Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

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neverpanic
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by neverpanic »

I never knew any state employees in CA who hated their retirement or medical benefits. None are rich or famous, but they were comfortable enough through their 30s and 40s, then were well-positioned for retirement once they hit their mid-50s.

I went on a little getaway to a small, coastal town in CA last month and had a chat over coffee with a former state worker I'd just met. He said he had retired at 55. By appearances, I thought he might be early 60s. He said he'd recently turned 74. That's just one retiree and it's possible he hit the lottery on everything health-wise, but from an outsider's perspective, I think there has to be some value in not having the stress of worrying about job security, especially as we get older.

This is all anecdotal. YMMV, but it's worth a thought.
Last edited by neverpanic on Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
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cchrissyy
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by cchrissyy »

It sounds like your current job is plenty stable. You've been there for years, you would get severance if laid off, and the rumors causing you anxiety are just talk not action yet, and might never happen.

So I don't think you should preemptively take a pay cut and give up severance pay just to avoid the stress of a layoff.

I do think you should consider ways to cope with stress and uncertainties. It sounds like you hate thinking your job could end, even though you don't like it, the anxiety of wondering hits you extra hard. That sucks but I think your idea fixes that one thing at the expense of all other priorities.


And I do think you should find work you enjoy and a manager or team you respect! But there is no reason to think this state job idea is a better fit for you in terms of work tasks or the manager. Or maybe I should say, good and bad managers exist everywhere and so when you go on the job market and see what's a good fit for you there is no reason to expect state jobs have better managers than other companies you interview at.


The last thing that concerns me is if you took a pay cut and justified it by the retirement benefits, but you would have to stay full time employed until what, 60, to get them? Whereas you currently identify yourself as boarderline able to FIRE already. If that is the case you have LOTS of better options than doing work you dislike up to age 60.
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jplee3
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jplee3 »

cchrissyy wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:07 pm It sounds like your current job is plenty stable. You've been there for years, you would get severance if laid off, and the rumors causing you anxiety are just talk not action yet, and might never happen.

So I don't think you should preemptively take a pay cut and give up severance pay just to avoid the stress of a layoff.

I do think you should consider ways to cope with stress and uncertainties. It sounds like you hate thinking your job could end, even though you don't like it, the anxiety of wondering hits you extra hard. That sucks but I think your idea fixes that one thing at the expense of all other priorities.


And I do think you should find work you enjoy and a manager or team you respect! But there is no reason to think this state job idea is a better fit for you in terms of work tasks or the manager. Or maybe I should say, good and bad managers exist everywhere and so when you go on the job market and see what's a good fit for you there is no reason to expect state jobs have better managers than other companies you interview at.


The last thing that concerns me is if you took a pay cut and justified it by the retirement benefits, but you would have to stay full time employed until what, 60, to get them? Whereas you currently identify yourself as boarderline able to FIRE already. If that is the case you have LOTS of better options than doing work you dislike up to age 60.
If we were to buy a house in our HCOL area we definitely would be pushing FIRE back a lot. I think part of my insecurity comes from looking around at what's going on and in particular my brother who is unhappy and applying elsewhere.
The job definitely doesn't feel stable to me - I'm not confident length of time being there guarantees any sort of stability either. Severance, I believe, would get me 10 weeks of pay (2 weeks per year of service).
I have some concerns over career development and skillset. The current job my skills have really plateaued. The state job would allow me to get my feet wet again with an area I've been out of and have been considering getting back into (infosec) more...
Last edited by jplee3 on Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
jackbeagle
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jackbeagle »

Marseille07 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:13 am My friend went from private to public and he seems to love it. Lower pay but lots of job security & a pension plan.
Make sure your prospective position pays hourly and lets you get OT.

