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Would You Take A Paycut for More Interesting Work? 577

Posted by Cliff
from the fascination-versus-financial-motivation dept.
HellsAngel asks: "I work in a business consulting firm. While the pay and the benefits are great, the work itself is mundane and boring, consisting of Excel, Access, and VBA macros. Recently, I got a job offer to move to a startup doing OS development and Systems and Network programming, however it would involve a paycut. Would you leave an otherwise perfect job to work on something more interesting?"
"Today, I work as an IT Analyst for a multinational firm doing business consulting. From the looks of it, I've got the perfect job: high pay, extravagant benefits and bonuses, flexi-time, can telecommute whenever possible, and best of all the coworkers are great and have truly become my friends, even the boss.

However, the work I actually do seems to be a waste of my CS education. My current project right now involves hooking up Excel and Access with a little VBA and some macros. The other day I was asked to export a Lotus Notes database into an Excel file and format it. The most programming-intensive project that I've done here was an ASP.NET webapp, for the company intranet.

Am I selling out by continuing to work in my current firm? Should I take the pay-cut to work at a startup where I can make more use of my talents? I'm a recent grad with no loans or credit cards to pay, so I have a low cost of living aside from a girlfriend. Which would you prefer: fun at work, or fun outside of work?"
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Would You Take A Paycut for More Interesting Work?

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  • by DSL-Admin (597132) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:52PM (#14656709)
    I'd take a cut to have a Mgr that actually knew more than me.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:31PM (#14656957)
      Why?

      I manage a small office and every so often, I hear this exact same thing.

      I know how to manage -- I hire folks that are smarter than me for a reason -- because if I wanted to do the job myself, I'd have hired someone stupider.

      Beyond that, managers have to know skill sets outside of just your own. I can admit I'm not the best coder out there, and I'm not really upset by it. So long as I can create ideas and others can realize them, I'm in good shape. Coming from both sides of the equation, I'd rather be a manger or have a manager that could admit he didn't know more than me and let me do my job -- I've never micromanaged my employees and I expect the same in return.

      Personally, I think the folks 'under' me are actually more important in the scheme of things -- but without someone to guide them nothing would get done.

      Posted anonymously because I don't want those nerds to get a big ego if they read this. Or more importantly, ask for raises.
      • by jkauzlar (596349) * on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:05PM (#14657208) Homepage
        I think you're correct to a point. Managers' jobs are (or can be) wayyy different from software developers'. It depends on the environment. If you're talking about project managers, I think they ought to know more than their underlings. Management that deal in budgets, communicating with higher management, etc, seem totally different. These mgrs can get transferred from unrelated depts into IT and hardly miss a beat. I'm assuming that since you're reading slashdot, you must be somewhat tech-savvy and perhaps not in this breed of mgmt.

        I'm just a peon, by anyone's standards, but I would feel dispirited if someone were promoted past me because they couldn't function at the lower level. I've seen it several times (well, a couple times, but I haven't been in the corp. world long) where the clueless employee is promoted because mgmt doesn't want to risk taking the best guys off the lower-rung jobs. On the other hand, the best guys, the geeks, enjoy their line of work and would probably feel less satisfaction at the mgmt level. So they're stuck at a lower pay level, and like the parent suggests, probably would love to have something of a mentor working above them... it would give them some hope of advancement, careerwise.

        On a side note, if you're managing geeks, or technical specialists of some kind, its probably best to avoid any micro-management simply because you don't know what you're talking about. I like seeing my manager as an ally in my career, not someone I have to slip past to get anything done. It's a complementary relationship, not a strict heirarchy. She knows much that I don't, and that goes both ways.

        Enough of my soapbox.

        • by rblancarte (213492) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:18AM (#14657869) Homepage
          I will agree with what you say. I think it is very important to understand the role of a manager.

          That all being said, the real question was "Would you take less for more interesting work?"

          And that being said, the real question is - "How do you feel about your job?"

          Because, regardless if your job is "a waste of your talent/education" or you have a bad manager, etc, if you are happy at your job, then you should not leave. IMHO, happiness at your job is the most important thing. If you are happy, then you can deal with the work that is below your level of education.

          Now, if you are unhappy, then maybe this change of environments would be good for you, even with less pay. It is a choice you have to make.

          I would also say, from what the writer said, this person sounds kind of younger. Why not take a risk and see where it leads? You are young and can take these chances.

          Good luck.
          • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @08:26AM (#14659111) Homepage Journal

            You neglected another key point of the real question -- which company is going to be around next year? 2 years? 5? 10?

            What if the interesting job is with a company that has no perceived revenue stream, a dot-bomb tech-driven business plan (whether they label it 2.0 or not), and no real business plan other than a hope to be bought out? Are you really that "interested" in finding another job when they start bouncing paycheques on their way to bankruptcy?

            Unfortunately that's the real world of most startups. Great talk, great perks, low pay, long hours, no business future, no budget.

      • by cbreaker (561297) on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:10PM (#14657231) Journal
        Well, sorta. There's a difference between a manager that knows the field, and one that does not. While I can not expect my boss to know all that I do, and perhaps I wouldn't really want him to, I do like my boss to know the basics of the technology so he/she can appreciate the magnitude of the work, timetables, impacts, etc.

        Being an IT manager is not so different then being a project manager. Almost everything done is a project in some way or another, besides the normal daily admin tasks that don't generally fill the day. If you have an IT-illiterate boss that is capable of effectively running projects and trusting his "experts" (employees) it can work. Unfortunately, I've met very few effective project managers, so to balance it out, it helps to have a boss that knows the technology - even a little.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:58PM (#14657511)
        I'm a hardcore programmer. Well, at least I was. 2 years into my first job out of college, I got offered another job and the only way my current company could match was to promote me. The promotion came with other benefits such as bonus/stock opts./etc, so I couldn't pass it up.

        I had no experience with management, but knew that there were people out there that could do a better job at web development than I could. So, I got the chance to hire some more people for my web dev group and hired super people that knew way more than I did. It ended up workout out great! I was honest about my skill level and let my people know that their expertice and creativity was always appreciated.

        I view myself as working for my employees instead of them working for me. I ask on a constant basis if they need anything or if there is anything I can do to help them complete their task. By them doing a great job, I do a great job, and that shoots right up the ladder.

