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View Full Version : A Purely Hypothetical Job Dilemma



Oyvind Snibsoer
01-09-2006, 04:57 PM
I've been pondering something.

Imagine you're working as an engineer with a well reputed company in a high tech industry. Your skills are valuable to both your company and your company's client, you have a fair salary and benefits, it's a good company to be working for and yor boss is a good and caring manager that you really like. As far as your job goes, you've done it long enough that it has become sort of routine, but on the whole you're well satisified and have no plans to move on at the moment, although you are beginning to feel the hassle of staying constantly up to date in your rapidly changing field of work.

Then one day an international aid organization calls you and wants you to do some work for them. The boss says OK for this one time and you have a really wonderful, but exhausting, time doing something completely different than the daily routine.

After the short contract is over, the aid organization approaches you with an offer to continue working for them. It's not a full time contract, but you can supplement the international work by working with equally rewarding humanitarian projects in your local community for the same organization. After having spent so many years staring into a computer monitor, you realize that this is a golden opportunity to do something completely different, for the first time in your professional career doing something that could really make a difference to your fellow man.

Except that the pay, of course, isn't all that great. Although you know that you can make ends meet on this pay, too, your family will have to live more a bit more frugally. You're still enthusiastic about the new opportunity, but the missus, although supportive, is sceptical about the loss of income.

What would you do? Stick with the well paying, but somewhat boring high tech job, or toss it all and go for the lower paying but personally much more rewarding one?

Donn
01-09-2006, 05:12 PM
Would the job change interfere with building on that craggy fjord you showed us pics of?

ishmael
01-09-2006, 05:17 PM
A good friend just visited, who's contemplating the same dilemma. He's got three seven year olds, two houses, a wife who is doing her thing, bringing in her share, living in a gated community full of similarly afflicted upper-middle-class white folks.

Frankly, it's driving him nuts.

The thing that bugs me is his fear of lack. He's arranged it so his kids' education is paid for through college, he just sold his shares in a software company that landed well. They're flush! Yet he's afraid to take a chance.

It's somewhat understandable, but I'm not going to listen to him bitch and moan too much longer. And picking the next thing ain't easy. I, my shack in the northland, wasn't, probably, the best thing for him. Or, maybe it was! I mean com'on, a GATED community? And then complain because the kids are stunted. smile.gif

Oyvind Snibsoer
01-09-2006, 05:17 PM
Probably, but OTOH messing around with boats would be part of the job, along with strengthening and potentially reforming the rescue services of a major Asian country.

Oyvind Snibsoer
01-09-2006, 05:20 PM
As far as college funds, health benefits etc. are concerned, that's a non-issue in these parts.

Donn
01-09-2006, 05:28 PM
If building the house on the fjord would only be delayed, and not cancelled, go for it. You can always make the money later.

ishmael
01-09-2006, 05:35 PM
I suspect that wife and kids ought to have something to say about this.

Oh, lord. Frick that. At some point in life, especially if it's a risk, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. It's when it's not really a risk, when the bills are well paid, that it becomes knotty.

I don't know what Steve should do. Hell, I don't know what I should do. But burying bones on the way to the temple ain't it.

[ 01-09-2006, 07:47 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Oyvind Snibsoer
01-09-2006, 05:35 PM
Yes, I tend to view this as opportunity as a very good way to develop my people skills. The company I work for has a very flat management structure. There are few upwardly mobile opportunities, as management is very slim. OTOH, doing somehing completely different for the next five years or so could potentialy open up totally new career paths, as I would also be working with IT related issues and thus keep my skills in this area at leas somewhat up to date.

Chris Coose
01-09-2006, 06:38 PM
Think of what this hypothetical character will feel a month or a year after saying no to a heart's desire?

Me? I slid into Human Service work under dire economic and emotional circumstances and 15 years into it I was sitting at my desk this morning - self-employed, making just enough money, no commute, plenty of time with my family, Fridays off and unusual vacation time, thinking I've arrived and it is time to push it again.

I made some interesting calls this afternoon to facilitate dormant professional desires.

BTW, I am planning on an Irish retirement.

[ 01-09-2006, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Chris Coose ]

Hwyl
01-09-2006, 06:45 PM
Oyvind; it seems to me the middle path would be to negotiate some time off every year with your present employer and go to work for the do good guys during that time.

It could easily be made into a win -win situation. Ypour employers feel good about giving you the time off and trumpet your work, it enhances your position within the company, you feel good and the do gooders get your services.

botebum
01-09-2006, 07:16 PM
If you can afford to do it and the work is going to be more rewarding than your present job then I don't understand what's stopping you. Happiness in your vocation is something most people have to put second to responsibilities they have aquired. If you are not in that position, GO FOR IT!

Doug

Victor
01-09-2006, 07:20 PM
I'll bite, Chris. What's an Irish retirement?

B_B
01-09-2006, 07:40 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
I suspect that wife and kids ought to have something to say about this.

Oh, lord. Frick that. At some point in life, especially if it's a risk, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. It's when it's not really a risk, when the bills are well paid, that is becomes knotty.
Only if you want to be lonely....

