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My life has just changed dramatically; did I make the right decision?

May 16th, 2013 at 03:36 pm

I had a 2-hour interview this morning and had an offer in hand this afternoon. After dickering back and forth about the rate of pay, we came to a tentative agreement.

What was the sticking point? When my friend the recruiter told me about the job, he said the pay was $35/hr. Then when the offer was made to me, it had dropped to $33/hr, and he didnít really explain why. I kept asking why, who lowered the pay rate, was it his firm or the employer? He indicated it was the employer and said heíd try to push for partial work at home to compensate for that, but he wanted me to accept the job first, so that means no leverage if you donít talk about work at home til afterwards.
I finally got him to agree to $34/hr. I mean, it would have been a $4100 drop in pay before even starting. The employer had said theyíd been looking to fill the opening for a long time, so now that they found the right person, how could they justify lowering the pay? Almost like a bait and switch, if you ask me.

Still not sure if my friend the recruiter was being straight with me on all of that. It could have easily been his firm that figured most employees would agree becus they need the work. I am happy with the pay (it comes out to $70,000 a year, but with no benefits, no paid holidays, etc) although I have a LOT of concerns about the commute.

My friend the recruiter kept saying yeah, but you can always negotiate a higher salary when you get a perm job offer, but what the heck? If theyíve got an employee working on a freelance basis, why would they spend oodles of extra money on benefits when they really donít have to? Unless the job market suddenly improved in a big way and they were afraid Iíd jump ship for something better, I donít think a perm job with benefits is in any way guaranteed. Hence my reluctance to cave too quickly on the rate of pay question.

As for the commute. I took the easiest way in there this am in terms of not wanting to get lost, and it was bumper to bumper on I95. Youíd be traveling at highway speed and then all of a sudden traffic comes to a complete halt. Very stressful. Very long 1.25 hours. I really worry that I wonít be able to do that twice a day. Seriously.

I will try other ways to go next time. They want me to start day after Memorial Day. Once I get the offer in writing and paperwork signed, which wonít happen til Monday at earliest, I will give notice at p/t job and can give them a max of 1 week notice. What Iím really hoping is that since this is their slow time I can just leave. I need that time to buy a new car and buy new clothes. Luckily, it is casual dress, but still need a better wardrobe. Iíve been working in my jammies for a long time.

My 2 cats are in for a shock. I feel sad for them becus they are so used to me being here and as it is, they get so bored. Thatís why Luther picks on Waldo and bites him too hard. Heís bored silly.

So, as maybe you can tell, I have mixed feelings about all of this becus of the commute, but feel I just have to take the job becus after 3.5 long, dry years, my unemployment benefits run out like, um, next week. I couldnít have called it any closer!
All this time while I job searched, I never even considered jobs in Stamford becus of the long commute. I know a lot of people do long distance commutes, but Iíve always hated it. It sucks up too much of my personal time and exhausts me and all around lowers my quality of life.

So the plan would be to just suck it up and start the job, try to catch on as quickly as I can and maybe in 6 months, when I feel Iíve demonstrated my value and expertise, approach them about working at home 1 or 2 days a week. Preferably 2.

If they donít go for that, my days there would probably be numbered. Iíd try to stick it out for 1 or 2 years but I hate the whole lifestyle. Couldnít go much longer. (Iím honestly not even sure I can do their style of writing. Itís much more abbreviated than what Iíve done.) Pithy product descriptions instead of magazine articles or sales brochures. Very different. And the quality of their writing there is already very good, so Iíd have to work even harder to add value.

In the meantime, I already scheduled a test drive at local Ford dealer to drive a Ford Fiesta Saturday. May also test drive Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. Will probably go new again. I think Iím entitled since the car I drive now is 14 years old. I will sell a bunch of mutual funds tonight and the money will be in my checking account in 3 or 4 days. After I decide from the test drives which model I want, Iíll call all local dealers and ask for their very best price. I want to avoid haggling and will just go with the lowest bid.

My head is spinning. My lifestyle is really going to change drastically. I hope itís worth it. Terrible to say that after 3 years and 8 months of p/t or underemployment and drastically scaling back my lifestyle, but I donít know. Donít know if anyone else goes through this kind of angst in this kind of situation.

18 Responses to “My life has just changed dramatically; did I make the right decision?”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Congratulations PS!

    I understand your hesitancy about the commute, as I wouldn't like it either. I wonder if it would be worth maybe staying at a hotel two or three nights a week, or perhaps a very small studio apartment to cut down the commute time? Not ideal of course, but maybe workable for the short term til you have negotiating power for more at home days. (Maybe a room to rent in a house nearby the job location?)

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    Oh, what wonderful news! I hope you find a better route to work, or even a room to rent like FT suggested. If not, give audiobooks a try.

    I think you made the right decision. The only risk you are taking is with your pt job, which you don't like anyway. The kitties will adjust. Smile
    I have never owned a Ford or a Hyundai so have no opinion; but I have owned 2 Hondas (first an Odyssey, then an Accord) and I love them. My Accord is coming up on 8 years of almost trouble-free driving.

    If the job works out really well, perhaps you could make it a goal to move closer (since you are semi thinking of selling your house).

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Congratulations! I think you likely made the right decision. Your attitude about it will make all the difference. I like Pentunia's idea of audiobooks. Smile I also would keep an open mind about moving IF the job is right for you.