        I also know that it helps to be passionate about what you do. I get excited when I think about web development and what it could do for the company and I see that it infects my team. They get excited about it too. They want to learn more and advance and make the corporate intranet easier to use and a pleasant experience for our users.
        • I was honest about my skill level and let my people know that their expertice and creativity was always appreciated.

          I think that's the important thing; the problem isn't with managers who have less technical knowledge than their people, but with managers who don't realise that. Or who don't think that matters.

          Back on topic, 'interesting work' was one of my main criteria when doing my last round of interviewing. But you've no idea how hard it is to explain 'interesting work' to recruiters or agencies!

    • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:15PM (#14657262)
      I'm sorry but you have absolutely no clue about what you are talking about. Managers do not have to a complete understanding of what their staff members do. The managerial skills they possess are equally important to the an organization's success as your technical skills.

      If you want to see an example of how poor management performance can negatively affect the output of a company, you only need look at the windows OS development unit.

      MSFT has a lot of talented developers on their payroll but their middle management and project leaders appear to be completely incompetent in their managerial role. I would surmise that a lot of their problems with quality and delays are caused by managers not being able to manage expectations and not being able to de-scope unnecessary functionality while prioritizing core functionality.

      A manager should hire the best people with skills outside of their own core competence. Managers who involve themselves in the day to day operations of their department are micro-managers which is something you do not want.

    • A project manager should naturally know more than his staff as he needs to make decisions that require technical knowledge of the issues involved.

      A general business manager should not know more than his staff as they are the ones who should be carrying out the tasks and be able to make the technical decisions themselves.

      A conflict between these two is what cost me my last job. I was required to be a business manager by the law firm's new CFO but knew far more technology than my staff. The small size of my
      • A project manager should naturally know more than his staff as he needs to make decisions that require technical knowledge of the issues involved.

        Respectfully disagree. I'm an IT project manager with a strong technical background and a sprinkling of acronyms after my name. My job is to paint the big picture and keep the project on track - it's not my job to make technical decisions. It *is* my job to act on technical recommendations from qualified subordinates.

        IT project managers should *not* make te

    • I'd take a cut to have a Mgr that actually knew more than me.

      I'd settle for a manager who created a positive work environment. I've had a few and let me tell you, there's nothing quite like the feeling of actually looking forward to a good day at work, when you've spent years coming in at 7 or 8 and just trying to get through the day/week/month/year ...

    • If you mean it is always good to have a skilled, intelligent manager, then I agree.

      If you mean you would like a manager that is skilled in the tools and programming languages that you use, I disagree. My current boss and his superior are both good managers. They prioritize items, they help plan projects and provide reasonable time estimates, and they're willing to spend the required money to get the tools, software, and other items we need to get the job done. My boss has never programmed anything, an

    • I keep telling this to my wife, but she's still mad I see that hooker. :)
    • by Pii (1955) <jedi@NOspam.lightsaber.org> on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:01PM (#14656773) Journal
      Why settle for one or the other?

      If you've got a good salary, and good benefits, stay where you are while you search for an opportunity that can provide you with the kind of environment that you're after without having to sacrifice your current standard of living.

      It's not 2002 anymore... You can have a job that you like, and get paid well for it.

      • by richardtoohey (457098) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:47PM (#14657098)
        I would try and change the work itself to use tools/techniques that you are interested in. Show that there is a better / cheaper / faster / more elegant way. Use code generators to knock up the code that is needed for the job in hand - in half/quarter/whatever of the time - and with the spare time learn something else.
        Empower *yourself* to make *your* job more interesting. Take yourself (and the role you occupy) to the next level. Save your stonking salary in a bank account while your outgoings are low. If your current employers don't notice you and your new skills and your better ways of doing things - you've just got a lot of money in the bank and a lot of skills - the world is your oyster.
    • I do a lot of interesting embedded and OS level stuff. I could wear a tie and crank VB/SQL for government/corporate operators for a lot more money.
    • Family. Hobby. Job. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Total_Wimp (564548)
      Family. Hobby. Job. Any time one starts to lose out to the others you should start to worry. Life needs to find a ballance.

      My job is actually too stimulating at the moment. I'd take a small pay cut to find a less interesting one.

      TW
  • by cloudkj (685320) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:55PM (#14656731)
    You have to take other things into consideration. Such as the potential you see in the company, room for growth, bonus incentives, benefits, etc. Even if you take a significant paycut, you may be able to make that back and then some in a short period of time. If the company has huge potential for growth, and you get to join it at its early stages, then it's an even better deal. It's not all about the money. And even if it is, you can't just compare current wages.
  • Get Together (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imoou (949576) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:55PM (#14656732) Homepage
    You should get together with this guy [slashdot.org] and start a company which does programming-intensive and patent-free works.

    I find that this is a common greener-grass syndrome where one doesn't realize how lucky one is, however this is a good syndrome because that is what got us human-beings to where we are today. Imagine what would the world be if we didn't invent TV and we had to sit on an empty couch all day?

    My advice is to try out some part-time works that utilize your talents, this will give you time to understand what your talents and interests are without risking what you have right now.
    • Re:Get Together (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moggyboy (949119) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:46PM (#14657087)
      I agree. A colleague at a previous job said to me once, "The three aspects of a job you can be happy with are 1. money, 2. people, 3. work. If you're satisfied with at least two of these aspects, stick with it." I laughed at him at the time, and have jumped from job to job for the last six years, purely in the pursuit of higher salary every time. Now I've come to realize that he was right - it's pretty darn hard to find a job that has all three, and sometimes it's better the devil you know. A job is a means to an end, and facilitates the other things in life that you really enjoy. If you're feeling mentally unchallenged, find a hobby that DOES challenge you.
      • Re:Get Together (Score:5, Interesting)

        by st1d (218383) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @01:53AM (#14657963) Homepage
        >>A job is a means to an end, and facilitates the other things in life that you really enjoy.

        I couldn't agree more, but it's always amazing to me how many people see their job as a major part of their worth as a human being. If they have a bad day at work, they go home and kick around the family a while, get drunk or drugged up, or otherwise compound the effect of a single bad day. Of course, it's hard not to see things like this, because they're practically drilled into you from a young age. What your dad did for a living tends to set the stage for how you grow up, in the sense that whatever job he had you tend to want to at least meet that level of success for yourself. If you don't, you're a "failure".

