So it’s no surprise that I’m not exactly happy with my job. I love that I have a job with a good paycheck and good benefits. I love that I work for the government and am very unlikely to lose my job due to the economic downturn. But I’m not exactly happy with the work itself.
I was hired as a writer and analyst, but when I started my job, there had been many changes in the organization and I was placed into a position with lots of analyzing, but very little writing. The longer I’m here, the more I miss the writing. My job has changed a number of times over the past few years, so I’m hoping this last change is going to direct me a bit further into that area, but that has yet to be seen.
I do have an idea of where I would like to work, and I think I could get a job there. It’s another government job, so the benefits would be the same. The problem is that I would have to take a serious pay cut. At least 10%, maybe more. The job I’m in has a “guaranteed” (unless Congress changes Federal pay) raise for my first three years in the position – meaning I’ll get a small bump in March 2010, 2011, and 2012 – and then the period between raises increases. If I got this other job, if I got the highest possible pay in the range (10+% less than my current salary), I’d be stuck there for 2 years.
I do think that sometimes you have to sacrifice pay for a great job. I was thinking about this on Monday night and I was ready to apply for this job as soon as the positions open for applications. I was thinking about who I would ask for recommendations and what I would say to my current boss if I got the job. Then on Tuesday morning, I sat down and did my Net Worth update and read about the current economic situation and the letter from Obama cutting federal raises for 2010 (I’m not complaining – I’m happy to have a job). And I’m thinking that maybe this is not the best time to be making that sort of decision. I like having spending money. I like not having to worry when my grocery budget is a bit over. I like being able to travel and visit my family and friends every so often.
It’s not like I have to make a decision now. There isn’t even a job to apply for right now. Then I have to apply and actually get the job. I should apply for the job and then worry about the decision if I find out I get it (which is no guarantee – but I’ve got a good shot).
It’s weird to feel like I have golden handcuffs, as we called them in law school. That’s what we called it when you took a higher paying job “just for a few years” to pay off loans with the intent of going to a more rewarding, lower paying job in five years or so, then not being able to give up the big paycheck. I never thought I’d be there.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.