Pay problem solved.
DrGrnTum
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by DrGrnTum »

jplee3 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:22 pm
123 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:19 pm Sometimes working in a government job (city/county/state) can be pretty boring. We've got a relative who switched to a government job for the pension plan. He looked forward to the holidays and vacation days as his favorite perk. But he soon found out that the standard in his department was to minimize the number of vacation days actually taken so you could save them up endlessly for the higher retirement benefits based on length of service. So when he took a vacation his co-workers didn't like it since they organized the department's work with the expectation that pretty much everyone would be there every day.
Yikes, that sounds awful!

Wait, so if you don't take your PTO/vacation, this leads to higher retirement benefits? I'm not understanding that part... I never take much vacation (a day off here and there and maybe a week or two every couple years or so but nothing crazy). I guess this depends on the group you're with right? But how do you "vet" for things like this while interviewing? Lol
The State department I worked for did not let you add your vacation hours to your retirement. You had to cash those hours out. Many people would use up all their vacation hours right before they retired. You had to get approval from your boss to do this. Your sick leave hours can be added to your retirement time.

I recently retired from a State job after 42 years of service. I worked 20 years in one District in one city and the rest in another District in another city. In both places there were those “special” people that seemed to take advantage of the system. The majority of my co-workers where the type that did their work as directed. They put their 8 hours in and then went home. There were also those that did their work with a lot more initiative. Those were the “GO TO” people. I found in my case that if you made a name for yourself, you become a wanted commodity. You get assigned more challenging and interesting work. When advancements come around, you are in a position to take advantage of them.

Good luck.
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jplee3
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jplee3 »

Those of you who are in IT/tech for the state (and particularly anyone in infosec), do you feel like you've gained a lot of experience and learned enough to keep up with tech in general so that if you were to look for private sector jobs you would be able to make the change?

I can understand the stigma of being a public sector employee if that's all you've ever known. But I tend think if that have private sector experience, then moved over to the public sector (state or whatever), and then eventually decided you wanted to go back to the private sector, that "stigma" wouldn't really be as big of an issue (especially if you leave it off your resume LOL). And if you're able to upkeep the skills even through the state job then I just don't see how you wouldn't be marketable in the private sector.

Or do most IT/tech state employees let their skills lapse or atrophy to the point where most of them would never be able to go back to the private sector? I find this a bit hard to believe especially for infosec...
Jeepergeo
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Jeepergeo »

The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by LilyFleur »

baconavocado wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:13 am Ask yourself this: would I mind working for someone who knows 1/2 what I know and makes 2X what I make? If no, then get a job in state government.
My experience has not been that. At least in southern California. There are some very bright, competent people in city and state government here, and I have a friend who worked at the highest level of city government.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by LilyFleur »

Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.
The flip side of this is not getting laid off in your 50s.
Firemenot
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Firemenot »

LilyFleur wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:33 pm
Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.
The flip side of this is not getting laid off in your 50s.
I’d actually love to be laid off right now in my 40s so I could get a severance package and negotiate holding onto my options.
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jplee3
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jplee3 »

Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.

Good insight. I just had the interview and it went pretty well overall. The guys interviewing me seemed to know what they were talking about (LOL) and the project the hiring manager was talking about ramping up sounded like there are lots of moving pieces of things to pickup and learn/apply. I don't how common it is to interview at the state level and hear how "promising" it is only to be sorely disappointed once hired.
Interestingly, I was asked TWICE if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento - once at the beginning and once at the end. I said both times that it would be open to consideration. Towards the end I asked what the impact of telework has been there and if they see telework becoming a long-term option. The hiring manager skirted and deferred the question to "it's based on what the state dictates to us" hahaha (this can't be true since some other positions I've seen clearly say "open for telework"). He went on to say that things have been positive regarding telework productivity. Then immediately after the other consulting manager (former ITM/ITS who was a long-term state employee and is on the team for short-term consultancy) asked if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento :| I gave him the "it's open for consideration but I'd have to check with my wife to be fair to her" answer LOL. I tried to keep it open but they probably see it as a pretty hard "No" which is fine because I'm pretty sure we're not relocating to Sacramento right now.
Jeepergeo
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Jeepergeo »

jplee3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:54 pm
Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.

