Work Dilemma – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Updated on May 07, 2017
T.V. asks from Milwaukee, WI
13 answers

OK, so this isn’t technically a parenting question, but I have a huge dilemma at work and this community has been so helpful with my other questions that I thought I’d put it out there.

I currently work for a small professional services company. I enjoy what I do, I have a great boss and co-workers, I have a beautiful office with windows, I’m being compensated reasonably, and can usually get my work done in a 40 hour per week timeframe, with flexibility to leave during work hours if needed for a kids’ event or appointment. However, I have maxxed out on what I can do here. A lot of my work is repetitive, and I can’t move ahead any further as there is nowhere to go. Some days I am bored and am looking for things to do. I have an advanced degree and certifications, and I’m using very few of those skills.

On a particularly boring day, I came across an ad for an open position in my same field but a different industry. The company is much larger, and the role is very prominent both publicly and within the company. I met with the person formerly in the role, who described the work as much more than a 40-hour per week job, and it definitely appears to be more than I am doing now, although I think I could do it. I work best independently, and she said that people pop in and interrupt on a regular basis with tasks and requests. However, the work is interesting and would make full use of my education and certifications, with room to grow. Benefits are worse, pay might be better, but the office is in a windowless room in the basement.

I am completely on the fence, and could flip flop either way depending on what I’m thinking at that particular minute. All the interviews so far have gone well, and the head of the new company wants to know where I stand sooner rather than later. I’m so undecided and could really use some help! Has anyone else been in this scenario?? What to do??

Edited to add: My kids are now 17 (junior in high school) and 10 (fourth grade). My older daughter is now driving and is pretty independent, which is a beautiful thing :) However, I know I’ll be helping her out next year with college and scholarship applications and all the graduation events that happen during senior year. My younger son will still be in elementary school next year. He does have ADHD-Primarily Inattentive and some anxiety issues that do require some daytime appointments, and he’s involved in multiple sports, some of which have earlier after-school practice times, so having flexibility at work is definitely a plus! My husband works in our hometown and can help out sometimes, though. And I don't know for sure that the new opportunity won't have some flexibility as well. Both of my work opportunities are each about a half hour away from home.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for sharing your perspectives and even past experience with me! I always get great advice from this community – thank you! After much soul searching and talking to my family this weekend, I decided to withdraw from the candidate pool for the new job. I do really value my flexibility in my current work environment, my office, my work friends, and even the work itself. This whole experience helped me to not take those things for granted. My mom even echoed what a lot of you said that if I pass on this particular opportunity, there will be others. I agree, and that is a comforting thought!

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

Money isn't everything.

You need to figure out what you want in your career. Why can't you talk with your current employer and tell them you want more? You are looking for work but no one is noticing?

Are you looking for a "title" or are you looking for promotion and WORK? You're not fulfilled with your work right now, correct? WHY? Is it because you feel you can't go anywhere?

Do you NEED the benefits? Does your husband work and have benefits? Can you negotiate salary and benefits? I know as a recruiter - I work with people who are already getting 6 weeks of PTO and want to keep that (We have 4 weeks PTO). I can negotiate that. Almost everything is negotiable. You need to figure out what you want.

Is the commute any better? You say each are about 30 minutes. Is there a different route?
Are they flexible with their hours?
Can YOU work 40+ hours per week and no sacrifice family life? I just had a job interview - the salary is $15K more than I'm making now - however - I can't work from home with that job. I have been working from home for 13+ years. I am not sure I'm willing to give that up.

YOU need to figure out what you need and want out of your career. Work/Family life balance or WORK, WORK, WORK - using your degree and certs?

Personally? I'd keep looking. I'd talk to my current company about what I am seeking and see what they can and will do for me. Maybe they like you enough to create a position for you. You won't know until you ask.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I did not read all the answers you have received but the few I did read seemed right on the money. I worked the job you interviewed for back when it was just me and I had no family (the only difference - I did have a nice office with windows). I definitely learned a ton and the skills I acquired help me to this day. HOWEVER, there is no way I could do that job I had with kids at home - and I only have one 10-year old (albeit I'm a single mom, which throws in another wrench). That job completely burned me out. I was constantly answering to higher-ups who did little and staff who needed a lot of hand-holding. There was never any time to get my own huge stack of work done which meant I was always taking it home and working nights and weekends. Eventually, I basically forced my boss to let me work from home and relinquished most of my management responsibilities for a large pay cut. I do not miss it, though I was certainly never bored in the old spot. If they were offering you a massive pay increase it may be worth considering, but it doesn't sound that way. Is there any kind of sideline you can take up - maybe starting your own part-time business or volunteering somewhere? Or just keep looking for a more-perfect position.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It really depends on your personality and what makes you feel fulfilled. Do you want a new job because you really want a new job? Or do you want a new job because you feel like you are supposed to be ambitious? How old are your kids? Do you need to use your current job's flexibility often and losing that would be a real blow? Or, are your kids older, and soon enough they'll be off on their own and you'll be happy to have a more challenging career with promotion possibilities?

