Which Way To Go…

I hate to make decisions. Really, really hate it. I’m sort of putting the cart before the horse here too, since there aren’t any job offers on the tables yet. But I discovered tonight that there is a design firm here in Houston (wayyyyy on the south side of town) that has an opening for a Project Manager. Most of the details cover everything I’ve done for the past 3 years – pricing proposals, working with clients, etc.

So here is the dilemnia. Do I stay in the web world or is it time to get out?

Path #1 – Web World:
Sales or Project Manager position. High stress. Work that I am passionate about. Work that I have been doing for the past 3 years. Volatile industry. Young industry. Companies come & go. Work that I’m good at and that I know how to do. Could end up changing jobs again in just a year or two if the company goes under. Small companies. Smaller benefit packages. Lots of overtime.

Path #2 – Corporate World:
Admin Assistant type position. Lower stress. Less overtime. Lower salary level (pay cut). Work that I’m not that passionate about, but more low key. Field of work I’ve been out of for 3+ years. Entry level position, will need to work back up to the salary I was at. Larger companies. Stability. More stability. Could stay at the same company for 20 years. Established firms. Less of a mental challenge. More low key.

There are pros & cons to both. Web work is fun and I’m good at it, but I just don’t know if I can handle the stress. However, the salary would be higher. Yet there is a part of me that keeps thinking of post that Promo wrote suggeting that you should look at your life and the choices that you make and ask yourself if they are worth it. Is it fair to Jason if I squander more precious time for an unstable industry and a job that demands my time as much as working in the web world again would? Or is it worth it to take the pay cut but have a more low-key job that allows me to cherish the time I have with him? To simply enjoy life? I just wish I knew what to do.

Like I said, I’m putting the cart before the horse though – it’s not like I’m trying to pick between two different job offers. I just wanted to take time to think about the options before I am forced to decide between the two.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

29 replies on “Which Way To Go…”

Big big questions. Sending you all the brain cells and guts I can spare. You’ll need the first for the decision and the latter to keep from second guessing yourself.

I know I haven’t used either of them well enough in my own life answering those same types of questions, but reading your struggle with them makes me want to at least try again.

I think it might be a good idea to run it by Jason. See what he thinks. Explain the pros and cons.

Personally, I think you should do what you’re passionate about. Why spend your time in a job that you only kind of, sort of like? Do what you love, and everything else will fall into place. (After the kids okay, of course. 😉 )

Do what I do and get the best of both worlds – do web work in the corporate world environment instead of in the web world environment… it’s not as cut throat, the companies are generally more secure, etc.

I’m not going to make any suggestions, Christine, just add to the pot of things to think about.

When you ask if it’s fair to Jason to work in a high-stress, unstable situation as opposed to something that is more low-key and dependable, there’s another side to the coin.

Yes, administrative work can be stable even if the pay is low. It’s also very unstimulating, boring stuff that you are NOT passionate about.

What are you like to live with when you spend most of your day at a job you find boring at best, and that you’ll hate at worst? Will you, after awhile, start to experience another kind of stress, the kind that happens when you find yourself spending most of your waking hours doing something that you feel deep down inside doesn’t give your life any meaning?

Sam Keen once said that everyone one, at a certain point in their lives, must ask themselves “What am I going to do?” and “How am I going to earn a living?” And the order in which they ask themselves those two questions are crucial.

Don’t just pick a job. Make a life.

Good luck.

All good answers. And, of course, hindsight is best so you won’t know which would be the right choice if a choice needed to be made. I do have to say with all of my whining about not doing what I love and not being further in my life that my child is my greatest blessing. She is 19, happy, well-adjusted, loving…and so even tho I don’t a tremendous amount monetarily I have still won the lottery. That said…if you are happy, then usually the kid is happy as well and vice versa.

I hate to make decisions, too. Big decisions make my stomach hurt. So I just got a copy of the book “Smart Choices, A Practical Guide to Making Better Life Decisions”. It’s by three of the top guys in the field, apparently, and got glowing reviews on Amazon. I gather they don’t tell you what decisions to make, just how to set about making the best decisions for you. I can’t give you a personal review, however, because I haven’t read it yet…

I hate those questions, when it’s a choice between passion and stability. At the risk of sounding corny, the answer is inside of you Christine. Jason will love the extra time with you, but if you’re a happier Mommy because you’re doing something you love … then what’s the trade off? In another lifetime, I would have chosen stability … but this decision is yours. Good luck hun.