Good insight. I just had the interview and it went pretty well overall. The guys interviewing me seemed to know what they were talking about (LOL) and the project the hiring manager was talking about ramping up sounded like there are lots of moving pieces of things to pickup and learn/apply. I don't how common it is to interview at the state level and hear how "promising" it is only to be sorely disappointed once hired.
Interestingly, I was asked TWICE if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento - once at the beginning and once at the end. I said both times that it would be open to consideration. Towards the end I asked what the impact of telework has been there and if they see telework becoming a long-term option. The hiring manager skirted and deferred the question to "it's based on what the state dictates to us" hahaha (this can't be true since some other positions I've seen clearly say "open for telework"). He went on to say that things have been positive regarding telework productivity. Then immediately after the other consulting manager (former ITM/ITS who was a long-term state employee and is on the team for short-term consultancy) asked if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento :| I gave him the "it's open for consideration but I'd have to check with my wife to be fair to her" answer LOL. I tried to keep it open but they probably see it as a pretty hard "No" which is fine because I'm pretty sure we're not relocating to Sacramento right now.
The State would likely benefit greatly from your skill set and drive as evidenced by your time in the private sector.
It won't likely be a question of whether you can do the job, but whether you will want to do the job.

I'm in the private sector and have been for 30+ years and our business is basically to do outsourced public sector type projects. Most of the State's Project Managers have very little experience and almost no project development and delivery experience...the State's 20 year PM has less technical experience than my 3-5 year since degree staff. The PM once told me he appreciates my company's monthly invoices because he can completely review one in a day! And that's just a $50-$100K monthly invoice! He has also mentioned he misses "getting his hands dirty" by which he means deeper into design.

The State does have a management fast track program and I will admit it has produced some really good state leaders. You might want to ask about it. I don't know how they select candidates.

Good luck with your decision... there are a lot of pros and cons to weigh!
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jplee3
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jplee3 »

Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:16 pm
jplee3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:54 pm
Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.

Good insight. I just had the interview and it went pretty well overall. The guys interviewing me seemed to know what they were talking about (LOL) and the project the hiring manager was talking about ramping up sounded like there are lots of moving pieces of things to pickup and learn/apply. I don't how common it is to interview at the state level and hear how "promising" it is only to be sorely disappointed once hired.
Interestingly, I was asked TWICE if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento - once at the beginning and once at the end. I said both times that it would be open to consideration. Towards the end I asked what the impact of telework has been there and if they see telework becoming a long-term option. The hiring manager skirted and deferred the question to "it's based on what the state dictates to us" hahaha (this can't be true since some other positions I've seen clearly say "open for telework"). He went on to say that things have been positive regarding telework productivity. Then immediately after the other consulting manager (former ITM/ITS who was a long-term state employee and is on the team for short-term consultancy) asked if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento :| I gave him the "it's open for consideration but I'd have to check with my wife to be fair to her" answer LOL. I tried to keep it open but they probably see it as a pretty hard "No" which is fine because I'm pretty sure we're not relocating to Sacramento right now.
The State would likely benefit greatly from your skill set and drive as evidenced by your time in the private sector.
It won't likely be a question of whether you can do the job, but whether you will want to do the job.

I'm in the private sector and have been for 30+ years and our business is basically to do outsourced public sector type projects. Most of the State's Project Managers have very little experience and almost no project development and delivery experience...the State's 20 year PM has less technical experience than my 3-5 year since degree staff. The PM once told me he appreciates my company's monthly invoices because he can completely review one in a day! And that's just a $50-$100K monthly invoice! He has also mentioned he misses "getting his hands dirty" by which he means deeper into design.

The State does have a management fast track program and I will admit it has produced some really good state leaders. You might want to ask about it. I don't know how they select candidates.

