out you can't stand either the company or the people you work with. Or that the job is something that will drive you bananas in 3 weeks.

Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.
james marriot
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Thanks for the advice guys. You raised some interesting points and good questions to put to myself.

Do i really need the extra money right now?
No, not at this moment, not for the next 2-3 years, afterwhich family commitments will necessitate a larger income ( school fees, buying house etc).

Where am i in my career at the moment?
I am a decent DBA & DB Dev, but want more experience in BI, Reporting etc to become a more rounded professional. For this reason my current environment, being semi-mentored is ideal.

Fact is i like learning, and being taught and I like my current job as i get these benefits. im at a stage where there is still a lot to be learned in my current role.

Based on this, I am going to put aside any ideas of large salaries and giant corporations, stay where i am and continue learning and getting better.
After this I will see where i am in my career path, and if the company has progressed to a state where I can grow with it. If not Il have a conversation with the owners to see what can be done and help me decide my next steps.

Thanks for the help.

James.
GSquared
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If you'll need the extra money in 2-3 years, then you need it now. Don't wait.

Save as much as you possibly can over the 2-3 years, and the needs at that time will be less of a burden.

It's MUCH easier to earn the money early than to wait till the last minute (day, month, whatever).

Doing something about it now also gives you a margin for error:

Scenario 1: You wait 3 years, till you need the extra money. You get a new job. It pays well, but sucks as a place to work. Your new boss is a nightmare. You don't dare quit, because you can't afford to. The stress leads to mistakes at work, and three months after you start, you're fired. And now your unemployed and really, really screwed.

Scenario 2: You get a better paying job now. It pays well, but sucks as a place to work. Your new boss is a nightmare. You immediately start shopping around for something better. You have less stress, because you have some time to find something better. Even so, three months later, you're fired because the boss is just that evil. You still have 2.5 years (or so) to correct the situation.

Those are worst-case scenarios. Here are more likely cases:

Scenario 1: You wait 3 years, till you actually need the extra money. You get a new job. It's tough, but you learn as you go, and you do okay. Day-to-day expenses are a bit rough, and you have no significant savings to fall back on if you have an emergency, but income is adequate to then-current needs.

Scenario 2: You get something better paying now. It's tough, but you learn as you go, and you do okay. You save the excess for 3 years (invest, savings account, money market, whatever). Three years later, when expenses go up (as predicted), you can't continue to save as much, but you have a rainy-day fund set aside for emergencies. Plus, since you have 3 years experience at the better paying job, you are in a better position for higher raises, or another move up to something even better.

If you can predict a future need, start acting on it now. Don't procrastinate on it. If what you're making now would be adequate for the forseeable future, that's one thing. But if it's not, don't delay.

Don't wait for tomorrow to happen, create your tomorrow the way you want it.

- Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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"Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon
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