2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

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madmartigan
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2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by madmartigan » Wed May 08, 2019 4:14 pm

I'm struggling to make a decision and would appreciate the communities collective wisdom on my financial component as well as any perspectives or advice you have.

Family: Myself (36y), Wife (36y), Son (6y) and Daughter (1y)
Current Location & Context: We live in the San Jose CA area. I'm tired of the traffic, congestion, expensive housing. We moved here for my work, and it just hasn't felt like a fit. I'm in a mid-manager role at a medium-sized tech company. My boss and team (30+) are good. My work hours are 45-50 hours/week which is fine. With office closures, my commute is now 1-1.5hr each way. This has prompted a conversation around working remotely, which my boss is agreeable to, and I'll include as an option below. We have experienced high turnover, and while I've been able to keep my direct team stable and performing, I'm seeing gaps in other functions. I'm not in alignment with our current vision and how we're executing it. I could be doing more to help fix this but with high political risk. My wife is a teacher but is going to take a 1+ year break to be SAHM regardless of what we do, which I'm very supportive of. We had direct family in the area but they have moved (one family member is 2 hours away now).
Current Comp: 200k
Net Worth: ~900k, no house


Option 1: High Tech on the Beach
Salary: 170k
Equity: 0.1% of the company, Series A, raising B soon. Standard vesting schedule. Standard equity percentage for a senior person.
Location: Southern CA — <100 employees, potentially 150-200 by next year.
Role: A lot of individual contributor work (test, qual, process, program management, standing up ops and procedures, etc). Could then scale into ops lead, or systems/program type owner for multiple programs.
Personal Excitement Factor: 0.8 (on a scale of 0-1)
Pros: I like the vision, the company is doing very interesting things with advanced tech, AI, etc. A lot to learn in a new area. Reminds me a lot of a previous startup I did which I enjoyed and thrived in. CEO values and sees potential my organizational capabilities based on our conversations.
Cons: Seems very disorganized right now, engineering driven, multiple parallel programs. Work/life balance will be rough. Will need to prove my value to grow into a leadership role. May I don't need that, and it's a good time to enjoy being an IC again. No family in the area, some family a 5-hour drive away.
Net Worth: Net worth growth is flat or slightly negative until company scales or exits.

Option 2: Familiar Industry in the Midwest
Salary: 220k + 50k bonus potential
Equity: 1% of the company, Series A, raising B soon. Equity vested within the first year.
Location: Northern Michigan (not in the UP) <35 employees, 20% increase next year
Role: VP of Ops, getting operations stabilized and scaled for production. Comp / Equity provided at C-Level valuation, which I’d transition to in 6-12 months as staff grows.
Personal Excitement Factor: 0.5 (on a scale of 0-1)
Pros: Will get to deep dive into a smaller part of my industry + learn other corporate operational functions. Great timing wrt comp/equity and their roadmap. A new area of the US may inspire us and reset family living, good opportunity to enjoy nature and try out winter sports + get away from bay area hectic pace + congestion.
Cons: Not as excited for the work, stays in my specific industry which I was initially looking to get out of to expand skill sets. Michigan winter; we've never lived in snow, but my wife has said she'd be OK trying it out. I'm worried about potential depression and isolation related to such a large change + so much winter and snow. No family in the area, a large amount of family 9 hours away.
Net Worth: 100k added easily each year.

Option 3: Stick with it in Sunny Southwest
Accept my bosses offer to work remotely. Enjoy similar salary, move closer to family in the southwest. Travel at least 25% of the time to HQ & other areas (company supports remote work but a lot of decisions & meaningful conversations happen in HQ). Try to rally my motivation and learn new skills while making it work. Personal Excitement Factor: 0.25
Last edited by madmartigan on Wed May 08, 2019 4:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed May 08, 2019 4:19 pm

You would get better advice if you edited your post to include the actual comp numbers for your current job and the two options, without injecting a variable as vague as "COLA".

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Meaty
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by Meaty » Wed May 08, 2019 4:26 pm

madmartigan wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 4:14 pm
I'm struggling to make a decision and would appreciate the communities collective wisdom on my financial component as well as any perspectives or advice you have.