Good luck with your decision... there are a lot of pros and cons to weigh!
Thanks. I wish they'd be open to more flex/telework situations especially nowadays. The hiring manager even said the new project they're building out is all cloud-based. It would be different if we were talking about needing to access server racks at data centers but it doesn't sound like this is the case at all. I get it that face-to-face interaction is important but I've been working 5-6 years full time telework and I don't have issues with that aspect. Our team *was* doing annual on-sites back in Charlotte every year but that has since been on hold due to changes on the team and such. I don't get why state wouldn't opt for this model - let people work from home and then have them travel in quarterly if you need the face-to-face. But I'm sure all the red tape and bureaucracy won't allow for this to happen in most cases.

I have a feeling they're going to pass me up for other candidates. If they were to make an exception allowing me to telework indefinitely with the condition that I fly or travel once every couple months, I think I'd be OK with that. But I don't know how comfortable I am about uprooting the family
and relocating to Sacramento.
Normchad
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Normchad »

jplee3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:37 pm
Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:16 pm
jplee3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:54 pm
Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.

Good insight. I just had the interview and it went pretty well overall. The guys interviewing me seemed to know what they were talking about (LOL) and the project the hiring manager was talking about ramping up sounded like there are lots of moving pieces of things to pickup and learn/apply. I don't how common it is to interview at the state level and hear how "promising" it is only to be sorely disappointed once hired.
Interestingly, I was asked TWICE if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento - once at the beginning and once at the end. I said both times that it would be open to consideration. Towards the end I asked what the impact of telework has been there and if they see telework becoming a long-term option. The hiring manager skirted and deferred the question to "it's based on what the state dictates to us" hahaha (this can't be true since some other positions I've seen clearly say "open for telework"). He went on to say that things have been positive regarding telework productivity. Then immediately after the other consulting manager (former ITM/ITS who was a long-term state employee and is on the team for short-term consultancy) asked if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento :| I gave him the "it's open for consideration but I'd have to check with my wife to be fair to her" answer LOL. I tried to keep it open but they probably see it as a pretty hard "No" which is fine because I'm pretty sure we're not relocating to Sacramento right now.
The State would likely benefit greatly from your skill set and drive as evidenced by your time in the private sector.
It won't likely be a question of whether you can do the job, but whether you will want to do the job.

I'm in the private sector and have been for 30+ years and our business is basically to do outsourced public sector type projects. Most of the State's Project Managers have very little experience and almost no project development and delivery experience...the State's 20 year PM has less technical experience than my 3-5 year since degree staff. The PM once told me he appreciates my company's monthly invoices because he can completely review one in a day! And that's just a $50-$100K monthly invoice! He has also mentioned he misses "getting his hands dirty" by which he means deeper into design.

The State does have a management fast track program and I will admit it has produced some really good state leaders. You might want to ask about it. I don't know how they select candidates.

Good luck with your decision... there are a lot of pros and cons to weigh!
Thanks. I wish they'd be open to more flex/telework situations especially nowadays. The hiring manager even said the new project they're building out is all cloud-based. It would be different if we were talking about needing to access server racks at data centers but it doesn't sound like this is the case at all. I get it that face-to-face interaction is important but I've been working 5-6 years full time telework and I don't have issues with that aspect. Our team *was* doing annual on-sites back in Charlotte every year but that has since been on hold due to changes on the team and such. I don't get why state wouldn't opt for this model - let people work from home and then have them travel in quarterly if you need the face-to-face. But I'm sure all the red tape and bureaucracy won't allow for this to happen in most cases.

I have a feeling they're going to pass me up for other candidates. If they were to make an exception allowing me to telework indefinitely with the condition that I fly or travel once every couple months, I think I'd be OK with that. But I don't know how comfortable I am about uprooting the family
and relocating to Sacramento.
Don’t get too attached to this one opportunity. If it’s not the right one for you, that’s okay.

