Getting a Raise
In early 2010, I unexpectedly got a seriously good offer to work at another company.
I’ve mentioned a few times that a couple of the senior engineers at StartupVille went to another startup when they realized there was no longer any real hope of turning things around. Well, their new company was the one that wanted me.
They’d give me a decent pay raise and slot me into very similar work, so there was no question about the fit — I’d be fine functioning in the available role.
I asked if it could wait a while? 6 months maybe? Keep the position open and wait? I made this request because I suspected that the situation at StartupVille would be resolved one way or another fairly quickly.
Nope. They needed a support engineer immediately. It was now or never.
I talked it over with my partner. Her opinion was that I should go for it — that I’d been loyal long enough and it was time to think about myself.
The thing was, though, that I really loved doing nothing at work. To quote Peter Gibbons from Office Space: “I did absolutely nothing today, and it was everything I hoped it could be.” That’s pretty much how I felt about going into the offices for StartupVille; it wasn’t as good as being home, left to pursue my own interests, but it sure beat having to sit in hours of meetings every day, joining bridge calls with angry customers or clients, and continually worrying about completing stretch goals or office politics.
I decided to compromise. I went into the office and told my manager everything.
Really. Everything. I’d get a 20% or so raise, plus better benefits, plus stability, to leave this company and go to the other one, and by the way, my wife was pressuring me to do it, but honestly, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to.
He was upset for a couple of minutes about so-called poaching — it’s unethical in the startup world for people to pluck guys from their old companies — but then he settled down and told me to give him 24 hours to think about things. I want to point out here that I wasn’t exactly asking for anything at this point. Nope – I just wanted him to sort of be aware that I was mulling things over, and to give him a heads up.
So I walk into the office the next day and he gives me a 20% raise, effective immediately. The only catch? I’m not to tell anybody. If word got around that I got a raise during a period when we were nervous about making payroll at all, there might be all-out mutiny.
In my case, money didn’t talk. On the subject of my raise, my lips were entirely sealed.
Hi, I love your writing and this blog is rapidly becoming one of my favourites. I am glad I am not alone in enjoying doing *nothing* and liking pottering about. It’s very difficult to explain to people though. That’s why some blogs etc are a bit of a refuge in a crazy consumerist world. Please keep writing… You are very good at it.
Thanks for the kind words. It *is* hard to explain that you’re okay with doing very little and just enjoying being alive without work or too many other distractions. A lot of people have trouble with this idea. For years I tried fairly hard to pretend that I liked working and being ultra busy but, truth is, I really don’t. (God knows I’ve had my share of years where I did nothing but work… glad that’s just about over.) Keep up the “pottering” – that makes me happy.
I can relate to your comment about being judgmental about other people who are not as financially saavy. I have found myself constantly internally judging my coworkers and friends, even more so as I become closer to FI, and it makes me feel like a toxic person. Maybe this is just part of my personality that I have to live with and try to keep under control.
Right, I frequently wish I could turn that part of me off (the judging.) The best I’ve found I can do is a) catch myself thinking these thoughts and b) intentionally push them aside and continue to pay attention to the moment. It’s very difficult to make this level of awareness go away entirely. Fact is, you’re an expert in personal finance, and experts in any field can’t help but notice details in their areas of focus — whether they want to or not. All of that being said, it can get in the way of relationships sometimes. Might be one of the very few negative aspects of FIRE.
Sorry to hear about the infertility woes. We’re not even in the same category (having children should be possible–with assistance), but it was still very disappointing and frustrating. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have no control whatsoever 😦
My sister in law has two children (boys), and we’re spending a lot of time with them. It’s not a perfect substitute for having some of our own, but they’re pretty awesome to hang around. Sorry about your own challenges in this area – it sounds like you have options to explore, which is encouraging.
Wow, what a bizarre situation waiting out the startup company’s survival/failure… I was on a sinking ship (along with my husband, who I met at work) and we both bailed after a certain point. They were discussing outsourcing our main work to India (with disastrous results, I might add) and I broke down and jumped ship shortly before it got to that point, but the husband held on for almost 2 before finding a better place… and the company was dissolved within 6 months after he’d left. We weren’t FI at that point, so not really much choice, but it does make me wonder if we’d have stayed and rode it down if we had been FI. I heard that there was a nice little severance package – but only about a month’s worth of pay, so not enough incentive to hang on.
And the kid thing. Been there, done that, and still beyond angry at the fact that we can’t have children. And punch-in-the-gut bonus – blew lots of money in the process of just trying. Much sympathy and empathy for you and your wife.
