How much do you value what you do?

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Background:
I have a wife and two little kids. I'm currently at a job where I've been stagnant. There is growth opportunity, but I simply don't enjoy what I'm doing. However, I get to work from home every day. While that's a very nice perk, the downside is that I don't really interact with anybody. Sometimes I'll go the entire day without ever speaking to another adult - even on chat or email. The isolation is (almost literally) driving me crazy.

An opportunity came up that is literally my dream job. It's what I've aimed for over the course of my career, and I'm advanced talks (5th round of interviews) with the company for the position. It's a 30% pay raise and the company is voted in the top 10 best places to work every year - outstanding culture. Also, this type of opportunity rarely, if ever comes around so I may not get another shot at something like this. There's only one problem: It's a two hour commute each way and five days a week in the office. Due to personal reasons relocation is not an option. I am at an impasse because very shortly I may be offered my dream job, but I'd be giving up the flexibility that I've come to enjoy over the past five years.

If I take the job, I'll be gone 12 hours a day (60 hours/week) but have great job security and the ability to be a true leader in my industry with a huge professional upside. Plus the 30% pay raise.
If I stay where I'm at, I'll keep my awesome telecommute flexibility but be stuck at a desk in my house which feels like purgatory some times. Forever alone...

Any advice or experiences you'd like to share would be appreciated.

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jpfern15 said:   Background:
I have a wife and two little kids. I'm currently at a job where I've been stagnant. There is growth opportunity, but I simply don't enjoy what I'm doing. However, I get to work from home every day. While that's a very nice perk, the downside is that I don't really interact with anybody. Sometimes I'll go the entire day without ever speaking to another adult - even on chat or email. The isolation is (almost literally) driving me crazy.

An opportunity came up that is literally my dream job. It's what I've aimed for over the course of my career, and I'm advanced talks (5th round of interviews) with the company for the position. It's a 30% pay raise and the company is voted in the top 10 best places to work every year - outstanding culture. Also, this type of opportunity rarely, if ever comes around so I may not get another shot at something like this. There's only one problem: It's a two hour commute each way and five days a week in the office. Due to personal reasons relocation is not an option. I am at an impasse because very shortly I may be offered my dream job, but I'd be giving up the flexibility that I've come to enjoy over the past five years.

If I take the job, I'll be gone 12 hours a day (60 hours/week) but have great job security and the ability to be a true leader in my industry with a huge professional upside. Plus the 30% pay raise.
If I stay where I'm at, I'll keep my awesome telecommute flexibility but be stuck at a desk in my house which feels like purgatory some times. Forever alone...

Any advice or experiences you'd like to share would be appreciated.

4-hour commute each day, 5 days a week is not sustainable long-term. Besides, I doubt if you can strictly stick to an eight hour work day, unless it is a simple clerical/hourly kind of job. Realistically (including lunch hour), you maybe looking at 10 hours at work on average plus 4 hour commute = 14 hours away from home. Barely enough time to sleep, eat, shower etc. with little family time during the week.

It maybe doable for a short period of time with a very understanding family. But you need to figure out the long-term plan. What is the personal circumstance that is keeping you from moving? Is it likely to change, say at the end of the school year? Is it possible to rent a place close to new work place and say commute 2-3 times a week to your home. Depends if spouse is amenable to it and capable of managing without you around everyday. Again, it is a short-term solution.

In short, you need to figure out a long-term plan (that does not involve commuting 4 hours each day) and then work out a plan for the interim. Personally, you may be able to pull it for a few weeks/months but beyond that, you need to figure out a permanent solution to the commute problem.

Losing 4 hours per day to your commute sounds insane, and on a comp-per-hour basis, you're going to be doing worse than you are now.

It is a very short list of things that could prevent me from relocating to avoid that, especially given the 30% pay raise, along with it being a job you actually enjoy.

MOVE!

jpfern15 said:   Background:
the downside is that I don't really interact with anybody. Sometimes I'll go the entire day without ever speaking to another adult - even on chat or email. The isolation is (almost literally) driving me crazy.

What's the downside again? Not having to interact with anybody for an entire day would be a dream job for many people. Why can't you go out to lunch if you need to see other people? On get on some internet forums to shoot the breeze.

30% pay raise for 50% more work.

Even if you love the new job, it won't be long before you hate it because of the long commute and time away from your family.

So what does your wife think?

And please elaborate as to why moving closer isn't an option.

What about adding in some kind of side gig you can do while on the clock at job #1? or are you already doing something like this? You could have 2-3 side gigs it sounds like.

I couldn't go without seeing my family for 12 hours a day 5 days a week. If you take the job maybe push for a modified schedule, like a 9-80 so you have an extra day off every other week.

speedracer714 said:   30% pay raise for 50% more work.
the ratio is a lot better if you make it to the top

If your kids are small, would you have additional childcare expenses if you're no longer working from home? And there's the additional costs of commuting (gas, vehicle depreciation, and so forth).

