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Old 06-16-2010, 09:03 PM   #1
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Keep a beloved but low-paying job, or take a higher-paying job I might not love?

I go through this dilemma every year at about this time as the public school's hiring period commences. Once again, I am on the 'eligible' list with a qualification that is in demand right now, and this year it looks like there are actual jobs. BUT...I love the job I have right now. In fact, if I had to make a list of what would my ideal job be, it would be the job I have right now, but with more money. And that is not possible. Here is the situation:

- The job I have right now has me working with students who are my favourite age to teach. I love working with the little kids. I think this is my real strength area. However, if I went with the public school job I would have to teach much older children. I would never see a kindergarten child again and that would break my heart a little.

- My current boss is a very hands-off boss. She has pretty much openly told me that unless she has parents in her office complaining about me, she really doesn't care what I do. I can pretty much run my own program, do as I please and everybody is happy. This will almost certainly not be the case in the much more bureaucratic and red-tapey public system.

- Although my current pay is well below market standard (this is the big issue) the school community does have some resources, and the parents committee love me. I can pretty much get approved any expenditure I want---whatever equipment, books, supplies, new materials etc. Again, this will not at all be true in the public system.

- I am a great fit at my current workplace, get along well with all my co-workers and really love the kids. I have a comfortable routine going with the job, know the ropes as they are, and am very confident and happy at what I do. That too is worth considering in the equation.

The only downside is that she is paying me about 10 k below market level, this will not increase much (I might get a 3% raise this year, she has promised a little more than the standard 2% cost of living for me because I am one of her better staff, but I ave not seen next year's contract yet) but that is it. Plus, there is no pension plan. The public school jobs pay MUCH better, have amazing benefits and, once you are in, have union protections that are enviable.

BUT I would have to teach older kids, teach other subjects besides the one I prefer and probably have to deal with increased bureaucracy and more stressful working conditions...

If the job I have right now was not SO COMPLETELY perfect (except for the money issue) I would walk away in a second. But I am so torn because (again except for the money issue) it really is the best job I have ever had and is so perfectly suited for my skills and strengths. My heart is telling me to stay until a comparable job at a bigger school in the private system opens up one hypothetical day, but going strictly on 'best interests 10 years from now' sort of thing, getting into the public system is definitely a better financial bet. From a life happiness standpoint, it remains to be seen. But strictly on the money/benefits, there would be no question.

What to do, what to do?
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:45 PM   #2
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I don't know much about your circumstances - marital status, dependants, future plans, etc, so this is pretty generic.

How much stress/unhappiness at home is the current pay situation causing? If the stress/unhappiness caused by low pay is bigger than the stress/unhappiness probable in the potential new job... go for the new job. If not, stay with what you've got. UNLESS you're going to need the situation to be dramatically different in 10 years time.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:08 PM   #3
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Happiness almost always trumps money (the latter never guarantees the former, sadly). If I were in your shoes, I'd keep the job I love. But that's what I would do. Your decision has to come from you and you have to be happy with the outcome.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:13 PM   #4
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Well, the thi g is that right now I have no car, dog, house or baby so my expenses are fairly minimal. Any of that might change. But if it did it would be presumably because there was a partner who could also contribute. Assuming I die an old maid, I will never be able to afford to buy a house or have a child if I stay at the current job, but that might not be an issue for a couple years yet. I have a lot of teacher friends with no job at all right now. It's a tough market. I do have an in demand qualification though.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:33 PM   #5
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Will this new job with more pay open more doors in the future?
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:34 AM   #6
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:30 AM   #7
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Go for the new job.


Money buys a lot of happiness.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:58 AM   #8
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Let's look at it from another angle.