I’m actually going through a bit of the same thing right now – I thought I wanted the stable, corporate world, but now that I’ve had a taste of it (well, it’s semi-corporate, 9-5 anyway), I realize I would hate it, even if there was less stress and it was 500% safer. I’m not going to try and tell you which job you should choose, but you have to do whatever makes you happy. It sounds super-cliche, but it’s true. There’s nothing worse than being bored. And boredom usually leads to feeling stuck. And feeling stuck usually leads to feeling miserable. And trust me, you don’t want that. You say, “is it worth it to take the pay cut but have a more low-key job that allows me to cherish the time I have with him? To simply enjoy life?” Yes, the job might be low-key, and you might have a little more time off, but you might hate it. And you can’t truly enjoy life unless you’re happy with what your work is – you spend (at the very least) 1/2 of your waking weekday hours there!

But, like I said, I’m not gonna tell you what to do 😉 I know you’ll do what’s best for you.

I left a *really* critical part out of all of this – thanks to Blogomania, this site, etc – if I go the admin route I still get to do what I love in my spare time. Instead of being burned out and coming home at the end of the day hating it, I will still have that passion.

Also, as for what Amy pointed out – at both of my interviews they have brought up that my web skills caught their eye because they have the need to add that to my duties. In yesterday’s interview they said that the previous person in that position was going to be sent to training so she could learn basic HTML. Something I already know how to do.

Maybe that’s just it – I want to choose a life. I want a low-key job that allows me to have a life at the end of the day. I’ve had these jobs before – back in 2000 I left one to go to the first web company for the big dollars. Now I’m being lured back for the low stress – who cares about the money? I know I would be a happier mom if I had time to focus on being a mom.

(stopping by because of Stu’s praise)

The other choice is a combination of the two: the corporate web job. That’s what I’ve got. I work for a big company doing graphic and web design, don’t work overtime, get paid pretty well, and have some amount of security. It’s not as stimulating as a purely design-oriented company might be, but I’ll gladly give that up for some stability until the market gets a little stronger.

Good luck!

I’ve already lived this scenario. I left a life in the arts that I was passionate about (low pay) to take a job in the corporate sector (better pay). Truth be told, you can chose either job, but the one big thing you will be sacrificing is TIME. You can make more money, or have more satisfaction down the road, and all; but once TIME slips away, you can never get it back. That means time with family, friends, and loved one’s. If it were me, I’d go the route which provides you with the better quality of life. Because it would be horrible to be in a situation that you were unhappy with six months later due to stress.

I second what Amy said, seek a web job in a corporate environment.

Be it a Web Admin, or a Intra/Extranet design and management position. One option is to send letters to a few company heads and ask to interview them. Then you can ask about their web sites, plans for the future and where someone like you might fit in a company like theirs. Help them create a position they didn’t realize they needed.

I’ve always liked NOT being self-employed. There are benefits to working for Da Man (such as insurance).

But when you do make your choice, keep Jason top of mind (as you surely would anyway).

Final thought: A higher income is nice and allows you to afford a great many things, but if the real “cost” is time with your family, is it worth paying that price?

I have been telling my husband for years that I would rather him take a lower paying job that makes him happy, then a higher paying job that makes him miserable. He did just that – changed jobs, took the cut and I’ve seen a happier man in the past 2 weeks then I have seen a year. Of course – I can’t take my own advice.. I’m in a high paying job, with little work, but great projects and I’m miserable. (see my Sat. post) – it’s what makes you happy. I will take every web job there is and take the punches of being laid off because I like web design. Hugs to you –

Well, Christine, it is a big decision…guess it boils down to how much time you will be giving up with Jason on a daily basis if you do a web job. Who helps him do homework, etc. while you are doing the overtime. But, gee, maybe you can get some friends or maybe even family to help you out so you don’t have to do it alone. That would be a big weight off your shoulders then so you could do what makes you happy. He’ll be gone in 7 years so you have to think of your own life too. And what makes you happy…

Well, Jnet (aka my Mom), since you help him with homework, etc. while I am at work (not even counting overtime) I guess you already know the answer to that. Not sure why you said “maybe you can get some friends to help you out so you don’t have to do it alone” when you already help me out. I am forever grateful for that help, and this post had nothing to do with that – it has to do with deciding what path to take. Where to go from here. Money with stress? Less money but less stress?

