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Should I stay or should I go now?

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Should I stay or should I go?

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Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 09:04
So, I've got a choice. Lets see what gmatclub thinks.

Option A) Stay in Chicago keep my current job
Option B) Move to DC, change jobs

Lets start with option A.

OPTION A:

PROS:
* I keep my current place, which I don't love, but also don't hate. Its comfortable (albeit a bit small).
* Wife gets to keep job (which might be a con her in opinion though, hah)
* I have more friends in Chicago than I do in DC.
* The Chicago booth network is obviously larger in Chicago than in DC. (DC network alumni size around 1200 people, Chicago more like 12,000)
Career Related:
* My current job affords me the ability to travel the world for next-to-nothing. This perk is balanced by the fact that having a kid makes it difficult to do with any real frequency, but international business class trips are very very nice.
* My commute is a comfortable 20 minutes each way.
* I have excellent work-life balance. No weekends, home by 7pm 98% of the time.
* Although the job offer includes quite a lot of relo, there's obviously $0 cost to staying in Chicago and a non-zero cost to moving. See the option B details for specifics.

CONS:
* Chicago has few 'weekend trips' -- its flat and there's not much to drive to from here.
* Chicago winters suck.
Career issues:
* the industry I'm in is not one I'm interested in long term.
* the industry I'm in offers greater risk and lower reward. Yes, you read that right. Higher risk, less reward.
* the job I have has limited upward mobility. Compared to the DC job, a similar position is, at a minimum 18 months away, and more realistically 2 to 3 years away, perhaps even 4.


OPTION B:

PROS:

* Generally, better weather. This is balanced by the fact that summers in DC can be pretty hot and humid.
* I have family in DC that would be a huge help with raising kids (babysitting, can help when we are overwhelmed, can take baby when wife and I want to take a vacation, etc) as well as the obvious benefit (to my children) of having them in my childrens lives.
* I would access to a 'vacation' home in the suburbs of VA. As it's a family property, I could utilize it whenever I wanted. It has a pool, some ridiculous number of acres, a huge fireplace, etc. There's nothing to do except bbq and drink, but thats kind of the point. It is great way to 'get away' for a weekend for a grand total of $20 in gas and $2 in tolls . This is basically a "quality of life" perk - I'd be able to live as if I owned a vacation home, without any of the associated costs.
* Family has property in the Bahamas as well. For a number of reasons, getting there from DCA/IAD is a lot easier than from ORD. Decreased cost and increased options yielding greater utilization, and its a beautiful place to go.
* Tons of weekend trips: skiing in VA, beaches nearby, sailing, etc.
Career Related:
* Higher pay, better title, more responsibility, better (more stable) industry, incredible 401K plan, good benefits, more vacation
* More interesting position overall, more aligned with my long-term goals
* Supposedly very work-life friendly - work from home if you want, off-hours are OK, etc
* Very comprehensive relocation package: all moving costs, house-hunting trips, cost of selling home in Chicago, closing costs buying home in DC, extend-able temporary corporate housing, meal allowances, rental car, etc. The big thing here is that this is, in effect, a subsidy on the sale of my home and the purchase of a new one.
* I can switch offices whenever I want. One is in northern VA one is in southern VA. The benefit here is that southern VA has very low cost of living -- if one day I wanted to go that route, it would effectively double my salary according to cost-of-living calculators. The downside is that there's a reason its cheaper, there's very little there by comparison -- and its southern VA, which to a northerner like me is basically the bible belt.

CONS:
* Traffic in DC is notoriously bad. Hour long commutes are not unheard of and there's no guarantee I could afford a place that wouldn't require this.
* Cost of living is higher, driven in large part by housing. This is balanced by the fact that the new job comes with a good pay raise.
* Summers can be brutally hot
* Wife would have to quit her job/loss of her income (again, she thinks this is a pro)
* Repayment of sign-on with current employer. This is a non-trivial figure that I may or may not be able to negotiate down.
* Likely would need to purchase a 2nd car, added one-time and recurring expenses.
Career Related:
* Taking another job so soon (<1 yr) never looks good on resume
* Long term, Chicago is a bigger business hub than DC, similarly the Booth network is just larger in Chicago (although at >1000 in DC, its not tiny either)
* Job would require me to split some time between two offices. The two offices are 2 hours apart. The company provides either a rental car or company shuttle (with built in power / wifi / seating w/ desks, drinks ). Although that's nice, doing the commute periodically would be irritating. It possible I would have to do it as much as twice a week. This is balanced in part by the fact that if you dont have to drive and can just sit and work w/ wifi, its not 'wasted' time. Moreover, since the firm has flexible hours I got the impression people who did this did it in off-peak increments (e.g. get there at 10am, leave at 3pm). This is to be confirmed.

