Author Topic: Taking a "step-down" at work?  (Read 4220 times)

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look in the tunk

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Taking a "step-down" at work?
« on: March 22, 2011, 07:55:09 PM »
First off, I apologize for being so needy lately. I've been going through a really rough period the past couple of months.

Also, I know that no one on here can tell me what to do, but I would like some advice from someone outside my family. :)

Long story short - I posted a couple of weeks ago in the hug section about being depressed at work (like, crying every single day depressed). Simply put, the job I once had (which I loved) doesn't exist anymore, and I've been moved into a new position. I think it would be a great job for someone, but it's just not for me.

The company has offered me a chance to step-down to a part-time position. It pays less and and has no benefits (insurance, retirement, 401K). It would still be 40 hours a week, and I can get overtime.

My family has advised me not to take it, but part of me really wants to. It would be a huge weight off my shoulders.

Any advice anyone could offer would be helpful.


bah12

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 08:02:43 PM »
You have to make the best decision for you.

What is worth more to you?  Your benefits and pay or your sanity?

I might make a career decision based purely on economics and then make another one based purely on stress level and quality of life.  Your family probably has your best interests at heart and are thinking of your financial well-being when giving you advice, but if you honestly cannot do the job you have been given and are having a hard time with it emotionally, then this other job may be exactly what you need.

The only other advice I can give is, before you make your final decision, be sure that this new job will correct whatever it is about the old job that you don't like or was causing you stress.  It would be horrible to accept a lower paying job without benefits and find out that it didn't fix the real problem.  KWIM?

Good luck!

Polly

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 08:15:38 PM »
I am sorry you are going through a tough time. I don't think you should apologise - we all have times like that. I hope things get better for you soon.

I think maybe you should talk to your boss about how making that decision might affect you in the future and how you can potentially move on from here in the future. If your long term well-being is at risk, then that outweighs everything else, and you owe yourself the break that comes with the step down. As a manager myself, I would totally respect (and rate for the future) an employee who told me they weren't able to take something on or needed to step back due to temporary personal circumstances. I would rather know their circumstances upfront than find out the hard way - when they fail to deliver or whatever.  Also, if your self-worth is closely tied up with your career, you might feel worse for taking a step back IF you don't have very clear communication with your manager about your long term goals.

However, if you feel so bad you are constantly in tears and fraught at work, you should probably see your doctor, as if you are clinically depressed you need treatment and support and your work probably needs to know you are ill (not in a bad way, so they can accommodate you).

Hugs.


Deetee

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 09:00:42 PM »
Are you in the US? Does no insurance mean no health care or just no perks?

Can you pay for insurance with your new job? Would the new job be secure?
 And I apologize for not knowing your situation, but do you have insurance through a spouse? Can you see a doctor and get some medication that might make work bearable?

I think people want to make sure you aren't giving important avenues to feeling better (health insurance, councelling, job security) for an easier job.

irish1

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2011, 09:04:06 PM »
First of all, multi hugs. Secondly, I think in your position what I would do is address whether I needed the financial rewards that came with your current job, or could cope without them. If the latter, then go for the lower paid job if you feel it is right for you. If you do need the money and benefits, it's obviously more difficult, but there are still options available. Maybe you could continue your current job a little longer before stepping down to allow you to save (I know this may not be possible), or you could take advantage of the overtime option in the new job you've been offered. Finally, relax as much as possible! Can you take a career break or sabbatical? If not, have you any holiday time due to you? Take it all and do nothing as far as is possible! Once you are rested and can escape stress, hopefully you will be so much happier and more effective. Good luck!

gramma dishes

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2011, 09:15:22 PM »
OP ~~  When you say your previous job (which you loved and were really good at) no longer exists, do you mean it no longer exists in your specific company or do you mean it doesn't exist anywhere?

If a similar job exists elsewhere, could you work at your "step down" job while trying to find employment elsewhere more suited to your strengths and your personality?

kareng57

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 09:31:13 PM »
I agree with some PPs - if no insurance means no health-insurance then I'd think twice.

But if that's not the case - definitely go with your gut.  My Dh was offered a temporary promotion to management years ago.  He took it, but when he had the chance to make it permanent, he said thanks but no thanks.  While we are by no means well-off, we'd been able to manage on his previous income, and the extra long hours and major stress were not worth what it was doing to family life.

TootsNYC

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 10:12:36 PM »
I'm in a very similar spot, and my unhappiness has actually created significant danger and damage for me.

I did a lousier job precisely BECAUSE I was so unhappy.

And when I talk about leaving for a job that pays significantly less, my non-employed husband sighs, or makes little "doubtful" noises.

(Not that I've been OFFERED any of those jobs that pay less.)

You can go up again. This is not a permanent change. You can immediately start looking for another job--and perhaps with more confidence, more power, etc., than you currently have.

But the change in your outlook, in your confidence, in your happiness, may last MUCH longer than the chance in your job.

If you were just unhappy, I might not have shared. But if you are truly crying almost every day before you leave, I think you should take the deal.

EngineerChick

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2011, 10:16:05 PM »
((hugs))  I am sorry that things haven't improved for you at work, but it is good to hear that you at least have an option other than the job you have right now.