Meerkat
01-09-2006, 07:44 PM
Opinion informed by experience is not one of Ish's strong points.

ishmael
01-09-2006, 08:43 PM
Rather than respond in kind, let me ask you what in what I said was wrong, in your experience?

Sniping really isn't very good. I have much to learn. Inform me.

Donn
01-09-2006, 08:44 PM
Meerkat's "experience" is questionable.

Meerkat
01-09-2006, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by Donn:
Meerkat's "experience" is questionable.Yup - so's yours, except maybe on different things.

Ish; When you get married and have kids ( :eek: ), then and only then can you make any sort of informed suggestions about matters affecting a family, IMO.

Donn
01-09-2006, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Donn:
Meerkat's "experience" is questionable.Yup - so's yours, except maybe on different things.

Ish; When you get married and have kids ( :eek: ), then and only then can you make any sort of informed suggestions about matters affecting a family, IMO.</font>[/QUOTE]ROFL! Unbelievable chutzpah!

skuthorp
01-09-2006, 09:04 PM
It sounds like an opportunity to me Oyvind. Your present job may be the dead end, you may have to find another to get promotion if that's what you want. The job on offer seems to offer more opportunity for personal and career development than your present 'safe' one.
Your family has to be on side for it to work I think though.
BTW boatbuilding may be rather cheaper there as well.
:D :cool:

Phil Heffernan
01-09-2006, 09:05 PM
You live in a progressive country as far as the safety net is concerned. If that doesn't allow a man to go for the gold (his inner voices will tell him what that is) then what's the point...??

Creature comfort is a pale substitute for real meaning in a man's life...Get it where you find it, and when it's passing by, SNAG it...

We regret, not what we do, but what we don't do...And most wives will allow their men to seek their own path, as it makes an easier man to live with...

phil

[ 01-09-2006, 09:07 PM: Message edited by: Phil Heffernan ]

Phil Heffernan
01-09-2006, 09:17 PM
but I'd hardly think that any man who loved his family would simply do something like that without ANY consideration from his family. I think that's a given, Norman

ishmael
01-09-2006, 09:28 PM
Norm,

I'm talking Steve here and, of course, his wife and children figure in. Unless he wants to leave, and that's not going on here.

I spoke with his wife night before last. I was looking for his cell number, but one thing led to another and we actually had a conversation. I didn't let any cat out of the bag or nuthin', but I caught ****e. Not major, but it occured
to me that conversations where you are talking more plainly than spouses do, are verboten.

On the lighter side, I may have done some good by speaking what they couldn't. I mean, it wasn't untoward. I told her he loved her, and I think he does. I told her to give him a push, and I think she will.

She's pissed, fed up with his dithering, perfectly willing to take a chance, and I don't think he knows that. I realized that I can hint, but it isn't my place to telegraph messages.

[ 01-09-2006, 09:29 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

B_B
01-09-2006, 10:22 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
Rather than respond in kind, let me ask you what in what I said was wrong, in your experience?
Successful partnerships depend on working towards a common goal - if one partner is disinterested in working towards a goal which the other insists on working towards, then strife (intense 'discussion'/fighting) will occur.

No sniping, just reason....

[ 01-09-2006, 10:30 PM: Message edited by: Braam Berrub ]

Phil Heffernan
01-09-2006, 10:59 PM
If ones wife loves her husband, she will want her man to fulfill his dreams, and I think the vice versa applies as well...

As far as I can see, that's one of the better reasons for a couple to stay together...To help each other fulfill their destiny... Screw the materialistic baggage, we all know that don't mean ****e to a tree..

B_B
01-09-2006, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by Phil Heffernan:
If ones wife loves her husband, she will want her man to fulfill his dreams, and I think the vice versa applies as well...

As far as I can see, that's one of the better reasons for a couple to stay together...To help each other fulfill their destiny... Screw the materialistic baggage, we all know that don't mean ****e to a tree..1- what when the two needs collide?
2- some people/women, esp. with younger children, don't mind security - something that a larger paycheck allows.
3- security does NOT imply a quest for materialistic goods.
4- 'fulfilling destiny' is a bull**** term used by someone who wishes to ignore what they had previously committed to - like looking after their family.

I really wish all those people on this forum who have failed to 'fulfill their destinies' would stop counselling others to throw caution to the wind and turn thier backs on their families. By changing course in mid-stream you are unilaterallay taking control of other peoples (wife/husband)lives - a most selfish act.

Phil Heffernan
01-09-2006, 11:32 PM
I really wish all those people on this forum who have failed to 'fulfill their destinies' would stop counselling others Both I and my wife are in the process of doing what is meaningful to ourselves, and aren't shortchanging the future or each other...or our offspring...Thers more than one way to skin a cat...Material 'security' (maybe an illusion) is one of the tasks in front of us, but if one or both spouses are frustrated intheir work, follow my rule: you only can complain about you r job for 2 years. Then you must stop bitching and do something.

ishmael
01-09-2006, 11:55 PM
I think I understand the sentiment, Braam. I really think I do.

But it misses something.