Keep at it, you’ll find one that’s a good first for your career and your family.
vfinx
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by vfinx »

If job stability is truly the primary goal, then I would think that some of the cash-rich tech behemoths would be more stable than the state, and would probably pay more as well. I suspect that the average Google/Apple/Microsoft employee had more job stability than the average CA state employee during the depths of the pandemic. I suppose a federal government job would be different since the feds can print money, but states have to balance their budget.
Topic Author
jplee3
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jplee3 »

vfinx wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 pm If job stability is truly the primary goal, then I would think that some of the cash-rich tech behemoths would be more stable than the state, and would probably pay more as well. I suspect that the average Google/Apple/Microsoft employee had more job stability than the average CA state employee during the depths of the pandemic. I suppose a federal government job would be different since the feds can print money, but states have to balance their budget.

That's true. I have major imposter syndrome even thinking about applying for the tech giants. I just don't think I can get my foot in the door or get far even if I do :T
vfinx
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by vfinx »

jplee3 wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:18 am
vfinx wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 pm If job stability is truly the primary goal, then I would think that some of the cash-rich tech behemoths would be more stable than the state, and would probably pay more as well. I suspect that the average Google/Apple/Microsoft employee had more job stability than the average CA state employee during the depths of the pandemic. I suppose a federal government job would be different since the feds can print money, but states have to balance their budget.

That's true. I have major imposter syndrome even thinking about applying for the tech giants. I just don't think I can get my foot in the door or get far even if I do :T
If this is really the primary issue, then I highly recommend applying to 3-5 companies that you do not want to work for, and do the interviews. It will be exhausting, but it will hopefully get rid of the pedestal that you’ve put these companies on in your head. After a while, it will actually be quite boring to go through these processes, which is much better than it being nerve-wracking. You’ll probably fail a few interviews, and quickly realize how silly it was to worry about it.
CuriousJoe
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by CuriousJoe »

vfinx wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 pm If job stability is truly the primary goal, then I would think that some of the cash-rich tech behemoths would be more stable than the state, and would probably pay more as well. I suspect that the average Google/Apple/Microsoft employee had more job stability than the average CA state employee during the depths of the pandemic. I suppose a federal government job would be different since the feds can print money, but states have to balance their budget.
True, but federal agencies may consolidate sites/bases as austerity measures, and offer transfer to new locations. So one may have job stability but must be willing to relocate
fortunefavored
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Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by fortunefavored »

vfinx wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 pm If job stability is truly the primary goal, then I would think that some of the cash-rich tech behemoths would be more stable than the state, and would probably pay more as well. I suspect that the average Google/Apple/Microsoft employee had more job stability than the average CA state employee during the depths of the pandemic. I suppose a federal government job would be different since the feds can print money, but states have to balance their budget.
I laughed out loud at this. The tech giants regularly (if not officially, de facto) have "up or out" policies resulting in regular culls and layoffs. Additionally endless internal reorganizations can leave you without a position. If you're in high demand & top talent, you can "find a new job" - just internally instead of externally.

I don't think job security exists outside of union jobs. You need to be constantly learning, pushing and developing in tech to stay relevant and to be able to hop jobs as required. Or you find yourself in a rut at an "ok" company and hope that rut lasts. That seems to be where the OP is at - they don't want to be pushing non-stop and have allowed their value to drop.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 156
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jplee3 »

fortunefavored wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:32 am
vfinx wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 pm If job stability is truly the primary goal, then I would think that some of the cash-rich tech behemoths would be more stable than the state, and would probably pay more as well. I suspect that the average Google/Apple/Microsoft employee had more job stability than the average CA state employee during the depths of the pandemic. I suppose a federal government job would be different since the feds can print money, but states have to balance their budget.
I laughed out loud at this. The tech giants regularly (if not officially, de facto) have "up or out" policies resulting in regular culls and layoffs. Additionally endless internal reorganizations can leave you without a position. If you're in high demand & top talent, you can "find a new job" - just internally instead of externally.

