Career Advice

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Career Advice

Post by WolfgangPauli » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:28 pm


I am not sure where to post this but since this is such a great group for providing investment advice, I figured I might ask about career advice as well. I have a major decision to make and would like some thoughts.

First, I am financially secure. I have put together a portfolio in excess of $3M and am 55. I think, while not crazy, it is enough to sustain me. House is paid for, kid is through college, no debt at all.

I just decided to leave a job and they made it attractive for me financially. So, I have 8 months left to go of a hefty severance and of course am on Cobra for 18mos.

Here is my dilemma (Two options):

1. Go back to work for a "mega corp" at about the same salary, benefits etc. Have an offer on the table.
2. Do a more "engaging" thing and take a turn. I have been offered a part time teaching job at a Major university (It is rated the # 1 University in the country for my profession and I would be teaching in my field). It would involve one undergrad and one MBA course. It is part time but could, by next semester, transition to full time.

Of course, the drawback to #2 is substantially less pay but it is something I have always said I would want to do if I could. Now, staring the money in the face, I am just not one who is wired to turn down more money.

My wife tells me I would be crazy not to take the teaching job and thinks if I did not I would forever be kicking myself for not at least trying.

Thoughts from the collected?
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Re: Career Advice

Post by FrugalInvestor » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:47 pm

Your wife is right providing that you have a way to purchase good health insurance beyond cobra coverage. Counting on quality private health insurance in this political/insurance climate is not realistic. Even if it's available today that is no guarantee that it will be next year or the year after.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Career Advice

Post by Watty » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:10 am

One advantage of the teaching position would be that if it works out well you could do it for many years and possibly even part time into your 70's if you wanted to.
WolfgangPauli wrote: It is part time but could, by next semester, transition to full time.
It it does become full time then I would assume that it would come with health insurance.

Reading WAY in between the lines I would suspect that if you try teaching for a year and it does not work out that you would not have a lot of trouble finding some corporate job with benefits if you needed to even if is not as high paying.

If that is the case then I don't see a lot of downside to trying the teaching job.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by WildBill » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:41 am


I have found that my wife knows what I should do even before I know myself.

Happy teaching :happy

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Re: Career Advice

Post by Polymath » Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:39 am

Your wife is right.
I think you know it too.
Do the teaching job.

Money is a tool, you have enough for a secure life. What is the marginal value of getting more money vs. the impact you could have as a teacher?

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Re: Career Advice

Post by student » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:05 am

I am a bit surprised at the transition to a full-time position at the university after one semester. Is it a full-time tenure-track position or non-tenure-track position? It is very unusual to have such an arrangement for a tenure-track position. For full-time non-tenure-track position, it is still not very common. The reason being most universities follow American Association of University Professors' suggestions that one should either award tenure or let the instructor in a full-time teaching position goes after 6 years. At my university, a person can only hold a non-tenure-track full-time position for 6 years.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by lightheir » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:22 am

I find your question almost laughably obvious, no offense.

You have retirement and your adult kid already taken care of.

What is there to gain by taking the megacorp job? More money? For what?

In converse, it seems like there is everything to gain by taking the teaching job. I think you know the bang for your buck for in terms of life rewards for time spent are going to be potentially much higher for the teaching job at this point than the megacorp more-of-the-same job (that you'd probably still be doing right now if megacorp job were really that interesting and rewarding.)

Note that I'm not saying everyone should go your route - I'd more often than not say take the megacorp job if you're younger and have retirement or kids to save/plan for. You on the other hand, are past that and have planned/saved well.

If I were you, I'd think even bigger - what other life opportunity can you dream of that will be even MORE rewarding or interesting than the teaching job and why aren't you chasing it?

And as said above, your wife is always right. Not saying this just to be a pro-wife/pro-feminist - it's the reality of having external judgment of someone who lives with you and thus knows you better than yourself and also has your best interests at heart. They'll point out your shortsightedness well in advance of you recognizing it yourself.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by dbltrbl » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:29 am

How about opening a branch campus for this university in some underdeveloped country or providing ideas for that. If you are in teaching, even part time you have that opportunity. Take it.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:31 am

I think you need to decide if more money will get you something beyond more digits in the bank. For example maybe you want a bigger/nicer house or if you always dreamed of a vacation home or you want a Porsche 911 Turbo--something along those lines.

I would just caution if you decide to take the teaching job and the economy turns you may have a harder time getting employment of the kind you are accustomed to. That said you don't look like you need employment!

