Career change

rommelrommel

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2002
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#1
Current job I’ve been at 15 years, make around 100k most years, have a defined benefit pension, 20 minute commute, good benefits overall, could easily make more with overtime, no graveyards but I do work rotating shifts. Like my work, it’s easy and usually low stress. I get 2 paid personal days, 5 paid days for care of family, and I’m close to getting my fifth week of vacation.

For the last few years I wanted to move up in this organization and was actively pursuing it. However, in the course of that I really got to see the world our managers operate in, and holy shit is it awful. There is a lot of harassment, bullying, and generally trash behaviour. While about half of the management is relatively good and decent the other half is atrocious. I’ve watched them transfer out an excellent manager for the high crime of mildly and politely disagreeing with their boss.

I have a few options, I could leverage my knowledge into a related consulting industry. I’ve been tempted a few times as I have more knowledge that most already doing this consulting but obviously I’d be giving up all my security for some potential to make more money and to get away from a toxic organization.

The other options aren’t so great, I could get into my in-laws business potentially but not many of my skills transfer very well. Not sure where I’d fit in or where I’d top out. Also was offered an invite to a longshoreman position, which is great money but I’m a little old to start from the bottom (it can take 2 years just to get full time hours, about 5 to get into the union.)

Or I can just stay where I am and try to not care about the train wreck always going on around me. Aside from the internal politics it can be a fun job.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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#2
Personally... at 15 years in... with that pay... with all of those benefits (presuming the pension is good) + 5 weeks of vacation (and more)...with that low stress... and a 20 minute commute...

I wouldn't switch. I can almost guarantee if you switch you will lose one of those above. I've been moving around over the years just trying to find the low stress benefit.

Speaking of consulting - that's where I come from. I doubt you will get low stress. Also do you have a family? That's a major determining factor IMO.
 

rommelrommel

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2002
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#3
Yes, the pension is pretty good. I could be here up to another 15 years or so to leave without any penalties and most of a full pension. Minimum of 11 more to leave with something substantial.

I’m married but no kids and none coming. My wife is fairly high income most years but has essentially no benefits. Generally I think I should stay and find a way to not be so involved in the day to day politics of the place but with having 15 years in it’s hard to not be. I’m one of the senior employees and quite well respected by the staff. I have always gotten along with management and usually done pretty well with the senior managers, although the current one really doesn’t like me much.

I hear you about consulting and believe it 100%. I guess what I’m thinking is the trade offs might be worth it. It’s hard to go to work and concentrate on doing your job when senior management is actively making things harder all the time.
 
May 24, 2003
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#4
Considering how much money you make, if it's low stress and easy, I would just stick to that. As long as the train wreck is not directly impacting you, just watch it unfold while you do your job. Find a side hobby instead if you want to do more. Or even side business, if your company allows that, then you can always end up doing it full time.

It's not always greener on the other side. You could be trading minor issues for bigger ones, and on top of that you're basically starting over in terms of seniority, vacation weeks, etc if you change.
 

Sgt. York

Senior member
Mar 27, 2016
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#6
I had forgotten about that song.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
42,576
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#7
A big question is this: where do you want to get your fulfillment from?

You have a great job now, with lots of benefits. The problem with becoming comfortable is that you sometimes get bored. But, as you've seen, management = politics. I've held a couple of management positions over the last 15+ years in the workforce and I learned that the actual work of management = babysitting. I am not a ladder-climber; I eventually discovered that I am not financially motivated, which is to say that once I started making enough to maintain my lifestyle, I don't feel the need to pursue more money - there are a lot of jobs available that pay better than what I do now, but I'm also really happy with what I do now (freelance IT, basically computer admin consulting). I found working in management to be frustrating because I didn't get to do what I love (play with computers) & also because managers are typically extremely sensitive to embarrassment & criticism, so there's this whole insane world of stupid, petty politics that goes on within companies that I discovered I didn't really care about. The pay was good, but as I like to be busy & work a lot (I average 70 hours a week, 6 days a week), it was not very fulfilling for me.

