I’m knee deep in the trenches of job interviews.
The past week has been an overwhelming whirlwind. So many recruiting calls that I am starting to really believe those plunging unemployment numbers.
After starting this process, there are a lot of directions I can see myself going. One of the metrics I’ve been considering is whether I want to work more or make less at my next job. This is an exclusive or, mind you. I think I’m likely to see an offer this week that will mean more money (and potentially a lot more money within a few years), but will potentially require a lot more work than I’m currently used to. On the other hand, I could also try to off-ramp, find something less stressful in a different industry, but correspondingly make quite a bit less money.
Financial independence plans skew a lot of these decisions. It’s hard for me to think of anything I do as a career, mostly because I’m thinking “Can I handle doing this over 5 years?” not the rest of my working life. I’m treating paid work like an endurance game and I can see the finish line in the distance.
But there are other ways to go about it. You can, and people often do, make the choice to take work that is less demanding of your time now in exchange for less money. There’s a balance at play. Time versus money. Or, as I think of it from a FIRE perspective, your time now versus your time later.
And sometimes you have to work with real numbers to know where your line is. For instance, I wouldn’t work 25% more hours for a 10% increase in pay. Heck, I probably wouldn’t even do it for a 25% increase. If my comp increased 50%, I’d do it, maybe? I don’t know, I really value my time.
On the other side of the coin, I’d take a 50% pay cut if it meant I could work half as many hours. That would be a perfectly sustainable way for me to live in the long term. Now I just need to find a professional job that’ll salary me to work half-time.
Which would you prefer: working less or making more? How much of a pay cut would you be willing to take to work half as much as you do now? How much of a raise would you need to work 25% more?