I don't think job security exists outside of union jobs. You need to be constantly learning, pushing and developing in tech to stay relevant and to be able to hop jobs as required. Or you find yourself in a rut at an "ok" company and hope that rut lasts. That seems to be where the OP is at - they don't want to be pushing non-stop and have allowed their value to drop.

Yea, I've gotten a little burnt out (not sure if I mentioned before but a career change has been in the back of my mind too). If anything, I'll do the bare minimum to "stay relevant" but it's tiring trying to keep up with the tech cycle after a while. I know that more training and more education (like getting a masters degree etc) would prop that value back up but I just don't know if I want to go through all that. It's a large investment of time and money that doesn't sound as motivating in my current circumstances. If anything, I'm trying to learn more automation in the current role and I'll probably try to pursue getting my CISSP (which is a lot more reasonable compared to going back to school for a masters).
Invictus002
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:49 pm

Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Invictus002 »

jplee3 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:54 am Hey all,

Wanted to get some feedback on a situation I'm facing... currently at high-paying job with a Fortune 500 company (finance/banking) and while the pay and benefits (including fulltime WFH even before COVID) have been great, there have been many changes in the past year leading to highly questionable stability of my position. This is in engineering/tech (QA) btw. I don't hate what I do but it can be boring. Aside from that, I'm growing increasingly concerned about the higher level management decisions, which will likely impact job security. There have been numerous reports of layoffs as of late which doesn't help.

Given this, is it a bad idea to jump ship *now* and try to get a job with the state where there would be *at least* a 25% paycut and possibly more depending on experience, etc? I know state jobs are generally going to offer more stability, on the flipside.
Or should I hold out for the layoffs (I'd get probably around 10 weeks of severance) and look for something after?

I've already started applying just to put the feelers out and actually have an interview for a position with the state soon. Wanted to get some feedback especially from anyone who has made the jump from private or public to state, specifically. BTW: I'm 40 and married with two kids (5 and 4). Wife is SAHM currently and we live in a HCOL area (Orange County) currently renting and trying to wait for the housing madness to blow over lol.
I did this transition over a decade ago. It can't be better as long as the total comp is somewhat in a lower range of market. After some amount of $, life does not really change for those extra $, especially combined with pension and time off.

Can't put a $value to benefits public sector provides.
vfinx
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:35 pm

Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by vfinx »

fortunefavored wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:32 am
vfinx wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:01 pm If job stability is truly the primary goal, then I would think that some of the cash-rich tech behemoths would be more stable than the state, and would probably pay more as well. I suspect that the average Google/Apple/Microsoft employee had more job stability than the average CA state employee during the depths of the pandemic. I suppose a federal government job would be different since the feds can print money, but states have to balance their budget.
I laughed out loud at this. The tech giants regularly (if not officially, de facto) have "up or out" policies resulting in regular culls and layoffs. Additionally endless internal reorganizations can leave you without a position. If you're in high demand & top talent, you can "find a new job" - just internally instead of externally.

I don't think job security exists outside of union jobs. You need to be constantly learning, pushing and developing in tech to stay relevant and to be able to hop jobs as required. Or you find yourself in a rut at an "ok" company and hope that rut lasts. That seems to be where the OP is at - they don't want to be pushing non-stop and have allowed their value to drop.
In tech, there is usually a level designated as a "career level" where it's explicitly stated that it's perfectly acceptable not to pursue further promotions. Up until that point, I suppose there is an "up or out" culture, but it's not a cut-throat mentality and more about weeding out those who probably shouldn't be in the industry to begin with. At 40, OP is already long past this threshold. I know many "lifers" in big tech, who are able to prioritize family/lifestyle and just cruise. I think it's one of the best deals around if one is not ambitious.