I've bounced between corporations, small biz, and consulting in my adult working life. Right now, I do freelance IT. The pay is decent, but the current state of healthcare in America makes being independent difficult, due to the high cost. Business is good & has generally always been good, because nearly all companies require some form of computing to operate in today's world, and not all companies have the resources to hire a full-time IT person on staff (payroll, benefits, etc.). I have a variety of clients in everything from the food industry (temperature monitoring, security systems, POS setups, etc.) to hi-tech shops with all kinds of cool computer-assisted machines, like 3D printers & CNC cutters. I'm not really breaking any new ground in the IT world, as I work in a support function, but I really enjoy helping people directly & also have a lot of fun getting hands-on time with a variety of industrial techie toys. So for me, I like what I do, I work a lot, and I get a lot of fulfillment out of my job. I also enjoy being able to pick & choose my customers. I've had to "fire" insane customers before, and it's great to not be stuck under a difficult boss at-will.

Right now, you have a stable job that is providing for yourself & your family, which you can ride out to retirement. You want to climb the corporate ladder, but the politics are unappealing. You can jump ship, but there are stability & seniority risks involved. Thus, we loop back to the original question: where do you want to get your fulfillment from? For a lot of people, their jobs are their "hobby" or their "baby" and that's what defines them & what's "who they are". For other people, they simply haven't fleshed out what they like to do outside of work, and so they don't have a clear focus on what really drives them or motivates them. Either way is fine, getting fulfillment from work or from outside of work, but you have to figure out what does it for you. I don't have a zillion dollars to blow on crazy tech toys every day, but thanks to my work, I'm able to play with everything from robotic arms to package-making CNC devices to candy-dipping machines. I didn't enjoy feeling like just another cog in the corporate machine, and I like seeing the direct results of my work, so my current job has turned out to be an excellent fit for me.

The question is, what does it for YOU? The reality of life is that you will work, retire, and die. Not to get morbid, but on your deathbed, do you want to look back and see years of dealing with harassment politics while working in a highly-paid management position? Some people really enjoy that (see our current president, for example), but others don't. Some people value family time, or vacations, or material goods, or hobbies they can deep-dive into. Lots of options out there...the question isn't so much about survival, as much as thriving. So, how do you want to spend your time for the next 15 years?
 
Nov 8, 2012
11,686
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#8
Yes, the pension is pretty good. I could be here up to another 15 years or so to leave without any penalties and most of a full pension. Minimum of 11 more to leave with something substantial.

I’m married but no kids and none coming. My wife is fairly high income most years but has essentially no benefits. Generally I think I should stay and find a way to not be so involved in the day to day politics of the place but with having 15 years in it’s hard to not be. I’m one of the senior employees and quite well respected by the staff. I have always gotten along with management and usually done pretty well with the senior managers, although the current one really doesn’t like me much.

I hear you about consulting and believe it 100%. I guess what I’m thinking is the trade offs might be worth it. It’s hard to go to work and concentrate on doing your job when senior management is actively making things harder all the time.
Since you have no kids, consulting can still work if you REALLY want to. With kids I wouldn't touch it. Either way most consulting is an up or out mentality. It's really a crapshoot of running into a manager/senior manager that likes you enough to voice for you to be promoted. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. The politics is there 100% of the time in consulting - it never goes away.

But yeah, I would stick around. Do your typical 9 to 5 and head out the door without hearing all the chit-chat and political talks.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,158
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#9
I'd ask yourself why you are trying to move up. Do you really just want more money? Do you actually want to manage people? Managing people is a totally different job as you're seeing. There is always going to be some BS political thing that you're dealing with. It sounds like you have a really cushy gig now. I'd personally just keep my head down and enjoy the ride. It doesn't sound like you're into the drama.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
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#10
Sounds like you work for the telephone company. AT&T? You almost describe my environment, which is never going to change.
 

squirrel dog

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
5,397
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#11
I did at&t for 40+ years , leaving as an operations manager . It was for me a lot like the tv show survivor . Out play , out live , out last . So stay strong .
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
3,257
368
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#12
With 15 years already invested, I say just stick it out.

Kaido gave some excellent advice. Don't find meaning or fulfillment in your job; find it in yourself. Just keep telling yourself, "No matter how bad the trainwreck, I still get paid the same."
 
Jul 12, 2006
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#13
"close to getting 5th week of vacation" ...what does that mean? Did it take you 15 years to accumulate those 5 total weeks....so you haven't taken more than 5-7 days off per year in all that time? Is that true?

Or is it a shorter accumulation time and you are just re-accumulating that time. If the former: holy shit what an awful place to work.
 
