Would You Rather?

I have an interview for a new position on Thursday. It’s part time, 20 minutes from my house, very flexible hours. It would start in a couple of weeks. No more contracting – I’d be an employee.

This job would require a pay cut. A large pay cut. We could make it work, but we’d feel it. And I will need to negotiate the hourly rate up in order to make half of the money I make now. Not just that, but it would also mean that I sacrifice financial flexibility in the future, too –  a benefit of being a contractor is that I can I take a full time engagement for a short while if I want to.

But on the flip side?

I wouldn’t have all or nothing in terms of work. Because honestly? I worked more than full time all winter, into April. I haven’t really worked since. I wouldn’t have a commute – I could ride my bike to work if I wanted. This is a job with real, actual work-life balance – it would stay at work when I leave and not come home with me, as my work now is wont to do. It’s flexible enough that I could structure my days so that Owen could come home on the bus every day. And Jeff just took a position within his company where he might be required to travel up to 75% of the time, so flexibility means a lot less juggling where family is concerned.

So I am playing a big game of “would you rather” in my head right now.

Would I rather have the regular, certain hours each week and short commute, but sacrifice my family’s financial health?

Or would I rather have the financial health and the potential for the flexibility that contracting brings, but sacrifice the security of having regular hours… and my time with a longer commute when I am working?

I have no idea what I’d pick.

What would you rather do? Any ideas/suggestions for me?

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2 Responses to Would You Rather?

  1. Ana says:

    I would do option A (part time employed position). but, that is because I don’t have the heart of a free-lancer–can’t deal with uncertainty, feast/famine…it would stress me out so much. I also do much better with structure—having periods with NO work at all doesn’t actually sound appealing (nor does working constantly without a break for a few months!) Needing a regular & flexible schedule when dealing with a traveling spouse is huge! How would you manage if you got a full-time-plus job, would you have to pay for extra child care (you can figure that into your financial equation)? AND, my ideal job hours would allow me to not have to use after-school-care. If you CAN manage it financially, working less (and getting more good time with your son, time to write/exercise/etc…) seems like a dream come true. I wish we could make ends meet on less, but I can’t make the numbers work for me to work part time.

  2. Turia says:

    Exciting to have opportunities! I think there are a lot of issues here and it all depends on what you most want/need.

    Do you need a predictable schedule or can you handle the uncertainty (and feast/famine) of contract work?

    Do both jobs provide the same opportunities for future advancement in your career (are you shutting future doors by taking the part-time position?)?

    What is the work culture like at the place where you would be working part-time? Is it a good place to work? Can you see yourself wanting to stay there? Flip side- are there opportunities for you to build your client network as a contractor and earn more and have more options when choosing contracts to accept or reject?

    How much of a financial sacrifice will you have to make? Are there ways to lessen this impact in the future (will there be opportunities for raises/can you continue to occasionally take contracts on top of your part-time work)? How much does having a financial cushion matter to you? (Would you feel more secure earning more with less predictable work or earning less with a steady job?)

    Which job fits best with the rest of your life, especially parenting? When Jeff took the new position that will require a lot of travelling, what were your plans as a couple to manage that if you’d kept the contract work- what were you going to do if he was away when you had a big contract deadline?

    For me, working part-time (if I can get teaching at the uni) is a no-brainer. Anything I make goes directly into savings because we can live on Q.’s salary, so I don’t feel like I need a full-time job for us to be secure financially. And being there to pick up E. from school is huge for me, because he’s a kid who needs that. But it’s impossible to see what would be the right decision for you, because so much depends on your own personal circumstances.

    Go to the interview- that may clarify everything for you, one way or another. Good luck!

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