Hey FG. I’m really sorry to hear about your own, as you put it, ‘kid thing’ troubles. I don’t think you ever really get over it — you eventually just learn to deal with the disappointment. Re: outsourcing, I find it interesting how many frustrating experiences overlap between jobs and industries. I know that it saves companies money, but there’s a significant cost in terms of morale, productivity, and service. It was smart of you to leave when you did. Just another reason to want to achieve FI, so you no longer have to worry about your current company pulling the same moves and putting your job at risk. FI means your job != your survival, which is a rare and awesome achievement. From what I understand, you’re practically there.
I love that discussion you had with your manager about your stash. I recently had a conversation with one of my coworkers that went like this.
Coworker: So how long could you last if you lost your job?
Me: Well it’s hard to say….if I cut way back, maybe two possibly two and a half……..
The expression on people’s face is always same….total confusion. I just smile inside and carrying on with my day.
There was not one part of that conversation I didn’t like.
Have you considered adoption or fostering? Just curious.
I am miserable – depressed, want to set the place on fire miserable – when there’s nothing to do at work. I HATE standing around and pretending to work, partly because it’s usually just busy enough my bosses will bitch if, gasp, I talk with another co worker. Fuck retail.
Can you tell I love my job?
Sorry work sucks to that extent. Prior to landing office-jobs, I worked retail in spurts through high school and college, and being idle in that sort of environment is definitely more difficult. In some jobs, you can, in the privacy of your cube, fritter away time. But I still remember in retail that if there’s nothing to do you still need to stand around on the floor and wait. This makes time pass agonizingly slowly. Totally feel your pain. Re: adoption, not seriously, no. The truth is we spend most free weekends with my SIL and kids (our nephews) and somehow that helps a lot — two adorable boys, 6 and 8 now, old enough to play foursquare with, young enough to not yet be embarrassed about hanging out with an aunt and uncle 🙂
I got a good chuckle from your reference to playing Four Square with your nephews. (Though maybe you are referring to some app?) At the risk of revealing my online identity, I can say that I was Four-Square champ for two days one summer at the youth center growing up. You likely heard of me. 🙂
Just to confirm how loyal livingafi was to StartupVille, I will let the readers know that we used to hang out pretty often during this period (and still do). Since I have kids we would stay in most of the time. I remember a night when StartupVille was in its death throes. LoyalEmployee already knew that the sale to Mega was done and didn’t tell me. I work at Mega, doing something unrelated, but still I was surprised that he could keep it in. The next morning I checked Y! And saw the news that the acquisition occurred.
I should mention too that I worked at SoftwareCompany as well. I started in 2004, right as livingafi was leaving. And just for completeness, my other option at the time was at FinancialCompany, so when that didn’t work out, I think you can guess who I passed that opportunity on to… To say the least I find the irony that we have hop-skipped jobs over 10 years remarkable, and pretty accidental. Given my similarity, it’s great to have a friend that is doing this. I am getting a free education (price of a couple beers, bought in NH). Glad to read these and see how things are moving along.
I love that you had such a positive impact on your manager. My husband also had Tea Time on his calendar for a while at his previous job – I think it did great things for morale to get together just to shoot the breeze.
I’m in a Do Nothing job now and it’s pretty sweet. I consider looking for a place closer to home once in a while (half an hour on Rte 3 and 128 each way) but there’s no way I could find something this cushy.
Pingback: Confessions from a High-Paying Job | microBillionaire
Like thegoblinchief, working at a job with no work makes me depressed beyond belief. So drained and de-energized! Gah.
Anyways, I’m definitely enjoying passing the time by reading your blog. Thanks!!
Side note: not sure if you cover this later, but did you have a totally mustachian wedding, or did the union ding the bank account a little bit??
We spent about 2K on our wedding with thirty-ish people which is a decent amount per head — we kept costs down by instead being sure to not invite too many humans. Immediate family and inner circle friends only. She didn’t want a nice ring, though, so I saved money there. “Let’s buy a house with that money instead,” she said. That’s my kind of woman 😉
BTW, sorry to hear about your own job-related woes. Keep your head up, though, you’re on a path that will lead you out of this. And you can always look for other opportunities along the way. God knows I did.
Wow, well done! We spent $7k on a 50-people wedding (open bar – need I say more?) but with the generousity of our guests, ended up breaking even.
In four months I’m moving to a bigger city with more opportunity, so I’ll be into a new job soon enough 🙂 Your experiences definitely inspire me! Many thanks.