We're probably talking about different kinds of risk when you say that job security doesn't exist outside of union jobs. My spouse is in a large union and definitely had some sleepless nights last year. A union protects you from some of the more whimsical risk (e.g. a VP decides to shut down a project), but doesn't help much with systemic risk of a company/government just failing. Google/Microsoft/etc. have >$100B in cash, and are incredibly resilient. They can weather multi-year disruptions to their business without liquidity becoming a problem, while CA state employees faced the prospect of layoffs/furloughs just months into the pandemic.
Valuethinker
Posts: 42360
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Valuethinker »

jplee3 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:54 am Hey all,

Wanted to get some feedback on a situation I'm facing... currently at high-paying job with a Fortune 500 company (finance/banking) and while the pay and benefits (including fulltime WFH even before COVID) have been great, there have been many changes in the past year leading to highly questionable stability of my position. This is in engineering/tech (QA) btw. I don't hate what I do but it can be boring. Aside from that, I'm growing increasingly concerned about the higher level management decisions, which will likely impact job security. There have been numerous reports of layoffs as of late which doesn't help.

Given this, is it a bad idea to jump ship *now* and try to get a job with the state where there would be *at least* a 25% paycut and possibly more depending on experience, etc? I know state jobs are generally going to offer more stability, on the flipside.
Or should I hold out for the layoffs (I'd get probably around 10 weeks of severance) and look for something after?

I've already started applying just to put the feelers out and actually have an interview for a position with the state soon. Wanted to get some feedback especially from anyone who has made the jump from private or public to state, specifically. BTW: I'm 40 and married with two kids (5 and 4). Wife is SAHM currently and we live in a HCOL area (Orange County) currently renting and trying to wait for the housing madness to blow over lol.
The main advantage of a public sector job is if you are hard working and intelligent, and not too influenced by the work ethic of your colleagues, you *can* (note not *will*) manoeuvre yourself into quite interesting roles - be a "go to" guy (or gal) because people know that you make things happen for them.

However the down side of that is that many of your colleagues will work 8-5, and there won't be a lot of sanction against them if they are not productive. You can get stuck in a very boring job, counting the days to retirement ...
Tribonian
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:33 am

Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Tribonian »

jplee3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:54 pm
Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.

Good insight. I just had the interview and it went pretty well overall. The guys interviewing me seemed to know what they were talking about (LOL) and the project the hiring manager was talking about ramping up sounded like there are lots of moving pieces of things to pickup and learn/apply. I don't how common it is to interview at the state level and hear how "promising" it is only to be sorely disappointed once hired.
Interestingly, I was asked TWICE if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento - once at the beginning and once at the end. I said both times that it would be open to consideration. Towards the end I asked what the impact of telework has been there and if they see telework becoming a long-term option. The hiring manager skirted and deferred the question to "it's based on what the state dictates to us" hahaha (this can't be true since some other positions I've seen clearly say "open for telework"). He went on to say that things have been positive regarding telework productivity. Then immediately after the other consulting manager (former ITM/ITS who was a long-term state employee and is on the team for short-term consultancy) asked if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento :| I gave him the "it's open for consideration but I'd have to check with my wife to be fair to her" answer LOL. I tried to keep it open but they probably see it as a pretty hard "No" which is fine because I'm pretty sure we're not relocating to Sacramento right now.
After living and working in Boston, Rome, Milan and elsewhere, I was reluctant to move to Sacramento but it turned out to be a great place to raise a family. (N.B. Sac Unified School District is in perpetual crisis, but neighboring districts good). 160+ miles of bike trails along the American and Sacramento Rivers. Great hospitals, large middle class supporting many great restaurants, centers for performing arts (G1 Arena new has excellent vantage points, currently rebuilding the Center for performing arts, so same acts as LA Live, off Broadway) museums etc. Easy drive to Tahoe, Yosemite, SF Bay Area. Dozens of cheap daily flights to LA and elsewhere if you wish.

You might be very comfortable owning a house in Folsom, sending your kids to excellent public schools with children of Intel engineers and taking the light rail door-to-door to downtown Sac a few times a week or month while loading both 401(k) and 457.