Family: Myself (36y), Wife (36y), Son (6y) and Daughter (1y)
Current Location & Context: We live in the San Jose CA area. I'm tired of the traffic, congestion, expensive housing. We moved here for my work, and it just hasn't felt like a fit. I'm in a mid-manager role at a medium-sized tech company. My boss and team (30+) are good. My work hours are 45-50 hours/week which is fine. With office closures, my commute is now 1-1.5hr each way. This has prompted a conversation around working remotely, which my boss is agreeable to, and I'll include as an option below. We have experienced high turnover, and while I've been able to keep my direct team stable and performing, I'm seeing gaps in other functions. I'm not in alignment with our current vision and how we're executing it. I could be doing more to help fix this but with high political risk. My wife is a teacher but is going to take a 1+ year break to be SAHM regardless of what we do, which I'm very supportive of. We had direct family in the area but they have moved (one family member is 2 hours away now).
Current Comp: 200k (including bonus)
Net Worth: ~900k, no house


Option 1: High Tech on the Beach
Salary: 0.8x my current role (factoring COLA)
Equity: 0.1% of the company, Series A, raising B soon. Standard vesting schedule. Standard equity percentage for a senior person.
Location: Southern CA — <100 employees, potentially 150-200 by next year.
Role: A lot of individual contributor work (test, qual, process, program management, standing up ops and procedures, etc). Could then scale into ops lead, or systems/program type owner for multiple programs.
Personal Excitement Factor: 0.8 (on a scale of 0-1)
Pros: I like the vision, the company is doing very interesting things with advanced tech, AI, etc. A lot to learn in a new area. Reminds me a lot of a previous startup I did which I enjoyed and thrived in. CEO values and sees potential my organizational capabilities based on our conversations.
Cons: Seems very disorganized right now, engineering driven, multiple parallel programs. Work/life balance will be rough. Will need to prove my value to grow into a leadership role. May I don't need that, and it's a good time to enjoy being an IC again. No family in the area, some family a 5-hour drive away.
Net Worth: Net worth growth is flat or slightly negative until company scales or exits.

Option 2: Familiar Industry in the Midwest
Salary: 2.5x my current role (factoring COLA) - 3-3.5x w/ bonus targets
Equity: 1% of the company, Series A, raising B soon. Equity vested within the first year.
Location: Northern Michigan (not in the UP) <35 employees, 20% increase next year
Role: VP of Ops, getting operations stabilized and scaled for production. Comp / Equity provided at C-Level valuation, which I’d transition to in 6-12 months as staff grows.
Personal Excitement Factor: 0.5 (on a scale of 0-1)
Pros: Will get to deep dive into a smaller part of my industry + learn other corporate operational functions. Great timing wrt comp/equity and their roadmap. A new area of the US may inspire us and reset family living, good opportunity to enjoy nature and try out winter sports + get away from bay area hectic pace + congestion.
Cons: Not as excited for the work, stays in my specific industry which I was initially looking to get out of to expand skill sets. Michigan winter; we've never lived in snow, but my wife has said she'd be OK trying it out. I'm worried about potential depression and isolation related to such a large change + so much winter and snow. No family in the area, a large amount of family 9 hours away.
Net Worth: 100k added easily each year.

Option 3: Stick with it in Sunny Southwest
Accept my bosses offer to work remotely. Enjoy 1.75x salary (factoring cola), move closer to family in the southwest. Travel at least 25% of the time to HQ & other areas (company supports remote work but a lot of decisions & meaningful conversations happen in HQ). Try to rally my motivation and learn new skills while making it work. Personal Excitement Factor: 0.25
Assuming you’d be happy in the Midwest, I’d take that hands down. If you save that multiple of pay increase you’ll shorten your time to FI significantly
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

Topic Author
madmartigan
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by madmartigan » Wed May 08, 2019 4:33 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 4:19 pm
You would get better advice if you edited your post to include the actual comp numbers for your current job and the two options, without injecting a variable as vague as "COLA".
I agree COLA is a vague term, I based it off a few websites cost of living calculators. Updated to include salary.

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Meg77
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by Meg77 » Wed May 08, 2019 4:52 pm

Hmm, financially speaking the Michigan job wins hands down. Much higher pay plus much lower taxes plus much lower cost of living. As far as work life balance, it appears to be in the middle just like your excitement factor.