Steve, a paragon of virtue in conventional terms, isn't happy with his role. I, having taken a different road, am a challenge and a fright to him. That's as it should be. He sorta frightens me, too. We, in the conflict, love one another, try to learn from each other.

This is good, and is the tenor that underlies all the fear and doubt. We're troubling dualism at this point, but I need more of Steve, and he needs more of me.

pipefitter
01-10-2006, 02:14 AM
The only answer is to become a workaholic and do both.Everytime I left a good job to persue something better,the new job became like the old job.Can you remember if you were once satisfied with the job you have now and when it became just that? Now add financial stress and worried family members to that and some regret mixed in. Not that it will happen like that but is always good to remember where you came from first.

Mrleft8
01-10-2006, 06:00 AM
On the other hand.... The "Do good" job could lead to bigger and better positions....

Oyvind Snibsoer
01-10-2006, 06:27 AM
Certainly. Although the current job has some fairly good opportunities for development, it's mostly a technical track. If I stick with this job I will remain a systems developer for the foreseeable future, but of course with increasing (techical) responsibilities and better pay as I go. Since it's an international company, I may also work on projects abroad if I would like to do so.

The position with the "do goods", however, require an entirely different skill set. The international project is currently focused on building up a better water rescue capability in Thailand. In parallell, we will also build up a volunteer rescue force. The project is also mandated to rationalize and reform the national rescue services. Due to the strictly hierarchical and traditional ways of this society, achieving this goal will require a whole lot of interpersonal, cultural and diplomatic skills. Although the position as a project manager is only part-time at this stage, I expect it to increase significantly as the project develops.

Another job that I may be put in charge of is to help develop an international maritime rescue unit. This unit will be equipped with rubber dinghies, and will be airborne on short notice to any flood-stricken disaster area in the world.

On the excitement/challenge scale, the do-goods win hands down. I can stick with what I do, write code, consult and lead a regular life, or get out there and do something to save human lives.

It's the salary part that worries me, or perhaps rather the missus even more. None of us are very materialistic by nature, but I appreciate the value of having a small monthly surplus also. OTOH, the do-good opportunity is here and now. If I let it slip, I will probably not get the same opportunity in five years time.

I've asked about them letting me get some time off each year to do this stuff, but the answer has been a definite NO. It's understandable, really. We're short staffed already, and with contractual commitments and all that it's not easy for them to willingly reduce my workload by 20-25%. OTOH, if I do resign I expect that they will still want me to do some contract work to help them out. That should keep the door open in case I'd want to return later.

[ 01-10-2006, 07:47 AM: Message edited by: Oyvind Snibsoer ]

cedar savage
01-10-2006, 06:42 AM
Never underestimate how quickly your technical skills will become outdated. Your "safety net" of returning to the technical side will simply evaporate. You've already mentioned that keeping current is a challenge.

If you were an American techie, it'd be different, I'd counsel jumping ship before your position was outsourced to Asians.

There are thousands of people who could do the job you've been offered, but your wife has only one husband, and your kids only one father.

Would this position in Thailand also require you to be away from home while putting your wife under financial stress? If so, you run the risk of having nothing to come home to.

[ 01-10-2006, 06:43 AM: Message edited by: cedar savage ]

Chris Coose
01-10-2006, 11:06 AM
Originally posted by Victor:
I'll bite, Chris. What's an Irish retirement?That would be work for pay right up to the dirt nap.

Meerkat
01-10-2006, 06:00 PM
I bet you meant "negotiation" ;)

Meerkat
01-10-2006, 06:02 PM
Oyvind; Sounds like you're looking for a particular sense of satisfaction. Leaving aside the form (of this particular job opportunity), are there any volunteer opportunities you could do evenings/weekends that would give you that same sent of satisfaction without giving up your current day job?

Maybe you could even figure boats/boating into it somehow...?

Billy Bones
01-10-2006, 06:32 PM
We just trained a young someone we really liked in a slow-track but very solid do-good job who immediately jumped ship (the week his first child was born!!) to a higher-profile do-good job. Now he's not making the basic connections he was, and he's not looking at the slow but steady advancement he was, nor the benefits.

He prefers not to discuss the imprudence of his move. He will be forced to jump again soon. Oh well, he's young.

Don't know how this fits, if at all, but it's the closest anecdote I can muster to your situation.

OTOH, to me, the satisfaction of doing the world some good would count for a lot of money in the grand balance.

Good luck.

George Roberts
01-11-2006, 11:03 AM
Oyvind Snibsoer ---

The first question to ask is: Do the Internaional Aid exeutives work for minimal pay?

If not, your pay should be good.

Like every other decision in life it is impossible to tell beforehand which path is best in the long run.

Tristan
01-11-2006, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by Hwyl:
Oyvind; it seems to me the middle path would be to negotiate some time off every year with your present employer and go to work for the do good guys during that time.

It could easily be made into a win -win situation. Ypour employers feel good about giving you the time off and trumpet your work, it enhances your position within the company, you feel good and the do gooders get your services.Oyvind, I like the above idea. If your children are in their late teens you might consider taking the job full time, but with very small children you might want to stay where you are and do this other work a little each year.