  4. Joanne Says:

    Congatulations on getting the job. I can understand your concern about the commutr. But, hopefully everything will work out. I admire how in the last few years you have put together jobs, and your budget. And you sound positive in difficult times. You should be proud of yourself. Good luck in your new job. Maybe it will bring new and good things to you....

  5. Analise Says:

    I think the new job is worth a try despite the long commute. I would look into working from home some of the time if it's an option. Moving closer is another option if you LOVE your new job, especially since you have considered a move to a condo.

    I drive a 2012 Honda Civic (and have had other Honda's in the past) and I love my car. Check out Costco for your car purchase.

    Good luck!

  6. PatientSaver Says:

    Thanks, everyone. I couldn't move closer, as the closer you get to NYC, and i would be moving south from where I live, the more expensive housing becomes. That's why I moved to the town I did to start with, the further north you went, the better the prices....not that it's very cheap here either, but it's better than southern Fairfield County, which is prime real estate country.

    I don't think cost-wise it would make sense to rent even a room. It would cut into my earnings too much, and it would destroy my quality of life.

    I want to eventually move, but I'd be moving east into cheaper New Haven County or stay in the same area I'm in now, northern Fairfield County. But most of Fairfield County is just way too expensive. It's where the rich people live, and buying down there would be counter to everything I've done in terms of living modestly and below my means.

    The good news that since i paid off my mortgage, I should be able to really accelerate my savings rate. I won't have the benefit of a tax-deferred 401k since i'm a contract employee; maybe there's something i could do with the recruiter. I'll add that to my list of questions for when I see recruiter Monday night. I plan to switch to their health insurance plan if it's cheaper than the state plan which now costs $589/month. (I'm paying $562 on COBRA, but that ends June 30.)

  7. Jenn Says:

    Have you considered a new-to-you car that's a gas-sipper and just a few years old? You'd save thousands over purchasing new. That would help to get an initial savings boost so you can retire sooner.

  8. CB in the City Says:

    You may be surprised that you don't mind the commute as much as you think. Also, you might find out if you can flex your hours so you don't have to travel at rush hour. I assume there is no train?

    My commute is VERY long (3 1/2 hours a day) but I really don't mind it that much. It's just part of my day, and part of the bargain I made to get what I really want.

    And by the way, congratulations!!!!

  9. MonkeyMama Says:

    Congrats on the job!!

    I'd always choose the smaller commute. The thing is the gas and wear and tear (& stress) can get really expensive. If I were you, I'd check out the job, see how it goes, etc. But for the long run a "rent a room" option might save you a lot of stress and be rather breakeven financially. (I say this having lived in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. A small room rental situation with private entrance can sometimes be found for $300-ish per month. IT doesn't have to be a lot for just a place to sleep and avoid commuting). There's certainly got to be some better options - maybe renting an apartment in the interim until you retire and are selling your house anyway - something like that. But, I think all this stuff can wait until you see how it goes. If the job works out there has to be some options out there. Public transport is not a bad idea either (at least you can read and relax - I think for me it's the traffic more than anything else that bothers me about a commute like that). & maybe "work from home" is the best compromise for you, so maybe that will work out. Good Luck!!

  10. Thrifty Ray Says:

    Am not sure I could do 1.25 hour commute each way every day...I would be considering the options of moving, work from home - but if all else fails find a way to enjoy the time as much as possible. The timing was right and hopefully the job will be a great fit for you!!

  11. PNW Mom Says:

    Congratulations!

  12. LuckyRobin Says:

    So happy you got the job. I wish it were more in line with your needs, though.

  13. ohsuzannah Says:

    Congrats on the job! I'm sure it will be a big adjustment for you to commute so far after all this time, but perhaps if you can stick it out for a year (or two?) it will allow you to catch up on your savings and/or whatever you may need done at home, and then you can look around again. It always seems to be easier to find a job when you already have one for some reason.
    Suzanne

  14. baselle Says:

    Congratulations! I think you made the right decision - commute be damned at least for the first couple of months. If there is a way to adjust your commute to commuting to a park and ride I'd try that. I think your kitties will adjust - bored but kept in good kitty food is still better than excited but starving.

  15. scfr Says:

    Congratulations!

    Do you have any flexibility in your work hours? If so, would starting early or on the weekends cut down on commute time? When I have the choice (with my job sometimes I do and sometimes I don't) I choose the early shift or weekends and can shave 15 min off my commute time each way.

    Are 4 x 10-hour days an option?

    As others have suggested, look for ways to make the commute more pleasant. I get audiobooks from the library and listen to them or NPR during my long commutes.

  16. Looking Forward Says:

    Congrats!
    I think you have a solid plan of trying this out for awhile - Sock money away and see what happens.

  17. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    Here's some ideas for the cats Smile
    Summer vacation is just about here, ask a high school or middle school kid to babysit (your place or theirs) for a couple hours on some days. Pay something like $5 a day or perhaps a couple dollars an hour.

    There are also pet day care places, but I bet they are more expensive.

    Happy to hear of the job, being in So California, the drive does not sound horrible to me!! Time in the car to 'read' listen to audio books, news, etc!

  18. My English Castle Says:

    I love audio books too. Or is their a rideshare service? Big congratulations!

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