In May this year I left my previous employer to work for one of Australia’s largest companies. Four months has passed and I’m settling in well. My workload has gone from non-existent to flat out, I get along well with my coworkers and soon enough the bonuses will start flowing. All is good in the world. At least it was until she called. One minute I was catching up on a mountain of paperwork, the next I was interviewing for a job I didn’t even know existed.
Being the target of a corporate headhunter is quite flattering. “We’ve got a new position and we need someone with your expertise” was her opening comment. A specialised role in the industry, but one I have had three years experience in. This piqued my interest – I enjoyed my new job, but I’d never had the upper hand in negotiations. We discussed the position and she provided the salary range. Slightly disappointed I explained to her that the salary was equal to my current job and that I would be taking on quite a lot of risk to abandon my post. My disappointment didn’t last long when she responded… “How about if we threw in another twenty grand?”.
This is where it gets tricky. Before this phone call I was content in my job, almost smitten that I had secured a role paying nearly 50% more than my previous position. I work reasonable hours, get plenty of support and professional development and have made some good friends. But is it worth risking it all to get another 25% payrise?
By accepting a new offer I would almost definitely offend my current employer. They have invested the equivalent of a few months salary in training me, money they would lose if I quit. In the process of leaving, it’s nearly guaranteed that I’ll be closing any doors to the company forever. Would I even get to serve my 2-weeks notice, or would security walk me out the building immediately?
What if the new role wasn’t as enjoyable? What if I don’t get along with my coworkers or I need to put in lots of unpaid overtime? What if they aren’t happy that my work lives up to the hype and decide I’m not worth keeping? I’ve got a mortgage (and maybe a jeweller…) to pay. While we can comfortably cover the bills on just one income, is it worth the risk?
To further complicate things, the bonus structure at my current job is significantly different than the offer. Currently my bonus is calculated at 30% of any profit I generate over a certain threshold. The new offer is only 5% of my profits, but there is no minimum target. I haven’t been in my current role long enough to be able to accurately estimate my earning potential. Using my average performance from my previous job, the two bonus structures would work out to make my total salary package nearly equal.
Essentially this decision will come down to my confidence in myself. If I can lift my performance above what I’ve proven I am capable of, I’ll be better off staying with my current company. Alternatively, I can take the safety of a higher base wage, but severely limit the potential to earn bonuses. While I’d usually run to the safety of a guaranteed paycheck, if I can’t match my expected performance with the new offer, would they even keep me around?
Unfortunately I can’t tell you what I’m going to do, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do.