You're doing something that you know you can do. If you were to switch jobs, you'd be doing something new. Something you haven't done (for a while). There are new challenges, new learning points, new growing points.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:39 AM   #9
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Ficbot said:
Quote:
The only downside is that she is paying me about 10 k below market level, this will not increase much (I might get a 3% raise this year, she has promised a little more than the standard 2% cost of living for me because I am one of her better staff, but I ave not seen next year's contract yet) but that is it. Plus, there is no pension plan. The public school jobs pay MUCH better, have amazing benefits and, once you are in, have union protections that are enviable.
Perhaps you can use the better offer (higher pay/better benefits) to negotiate for a raise in your current position? If you have a concrete offer in hand, go to your supervisor and tell how much you like your current work and the people you work with, but have an offer that pays much better. Maybe the supervisor will be motivated to match the offer, or at least improve your current situation. It's actually a pretty good situation you are in - you have a job you like, and you have other options as well. Good luck!
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:35 AM   #10
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To some extent this is about considering the short or long term options. Short term you're happy where you are, sure. But longer term having some $$ behind you ultimately gives you more freedom. And you can't start too early working on that. Though I expect the experience you've been building up makes you a more valuable resource.

If you do move, though, make sure that you're not dropping down in job security. It would be a shame if you left this job and got another job that vanished in some economic downturn. This is possible for any job, but it is possible to take a hard look at a job and work out whether it will still be there in a year or so.

It seems possible that at least some of your caution is just the usual reluctance to change. I get this myself a lot so I assume others are the same. The right answer is to push on through it, but that is no way the easy answer.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by emai7s2 View Post
Ficbot said:
Perhaps you can use the better offer (higher pay/better benefits) to negotiate for a raise in your current position?
Not a possibility. I wish though!

I agree that some of this is probably just 'change is scary.' At any rate, I have a few weeks before camp starts to put out some feelers and see how things play out. Worth investigating, right?
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
I go through this dilemma every year at about this time as the public school's hiring period commences.

[...]

What to do, what to do?
From your description, I get the impression that you don't really want to change. If that's the case, my advice is don't. Don't trick yourself into doing something you don't want to do because you think you should do it. In my personal experience, that never works.

Chances are, at some point in your life you will be ready for a change, for new challenges, for more money, whatever. When you are, you will know it. Don't try to force it.

Any changes involves some stress. If you are changing because you wanted to, that's all right, even the stress may be welcome, and if it isn't, you know why you are doing it. If you do it because you think you have to, the stress will be a burden.

My experience is that when we ask for advice, we already know the answer to our question, only we need to find it inside. Asking for help is not a bad thing, it does help us to find out what we really want. Pay attention to your own reactions to our advice, and you will know what you really want to do.

Good luck
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:58 AM   #13
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Stick with current job, your HAPPY,

I had a stroke age 35, due to work stress, and had fits at least once a week,

I quit the job, and quit the stress, hardly ever fit now,

If you can manage financially (Even if it's tight), then stick with what you love !
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:10 AM   #14
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I work in a very different field.
Yet, I am happy with my current job and I have so far refused to go to better paid job that would not bring me such satisfaction and joy (and would bring more problems, more stress and would require more of my precious time).
Even when I was thinking about switching carers I was planning to go with lower payment / higher satisfaction and happiness level one.
My requirements are very modest, I have perfect wife and I can happily live with my current income level. I might speak differently if I had a high montage payments.

As one of previous posters said, it is really a question of how desperately you need more money. If the need for more money is really bad, then you have to choose between the evil and lesser evil.

Also very important question is, where you live and what is your "cultural" background.
I suspect that American will have different suggestion for you than somebody from Cuba ;-)
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:44 AM   #15
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A year ago I decided that being a bookkeeper was not enough. I was going to get a degree and switch to accounting which pays a lot more. Halfway through he accounting program I realized that I hate accounting and want to stay a bookkeeper. I will probably never make anymore than I do now but I am happier with this choice.

Is there anyway you could do a short-term maybe summer assignment in the public school system to experience the public system before making this kind of decision? Maybe you would discover that it is not as bad as you fear.
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