        Somehow, a few of us manage to break that cycle, and realize a job for what it is, a way of earning enough to create a means of doing the things we really enjoy, whether it's traveling around the world, feeding a hobby, etc. Without having some sort of goal like that you're simply chasing rainbows, because there will always be someone who makes a little more, has a little more interesting job, a little less stress, etc.

        Of course, the saddest situation is when you see someone whose job has become their life, and this is common whether you're working at a fortune 500 office complex, or tiny machine shop. We've all worked with that one person who had no life outside of work, whose only hobbies were gossiping about coworkers and trying to stir up fights to entertain themselves. These are the folks that get fired and show up the next day with a shotgun. If you're falling into this category, get the heck out!

        You should enjoy work, and find it stimulating on some level, though. Perhaps not your duties (I'd be worried about the janitor that looks forward to cleaning the bathrooms), but some aspect of your job that you deal with on a regular basis, maybe working with your coworkers, customers, or simply (like myself) watching company dynamics (watching how various parts of the company interact, for better or worse) in action. You should also make enough to pay the bills, spend on whatever hobbies you have, and put away for later. Lastly, you should have a position that allows you to spend time with your friends and family, and on your hobbies.

        If you can do all three, the dollar amount is kind of like a high score on a video game. Cool to have, but not all that important in the long run.
        • Re:Get Together (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ornil (33732) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @03:18AM (#14658246)
          I couldn't agree more, but it's always amazing to me how many people see their job as a major part of their worth as a human being

          But work is a major part of your life. It takes about half of your waking hours. Your hobby can't come near it. Call me stupid, but not being satisfied during majority of your time is only marginally better than not being satisfied at all. Of course you don't need to go crazy over it, but it's pretty damn important, and being happy doing what you do there is also pretty damn important.
          • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @07:17AM (#14658868)
            It's great if you can find self-actualization in your work, but the world is full of flakes who expect too much satisfaction from what they do. If it isn't interesting, challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling, then they can't be bothered, but it still has to be done, and they are the ones standing there getting paid to do it, not to placate their inner unique snowflake. Trained workers don't spring into existence to take the place of the ones who won't work because they feel that they're "not really into it." I work with some of these people, and mostly they just have a high sense of entitlement.

            I have a totally bleak outlook on work--to me, it's just an exchange of time/effort for money/benefits. But the strange thing is, I do the work. I work longer hours, more willingly, than some of those around me who claim to take "pride" in what they do, because I figure if I'm going to be a whore, at least I'll be a good whore and earn the man's money.

            The only hard part is faking the orgasm, because the boss-people don't want to hear that you work there for money and benefits. So I occasionally have to act as if it was great, the best I've ever had, wow may I have another, just to appease the "love what you do!" Nazis. God how I hate them.

          • Re:Get Together (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rjstanford (69735)
            But work is a major part of your life. It takes about half of your waking hours.

            Oh, really? You're awake about 128 hours a week. You're at work about 40, leaving almost 90 hours free. If you structure your life around the concept that your time is valuable (live close to where you work, not an hour's drive from anywhere, even if it means a smaller house (which means less expensive crap to stuff into it, etc)), that's quite a bit of time.

            Unless you work on the weekends, of course. In which case, I recom
    • Re:Get Together (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jafac (1449)
      Work hard and save up enough money to retire early.

      Then spend the rest of your life contributing to open source projects.
  • Not Perfect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cave_Monster (918103) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:55PM (#14656733)
    It's hardly 'an otherwise perfect job' if it's mundane, boring and you are contemplating taking another job that involves a paycut.
    • Re:Not Perfect (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:37PM (#14657013) Homepage
      Yes, but if his pay really is that good, he could keep it, invest the extra pay like mad, and once he has enough invested to lived off the dividends, he can then do WHATEVER work he wants REGARDLESS of pay in a completely stress-free life.
      • I second this. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PCM2 (4486)
        I agree. I've usually taken the option of quitting. I don't regret any of those choices -- in most cases they have translated into career advancement, by giving me options that are more likely to pay off for me in the long term. However, speaking as one who actually has a job he wouldn't mind keeping for a while (for once), I can say that I wish my career had become more stable earlier in my life. That would have given me more of an opportunity to start putting money away. Depending on what part of the coun
  • Work to live (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jarfhy (24211) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:55PM (#14656734) Homepage Journal
    I always encourage folks to do something they enjoy. The whole 'work to live' not 'live to work'. Six months ago I quit my job becaue I didn't find it interesting or challenging anymore, and stumbled into some interesting and different work from what I had been doing.

    Now that that is over I will look for something else interesting. I am married and have a stay at home wife and daughter and I will still look for something more interesting or fun to do, life should be more than just paying the bills and being bored.
    • Re:Work to live (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Grax (529699)
      I definitely believe life is too short to spend it in a job you don't like but I also feel that you need to make sure you take care of your commitments such as your family.

      Finding a balance and learn to avoid the "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" syndrome.
    • Re:Work to live (Score:5, Insightful)

      by krayzkrok (889340) on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:19PM (#14657279) Homepage
      My dad always told me there were three types of currency in jobs:

      1. Money
      2. Power
      3. Satisfaction

      Having all three is a perfect job. Having two out of three is a damn good job. If you can only have one, at least try to enjoy it!

      And if you don't have any, quit and try again.
      • Re:Work to live (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Meoward (665631) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @10:00AM (#14659640)

        I couldn't agree more.

        We had a situation in our home not too long ago that shines as an example. My wife was a product manager at a firm with international presence (can't go into more detail, sorry). She was thrown on airplanes to many far-flung places -- that's not a perq; business travels sucks -- during and after her pursuit of a part-time MBA at a top-notch program. While this was going on, she was also using her spare time to come up with business plans for said firm. Granted, it helped that she needed one for a class, but she poured a lot of effort into them for the sake of future use.

        The lovely little firm used her plans, gave her no credit for them, threw her on more planes, trashed her in a performance review, never publicly acknowleged her MBA (despite a very nice ad taken out by the university in the Wall Street Journal that printed the company's name as well as hers), and was forced to sit through a team event where the laziest sacks of shit received accolades while her name went unmentioned.

        (Our evenings at home, with her black moods at the time, were a real treat too. Being the supportive spouse was getting exhausting as well.)

        Her manager's only advice to her during all of this? Quoting from memory: "We're here to collect paychecks, make money, and retire. That's it." What a nice motivational career statement: Go Along to Get Along, For We Are Waiting Around to Die.