So, that's just about everything. What would you do?
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 09:49
If the DC job is better, your wife doesn't mind, there are better options for your kids and you expect to have more fun, I'd say go for it. You can always make more money, but you can't take back time you spent being miserable with anything. Plus if the job has better career prospects, you could probably write your own ticket to most jobs you'd want a few years down the line. Booth may have a strong network in Chicago, but the whole point of a top 5 program is to open you doors anywhere you go.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 10:10
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Sounds like it boils down to this:

Chicago is more familiar and comfortable, but also a bit dull and staid (for your situation and tastes).

DC is more dynamic and exciting, but also more stressful (money, traffic).

Don't worry too much about having more friends in Chicago vs. DC - that's a fluid thing; of course you have more friends now in Chicago, as you currently live there, and if you move to a new place you'll have less friends -- but over time that will change. Family first. While there are "close friends for life" -- you'll probably find out sooner or later that you can count the number of these kinds of friends on one hand. Most friendships are pretty fluid - they come and go.

Also, don't feel tethered to your b-school network. It's overrated - it may seem like such an important thing now because you're graduating (or a recent graduate), but over time it WILL become less important to you as you develop relationships, friendships, acquaintances, etc. beyond b-school and these "non b-school" folks become the majority of who you interact with and who are most important to you in the present tense. In other words, your present tense now is your b-school network, but even 5 years out, your present tense will no longer be b-school -- if you know what I mean.

In any case, it really is a personal decision - stay in a place where you're comfortable, or move to a new place where it's more dynamic.

I would probably move to DC if I were in your shoes, but again that's not a rational decision - just a personal one. You just gotta go with your gut on this one.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 11:03
While I understand the concern about the 1 year part of staying in a job, there is enough in the Economy right now that I think 2009 MBA's have a pass, as do 2008. Jobs were lost, jobs were taken to have income rather than a career, and a lot of things have taken place that mean you might choose to move early.

I think that so long as you think you could commit two years to the DC job that there will not be much issue. Knowing the path that you are taking, I think the industry you are moving too would be more pleased that you saw the light sooner rather than later, because they are self important like that.

I reckon this move sounds right for you. The interview questions were such a geek out and you liked them, so it sounds like a good fit for a career. Obviously, 'working' from home is cool, a commute isn't that bad if it isn't all the time and the family thing is a big deal.

The alum thing is weird - sometimes being the Alum in a minority by location or by career path makes it more fun. Also, you are more likely to get to interview candidates if you are out in DC, which surely will be fun.

Finally, I can meet you for beers some point for the first time in three years if you are in DC, cos I never make it to Chicago for some reason.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 11:41
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Interestingly enough, I just got a link to this in my RSS feeder http://thisisindexed.com/2010/04/laptop ... and-happy/, so clearly you should choose the shorter commute :).

But really, it sounds like you already know where you want to go...plus being near family is always nice, especially ones that provide free baby sitting.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 12:03
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DC, the job and opps just sound better. Yes, traffic is terrible and its expensive but you'll figure it out. I lived there before bschool so if you want advice on housing, the area etc let me know.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 12:34
I wouldn't worry about the 1year at a job thing. As 3underscore said, companies realize the market sucked and lots of people took what they could get without any real long term passions, mainly to have a paycheck to pay off debt and to live off. As long as you last 3+ years at this company no one will notice...especially since I am sure you can make an easy arguement why you left. Before switching I would definitely try to talk to people who are at the company or were there in the past. The grass isn't always greener.

Also is the DC job something you want a lot or is it something that is just better than what you have. Would you be better off sticking around and continuing to find what would be your ideal position?
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 14:42
3underscore wrote:

Finally, I can meet you for beers some point for the first time in three years if you are in DC, cos I never make it to Chicago for some reason.


Well in that case.... :)
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 14:53
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riverripper wrote:
Also is the DC job something you want a lot or is it something that is just better than what you have. Would you be better off sticking around and continuing to find what would be your ideal position?