Jason won’t be gone in 7 years, he will still be in school. Even then – what makes me happy is what makes him happy – what is best for him is a huge factor in the decisions I have to make. Maybe you didn’t realize that?

I recently chose to accept a job that is rather boring but rather stable and not where my passion lies…I did it for two reasons, the economy is awful right now, and I really liked the people. When I voiced concerns that I was doing something beneath my skillset, my friend Mark told me to think of my job as something I do so that I can afford to do what I love. A key to the kingdom, so to speak. It’s worked so far.
Just my two cents.

Family. They are most important. Everything comes second.

With that said, your “Mini-me” section says you work for THEM. Ummm… perhaps you should remove that? Why advertise for them?


Since you don’t do anything with Jason on any daily basis, it really doesn’t matter at all how it affects him. You live your own life, so just keep on doing that. You come first and he is second so live your own life. Yes, he will be out of school in 7 years. He will then be on his own in college and that won’t be your life with him. So make your job decision based on your own desires.

I had to make the exact same choices as you Christine, and chose path #2 for a number of reasons of course, but primarily for job security, benefits, and the salary (as it would turn out I am actually making a lot more now than I was at the company). It’s now a year later and although it is not by any means the ideal place I would like to be at this stage in my life, I am still grateful to be working (after being laid off for 8 months(, happy that I am able to come home to my son at a reasonable hour, and relieved that I am able to leave it all behind when I do and focus on just us two 🙂

Best of luck to you!

I totally disagree with Jnet. Your children have to come first because it is your awesome responsibility to give them values/morals, etc. They didn’t choose you, but you chose to have them. That said…if you can find a way to have a high paying job and still have time for the kiddo that’s just great. But the kiddo is always first in my book…they go away too quickly and then you have all the time to do things for yourself (ask me…mine is now 19). Good luck on making your decision.

I’ve been thinking about this – but haven’t had time to read through all the comments here but still wanted to give you my $.02 (So I may be repeating something someone already said – sorry)

There is a personal cost to consider. The cost of your sanity if/when that web company went under.

There’s something else too, which I just thought about today (which finally prompted me to post a comment)…

Here I am, supposedly in the “field that I chose”. The fact of the matter – the stuff I *really* like to do, it’s MAYBE 1%(?) of my day-to-day job. MOST of the time I’m doing the boring annoying crap that just comes along for the ride. If you DID take the job in the field you’re more passionate about – how much of your responsibilities REALLY have you doing stuff you enjoy. And is it worth the toll it would take on you if the company did end up going under.

For me, while I didn’t really get this choice (the job that would have me doing “more of what I liked” wasn’t available – so I had to opt for the more stable job.) I think it has worked out for the best. No, I’m not *loving* my job, but it’s tolerable. But I know I would not be sleeping well, especially in this economy, in an unstable job.

I heard a report the other day on the news – that they polled HR people – over 50% of them expect layoffs in their company’s this year. If it were me – I think I’d opt for the more stable, sanity-saving job. If nothing else, it would allow you more of your FREE time to spend 100% of that time doing the things you’re really interested in. (Then agani, I am NOT the risk taker. Sometimes it’s a good thing – sometimes it’s not)

My son is almost 24 now. In 1989 when he was 10, I was working full-time plus overtime and started taking programming classes at night. Then I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in CS while continuing to work full-time. I missed lots of time with him while I was climbing the ladder, working overtime, doing homework. I’ve regretted it since early 1997 when he was a Senior in high school and would be leaving for college that fall. I made money, I climbed the ladder, I reached the goal I wanted. Then in 1997-98, I realized it wasn’t worth the price paid for it.

My suggestion: Take the admin job. As you’ve indicated, it may have some web responsibilities thrown in. You may be able to make a move in that direction at the company after you’ve been there a while. You’ll keep your web skills up with Blogomania etc. You may want to take up freelancing work on web projects you’ll enjoy now and then (it’ll keep your skills up and bring in extra money).

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