May 24, 2003
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#14
"close to getting 5th week of vacation" ...what does that mean? Did it take you 15 years to accumulate those 5 total weeks....so you haven't taken more than 5-7 days off per year in all that time? Is that true?

Or is it a shorter accumulation time and you are just re-accumulating that time. If the former: holy shit what an awful place to work.
Probably means to be able to have 5 weeks per year. It takes a while to get to that point. I'm at a bit over 10 years working at my job and I get 4 weeks. I'm not sure when I get 5, I think it's some odd ball number like 17 years. Or maybe it's actually further, like 20. I think it goes up to 6. Differs between companies though.

My job is shift work though, so I get tons of time off, which is great. I would hate having to go back to an 8x5 job. 2 day weekends are too short.
 
Jul 12, 2006
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#15
Probably means to be able to have 5 weeks per year. It takes a while to get to that point. I'm at a bit over 10 years working at my job and I get 4 weeks. I'm not sure when I get 5, I think it's some odd ball number like 17 years. Or maybe it's actually further, like 20. I think it goes up to 6. Differs between companies though.

My job is shift work though, so I get tons of time off, which is great. I would hate having to go back to an 8x5 job. 2 day weekends are too short.
Oh I see. I'm generally ignorant of how corporate cubicle monkey world works. I'm only familiar with academic lab bench monkey world.

Anyhoo, OP looks like he's in a good place especially if he's happy enough with his pay and the generally satisfied with work and life. Having decent benefits that help with the wife's lack of benefits is a big deal.
 

rommelrommel

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2002
2,433
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#16
It's not always greener on the other side. You could be trading minor issues for bigger ones, and on top of that you're basically starting over in terms of seniority, vacation weeks, etc if you change.
Probably a lot of truth there, I don’t know many people who love their work all around.
 

rommelrommel

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2002
2,433
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#17
I'd ask yourself why you are trying to move up. Do you really just want more money? Do you actually want to manage people? Managing people is a totally different job as you're seeing. There is always going to be some BS political thing that you're dealing with. It sounds like you have a really cushy gig now. I'd personally just keep my head down and enjoy the ride. It doesn't sound like you're into the drama.
Well, I’ve been managing for about 2 out of the last 3 years. I really liked the job and found the coaching/training aspects quite rewarding. I liked having input into my workplace and having the opportunity to make it better. I do not like one management change taking me from being a high flyer to public enemy number 1. At least if I stay out of management I can’t really be touched given the quality of my work. If I did move up permanently I’d be a lot more exposed to these changes.
 

rommelrommel

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2002
2,433
32
101
#18
With 15 years already invested, I say just stick it out.

Kaido gave some excellent advice. Don't find meaning or fulfillment in your job; find it in yourself. Just keep telling yourself, "No matter how bad the trainwreck, I still get paid the same."
This is a skill I need to develop for sure. I have a hard time watching coworkers/friends get jacked around or really absurd decisions get made. I also want to succeed at things, perhaps work isn’t the best source of that success.

Sounds like you work for the telephone company. AT&T? You almost describe my environment, which is never going to change.
Not AT&T no, but I do work for a place that will probably never substantially change.

I did at&t for 40+ years , leaving as an operations manager . It was for me a lot like the tv show survivor . Out play , out live , out last . So stay strong .
Out play, out live, outlast, I like that. I’ll have to tell myself that one occasionally.
 

rommelrommel

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2002
2,433
32
101
#19
Probably means to be able to have 5 weeks per year. It takes a while to get to that point. I'm at a bit over 10 years working at my job and I get 4 weeks. I'm not sure when I get 5, I think it's some odd ball number like 17 years. Or maybe it's actually further, like 20. I think it goes up to 6. Differs between companies though.

My job is shift work though, so I get tons of time off, which is great. I would hate having to go back to an 8x5 job. 2 day weekends are too short.
Yup, that’s it. I get 4 per year now and will be 5 soon.

Oh I see. I'm generally ignorant of how corporate cubicle monkey world works. I'm only familiar with academic lab bench monkey world.

Anyhoo, OP looks like he's in a good place especially if he's happy enough with his pay and the generally satisfied with work and life. Having decent benefits that help with the wife's lack of benefits is a big deal.
It is a relatively good place. I didn’t want this to come of as a bitch thread, more a talk myself through it and confirm I’m not out in left field.

I’d like to thank everyone for their feedback, it really is appreciated.
 

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