        I should also add that the former employer loved to dole out huge bonuses (near 20% of salary) in lieu of having a non-dysfunctional culture.

        My point? Without power and satisfaction, the money means next to nothing. My wife left the firm. We left a lot of money on the table because we valued her sanity more. She now works for a group that thinks she's Wonder Woman, just because she's used to working very hard with a lot less support than she's getting today. That which does not kill you etc., I suppose.

        I managed to get the MBA from the same school as well, and I understand the fineries of organizational behavior and business etiquette. Having said that, I'd still punch her ex-manager in the face if I saw him on the street.

    • Re:Work to live (Score:4, Insightful)

      by roderickm (6912) on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:33PM (#14657358)
      Enjoying your job has its benefits, but there are other valid reasons to work. None of the following apply to everyone equally and they aren't direct substitutions for each other. Being a little heavy in one can compensate for being light in another:

      • Direct Compensation
        • High salary/wage
        • Excellent retirement benefits
        • Excellent health coverage
        • Discounts on products/services
      • Deferred Compensation
        • Ownership equity
        • Stock grants, warrants, or options
        • Profit-sharing
        • Bonus or performance incentives
      • Educational Benefits
        • Experience, On-the-job training
        • Internship
        • Tuition reimbursement
        • Cross-training from co-workers
      • Intangible Enrichment
        • Pure enjoyment
        • Spiritual purpose (Read 1 Cor 10:31)
        • Patriotism/Service to public
        • Fame, prestige, reputation
        • Philanthropic (joy of helping others)
        • Friendship, camraderie

      To say that job satisfaction is above all others is self-serving and short-sighted. It may be true for a season, but there are many, many other motives for work. Think as a long-term investor: be aware of your motivations for accepting a position, and be continually aware of whether the original motives are no longer being served. Be also aware of the opportunities you forgo as you maintain your position. Be willing to change, and be ready to defend (to your own self) your decision.
      • Re:Work to live (Score:3, Insightful)

        by schematix (533634) *
        Spiritual purpose (Read 1 Cor 10:31)

        According to internet sources this passage is: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

        I have to say that i am probably the most anti-religious person that you will ever meet in your life but i do have to admit that this phrase (minus the G-d part), has a lot of merit to it. I used to think that the most important part of life was making money. That was until i took a job at about 20% less than i thought i should be making, and

  • by CynicalGuy (866115) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:56PM (#14656735)
    Would you take a pay raise for less interesting work? Hell yes! Make a bunch of money first, then use that money to do something that interests you.

    Money isn't everything.. But it IS freedom..
    • by DeadPrez (129998) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:00PM (#14656765) Homepage
      Money isn't everything.. But it IS freedom..

      So that's why we put millions of dollars into each bomb headed for Iraq.
    • Money isn't everything.. But it IS freedom..

      That isn't necessarily the case. I've worked for billionaires, including Doris Duke, and I never got the impression that they felt anything near the freedom I had. I had the freedom to drop everything, move to Hawai'i, and start a new life. Perhaps there is a financial sweet-spot under which a person worries about money constantly and over which a person worries about money constantly. Richard Kelley, chairman of Outrigger Hotels, once told me to watch m
  • That's easy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zarel (900479) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:56PM (#14656736)
    Which would you prefer: fun at work, or fun outside of work?
    Let's see. Excluding sleeping and other mundane activities, how much of your time do you spend at work, and how much do you spend away from work?

    I thought so.
    • "Let's see. Excluding sleeping and other mundane activities, how much of your time do you spend at work, and how much do you spend away from work?"

      I think one thing that should be considered is at the startup that is working on an OS, overtime might be unofficially required. So that should be taken into consideration.
    • Re:That's easy. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jbrader (697703) <stillnotpynchon@gmail.com> on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:27PM (#14656929)
      Well, if you sleep 8 hours a day and spend say 4 hours a day on mundane activities (commuting, eating although granted sometimes eating is a fun social activity, getting dressed in the morning etc.) then you have 12 hours a day left and 8 of that is spent working. So now you have 4 hours a day to yourself. Now I've had lots of jobs, I really loved a couple of 'em and hated most of the rest. And I noticed that when I got home from work after the haeful jobs I was tired and pissed off so my four hours of free time usually consisted of drinking beer and watching T.V. because I didn't want to do anything else. But when I got home from the jobs I loved I was usually in a good mood and wanted to go out and do things.

      And the jobs I liked happend to pay less than the others, so even though I was makiing less money my life as a whole was way better. I had more fun when I wasn't working and when I was at work I didn't feel like I was wasting my time at some futile activity just to go home and rot on the couch.

      • Re:That's easy. (Score:3, Informative)

        by protohiro1 (590732)
        Totally. I second this statement. I had a job makine $7k more, and it sucked. It sounded good on paper, but it was boring and shitty. And it was going nowhere. And I had to commute 45 minutes. So I took this other job. It is interesting, pretty fun and its a 10 minute bike ride from my house. I sold my car (wrx...sniff sniff) and now I have *more* disposable income, more free time and a better quality of life. Your mileage may vary (WRX got about 24-26)
  • It would depend on the size of the paycut (A large percentage?), and the advancement potential in the position. Why start a new job at the top of the pay scale, and at the top of the ladder?

    You may be happier at the new position, and gain valuable experience to further your carrer. But it would not be optimal to start a new position where it takes two years to get back to your current wage if your not learning valuable skills to help your earning potential.
  • In fact I plan on getting into robotics. Everyone in my family including myself assumes there is absolutely no money in this area of engineering and quite frankly I don't care. I just want to build something cool. I don't care about material possessions or in the case I do buy a lot of items, it will be on lathes, mills, and other devices.
    • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by horatio (127595)
      ...there is absolutely no money in this area ... and quite frankly I don't care. I just want to build something cool.

      The mortgage, car loan+insurance, electric bill, groceries, etc don't pay themselves. I would enjoy spending my time running my own business. But I'm not in a position to quit my day job right now and expect the lights to be on for very long.

