While I’m feeling confident about the next step in my career as a whole – given I’ve now had appropriate time to rest and reset prior to taking another position – I’m still extremely confused about what to do next. It seems I will indeed have the luxury of at least two options, but I’m just completely torn on which opportunity to sign up for. On top of that I’m severely stressing out over negotiations. I just wish one employer could give me a deal that I cannot refuse, but of course job negotiation doesn’t work like that.
I don’t want to go into this position as a short-term fling, so to speak. Wherever I go next I want to stay at least a year and ideally remain until I have my first child, or after that if it makes sense. I’m turning 31(!!!) in two months. My plan is to get married at 32 and have my first kid by 33 or at latest 34. So. I can go to a company that may or may not be around in two years now, work my ass off, negotiate a high enough salary to save a lot of money, and take time to be a mom when the company either is acquired or goes under. I would need to set up my contact so the company’s success does not inhibit my ability to achieve this plan. Yet I’m not sure if this makes sense at all.
Beyond professional objectives, my financial goals are to achieve $400k in networth in 2015 ($15k-$30k in investment growth + $70k-$85k in additional savings.) I can live on ~$3500 a month (less if needed, but let’s just say $3.5k to allow for some vacations and shopping sprees, which I tend to take when I’m stressed.) So in order to save an additional $85k I need to be able to put away $7083 a month after taxes. That’s a lot and probably not possible, realistically. I would have to make $10583 AFTER taxes in order to do this. Well, if I make $200k a year that’s really $8938 a month after state/fed tax (estimate.) I mean, $8938 a month is a lot (not that I’m getting $200k a year, but I’m just saying my goals aren’t realistic, unfortunately.) But – let’s just say I an earn 10% on my existing savings for the year — that leaves $70k to save for the year or $5833 per month. That would give me $3105 a month for rent/food/life and I could deal with that — if I was making $200k per year. That sounds like a very lot but given my aggressive financial savings goals it really isn’t.
My objective is to get to $500k networth before I have my first child. That has been my objective throughout my 20s and it hasn’t changed. Given I’m 31 now I’m thinking about that a lot. I’m not going to chose a job just because of this, but every extra few thousand dollars I can negotiate gets me closer to this goal. Maybe I can reach it. Who knows. It’s not like I won’t have a kid until I do, but I like to set goals for myself and achieve them. I want to hit $500k by the time I’m 33. Given some of the job offers I am receiving this no longer seems entirely impossible.
But ultimately there is more to selecting a job than salary. I want to find a place where I can do a great job – where I will learn and grow and ultimately have a sustainable career, not just a few years of high-stress before I’m thrown to the dogs. I’m so lucky to even have these opportunities but I want to pick the right one. And both are just so very different. I really am excited about the opportunity of teaming with a very smart former colleague and another good friend of mine as well as a prior agency I rock and rolled with at a previous co, but I’m not sure that will be enough to win tenure at a rocky company. Its further grace is that I absolutely love the general space the company is in. On the other hand I have a relatively stable larger company with a role that isn’t as high up but where I would be… well… both probably more stable but also more bored. As I think about it I believe I can still go to the larger company a few years down the line as these talented folks don’t jump ship often… some have been in the company for over 10 years. If they like me now why wouldn’t they like me later? I’d just be gaining more relevant experience before coming back for another shot.
Or do I stop going with my gut on these things and maybe for once think this all through? I just wish I had someone who has been in this position before to talk about this with. Honestly I am considering hiring an attorney to help with contract negotiations. S/he won’t help me decide what to do, but at least I can negotiate the best deal for myself and perhaps de-risk the riskier option a bit. I am surprised by how confused I am by all this and it sounds crazy but I wish I could do BOTH jobs. Well, maybe I can, just not both at the same time.