My best advice, is to POD everyone above.  

Remember that there are multiple options for saving for retirement, such as an IRA (which is available at most banks and credit unions).

Talk nerdy to me.

look in the tunk

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2011, 10:32:37 PM »
Thank you for all so much of your advice. I am leaning towards taking the offer. I think my sanity is well worth it in the long run.

To answer a few questions - I can still get health insurance through my husband, so I am not completely without. The job I had no longer exists with the company, but there are jobs like it out there.

If a similar job exists elsewhere, could you work at your "step down" job while trying to find employment elsewhere more suited to your strengths and your personality?

That's pretty much the plan at this point. The job I have now involves traveling, so I have no time for anything. I actually had to turn down an interview last week because I knew I couldn't get out of work. My only fear is that they'll allow me to work part-time for a couple of months and then I'll get canned. I don't think that would happen, but then again you just never know.

It just really stinks because I worked really hard to get my former job. I was raised with the idea that you work somewhere for 40 years, retire and get a gold watch. But sadly, I just don't think it's like that at many places anymore.

Dindrane

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2011, 11:22:28 PM »
I think with the way companies seem to work these days, it's unrealistic to go into a job expecting that you'll work for the same company for your whole career.  Not to mention, a lot of people don't want to work in the same position for their whole careers -- they want to advance, and that often means looking elsewhere for opportunities to do so.

The one thing that strikes me about this is...how does 40 hours a week = part time?  That seems like an enormously unfair situation to be in, if that's really their expectation (that you would basically work a full work week, presumably instead of working more than a full work week, for less money and no benefits).

But, since you can get insurance through your husband, I would just advise you to look carefully at what they are really offering, and as someone else already said, try to evaluate whether the new position would do anything towards addressing what you dislike about your current one.  Sanity and a general sense of well-being is very important...but money and benefits and career advancement matter too.  You just have to figure out a way to balance those, and the first step is to make sure you aren't going to be shooting yourself in the foot.


kareng57

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2011, 11:28:28 PM »
Thank you for all so much of your advice. I am leaning towards taking the offer. I think my sanity is well worth it in the long run.

To answer a few questions - I can still get health insurance through my husband, so I am not completely without. The job I had no longer exists with the company, but there are jobs like it out there.

If a similar job exists elsewhere, could you work at your "step down" job while trying to find employment elsewhere more suited to your strengths and your personality?

That's pretty much the plan at this point. The job I have now involves traveling, so I have no time for anything. I actually had to turn down an interview last week because I knew I couldn't get out of work. My only fear is that they'll allow me to work part-time for a couple of months and then I'll get canned. I don't think that would happen, but then again you just never know.

It just really stinks because I worked really hard to get my former job. I was raised with the idea that you work somewhere for 40 years, retire and get a gold watch. But sadly, I just don't think it's like that at many places anymore.


Your fear that you could take the new position and then get fired anyway is a valid one.  But, that's likely the case even if you stayed where you are now.  Most employees in North America (unless they're in a union) have very little job protection.

You have health insurance with your husband's plan - I think you really have to trust your instincts here.

irish1

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 07:08:19 AM »
It just really stinks because I worked really hard to get my former job. I was raised with the idea that you work somewhere for 40 years, retire and get a gold watch. But sadly, I just don't think it's like that at many places anymore.


I think you're right, it's often not like that anymore. Because you're so stressed and mourning the loss of your old job (this is a loss just like the loss of a person) it's difficult to see this as a positive opportunity. (Which it WILL be eventually!) Companies are free to get rid of employees they're not happy with, or because circumstances aren't right. But equally, employees can move on with few repercussions, because it's not considered a bad thing to change jobs. You can work in all kinds of different jobs, try out new things - I know your old job was perfect for you and you loved it. There may be another out there that's even more perfect.

TootsNYC

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2011, 08:43:40 AM »

It just really stinks because I worked really hard to get my former job. I was raised with the idea that you work somewhere for 40 years, retire and get a gold watch. But sadly, I just don't think it's like that at many places anymore.

It hasn't been like that for at least 40 years. I'm 51, and this has been a truth for all of my working life, and before. In fact, I don't think it was ever really true.

I think you are going through some genuine grief--I know I did.

Dindrane

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Re: Taking a "step-down" at work?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2011, 10:09:05 AM »

It just really stinks because I worked really hard to get my former job. I was raised with the idea that you work somewhere for 40 years, retire and get a gold watch. But sadly, I just don't think it's like that at many places anymore.

It hasn't been like that for at least 40 years. I'm 51, and this has been a truth for all of my working life, and before. In fact, I don't think it was ever really true.

I think you are going through some genuine grief--I know I did.

I'd guess that a handful of people were still able to get such a deal 40 years ago...but even then, it seems like it was less common.  My grandfather worked for one company for his whole life and got an excellent pension upon his retirement in the 80s.  My mother has worked for her current employer for about 10 years, and that's her longest stint at one company (I think she's only stayed that long because of the economy, and because she's worried that she looks too old for anyone to hire her elsewhere, but I think she's about to start job hunting again).  She's been working for close to 40 years by now.

One of my uncles has been working for the same company for his whole career (so maybe for 30ish years now), but I think he's the only person I know who has.