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Re: Career Advice

Post by ram » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:23 am

I have a similar future plan and support your 'teaching' plan. I am a physician currently treating patients, teaching medicine and doing research. My future plan is to drop the first part and stick with the other two as I get old.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by Helo80 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:34 am

Do the teaching job.

Look at the way you described the Mega corp job versus the university gig.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by Jazztonight » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:11 am

If your choice is between #1 and #2, then trust your wife. She's right.

But...if you're looking for other alternatives, there are many. You should take money issues off the table; that's not what this is all about. Also, you really don't need to do anything "work-related" if you don't want to. You've already won the game. Now it's time to do whatever the hell you want to do.

At 55, I semi-retired and went back to school to get another college degree in a field (music) that was totally unrelated to my then profession. It was in many ways the four best years of my life. After graduating, I performed & composed music, became a bandleader, and later began to study the flute. I continue to pursue all of those activities (at age 70).

Is there anything you've always wanted to do but didn't for some reason? Hey, now's the time. You'll never be in better shape to try something new and different. In other words, re-invent yourself. I can tell you that it's a great experience.

If that doesn't intrigue you, then just listen to your wife and take the teaching gig.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Career Advice

Post by fandango » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:15 pm

My question for you:

Have you ever taught before? If not, how do you know that you would like it?

Why not shoot for a job in a small to medium size company and teach part-time to see how you will like it?

Teaching is not always what you think/dream it will be.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by seashell » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:05 pm

Here are things to consider:

1. Will you have TA's (teaching assistants) or will you be grading papers yourself? If so, how many and how much of your hours will be spent grading vs lecturing vs office hours?

Some people love "teaching" (which for them means lecturing and interacting with students) but dislike grading homework, exams, projects, etc. If you're teaching a large lecture hall of 200 students, how many assignments are there and will you be required to grade all of them? Sometimes the answer is yes.

If you do grade papers, be generous and kind in your comments. Often students don't just remember the letter grade, they remember the comments the professors wrote on their papers. A kind and encouraging comment can really impact a student in a positive way.

2. If you will have TA's, will they be advanced undergraduates or graduate students? Pros and cons to each. Sometimes undergrads are enthusiastic but know less and need more instruction. Sometimes graduate students know more but are begrudging since they do not necessarily want to teach but are required to do so.

3. If in twenty years you look back at your life, which would you regret not doing?

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Re: Career Advice

Post by J295 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:16 pm

Two random things to add to the already good replies ....

After we reached financial Independence we took some of the opportunities for change and life has been very exciting. That started around age 53.

You mention your interest in earning money...... My interest in money was high when working full time and after that disappeared. I'm responsible regarding money but it holds a very slight interest to me now.

Good luck. Remember this isn't a dress rehearsal.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by harrychan » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:21 pm

Initially, I thought teaching for sure but after rereading your post, I would go to the megacorp for 3-4 more years then go teaching. I think you have too much in you to 'settle' for a part time teaching job. It also sounds like the teaching job will be there. Alternative may be to go part time / consultant at the megacorp and part time teaching?
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by daveydoo » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:31 pm

WolfgangPauli wrote: Here is my dilemma (Two options):

1. Go back to work for a "mega corp" at about the same salary, benefits etc. Have an offer on the table.
2. Do a more "engaging" thing and take a turn. I have been offered a part time teaching job at a Major university (It is rated the # 1 University in the country for my profession and I would be teaching in my field).
Cool dilemma, and congratulations! Universities are increasingly looking for cheap talent and labor (witness the profusion of adjuncts, etc., who earn nothing and are trying to unionize). That said, your best-in-the-nation opportunity seems less likely to fall into this camp. I've seen some sharp people make this transition seamlessly and happily or, like you, use it to (ahem) asymptotically approach retirement. Only you can read the tea leaves on this academic opportunity but I'd investigate how many of "you" they employ now (vs full-time grant-funded and/or publishing core faculty) and how happy they are and how engaged they feel. You may be doing for the sake of prestige what they are unable to hire someone to do at a competitive salary. That said, if you're not happy, I suspect you could eventually take the mega-corp job with this added credential under your belt.
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Re: Career Advice

Post by Hockey10 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:33 pm

At 55 with $3mm, no debt, and no college expenses to worry about, you have won. Congratulations! You probably don't have to work another day in your life, unless you have some unusually high living expenses.

Take whichever path you feel will make you most happy in life. Working for another Megacorp would not be my choice.

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Re: Career Advice

Post by WolfgangPauli » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:16 pm

Thanks everyone.. I am off to teaching! I will keep everyone posted (I may write a book about a "third act"). I am excited!!!
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Re: Career Advice

Post by aquamarine » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:39 pm

Excellent!! Good luck!

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