I don't think anyone can answer these questions for you. Since you have a job - have you considered a session with a counselor that probably comes with your benefits package? It's often called a Work/Life Solutions benefit or something like that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Quality of life is SO important. Think outside the box about ways you could maintain your current job's comforts while challenging yourself. A side job? Volunteer work? Proposing a new company project?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

How is your retirement fund looking?
Will job hopping help it or hurt it?
If you have no reason to leave other than boredom? - I'd stay put.
Instead of looking for a new job, take up a new hobby.
An evening or weekend class can help change how you feel about work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Good responses for you. Great positions always come with more stress to use your degree(s). You are a mom and have flexibility where you are and can take off when needed. The new job does not allow for that and you have many more interruptions which will mean that you will not be able to finish your tasks on time.

Your kids will be gone in about 10 years. I don't know their ages. You can then go for the gusto or change your field.

Right now try to challenge yourself with your job and take on new tasks where you are. I know that repetition drives us all bonkers time to time but it is part of life. My job can be completed in two and a half days with the other two and a half days of nothing to do. So I have learned how to space and pace my work out. If I get too far ahead something invariably goes wrong and I have to redo most of my work which can become time consuming (I work for a PBS station and do TV logs).

You will know if this is right. The other day we had a post about a job and $5000 pay increase with a 1.5 to 2 hour commute each way. Money isn't everything.

Good luck to you. I would stay where I am for now.

the other S.

PS I am having a discussion with hubby now about retiring and when as I do love my job but want to do other things in life for me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sounds like it's a wash financially because the pay "might be better" but benefits are worse. So unless you think turning it down will make the CEO sweeten the pot by offering more, you have to go on what you will enjoy doing. So it might be good for advancement and your public profile, and it would be more interesting without the boredom. But you'll lose flexibility, it sounds like, and you'll have more hours.

So you have to look at whether this is a good move for your career down the road and therefore worth the sacrifices you'll be making (since it's "much more than 40 hours"). I wouldn't worry so much about the office itself as the work, the compensation, and the others you'd be working with. If you haven't met others on the team yet, ask to set that up.

The other thing this is telling you is that there ARE other jobs out there, and you are qualified for them. So if it's not THIS position, you could start networking and looking for something better that meets all of your needs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I've worked the same position at different companies.

Honestly, day to day comfort for me, and office-mates/co-workers and boss turned out to be huge, as did the actual locale.

I'm all for using your skills and I get the part about being bored. I've been there too.

I am wondering if there is any way you could do projects on the side, or engage your skills on a volunteer basis, or something - just so you can keep fresh and feel you're learning - at your current job?

For example, if you talked to them about wanting more of a challenge, could they come up with something additional? I found I had to ask. Then I was given all kinds of stuff that they hadn't previously thought to assign me. I felt valuable and energized. I also took over training people.

I couldn't work in a basement. Giving up a window ... hard. Remember you're there all day long, every week ......

I think it would depend on how it would affect my work life balance (sounds like you have it made currently), and how many more years I was planning on working.

The thing is, if you really do need a switch, and you've done well at these interviews, then who is to say that another terrific job might not come up at at better location/nicer office, good benefits, etc?

Sorry - probably haven't helped too much here. Just thinking of things to consider.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I currently work (basically) at your job #2 - I am utilizing my education in my chosen field. My work is busy and stressful with many interruptions. I am the most senior employee in the office and am in charge of an entire division that I built for this company from the ground up. I often have to work more than 40 hrs a week for no additional compensation since I am salaried. I work completely independently but take phone calls from co-workers and clients with questions.

I hate my job - actually not my job as much as my job situation. I am not fairly compensated for the amount of hours I work. I have missed many things for the kids, or have been interrupted during events by work issues. I am constantly called while on vacation with problems and I finally started refusing to take my laptop on vacation because I was expected to work. Speaking of vacations, I've actually never taken one. Since no one else can do my job, I have to make my hours up on both sides of my vacation so I've not taken a day off in years, technically. My boss is not an understanding person - at all. My co-workers are fine, but so overworked (as am I), that blaming happens on a regular basis.