      That being said, this is America - you can do and be nearly anything you want if you're willing to work at it. You might have to get a McJob to pay th
  • You only live once (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doonoop (816647) on Monday February 06, 2006 @09:56PM (#14656744)
    I'm a habitual paycut-taker, so maybe I'm biased. But I stay happy, and money only makes you happier when you're really struggling financially. The world is too wonderful, life too short and precious to waste on VBA programming.
    • money only makes you happier when you're really struggling financially

      Bravo. I am actively considering taking a more interesting job. The bad news is that there is a paycut and I have 3 young kids; the good news is that I will still get paid pretty well relative to, oh, most of the rest of the world. And most importantly, I would travel less, so I could spend more time with said kids.
    • by bit01 (644603) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @02:52AM (#14658175)

      The science [timesonline.co.uk] agrees with you. e.g. Lottery winners, one year after, are no happier than they were before. What makes people happy long term are experiences, not pay increases, and with a bit of lateral thinking and creativity experiences don't have to cost much.

      ---

      Creating simple artificial scarcity with copyright and patents on things that can be copied billions of times at minimal cost is a fundamentally stupid economic idea.

  • The question is, what can that extra money buy you? Do you think you'll be happier working a job that's fun, or having more money to spend when your eight hours are up. (or ten as the case may be).

    Personally, I work at a Univeristy. It's less money than working in the private sector. However, it's a really mixed enviornment. I see a little bit of everything, from a huge range of applications of computers and their versitility.

    At the end of the day, if you spend eight hours a day wishing you were doing
  • academia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by superwiz (655733)
    well, if goin back to school to teach half-wits while geting my PhD instead of having a wall-street job counts, then, yes.
  • How serious is the relationship with your girlfriend? If you're thinking marriage and children in the near future, that bigger paycheck is going to come in handy.

    Of course, you shouldn't let money be the only issue, but it still should be a major factor depending on where your life is headed. Whatever you do, try not to become one of those mini-van driving soccer dads who loathe going to work every day.
  • Probably not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThousandStars (556222) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:00PM (#14656763) Homepage
    When I read your blurb on the homepage, "yes" leapt to my mind. Reading this, however, changed my mind:

    From the looks of it, I've got the perfect job: high pay, extravagant benefits and bonuses, flexi-time, can telecommute whenever possible, and best of all the coworkers are great and have truly become my friends, even the boss.

    Most people would kill for job conditions like those. The excellence of your coworkers and boss in particular makes me inclined to say that you should stay. If you feel your CS degree is wasted, work on open source projects or try to bring open source into your organization. There are a myriad of ways to apply your knowledge without necessarily quitting your job. The dissatisfaction you experience may not be alleviated in your new job and if your boss and/or coworkers are worse, you'll regret the switch.

  • Would I take a paycut for more interesting work? Sure. Especially if it were interesting enough that the time that belonged to my employer felt like I were working on hobbies.

    Would I dump an otherwise perfect job? Maybe not. Especially if that "otherwise perfect" meant that the pay was great, stress level was low, that more often than not, I found myself with a clear tast list or ahead of schedule at the end of the day, and it was easy to leave work at work after, say, a 7 1/2 hour day. A job like that supp
  • In today's free[sic] trade economy, you likely won't have a choice.

    For consecutive years, the average real (after-inflation) wages of Americans have fallen. Given that reality, along with the outsourcing and declining jobs in tech (the US now imports more tech than it produces), trading money for contentment is common sense.
  • Can you live on the salary that you would be getting? If the company tanks in a year, can you find another job to pay your bills? Do you have enough money/magic credit card money to survive for a few months if the company tanks and you only get unemployment for awhile? Is there the potential to make piles more money at the new place later, or can you continue there happily at the salary they are offering? Will the other company wait a few days so you can do a naked can-can dance for your old boss first? (Ok
  • Think about it... what do you do (you being a consumer whore like the rest of us) actualy do with the money you make... thats right, you spend it on things to keep you interested, like games, music, movies, remote controled airplanes. So take the money you lose in doing a more interesting job, and re-code it to disosable income and try enjoying your days in the office, its well worth the cash. You go home feeling better about what you do, your happier becasue of it, you spouse, or SO or kids/dog/cat enjoys
  • Take a chance... (Score:2, Informative)

    Not that you can't do sophisticated stuff with excel, access, etc. (maybe you are), but if you're not, the kind of safety-scissors, connect-the-dots programming that usually gets done with these tools is a prime candidate for offshoring. Unless you're desperate for the cash (babies to feed, mortgage, etc.), do something that'll challenge you, and don't rest on your laurels.
  • There are some circumstances where I'd say go for the more interesting job, but IMO all the benefits you get at the boring job outweigh it. You may think you're wasting your time and your talent there, but remember: when its all said and done, you work for money.

    If you want to do something interesting, use some of the time you're saving by being able to telecommute and do some programming of your own (open source or whatever). Save some of that extra money you're getting to open your own programming busines
  • A few thoughts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by code addict (312283)
    That's a tough choice. Try looking at it this way: If you stay will you still be qualified for more interesting work in 5 years? Alternatively, what if you find you don't find the more challenging work any more fun and just make less money for more work?

    It's important to look at the non-work elements too. For example, I would imagine that your current job is so easy you have lots of free time to spend that big salary. A start up will pay less and leave you with way less time free.

    Also, don't under-estim
  • Run the numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsam (12205) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:05PM (#14656806) Homepage
    If a lower pay is enough to pay the bills and lead a comfortable life style, I would seriously consider dumping a high-paying boring job for a rewarding low-paying.

    But:

    The fact that it's a startup complicates things. Startups can fail at any time, and one day you may wake up and find yourself on the street. You need to do your homework and take a very close look at the startup: are they just a dot-bomb wannabe, or do they have a solid business plan, a marketable product, and a firm roadplan? The answers to these questions will guide you to making the call here.

    Your other alternative is to find the time in your cushy job and make it interesting. If it's really such a bore you should have plenty of time to spend on educating yourself. Find something you want to learn, some skill, and use your free time to study it. If it's even barely relevant to your current line of work you are on solid ground to justify using your free time, on the clock, on this. No employer -- especially the solid company you claim to be working for -- would object to their employees learning and picking up related skills that might be relevant to their employment; they should even encourage it.
  • It is not only an issue of more interesting work, but also more satisfying work.

    I have a friend who is a 1st year law student. He took an unpaid summer internship at the FTC -- helping them go after spammers. I had opposing counsel (representing a spammer) leave private practice and become a a prosecutor. He enjoys putting bad guys away, even though it is less money.

  • Of course people take paycuts to work in more interesting areas -- that's why you'd have to take the paycut. It's not like you need to be smarter to do VBA than to be a systems programmer or game developer, it's that people demand a premium to do it, in money, benefits, hours and everything else.

