Choices and Consequences (longish)

I’ve just been semi-officially offered a job. The pay is almost exactly double what I currently make, plus a 15% bonus. This puts me back on par with what I was making about 4 years ago when I opted out of the big corporate world.

Since I put my resume out about two weeks ago I have had an overwhelming response, the only thing to overcome has been the 3-4 years I’ve been away from my tech specialty, but my CV is fairly impressive, I just had wanted to be closer to family and good paying jobs can be a bit hard to come by in this part of Florida.

What’s the catch? I"m glad you asked. I used to work with an “older” guy in Baltimore, probably just a bit older than I am now, who would always say that it always came down to “choices and consequences”.

My current job doesn’t really draw on any of my talents, puts pressure on me to do things I can do but are not effortless, like sales and marketing. It is my father’s business, and I know he was very happy to have me come work with him, but frankly, my father is not great at not treating me like the teenage boy who last lived with him. He’ll listen to, but rarely take advice. He’s been paying me more than I deserve and more than he can afford, but there is a good chance his company will fall apart without me there, given the current circumstances. To be fair, there’s a decent chance it could fall apart with me there as well. He used to be able to keep it going by hustle and force of will, but he is getting older (72+), his mental acuity is slowly fading, and he’s made a few strategic errors that may be hard to overcome. He is putting more into the company than he is taking out, which he can just afford because of some inheritance from his mother a couple of years back.

The new gig is as a consultant, which is why the pay is good, but it will definitely have some effects on my family. I expect to be on about 100% travel.

I am lucky that both of my kids, now ages 9 and 11, both adore and look up to me. I’ve heard that this fades, but so far it’s not been an issue. My son still attacks me every day when I get home from work, with hugs, karate chops, whatever he feels necessary. I have coached both of them, officially and unofficially, in soccer and baseball over the years. I have the patience to help explain homework problems in a way that they “get”, a skill which their mother does not share. I know how to resolve disputes, between brother and sister, or sister and mother, with a diplomacy and tact that I’ve come to learn are not common. Not saying I’m perfect, far from it, but I do a lot to make our home a generally pleasant place to be, and particularly make sure that my kids are well-loved. Just the logistics of school and extra-curricular activities will be more difficult if I am on the road for most or all of the week. I should be able, generally, to get home on weekends, afaik.

Financially, we live fairly well, but struggle to do so on our income. We don’t need for material things, but at my age, would like to retire some debt, and college is looming near on the horizon. The Shibblets’ maternal grandparents may help out a lot in this regard, but I don’t want to have to count on that. We pay our own medical, dental and vision right now, as I don’t have much at all in the way of benefits. I have about $15,000 outstanding debt from a failed business venture, and that has been slow to reduce.

I think I would love the work. It’s challenging, exciting, and offers a lot of room for growth. The company is somewhat small (compared to the more well known consulting firms), but was bought by a large multinational fairly recently, which means lots of capital to grow. I have been impressed by the folks I have spoken with at the company so far, and frankly, it’s fantastic to be coveted for one’s skills.

Net of this, there are so many things to take into account here, good, the (potentially) bad and the ugly.


What’s your gut say?

If it were me (and I’m glad it’s not, to be perfectly honest), I’d sit Dad down and ask him what he thinks of selling the business and retiring. And then (since it’s me-as-hypothetical) I’d use the extra income from my new job to help him out a bit if/when he needed it, or if I could stand it without committing patricide, asking if he wanted to move in with me, if he couldn’t take care of himself.

Congrats on the job, btw. Sucks that your situation is making you feel conflicted.

What my gut says doesn’t count, since you have to make the decision. But, since you posted … with the facts as presented (and I’m sure there is much more background) I would tend to go for the new job, being as kind to Dad as possible about it.

My father-in-law is a minister. Most of his sermons that I’ve heard didn’t do much for me, but he gave one once that has stuck with me (an atheist) all these years, about “giving forward.” In it, he described how we benefit from many people such as teachers, parents, etc. He said that our principal obligation is not to repay what those elders did for us, but to “give forward”… in other words, someday WE become the parents/teachers/etc. who help the next generation.

If that is true, your main responsibility is to your children. If this job will help guarantee that they can attend the college best suited to them (or pick whatever scenario is appropriate), then it seems to me you need to seriously consider the better-paying offer, even if it means a few regrets with respect to your dad.

My “gut”. Heh, who do I look like, Michael Chertoff? Wait, don’t answer that.

Thanks, I am pretty jazzed about the offer. I’m going to talk with my dad this weekend, maybe tonight or Saturday. My parents are fine for now. There place is where I grew up, and is much larger than my house (about 50%+), so it’s not like I’d have to take them in or something. I think he could keep the business going for a while without me around, but that he might do well to downsize a bit, and focus a bit more. The current business generates a decent amount of income, and those are primarily on two lines he has worked forever, seemingly.

My other concern, not expressed above, and based on a bit of a personal belief, is that people who pour themselves into their work struggle when they retire. So I’d kind of like him to have the business to continue to give him some purpose, although I know he’s also conflicted about wanting to spend more time away from work. It’s not necessarily rational, but then, that’s my dad.

Last I saw you had less hair than Chertoff.

Me? I’d take the gig and encourage your father to pursue a buyer. My grandparents did that and did well after having run their own business for 30+ years.

You have two kids and you’re considering a job that is 100% travel?

Your presence at home is worth more than any amount of money. I wouldn’t even consider a job like that if it were me, and I don’t even have kids. Nothing is worth being away from my family 5/7ths of the time.