Other than the pay raise and commute are there substantial differences in compensation that are important to you? For example, time off, medical premiums/deductibles, 401k matches, etc.

Is being voted a top 10 place to work legit, or is it an award/advertisement that the company paid a magazine or some other organization to receive?

jeremyk said:   
Is being voted a top 10 place to work legit, or is it an award/advertisement that the company paid a magazine or some other organization to receive?

something like this:

one year, Company X makes the "Top Ten."

a bunch of people say, "wow, I want to work there because it was voted Top Ten."

the ones who get in brag about working at a "Top Ten," even though it sucks royal ass.

BUT those people don't want to look stupid and they also want to seem special/prestigious. For that reason, they give their shitty employer great reviews, thus keeping it in the Top Ten."

other gullible people (like OP) fall the the "Top Ten" BS (without actually getting an "inside scoop").

then, when survey time rolls around, those people keep their shitty employer in the "Top Ten," so as not to look stupid and also to seem special/prestigious.

the whole thing is a vicious cycle.

that's how modern cults work.

OP won't listen, though, since he's already told himself he'll be a "true leader" (whatever the f*** that is) and experience a "huge professional upside" (that most likely means he'll be given a very rare privilege of working 70+ hours/week at a "Top Five," so that he can go on to put in 80+ hours/week at a "Top Three"). .

Don't do it, you will never be happy long term unless you move. If move it truly out of the question, then enjoy your current position. Family over Job..

I lived outside princeton nj and worked downtown manhatten and every day i joined what seemed like a million other people making the 1:45 to 2:15 hour commute back and forth for about 6 years - and know many who did it much longer. I would have to get to train station early 5:45 as i didnt have permit parking for several years and often worked until 6 before taking a bunch to do on the train. I was married but no kids. My wife worked long hours too. I gave up a lot of life making that trip but it wasn't so bad for 3 reasons:
- gained invaluable experience (in the best city in the world!) and professional network which I eventually parlayed into a job paying much more than I ever anticipated
- didn't take away from wife or kids
- made good use of commute time to work or read a book

So, as crazy as it seems, many in NY metro area make a similar commute even with kids. Consider that you may gain flexibility in a year or two (tech and cultures changing fast) or possibly be able to leapfrog to something closer or more liberal work from home policy within 2 years.

I'm not recommending it just sharing relevant experience.

What sort of commute?

2 hours drive each way is going to be extremely stressful- bordering on impossible.

2 hours on the train where you typically get a comfortable seat, on the other hand, may not be so stressful!

To turn your subject line around a bit: How much do you value weekdays with your family?

Take the job and use some of the 30% extra to rent a room or find a local apartment for use during the week, then spend your weekends home with family. Depending upon your dynamic, this may either improve or destroy your marriage.

Rent an apartment in the city. Visit your family in the 'burbs on the weekends. Just like in "Mad Men".

I rented in another city for 9 months when my son was in 1st grade. Left sunday after he went to bed and returned friday night just in time to tuck him in. I felt I missed a ton and ended up really kind becoming the visitor. Much better to make the commute.

Agree you wouldnt want to drive - train or commuter bus a much better option or at least a carpool.

You say you can't move there but could you move 30 to 60 minutes closer?

Wish you best luck!

I remember one of the older guys where I used to work say in reference to his kids: "You can't get the time back". Ironically I no longer work there and see my kids all the time. No regrets. I don't think a 30% raise would be more valuable than 20 hours/wk with my family.But I know plenty of people who would disagree. Everyone is different so it's up to you.

Can you negotiate partial week work on site and rest of the week from home?

BTW - what salary range are you talking about? I would tell a company to jump in the lake if they cannot make up their mind after 3rd round. And hopefully it is with progressively with higher ranks where u are meeting only one person - next level sr vp or something like that.

If there is no traffic in your commute, a 4 hour commute could actually be pretty relaxing. You can listen to podcasts/radio and pretty soon, cars will drive themselves.

jpfern15 said:   ...the upside is that I don't really interact with anybody...FTFY.

avalon6 said:   If there is no traffic in your commute, a 4 hour commute could actually be pretty relaxing. You can listen to podcasts/radio and pretty soon, cars will drive themselves.Yeah, they're supposed to be flying by now.

scripta said:   
avalon6 said:   If there is no traffic in your commute, a 4 hour commute could actually be pretty relaxing. You can listen to podcasts/radio and pretty soon, cars will drive themselves.
Yeah, they're supposed to be flying by now.


Tesla already sells cars that drive themselves. Why is that so hard to imagine? Getting a self driving car could actually be exactly what the OP needs to help him decide.

puddonhead said:   What sort of commute?

2 hours drive each way is going to be extremely stressful- bordering on impossible.

2 hours on the train where you typically get a comfortable seat, on the other hand, may not be so stressful!