    The other day I was asked to export a Lotus Notes database into an Excel file and format it.

    Hell, I'd take a paycut just to never see Notes again...

  • And never regretted it.

    Your new job is going to have a lot of the same crap as your old job, but it's at least going to be interesting for you.

    Ask yourself this question: will the pay/benefits of my new job be enough for me to live comfortably on? If so, I say go for it.
  • I did (Score:4, Informative)

    by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:10PM (#14656831) Journal
    I took about a 30% pay cut to move from programming to science. I'm happy with that choice.

    Apparently there is a term for this: "downshifters" [worldwidewords.org].
  • by sedyn (880034)
    I am still a student, but recently I faced the same question. I was guarenteed 2 jobs, one where I would be programming a wireless app for windows (in visual C++, C#, etc.) for $x/hr or in the other I could become an administrator for $(x+4)/hr. Now, considering I am a student and x is quite small the $4 was significant enough to make the decision interesting.

    I finally settled on the programming job because I realized that getting experience / diversifying my resume would be well worth it in the long run.
  • ... here before and it all boils down to what you value. Do you value security and high pay over a potentially big reward (money, experience, personal satisfaction) that may or may not materialize? Would you be willing to leave a "good job" for something else that may be better or worse? How much do you believe in the start-up's chances and the people behind it?

    One thing to consider is can you grow in your current job. Have you seriously discussed expanding your role or broadening your experience within t
    • by rjstanford (69735) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:17PM (#14656869) Homepage Journal
      Do you value security and high pay over a potentially big reward (money, experience, personal satisfaction) that may or may not materialize? Would you be willing to leave a "good job" for something else that may be better or worse? How much do you believe in the start-up's chances and the people behind it?

      Let me put it a better way. Why bother defining yourself by your job?

      Show up at 8. Leave at 5. Every day. Give yourself a good life outside the office. Take up hobbies in your free time, which you'll have now and won't at the startup. Bank some money - if you can live off half your salary, that's a great cushion for the future when you do get the entreprenurial bug (or will let you retire surprisingly early if you don't).

      But, in all seriousness, don't try to get everything you want out of life from your job. Take all of your vacation time every year. Insist on comp time and raises, too. Then go to Tahiti. Or train for marathons. Or play around with some cool scratch-an-itch software in your spare time (just don't spend it all in front of a monitor). Hang out with friends. Invest in yourself.

      Don't let yourself become a "developer." You are a person. You have a job. The two are, should be, and can be seperate.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:14PM (#14656856) Journal
    I have worked on 6 starts-up over the last 15 years. The 2'nd to last one put me in the hole 50K (from being up 60K in savings) which took several years to pay back. However, I am getting ready to do it again. Do I love it? absolutely. But I have been burned enough that I would offer you several suggestions.
    • Make sure of the money in the company. Are they financed? How much money do they have in the bank?
    • Get it up front as to what you will be earning, and what benefits.
    • You are giving up a lot of money, so make sure that you will be compensated for your efforts. That is get chunk of the company.
    • Make sure what is expected of you. Are you the core coder? Is this your idea? Who are the people that you will be working with. Understand that most of the ppl who do start-ups are bright, hard-driven, and egotisical. Can you deal with that.
    • Did I mention that need to know what financing they have?


    Finally, count on the fact that this company will fail (most do). What back-up plan do you have? If you quit your current job, make sure that you keep your foot in it( i.e. leave on a very good note). For the last 5 years, the economy has been so-so, with a enormously rising deficit, and almost certain that the deal with Iran is about to blow up. When it happens, the price of gas will probably shoot to 3-3.5/gal. That means that the economy will cut back. i.e., there is likely to be at least a softening in the economy. If the economy softens, what happens to the company? Is its product dependant on a growing economy.

    Now, with all that, consider going. If you are a true CS, then the current job will guarentee you no future. Why would I hire you if you have shown no initiative. At the very least, if you stay with it, consider doing some OSS work. Since you do Windows, you can do that work in Windows as well. But you need something that shows that you are capable.

    Good Luck.
  • by spagetti_code (773137) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:16PM (#14656867)
    Look - pay is usually ranked #6 or lower of most employees list of criteria for satisfaction. Dont mess with a boring job - quality of like just skyrockets if you are having fun.
  • Yes. Quit. (Score:3, Funny)

    by mrimprov42 (619555) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:17PM (#14656873)
    You should definitely quit.

    After you do, can you put in a good word for me with your boss? I could really use the *high pay*, *extravagant benefits and bonuses*, *flexi-time*, and the ability to *telecommute whenever possible*.

    Sheesh...
  • You say you have "great pay", and you are thinking about taking a pay cut. Are you currently saving money at some significant rate per month? Everybody should be, but you're the canonical example of someone who should be.

    If you've got a cushion stashed away, so that the startup can go under and you're not on the street in the next week, I'd strongly suggest jumping ship, for two reasons. One is that your current complaints are only going to become worse. The second is that you may find that you are in a car
  • Through judicious hackery and pythonic idioms, I've used VBA class modules with definitions like

    Public do_not_try_this_at_home As i_wish_VBA_were_not_teh_suckin

    Public Function a__init__( self As yeah_I_would_rather_code_python, but_WTF_this_is_what_they_gave_me As String )
    self.do_not_try_this_at_home.a__init__( self.do_not_try_this_at_home )
    End Function

    Things get more interesting when you want to overload a function.
    You can pass in Variants, which can be class modules, so you could have two leaf mod

  • ...does that count?

    Back in 2000, when everyone was laying off and outsourcing was just starting to build momentum, I saw the writing on the wall and I got the hell out of Manhattan. I got a civil service job with the government, and it took me a few years to build seniority, but now I get paid about the same as I used to but with half the living expenses, better benefits, excellent job security, and family-friendly hours.

    Best of all, I'm still doing Java development. With nice tools, too. And my boss actual
  • Put an extremely successful but rather tame computer consulting career on hold to work for these clowns [gpshopper.com] ;)

    Pushing it to the limit!

  • While most people would say the main point of a job is to make a living, you should also enjoy what you are doing, and it should give you a sense of accomplishment. I also want to be pushed to continue to learn; access macros aren't going to do that for you, I'm guessing, so I'd say go for the paycut, if you can survive.

