i need you to do my thinking for me

I usually try to keep my posts from sounding like frantic stream-of-consciousness entries in a personal diary, but uh… I’m kind of at a career crossroads and I need to put this out to the universe and see what I get back.

As you may already know, my current job is ending. This excruciatingly long buyout process will finally draw to a close in about two weeks. In the meantime, I have somehow fortunately stumbled my way into two very different job opportunities. ALLOW ME TELL YOU ABOUT THEM.

Opportunity #1. A small design studio with a range of clients. I would be doing both print and web design and development.

Opportunity #2. Small in-house design department for a very large company with a range of physical enhancement products. Print only, no web.

Straight out of the gate, I like Opportunity #1 a lot, but some of the pros of Opportunity #2 are giving me pause and causing some doubts. What, exactly, are the pros and cons of each job? I AM GLAD YOU ASKED.

#1 Pros

  • Web, web, web. I love it but have had little time outside of my current job to teach myself new CSS techniques, scripts, and languages. This job would provide me that opportunity — and the studio owner is willing to teach me what I want to know and feed me those projects.
  • Flexibility! I can go into the office — which is a nine-block walk from my house — or just work from home. The hours are flexible as well, meaning if I need to take the afternoon off to get some things taken care of, I can. As long as the work gets done on time is all that matters.
  • The studio has grown exponentially in the past few years and continues to do so, meaning I can grow along with it.
  • This job would act as a great stepping stone in my career, giving me the experience I need and want so I can move up to new opportunities in the future.
  • It’s a 40% raise over what I’m currently making per hour.
  • The studio owners are great people with whom I already have a working relationship, from back when I did some freelance work for them a few years ago.
  • I can take the job with me if I go! This means that when we move, I can still keep earning us a paycheck. That’s killer, right there.

#1 Cons

  • Because it’s a small studio with a fluctuating amount of work coming in, I will be guaranteed a set number of hours each week but those hours may not always add up to 40. In other words, not quite full time some weeks, meaning my pay will vary.
  • No benefits! No health insurance, no paid time off, no 401K. Nothing.
  • And again, because the studio is small, I’m not technically an employee of them so much as I’m an official contractor. I mean, that’s not much different of a status than my current job, but still. It somehow feels… less important. You know what I’m saying?

#2 Pros

  • Giant benefits. Huge benefits. A virtual Scrooge McDuck money-pool of benefits.
  • Lots of pay. I understand the range is from $65-$80k per year. That is, like, more money than I have ever made in my entire life.
  • The office is cool, and the people seem nice.

#2 Cons

  • It is only temporary to start. Then again, it’s highly probable that it would lead to full-time, so this isn’t that much of a con.
  • Since the branding for this company already exists, there’s not much room for creativity. I’d just be laying things out, pretty much.
  • No web. No new learning. No advancement of knowledge or skills.
  • You know how I said something up there about how this company makes and sells “physical enhancement” products? You probably thought to yourself: what the fuck. Well, yeah. I did too. Can I really feel comfortable designing marketing materials aimed at encouraging people to change the way they look?
  • There isn’t as much flexibility in this job. Must drive to office and be there for the various emergencies handed down from the various marketing departments.
  • It is yet another job in yet another cubicle. As if I didn’t already feel trapped in my current one.

Looking this over again, it seems like the pros are weighted with Opportunity #1. But I can’t get over the feeling I have when I consider not taking that kind of pay and benefits package. For the first time ever, I’m struck with the realization that life is bigger than just me, now. I have to take the beau into consideration, and our future together. I need to be willing to make sacrifices for that future. I mean, consider what could be done with that extra money? We could save it for a move, we could save it for extensive travel to faraway places, we could save it for a buying a house one day. Which we want to do. We want to buy a house. We’re traditionalists like that.

These two options are like choosing between business and art. Like choosing between legitimacy and insecurity. Like choosing between adulthood and perpetual adolescence. Like choosing between monetary wealth and mental wealth.

I know money should never weigh out over happiness. So why, why, why do I keep questioning it? Also: any thoughts? Experiences you’d like to share? Decent recipes?

Yeah, so there it is. First I blog about my hair, now I blog about my job situation. Tune in tomorrow for a very special entry in which I describe to you in considerable detail what I ate for lunch and what kind of smart phone I’m thinking about getting.

It’s the quality content that keeps you coming back.

PS — OH, and I forgot to tell you I almost DIED on the way to the interview for Opportunity #2today, when an unannounced lane closure ahead caused all the cars to come to a sudden stop and everyone was veering left and right and tires were screeching and brakes were burning and I ended up in the fucking median with my hands shaking and this is EXACTLY the kind of thing that makes me terrified to drive anywhere in the first place and I was like really? Really? Is this some kind of sign from the universe that, you know, this job will cause my career to stall out and I will possibly end up dead? Because you know, you can see signs in anything when you’re looking for them very hard.


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