I am actively seeking a different job. The one I have applied for will use next to none of my education, will likely be kind of boring/easy, the wage will be slightly less if looking at a 40 hr work week/more when you factor I usually work way more than 40 hrs. There will be no overtime and only the very occasional evening (for which I would have shortened day hours that day).

I'd stay. Having a nice environment with less stress, a window and great co-workers? You couldn't pay me to leave! I get the temptation, but I just wouldn't do it.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The pros: 1) You'll be learning and using more skills so that'll be interesting. 2) You'll be using your degree. 3) There will be a little more compensation.

The cons: 1) you'll be under stress as you learn and use more skills. 2) Although you've planned out your day there will be people popping in with unexpected tasks and requests which you'll have to fit into your schedule even if it means working longer hours. 3) Your 40 hr work week is no more and your flexibility to leave for appointments and things involving your children will be gone too.5) The benefits are worse. 6) The location of your office is worse.

I was in this same situation years ago when a company wide training position came up. I was qualified and would have been hired if I put in the application. But I would have been gone from Sunday night/Monday morning until Friday/Saturday morning almost every single week. My husband could have handled the kids just fine. The kids would have been ok. But I didn't want to be a weekend parent missing out on the majority of their day to day lives. I didn't want our daily contact to be over the phone instead of across the dinner table. For me it was better to stay where I was instead of taking on a new more exciting and challenging position.

Sometimes you have to do what you feel is right in your heart for your family. What feels right to you?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Make a list of pros and cons for each position. Make a list of each company's benefits side-by-side. Find out what they are willing to negotiate with you on. Then make your decision based off written negotiations and your priorities.

Determine what is most important to you, family or work. Then make the decision based on that and your pros and cons on what works for your priorities.

It's always great to have another company want you. However, you really need to ask serious questions and get things in writing.

Tyler was able to negotiate things in his position here that he had in California after he retired. We chose to use their health care benefits even though we have Tri-Care for life. If he had forgone their health benefits, he would have had a larger salary. Tri-Care for life is good. We like the option of the dental and eye for our children. (yes, we can get it but we have to pay extra for it - in his plan now? It's part of it).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

It sounds like you have a great company culture right now - good people to work for & work with, friendly inviting atmosphere, and a comfort level with what you do & how you handle your workload.
Reasons to leave would be to utilize the degrees you have worked hard to obtain, and greater job satisfaction in the work that you do.
Trade-offs include a change in the company culture, less inviting aesthetics of your environment, and a re-establishment of assessing and managing your workload.

A couple things to ask:
#1. How long will you continue to be working? Changing to a different environment in the hopes of greater satisfaction would be worth it if you have another 20+ years in the job market, and may require greater analysis if you have less than 10 years before retirement.
#2. What is your support system for managing your personal responsibilities if you take a new job that is not as flexible? For example - my husband was very dissatisfied with his position - under utilizing his degree, & the company culture was not very professional, but he could come/go as he pleased. His new job has taken a large weight off his shoulders & enriched him, but with me away for school, he has had to plan more carefully for appointments, etc.
#3. What are your long-term career goals? The decision you make to leave or not does not need to hinge on this singular opportunity in front of you - you can apply & accept that as a chance to grow & move on yet again in a few years, or you could simply take this as a sign of recognizing that you WANT to move on, & need to find a good fit to do so.

Take some time, & pen to paper to write down what are the positive things about your job, and what are the drawbacks.
Looking at the positive things, how many of them are simply perks, & what would need to continue forward into a new job for you to consider leaving? (for example - an office with windows is a nice perk, but may not be a deal-breaker. But a location within 30 minutes of your children's school if they are younger, vs. a 1+ hour commute might be important to consider)
Looking at the negative things, explore if there are ways to get what you need out of your current position. Think outside the box - is there something you can propose for your company to start doing that you would be responsible for leading the initiation of? Have you discussed your job satisfaction issues with your boss to examine if there is more you can take on that they weren't aware you were seeking? What would a new position need to guarantee you to make it worthwhile for a significant change to a new company/new role?
Are you married/committed relationship? What conversations have you had with your partner, and how do they feel about your current situation, & what you are thinking of doing? Is this something that only came up because you heard about an opportunity, or have you expressed to them for a while that you wish you had more?

I know, no easy answers. But it's such a personal decision - I hope some of this is helpful for you. My husband & I discussed much of these points together when he began his job search. Good luck! T. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

What about keeping your job and doing some consultation jobs on the side? You could do a side business that keeps you interested in general and still have freedom to have a stable income.

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