tl;dr: Previously I looked for a different job in Europe a change in pace. After hearing several “No” several times, I stopped looking and covid happened. I came out of covid in a significantly better place and now have a job offer I wanted pre-covid. Having doubts due to lower pay, lower ceiling, and less time off/lack of hybrid. Still wanting to go for the experience and more laid back life. We love the location, and even vacation in this country and the neighboring ones regularly. I’m scared I’ll be blowing up all that we’ve built up at home just to try something new.
I’m having trouble deciding between two jobs. This is a real first world problem, but for the life of me I can’t make a decision. I currently work/live with my family (wife, 3 kids) in a major city in the American south. Salary puts me in the top 5% of the area, doing a job I find kind of “meh” after being in it for 2 years. In the past (pre-covid) I looked into getting a job in Germany or Austria. My wife is German, and the entire family speaks the language. We wanted to move for better work life balance, a walkable city, and a more relaxed school system. When the job offers never happened + covid, I stopped looking. Since then we have had our third child, built a custom house to fit our family/needs, got the kids good schools, and invested in making a strong social/friend network. I also saw how much the corporate environment created stress and drama at home, so I am trying to minimize my amount of time working. As such I’ve been interested in maximizing my salary and saving significantly for retirement/rainy day funds.
Recently, a new opportunity came up. An interview and a couple months later and I’ve now got a job offer. It’s a good offer (especially for the new country) and one I would have taken previously without a doubt. The new city would be amazing for everyone, the work is what I was previously doing in grad school, and the vacation was what I was looking for.
Comparing the two compensation packages, I’d be making less than half at almost every step. New job salary would be roughly 50%, bonus is 33%, and retirement contribution is 25%. The cost of living is a little lower, but I would have a couple hundred euros at the end of each month. I knew this part going in, along with the tax rate being roughly double, and was mostly ok with it as there are stronger social services. What is starting to worry me is the ceiling of both jobs. Comparing salary data between the two companies, the salary would continue to grow and the bonus structure works so that in 5-10 years, my bonus could be equal to the new jobs salary. The new position would be a lower level at the new company, so I’ll be starting over. And if things didn’t work out, coming home would be difficult as I would have taken that step back.
The part that was a shock was how much less time off I would get moving to Europe. My current work schedule is a 9/80, meaning we work 80 hours over 9 days and get every other Friday off. My current job is 20 days vacation, 26 Fridays off, and 11 Federal/company holidays. New job would be 25 days vacation, and 16 Federal/public holidays. The way we gain another week of vacation, I will always have more time off at my current job. I will get to 25 days vacation in 9 years at current job, and 30 days in 19 years. At new job I would hit 30 days in 19 years as well. My new contract explicitly says the current 9/80 scheme is not allowed. Also contributing is the loss of hybrid schedule. I’m currently 40% hybrid, which while I’ve grown to appreciate as I’ve watched my youngest go from newborn to pre-school. I also don’t miss the commute.
So I guess my ask is any advice on:
How to weigh salary vs quality of life?
Current salary vs earning potential?
57 vs 41 days off?
Important of hybrid scheduling?
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Wow! Thank you! I continually needed to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a part of your post to my website?