Sacramento has a stigma and will never be as glamorous as So Cal, but you can live very well for a lot less.
Tribonian
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:33 am

Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by Tribonian »

telework.govops.ca.gov shows the current policy which is expected to be replaced after the May Budget revise. The Administration called for 5% reduction in overhead costs, much of which was and remains reliant on telecommuting. All state agencies were directed to plan for post pandemic telecommuting and to prioritize figuring out which functions require a physical presence in the office. But no one can make commitments until after the Department of General Services promulgates the new state standard, likely after the May revise.

Good Luck!
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 156
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Taking a paycut for a more stable state job (CA)?

Post by jplee3 »

Tribonian wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:38 pm
jplee3 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:54 pm
Jeepergeo wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:23 pm The Tech Sector in California has pulled most capable individuals into the private sector where hard work, innovation, and efficiency are rewarded, and this has been going on for years now. What this means is that those less capable in Tech have gone to the public sector, and this too has gone on for years and now means the public sector management teams include many, longevity-promoted, less capable individuals into management.

Sure, public sector Tech needs capable, innovative, and effective staff, but the managers in Public Sector Tech don't have a clue how to lead that group. So when the Public Tech Sector needs capable and innovative work, they scream staff shortage and then outsource the work to the Private Sector Tech.

If you go to Public Tech, it is likely a one way door. If you go, go for the pension, easy hours, and many holidays, and accept that your biggest challenges will be the lack of stimulating projects, management by longevity types, and loss of credibility in the Tech profession.

Good insight. I just had the interview and it went pretty well overall. The guys interviewing me seemed to know what they were talking about (LOL) and the project the hiring manager was talking about ramping up sounded like there are lots of moving pieces of things to pickup and learn/apply. I don't how common it is to interview at the state level and hear how "promising" it is only to be sorely disappointed once hired.
Interestingly, I was asked TWICE if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento - once at the beginning and once at the end. I said both times that it would be open to consideration. Towards the end I asked what the impact of telework has been there and if they see telework becoming a long-term option. The hiring manager skirted and deferred the question to "it's based on what the state dictates to us" hahaha (this can't be true since some other positions I've seen clearly say "open for telework"). He went on to say that things have been positive regarding telework productivity. Then immediately after the other consulting manager (former ITM/ITS who was a long-term state employee and is on the team for short-term consultancy) asked if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento :| I gave him the "it's open for consideration but I'd have to check with my wife to be fair to her" answer LOL. I tried to keep it open but they probably see it as a pretty hard "No" which is fine because I'm pretty sure we're not relocating to Sacramento right now.
After living and working in Boston, Rome, Milan and elsewhere, I was reluctant to move to Sacramento but it turned out to be a great place to raise a family. (N.B. Sac Unified School District is in perpetual crisis, but neighboring districts good). 160+ miles of bike trails along the American and Sacramento Rivers. Great hospitals, large middle class supporting many great restaurants, centers for performing arts (G1 Arena new has excellent vantage points, currently rebuilding the Center for performing arts, so same acts as LA Live, off Broadway) museums etc. Easy drive to Tahoe, Yosemite, SF Bay Area. Dozens of cheap daily flights to LA and elsewhere if you wish.

You might be very comfortable owning a house in Folsom, sending your kids to excellent public schools with children of Intel engineers and taking the light rail door-to-door to downtown Sac a few times a week or month while loading both 401(k) and 457.

Sacramento has a stigma and will never be as glamorous as So Cal, but you can live very well for a lot less.

Good to know - what is "N.B. Sac Unified School District btw?

The primary reason we are in our current area is for a Mandarin immersion program for the kids. Our oldest just got accepted into the program. We would feel awful having to uproot ourselves with that in mind. The only other place I've looked into moving, that has a similar immersive program (from K-12...most only go K-5 or K-6) is in the PNW, and I think that would be a very last resort move for us. I actually applied for a 'remote' position at BPA in Portland, which will be interesting if I get contacted back about it.
But in terms of things to do, Sacramento actually would be a great hub at least for myself. I love fishing and I don't think there would be a shortage of places to do that around there LOL.
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