Culturally the move would be a big transition, but it could be fun as you point out (and in any case you'll have a lot of extra cash flow with which to travel to visit family or escape the winter).

I don't work in tech so can't speak to your career path or which option is best with that regard. But if you'll be moving anyway it seems worth a try. Maybe take a long weekend or week to check it out with your family if you haven't already?
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

London
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by London » Wed May 08, 2019 5:10 pm

It’s a personal decision based on where you want to live and your goals (financial or otherwise). If it were me, I’d avoid Michigan like the plague. But that’s just personal preference.

lostinjersey
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by lostinjersey » Wed May 08, 2019 8:27 pm

We left SV for Minnesota. It was a huge mistake. Financially, of course we were way ahead, but culturally it was not a fit. Now we are in Seattle and much happier, if with a lower savings rate.

Think long and hard about moving to the Midwest if you’ve never lived there.

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F150HD
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by F150HD » Wed May 08, 2019 8:48 pm

Kinda a bipolar lot of jobs- coastal CA or MI?

Sounds like you've never actually been to MI? ('Northern MI' can mean a lot of things!)

To me its not about the $$ - its about the culture you want your family to live in. if you're not an outdoors person, I'm not seeing MI as any value to you. Most people think of 'Detroit' when they think of MI, and they miss the best parts of it (Bob Seger is from Harbor Springs, super nice area once you go further north). Whatever you decide, moving to MI then uprooting your kids a few years later sounds.....ungood.

Prob need to use your family and childrens needs as a barometer vs the dollar.

PowderDay9
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by PowderDay9 » Wed May 08, 2019 9:05 pm

Love the personal excitement factor. We should require that on all job decision posts.

I've always created a matrix of the different aspects of the jobs then scored them 1-10. I'd suggest trying that. List the things that are important to you such as compensation, career growth, excitement, location, hours, manager/team, etc then score them and sum it up. If needed place more weight on the most important items.

I think at your comp level, personal excitement and location are probably very important. For me, I've lived near upper Michigan and it would almost be impossible to get me to go live through those winters again. Have you heard of lake effect snow? Sometimes I didn't see the sun for weeks.

I'd probably stay put and work remote but also can see why you'd go for the southern CA job. I think I'd have a hard time taking a pay cut in addition to the risk that comes with a new job. At least with the Michigan job you're starting with a higher current comp should you want to leave Michigan in a few years.

iasw
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by iasw » Wed May 08, 2019 9:27 pm

*waves from the Midwest *

Cost of living is great, four seasons are nice, and i recommend a vacation during winter to go somewhere warmer for a week. Winter can be fun, think of the Danes and the concept of hygge.

Michigan is beautiful and if you have reasonable access to an airport, you can travel or fly in family. Save up money aggressively and you can have lots of options later, even moving back to California if you choose.

Good luck!

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Watty
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by Watty » Wed May 08, 2019 9:45 pm

To me the job in Michigan would be an easy choice since you could work in it in a few years and establish yourself at the VP level and save a boatload of money. In five years if you get tired of the weather you could find a job somewhere else at the VP level or even semi retire.

The only concern I would have would be if there are good schools in the city you would be working in.

One thing that might help the distance from your family would be if you buy a large house with plenty of room for family to stay in when they come and visit. Buying something like a lake home might be an option which would encourage people to come and visit.

You could also work for a while longer in your current job and keep looking for other opportunities.

Here is something I have posted before that might also apply to the job in Southern California and some expensive areas in the Southwest.
My situation was totally different but years ago when I was just out of college I lived in the South Bay near San Jose.

The Bay Area has always been expensive and even back then one of the things I saw that some of my older coworkers had grown kids that were well into their 20's that were still living at home and that was not always a good situation. The problem was that the kids could not afford to rent an apartment even with roommates since they did not have a high income.

I've moved a couple of times since then and I am in Atlanta now where homes are still affordable. My son is 30 now and doing well in his career and he and his wife were able to afford to buy a home that is 10 minutes away from us even though he does not have an exceptional income. With him being so close we frequently get to see our two grandkids.

I also know someone that has a kid that is dyslexic and barely graduated from high school. At one point he was working at a chain muffler shop which is a good honest job but I am sure that it did not pay a lot. Even on his income he was able to save up and buy a small order house that is in a marginal but not terrible area.