I'd say its 98% of what I would want. It's 100% the right industry, and perhaps 95% the right company (perhaps would be slightly more interesting at a larger more diversified institution that might have more global reach), functionally its a 100% fit - strategy, product mgmt/development and ownership, from a responsibility standpoint, its at least 100% of my goals and over 100% on pay/income (exceeds my goals), from a geography standpoint its 95% of what I want (a target city) - I'd just prefer if the office was in DC proper as opposed to just outside (think more like office park), but again, thats being pretty picky.

You know, when I write it out like this, what am I even debating?
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 15:48
DC wins, easily...
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 16:29
If you go there'll be trouble and if you stay it will be double. This indecision's bugging me.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 17:07
rhyme wrote:
riverripper wrote:
Also is the DC job something you want a lot or is it something that is just better than what you have. Would you be better off sticking around and continuing to find what would be your ideal position?


I'd say its 98% of what I would want. It's 100% the right industry, and perhaps 95% the right company (perhaps would be slightly more interesting at a larger more diversified institution that might have more global reach), functionally its a 100% fit - strategy, product mgmt/development and ownership, from a responsibility standpoint, its at least 100% of my goals and over 100% on pay/income (exceeds my goals), from a geography standpoint its 95% of what I want (a target city) - I'd just prefer if the office was in DC proper as opposed to just outside (think more like office park), but again, thats being pretty picky.

You know, when I write it out like this, what am I even debating?


rhyme, exactly... reading this post you have to go DC
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 17:19
Despite traffic and high costs, it sounds like that DC job has more potential to make you and you family happy in the long term. Good luck!
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 17:47
sounds like a good position for you and you have great personal reasons to come, my only reservation is make sure it's a company you see yourself growing with as DC is somewhat crappy for MBA's (IMO). everyone i know here with a top MBA is at a consulting firm (with mainly govt clients...blech) or they went into the govt/non-profit/legal/lobbying field. i don't see DC as a place i would come back to in the building phase of my career.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 18:35
rhyme wrote:
riverripper wrote:
Also is the DC job something you want a lot or is it something that is just better than what you have. Would you be better off sticking around and continuing to find what would be your ideal position?


I'd say its 98% of what I would want. It's 100% the right industry, and perhaps 95% the right company (perhaps would be slightly more interesting at a larger more diversified institution that might have more global reach), functionally its a 100% fit - strategy, product mgmt/development and ownership, from a responsibility standpoint, its at least 100% of my goals and over 100% on pay/income (exceeds my goals), from a geography standpoint its 95% of what I want (a target city) - I'd just prefer if the office was in DC proper as opposed to just outside (think more like office park), but again, thats being pretty picky.

You know, when I write it out like this, what am I even debating?



Definitely go to DC--the family, the job, the weather...I dont even think there is a debate. (Of course I am biased b/c I am originally from the area)


Is the job in the McLean/Tysons Corner area? Honestly, its probably better that it is not in DC proper for commuting purposes and McLean has great neighborhoods for families with AWESOME public schools.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 20:00
I voted in support of what sounds like your gut instinct (DC). You have good judgement, so I don't think there's any reason to doubt yourself now. You wouldn't have interviewed with the company if you didn't want to be there.

Fill me in later.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2010, 03:33
dcdevil wrote:
Is the job in the McLean/Tysons Corner area? Honestly, its probably better that it is not in DC proper for commuting purposes and McLean has great neighborhoods for families with AWESOME public schools.


Yup thats the area.....I know about the schools, it what makes McLean so expensive.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2010, 03:37
Do I really have to come to DC for drinks :wink:

As an aside, any location is OK as long as you keep posting on GMATclub :)

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PS:- After reading your post I thought you've already made up your mind.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2010, 03:41
2012dreams wrote:
sounds like a good position for you and you have great personal reasons to come, my only reservation is make sure it's a company you see yourself growing with as DC is somewhat crappy for MBA's (IMO). everyone i know here with a top MBA is at a consulting firm (with mainly govt clients...blech) or they went into the govt/non-profit/legal/lobbying field. i don't see DC as a place i would come back to in the building phase of my career.


That's generally true and a very good point. Booz, Accenture, World Bank, IFC, AES and Hilton come to mind as typical post-MBA destinations. I'll have to noodle on that for a bit.
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Re: Should I stay or should I go now? [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2010, 03:42
unplugged wrote:
PS:- After reading your post I thought you've already made up your mind.


I tried to keep it unbiased and truly list all the pro's and con's I could think of, but I'm obviously leaning towards doing it. It's just a big decision and not an easy one. I've been in Chicago for over 10 years now and I'm comfortable here.
Re: Should I stay or should I go now?   [#permalink] 12 Apr 2010, 03:42
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