  • You do not work for a start-up because of good pay -- you work for a) fun and b) a chance to make it BIG, really big... You are not going to have a chance to be able to do your early retirement at 35 if you live on your "well-paid" $150K/year salary (if you are somewhat normal and can not live on dry chinese noodles alone... ;-) ).

    And you do not have too many bills to pay (yet!) -- maybe it's time to make a plunge!

    I did myself recently (and I do have bills to pay, wife, and so on...) -- my deal with the sta
  • In every job I've had (programming or not) I've written programs to help coworkers and myself with work. Usually utilities that make things easier. Of course, I'm sure the culture would vary by company so yours might not approve but even though mine wheren't official projects, they were always well received.
  • Provided that the new job does not instill specific hardships - that you will have enough to keep yourself and your family fed, housed, clothed, insured and the like - I would say yes. Life is very short; would you rather spend your days at a job that gave you money, but never gave you a chance to use it for the things that mattered most to you? Consider how many hours in a day you spend at work; I see my officemates more than anyone else. If I were given more money for a boring job, at the most I could use
  • by Zopilote (1446) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:31PM (#14656955)
    Depends on your goals and state in life. If you are married and have kids (like me) you might want to stick with the higher-paying, more stable job. A job at a startup sounds like too much risk even without the pay cut.

    However, if you are still relatively unattached, go for your dreams and what makes you happy at work. If you enjoy what you do, you will be more likely in the long run to find a job that does pay well and is fun at the same time. Consider the startup job to be a stepping stone along the way. Rather than let your skills get rusty and find yourself losing your edge later, keep them sharp and keep your motivation and enthusiasm up.

    If you are unhappy with your current job but are still averse to the riskiness of a startup, don't take this opportunity but go ahead and look around for other jobs. There may still be a better place for you that doesn't have as much risk or as much of a pay cut. The economy is doing fairly well so don't be timid!

    One more note. I know this is Slashdot and I also know the industry we are in, so the following advice may seem out of place. Nevertheless, here goes. Even in a job that you enjoy, try not to let it totally consume your life. There is life beyond work. I advise you to retain enough time for yourself to be able to strike up and nurture relationships with other people. If you have a family, spend time with them. If you are single, don't hesitate too long to find that special someone! The trend in our society is toward marrying and starting a family in your 30s or even later. First of all, that makes it harder to get used to each other when you do find someone. Second, it increases the risk of unhealthy children (birth defects, etc.). Third, despite the stereotypes, family life really is a lot more fun and enjoyable than the single life-- study after study claims this, and my own experience confirms it. When you look back on your life, will it matter more that you had a stellar, enjoyable career, or that you had a good family life and have relatives around you in your old age?

    Again, I guess it really does boil down to what your goals are in life. They're not the same for everyone, but I do recommend sitting down and thinking honestly about your own goals and making sure they are the right ones for you-- that you aren't just following whatever everyone else is doing because you don't have your own clear path in mind.
  • I'd do it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:32PM (#14656969) Homepage Journal
    My current job was very interesting at first, but it's gotten somewhat boring. Actually I've been looking forward to a paycut to have more free hours so I can work on things I like, i.e. Open Source development. Currently i get too tired from the job to keep on going, but by programming on Open Source projects, I feel like I'm helping the world and all that.

    I'd like you to ask yourself this question: "Do I see myself doing this for the next 20 years?" Note that I didn't say '... in the next 20 years', but 'during the next 20 years'. Sometimes a boring job really gets to your nerves, and as marriage, when it gets boring, you tend to stop liking it and then it goes all downhill.

    Fortunately, jobs aren't marriages, and you can quit whenever you decide. So, this seems to be the moment of your decision. Plus, when you get the other job experience, later you'll be able to ask for a raise :)

    I'd say go for it, I'm sure you won't regret the decision. And if you do regret it, at least you'll have gained the good experiences of the new job - something you can't gain in the current one, don't you think? :)
  • "me too" (Score:5, Funny)

    by eagl (86459) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:32PM (#14656970) Journal
    I gave up a great programming job in 1990 that would pay me as an intern through college and then hire full time on graduation at over $35,000 entry level, not bad back in 1990. 10 years later, I passed up an opportunity to transition to an airline job that would pay in excess of $120,000/year after 3 years in the company. I married a doctor 3 years ago and if I quit my job today, she could join a private practice and make well over $350,000 per year while I kicked it doing... well, anything really.

    What job has led me to make these financially retarded career moves?

    I'm a USAF fighter pilot.

    Woot.
    • Re:"me too" (Score:5, Funny)

      by dr_dank (472072) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:49PM (#14657105) Homepage Journal
      What job has led me to make these financially retarded career moves?

      I'm a USAF fighter pilot.


      Does your ego routinely write checks that your body can't cash?
    • Re:"me too" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:39PM (#14657391) Homepage
      Hey eagl, serious question...how tough is your job? I know its got some perks, like pushing the limit in a multimillion dollar fighter jet with the capability to unleash massive destruction....but what are the downsides? Does anything in the job ever make you think to yourself "man, I gotta get out of this"?

      • Re:"me too" (Score:4, Interesting)

        by eagl (86459) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @07:22PM (#14665167) Journal

        Hey eagl, serious question...how tough is your job? I know its got some perks, like pushing the limit in a multimillion dollar fighter jet with the capability to unleash massive destruction....but what are the downsides? Does anything in the job ever make you think to yourself "man, I gotta get out of this"?

        I won't compare it to other tough jobs, but it is very stressful. A 12 hour work day is standard when flying due to 12 hour off-duty rest requirements prior to the next flight (leaving 12 hours to work, right?) and since we're so macho, anyone griping about the work is laughed at so the work pretty much builds to completely fill our day. It's not uncommon to arrive at work at 0400 in the morning and go home at 8 pm that night if you're not flying the next day, otherwise you leave work 12 hours before you have to be at work the next day.

        Add on the death/destruction nature of the work, having close friends of yours get splattered from hitting the ground at 600 knots following as little as 4 seconds of inattention, 4 or more months away from home every year, moving your family to the other side of the world every 2 or 3 years, and the stress/strain adds up.

        On top of that, the fact that a fighter pilot is the end result of a series of selection processes means that everyone we work with has been at the top of almost every competitive endeavor they've ever tried in their entire life. A quick example, is my career. And I'm not even all that good...