There is no telling where your kids will move to when they grow up but some kids will need some extra TLC to launch and if they cannot afford to live near you that can be a problem.
Give a lot of thought to what it will be like for your kids when they grow up if they stay near you. It is only about 12 years until your oldest kid will graduate high school. It is a bit trite but they do grow up fast.

HornedToad
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by HornedToad » Wed May 08, 2019 10:54 pm

Clearly #1 or #2 based on personal excitement factor and opportunity for career growth. Otherwise #4 which is a job like #1 but not quite as strict of a salary cut

WildBill
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by WildBill » Wed May 08, 2019 11:17 pm

Howdy

Michigan in a heartbeat. Your quality of life will take a huge jump.

Buy your house for minimal commute. Learn to x-country ski.

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

softwaregeek
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by softwaregeek » Wed May 08, 2019 11:36 pm

170 in SoCal isn't quite as much as you would think. Remember, real estate prices in a good school district are obscene (although not as bad as Silicon Valley or San Francisco), state income tax is ~10%, taxes are about 1.25% of what you paid for that obscenely expensive house, and gas was $4.35 when I bought it today.

And on a non-financial note, even the best public schools are not that great. I live in what is considered to be one of the better school districts in Silicon Valley, and it is very unimpressive. I mean, ridiculously unimpressive. They get away with it because all the parents send their kid to supplementary after school study halls, which I have reluctantly done for my first grader to ensure that she gets a decent education.

That being said, I do work for a venture backed startup at a manager level and my opinion is it could be worth it if the equity is right.If you were talking about say, Uber in 2014, would be worth taking less to get the equity.

1. How do you feel about the startups *opportunity*, market fit, future valuation, likelihood to scale or exit?
2. Looking at the CEO, CFO, CTO etc. of the company, are you willing to bet your livelihood and the family on their abilities? Because fundamentally, that's what you do when you join a startup.

I've rolled the dice three times with startups. The first one went nowhere, left after two years. I got paid OK, but didn't cash out. The second was a home run, the company went public and was valued at over $5 billion when I left. The third, the jury is still out on since I'm still working there.

Seal the Deal
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by Seal the Deal » Thu May 09, 2019 9:51 pm

Northern lower Michigan is one of the snowier places in the country due to lake effect snow (think 150" annual average). This would be quite a shock if you haven't lived somewhere with winter weather. They are well prepared for it there but it's not something to be taken lightly.

NoGambleNoFuture
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Fri May 10, 2019 1:57 am

Surely these aren’t your only options...

You could continue to work for the current employer remotely while continuing to explore new opportunities elsewhere.

Find somewhere that excitement factor is a “1”, comp is significant to hit the goals you wanna hit at the pace you want to hit them, culture and life are valued - then go all in

cableguy
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by cableguy » Fri May 10, 2019 4:18 am

"Happy Wife, Happy Life". Two young kids....wife....make sure your wife knows what she's in for. You'll be off working, loving your new career, conquering the world. Doesn't matter where you are. Your wife and kids....that's another story. I've lived in CA, NY, and traveled almost EVERYWHERE in between. Send your wife to the midwest on a few trips. Have her check it out. You may change up your options....

Topic Author
madmartigan
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by madmartigan » Sun May 26, 2019 6:39 pm

Thank you all for your advice, I do appreciate it.

As an update to this thread, I ended up going with Option 3. I worked out a path forward with my current employer, and am in the process of relocating to the southwest where more family is.

A major reason for making this decision was that I was confident prior to receiving my offers, that if I received them, I would take them. Upon having the offers, this wasn't the case. Neither felt right both from a personal excitement factor nor thinking about the long term happiness for my family. It's clear to me that we're no longer happy in the bay area, so in absence of having a better path forward working with my existing employer (a known situation, boss, etc) and moving to an area where we can reconnect with friends and family seems the best path forward for now. My hope is the move will give me some time to 'reset' and evaluate what I'm really looking for so that when I do start looking for new opportunities again in the future I have a more clear direction or path to pursue.

lostinjersey
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Re: 2 Job Offers, Relocation - Stuck & Need Advice

Post by lostinjersey » Sun May 26, 2019 6:44 pm

Seems like a smart decision to me. As you get older, being close to family/friends gets more important, I’ve discovered.

Good luck with the move and the reset.

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