Yeah, I was going to say that. If you don't have to drive, it might not be 4 wasted hours per day - you can sleep/read/watch etc, but, yeah, if you have to drive 4 hours it will not be sustainable. Renting a place to stay nearby and going home Friday evening to Monday morning is the only way I see it working without moving...

avalon6 said:   If there is no traffic in your commute, a 4 hour commute could actually be pretty relaxing. You can listen to podcasts/radio and pretty soon, cars will drive themselves.
Lipstick on a pig. You still stuck in Metal box

Is short term commuting possible and in the near future you move closer? I don't understand why your family wouldn't consider relocating for you, the bread winner it appears, to have his absolute dream job and a 30% pay bump. That makes very little sense to me, can you elaborate?

PrincipalMember said:   Can you negotiate partial week work on site and rest of the week from home?

Or a 9/80 schedule at the very least.

I love the posts where the OP doesn't stick around or check the replies an hour or so after they started the thread. By the way, this can't be the only 'dream' job unless you're in the middle of no where.

ach1199 said:   I love the posts where the OP doesn't stick around or check the replies an hour or so after they started the thread.
OP accepted the job and is busy on his 2 hr commute

Personal reasons where relocating is not an option?

Not buying it. Sounds like a spouse that refuses to move.

You cannot commute 4 hrs/day. You'll hate life very quickly.

I had a similar situation between two jobs (not as nice a choice as yours) but I calculated the extra taxes and commuting cost and that withered away the increase in pay.

You say it's a 30% increase but is that gross? If so then you're going to get taxed at your highest bracket on that extra 30%. Assuming it's about 28%, then you might be looking at a raise that's only 20% or so more than your current take home (net) pay.

Then you add in the commuting cost which you're paying AFTER taxes. For a daily 4 hour commute you have to calculate how much your car costs per mile and multiply that over the total distance covered. Subtract that from the raise and now you might be looking at 10-15% over your current pay.

Finally, you have to put a value on the hours of extra time you're in the car. Once you do that your 30% raise is now completely gone and you might actually be looking at a 10% pay cut.

If it was me, I would 100% prefer my stay at home job over the "dream". Especially if I had LITTLE kids at home.

Need to know the reason why you can't move.

A 4 hour commute by car is not sustainable.

Although I can sympathize with your lack of adult interaction (what many stay-at-home moms experience), I suggest evaluating your options realistically, taking into consideration what your priorities are, and what the long-term consequences could be.What is your priority, family (quality time and providing for them), or your dream job? If you spend too much time away from home, it will affect your marriage and your relationship with your kids in one way or another. Also, even though this new opportunity might be your dream position, you will not know if it is your dream job until youve been there a while, and even that can change with time. There is a lot more to a job than the work you do. Bad supervisor(s), co-workers, or company culture could make you regret accepting your dream position. I recently experienced this. I worked my way up in a company, becoming the VP of Operations, making 6 figures, with great perks. I really enjoyed my job, position, co-workers, and the company culture I helped create. However, due to two people the entire company culture changed in a matter of one year. I was spending more and more time away from my family, and when I was home, I was focused on business, and very stressed. I had lost my focus on family. I had a decision to make, either grit and bear it or look for different employment. I quit. Now, I work in a job that pays less than half what I was earning, but I get quality time with my family. My wife is happier. I am spending time with my kids and enjoying it 100%. Financially, we went from not worrying about money to just getting by, but our entire family is much happier.

OP wants to have his (her) cake and eat it too. The options that you realistically have are:
1) Stay at your crappy telecommute job.
2) Move to be at a better job. There is no "ideal" job. You're a sucker for even thinking that.

I had an opportunity about 2 years ago where someone offered me 3 times my current salary. I found out later my company shopped my resume to the customer who had very specific requirements. In their words, "They will do almost anything to get you there." It would have been a great opportunity and great pay. However, it was a 2+ hour increase in the commute each way (at least). Moving wasn't an option for me either. It was a short conversation. In the end, no amount of money in the world is worth adding that much time to my work week. I've never once regretted turning it down.

I used to work for a corporation that always scored high in those "Best Places To Work" lists. In my experience that's bullshit. What metrics are they using to rank the corporations? All the free sushi, free gyms, slides and video games matter not a whit when you're working 80hrs/wk and commuting home half asleep to then be bugged with work at home at night and on the weekends.

The commute will be reasonable once you purchase a helicopter.

One hybrid possibility, is if the job is offered, try to be honest with hiring manager and describe your situation why you can't move, etc.
May be they might allow you to work from home at least a few days a week, that would be a good start.

If they are top 10 and work culture is great, then Work from home is not too far fetched to ask for, or partly work from home is also ok.
May be if you change your times of work, go a bit odd hours, the 2 hours commute may not be so bad.
Again it boils down to train vs drive, etc.

What is stopping you from moving?
This is a family decision, so discuss with wife, kids, etc.

Skipping 21 Messages...
Worked ~10 years Central NJ -> NYC commute. It's not so bad on a train, and a million others do it every day.
It was transformational as far as experience and career boost. Was able to move to other parts of the country into senior positions with much closer commute etc.



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