TL;DR: I’ve been out of work since COVID started and got offered my first job since. It pays less than my old job. I also just got a temp job paying more than the offer and plan on applying for it permanently. The job offer is interesting work, but entry level. The temp job -> perm job would be a nice promotion. Should I just take the job offer or try for the better job?
Preface: I am biased and will do what I want and what I think is best regardless of what you guys suggest. So this post is mainly to think about any angles I may not have thought of. However, here I may try to present my case with those of you that disagree with me, but I will not take anything personally and will try hard not to turn it into a debate and admit there is no right answer.
I worked in local government. I was furloughed at the start of April and my position was officially eliminated in October. [The main reason I haven’t been on this board much since April is because I haven’t needed it to pass the time while siting in front of a computer all day since I no longer sit in front of a computer all day.] I was applying for jobs before I was furloughed because my new director (started in Feb) didn’t like me and the career development plan for my job was cut (before COVID). I had a good second interview in late March for a new job at a state government agency, but then COVID hit and all hiring was frozen. I began applying again in earnest in July when it looked like my employer was not going to bring me back after the furlough. I applied for about 30 open positions since July and had 5 virtual interviews. I also contacted a recruiting and temp agency and told them I wanted to work.
One of those interviews reached out to me to say I was a finalist and asked if they could start checking references and a conduct background check. That was on Oct 20. Since then, I was offered an hourly full time temp job and I started that job 1 week ago Nov 9. For that job, someone is training me to take over for them. He has talked up the job a bunch and says he is only leaving because he wants to be in another industry and was offered the opportunity to build the department from the ground up. He says that the place I am temping was grooming him to take over for the CFO when the CFO retires in 2-3 years. He says that whoever takes his job will also likely be treated that way.
Friday of last week, after working a week at this employer as a temp, I got a call from the place where I was a finalist and they offered me the job. The offer is about 10% less than the job I had when I was furloughed. It is also 2% less than I am currently making hourly as a temp.
I have received thanks and praise from the place I am temping for and it seemed like they would be open to hiring me full time, so I talked to the CFO today and told him I got an offer but I did not accept it. I said that over the course of my first week, I have enjoyed the work and the organisation and I am interested in the position that will open up, but my wife is telling me I should take the job offer. The CFO told me that they are planning on posting the job internally only, meaning I will be the only qualified candidate and they have to do it that way to follow the rules. He has not said anything about salary yet. EDIT: The bottom end of the salary range will be right around my old salary. The top end will be what the exiting guy got. Most likely, it will be somewhere in between - so a raise, but not a huge raise.
Unfortunately, they will be downgrading the title from Director to Manager. So they are probably looking to pay the new person less than the guy that is leaving. The guy that is leaving is currently making 15% more than I was at my old position. Whoever takes this position will report directly to the CFO and has one person that directly reports to him. I have had some managerial experience in the past, but have never had a manager title or any direct reports, so this position would be a promotion. So far, the CFO and the direct report seem to be nice people that I get along with. The work is no where near as interesting as the job at the state agency.
The position that I have been offered is an entry level position with a state agency. The benefits are good and the work is interesting. I am the perfect candidate for this job. Too perfect essentially because they can’t pay me what I feel I am worth. 5 years ago, I would have jumped at it. The camaraderie there is top notch. Two of the people working there are people from my old agency two employers ago (not sure how great the camaraderie is right now with everyone working remotely though). Since they are a state agency, there is a chance that there won’t be any raises until the state budget bounces back from COVID. Aside from those annual raises that depend on the budget, the promotion track is no more than a 10% raise every 3 years. So I could be stuck at the lower pay until the start of 2024 in the worst case scenario.
This really is a “take the $5,000 or go for the new car behind one of the two doors” type Let’s Make A Deal decision. I am normally a “take the $5,000” guy, but I really don’t know when I’ll have a management opportunity like this again. It could be several years, and it I take the first job, it will probably be a decade if I decide to stay. Or, I could suck at this job after the guy training me leaves and they won’t hire me and I’ll have to just finish out the temp work, train a new person, and I’m back to unemployment. My wife will take months to forgive me if that happens.
What would you guys do?
I know I left a lot of stuff out of this, so feel free to ask for more detail if you think it pertains to the decision.