        These numbers are by memory, so some of them may be a bit off. But the order of magnitude will be correct...
        The year I went to the USAF Academy, there were around 250,000 inquiries. Of those, there were around 50,000 people who met the minimum entrance requirements. Of those, 10,000 were highly qualified. Of those, approx 1,600 were accepted. By the time I graduated, fully 1/3 of my class had quit or washed out. Of the 1000 graduates in my class, approx 800 were medically qualified for pilot training, but due to post-cold war drawdowns, there were only 225 pilot training slots. So just in getting my pilot training slot, I was one of 225 selected from a pool of over 350,000 potential applicants.

        At pilot training, my class had 32 students. Of those 32, only 6 went to the fighter/bomber track. Of those 6, only 4 got fighters.

        Not trying to beat my chest, but I'm trying to get across the point that not only is uncompromising drive for excellence and actual job competence a requirement, everyone else I work with has these same values and to some degree, if we want to get promoted then we must somehow stand out from our peers. That's easier for some people than others, and frankly sometimes it seems like I struggle just to keep up with everyone else just because everyone else is so damn good.

        I won't dig too deep into the remaining sources of stress, except to mention that our primary job, that of being a fighter pilot, is extremely difficult and complex. Technology, tactics, and threats are constantly changing and failing to keep up results in getting killed, getting your wingman killed, not hitting your target or worse, killing the wrong people when employing weapons. I fully understand that the guy changing the oil in my car may have just as much pride in his job as anyone else, but nobody's going to get killed if he can't recite the molecular composition of every major brand of oil on the market or describe in detail the construction methods used to make an oil filter. You can bet that (as one small example) needing to memorize the tactical capabilities and limitations of around 100 enemy weapons systems is going to be a source of stress.

        A quick note about medical issues - I estimate up to 20% of pilots I've flown with have serious but undiagnosed back injuries. They are undiagnosed because as soon as you tell the doc about them, you're grounded. I flew on a herniated L5-S1 disc for 6 years before the pain crippled me and I had to go to the doc to get it fixed. I

  • I did it (Score:2, Informative)

    by (shea48) (676627)
    I took a $20,000 pay cut to work for a young media company. The people are fresh and exciting, the office is cool, and I am the one man IT shop (meaning my way is the way it is). But temper this with no set procedures for anything, management with permanent crisis on their hands, and the knowledge that we might not make the payroll next month.

    There are ups and downs to every job, but really think hard about who you are, how you like to work and remember that 1 in hand is worth 6 in the brush.
  • I place a higher value on the interesting work and the lifestyle I live now over money. The question really is not Money v. Interest it's The Old Job v. The New Job. The answer to that lies in what you value most. The very fact that you are asking the question indicates that you do place a value on interesting work. What you need to ask now is, what value do you place on money. Also, what prospects for advancement are there at The New Job versus The Old Job. If your current job is well-paying but dead
  • I guess the answer depends on how valuable your time is to you. If you waste hours every day, for example by posting to slashdot, then you probably won't mind working at a boring-ass job for good pay. Especially if you post to slashdot on their time. Then again, if you feel compelled to work on interesting things to the point where it is interfering with the rest of your wife, then by all means take the pay cut and move to the interesting job.
  • by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:39PM (#14657031) Homepage
    Some people go through life putting up with work so that they can make enough money to afford to have fun at home. I don't personally like this view; regardless of how much fun you have at home, you've still got 8 hours of guaranteed boredom/misery at least 40 hours a week.

    On the other hand, if you can get paid less and have fun AT WORK, you're MUCH better off. Ask yourself this - How much would you pay for 40 hours a week of fun?

    If the difference between your current job and the more interesting job is less than or equal to that amount, you might need a switch.
  • A wise man once told me; "If you enjoy your job, you'll never work a day in your life."

    Life is too short to do something that you don't enjoy. "I had an awesome time" is a better death bed confession than "I made stacks of cash."
  • by DanTheLewis (742271) on Monday February 06, 2006 @11:54PM (#14657486) Homepage Journal
    Money is great, but all it represents is the investment of your time. It is a limitless commodity. Your time, unfortunately, is not.

    I watched Groundhog Day recently. It's nice that Bill Murray learned to love and to play the piano, but I probably would've spent the first million years in the public library. If they'd had the internet then, maybe the first billion years.

    Anyway, I digress. You don't have a billion years, you have three score and ten, plus or minus two score. For a huge chunk of that time, say forty hours a week for several decades, you're at work.

    Think about what kind of life you want to have. If it's a life filled with a lot of stuff, maybe you belong at a job where you can buy it all. If it's a life where you do what you want after age 40 or 50, maybe you belong at a job where you can save up the millions of dollars necessary. But if it's a life where you do meaningful work, maybe you need to leave.

    The meaning of work is intertwined with the meaning of life. I can't tell you what the meaning of your life is. Even if I knew, you wouldn't listen; at some level, you have to discover it for yourself. 40 hours a week is more than a third of your waking life, so figure out if you need your work to mean anything to you.

    Also consider that your work is reshaping your personality. I got back to graduate CS after several years of work that was often drudgery, managed by someone else, with my work time accountable to the nearest six minutes. Experiences like that wear away at you; the thousand tasks you do will recreate your mind. Figure out if they're changing you in a direction you like.

    Paul Graham wrote a good essay [paulgraham.com] about work recently.
  • by plopez (54068) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @12:17AM (#14657594) Journal
    Well, I went a couple of rounds of pay negotiation at my present job. I gave my employer 3 alternatives:
    1) Significant reduction in required hours with no cut in pay and benis or
    2) A significant pay raise or
    3) A moderate pay raise with an increase in vacation time.

    They opted for #3. So at this time I am looking at 4 weeks annual vacation (very unusual for the US), plus holidays and some personal days. (BTW, they way I worked it out in terms of hourly pay over the year, the options worked out to be almost identical, no matter what option my employer chose).

    So before bailing out, impact all your options. Maybe they can give you release time to take classes, more vacation time,working 35 hours a week etc. to keep you from being bored. A start up, speaking form experience, is a crap shoot. You could get rich. Or you could end up like me, burned out and deeply cynical, having ruined my health working insane hours for a startup and getting laid off anyway.
  • Making Changes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LinuxLuver (775817) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:00AM (#14667540)
    I gave up a 23 year career in IT to do two new jobs: farmer and corrections officer in the local prison.

    The money is about 25% of what I used to get paid.....but the work is better.

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.

Working...