Oh, the monotony of it all! Imagine clocking in, day in and day out with really no change to your job. You’ve got little risk of getting fired, and in 10 years you’ll retire with several million to last you a lifetime. In the back of your mind, you wish you didn’t have job security because you despise boredom. At the same time, you realize you’ve got it made and shouldn’t be so spoiled in your thinking.
One day a headhunter gives you a ring asking if you want an opportunity to make 50% more money a year guaranteed for two years. The catch? You’ll be working for a start up with no such promises of job security after year two. You’ll also have to move to a different city where the cost of living is also 25% higher. The hours and stress will most certainly more as well. Welcome to Kathy’s world.
10 YEARS COMPLETED, 10 YEARS LEFT TO GO
Kathy is a brilliant woman with an equally brilliant resume. She graduated #8 in her class of 6,000 from Berkeley and did a stint at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. What drove her during her twenties was her unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Everything she did was to answer a why or a how. How can we increase inventory turnover to improve revenue? Why are competitors expanding in the northern region while reducing capacity in the south?
A week before she turned 30 something happened. She stopped wishing to learn how to do things better. Instead, she began thinking about starting a family. Despite all the progress women have made, she still feels that no matter how far she climbs, there’s a void without a man to share her life with. This was 3 years ago.
At 33, she’s alone because her boyfriend broke up with her largely because she spends too much time at work. He would tell her that working more than 60 hours a week isn’t healthy. She realizes it’s unhealthy, but as a Senior Vice President, she has responsibilities that cannot be shirked. What really irks the ex-boyfriend is Kathy’s workplace seniority and far superior earnings. Men are petty this way.
Kathy makes up her mind that she will be retired in 10 years at 43. She hopes that within a couple years she can find someone to start a family with, but she’s not forcing the issue. She strongly believes in destiny. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be she often tells herself. Her insecure boyfriend can go jump off a bridge for all she cares because she won’t settle.
The firm loves Kathy. She’s hard working, praises her employees openly, and generates a tremendous amount of revenue. Her revenue generation is so impressive that her competitors secretly call her “Killer Kathy.”
Killer Kathy’s phone rings one afternoon with a headhunter asking if she’s willing to move to New York City from San Francisco for a new start-up firm. A long with her transfer is a two year guaranteed pay raise that’s 50% higher than what she’s currently making. We’re talking more than a couple hundred thousand a year more guaranteed.
If you include school, 14 years is a long time in the Bay Area, and perhaps it’s time for a change. Despite generating large amounts of revenue for the firm, she’s basically flat-lined over the past three years because she’s already at the top of her game. Instead of progress, she’s just maintaining, trying to keep her competitors at bay. It’s no fun being the senior player at an established firm. When she slips from #2 to #3, she feels the pressure.
Instead, the idea of starting over at a new shop where she can create a new business model and watch her company grow sounds intriguing. She longs to build something from nothing, and hear the praise of going from nowhere to Top 10! With the headhunter’s phone call, Kathy is given a rare opportunity to build something new, with the security of a guaranteed income.
What’s equally interesting is the thrill of being in a bigger city with the opportunity of meeting that someone to share her life with. She’s been to New York City plenty of times before, and each time she’s tickled by the amount of available bachelors. If finding someone is a numbers game, perhaps she should be there!
There’s something to be said about security and comfort. To know that you’ll likely never be unemployed must be a wonderful feeling. Furthermore, San Francisco is a beautiful place! It’s not like Kathy is just surviving either. As a department Vice President, she’s making good money and will undoubtedly retire in 10 years if she stays with her firm.
Despite Kathy’s security, she can’t stop thinking about the opportunity in New York City. Even if things implode after two years, she’ll have a hefty savings cushion due to the increased compensation. Mathematically, working for 50% more for 2 years is like working for 3 years at her existing place. Deep inside though, Kathy knows that if she found someone here in San Francisco, she’d most certainly never leave.
Readers, if you were Kathy what would you do? Should Kathy leave her cushy job to find new adventure, or be satisfied with what she has?
Is it reasonable for her to feel that a life is not worth living if she doesn’t have a man to share it with?
As a woman, would you choose career or family if you had only one choice?
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slice Through Money’s Mysteries”
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