Thursday, June 4, 2009

And the Magic Number is.....Not So Much

Well, so much for my crazy blog header. I guess simpler is better. As a compromise, I created yet a new header, but much more like my old one.

In other news, the Prospective Employer emailed me today with the salary offer.

It's not good. The salary is more than 40% less than what I earned at my last job. After taxes, I will bring home $400 per month LESS than I need to cover my monthly expenses. That's purely expenses - no extras or luxuries.

I will have to pay to have a job. This is not what I expected.

My DH and hashed it out. We can cover the deficit if we make some changes. Get rid of the cable TV and newspaper. No more dining out at all. Buy only groceries on sale - no expensive meats or out of season anything. Tighten our belts significantly. I may try to find a per diem nursing position so that I can work a few extra days a month. My retirement fund will come to a screeching halt.

But as my DH reminded me, this is not forever. This will just buy us a little time, perhaps. You may be wondering why the pay is so low. It's because this is an attorney position with the state. This particular department is involved in health care, so it seems a perfect fit for my law/nursing background. The boss is a fantastic lady. The hours are reasonable. The benefits good. It could take my career to a place I'd like to go.

My former job was at a private law firm. Private law firms pay way better than state positions. Did you know there is a huge shortage of judges in this country? They can't get enough experienced attorneys to apply for judgeships. Do you know why? Because a judge, who is a public employee, earns crap as compared to an attorney in private practice. Just as an example, a magistrate judge in California might earn $150,000 a year. A 15 year attorney who is a partner at a law firm could easily be pulling in $500,000 or more a year. You think those fat cats are going to leave their cushy firm jobs for a crummy $150k? No way.

So why not get a position with another private firm? Ha. No way. Been there, done that. IN MY OPINION and ONLY IN MY OPINION (that was the O.prah b.eef industry caveat, for those of you who remember), law firms are good ole boy clubs where women are second class citizens and associates are treated like furniture. Sit there and be quiet but be ready to do what I ask when I ask. Sell your soul and give your life for the firm. I refuse to live my life that way anymore. I was miserable.

So where does this leave me? Frustrated. Disappointed. Worried. Scared. But also hopeful that we can make it work, that I will love the job and that in the end, it will be worth it.


Anonymous said...

there is not enough money for me to go back to practicing - anywhere. however, if i had to pick, it would be a government job. the hours are better, the benies are good, and the stress is lower (usually). i did both in my short law career and i definitely like the gov job better. you can still have a LIFE.

best of luck on whatever you decide!

tireegal68 said...

It sounds like you are going to accept the job and make the adjustments and do some nursing shifts to cover the deficit. Sounds exciting if a little scary on the money side:(
Thanks for the explanation and rationale behind it. Wow those salaries are polar opposites!
I totally get it! I am so over high stress which I have now ( not good pay but not bad to go with it). I hate old boys clubs and have never been near one but I am not an attorney.
Good luck with this transition - and I like your new header!

Inlocoparentis said...

I am also an attorney and I work at a big firm. I would love to make the jump to government but we can't swing it financially. If you can make it work, I think it's awesome. It will be a much better balance when you have a family.

stillhopeful said...

I feel your pain. I'm in the consulting world - big time boys club there, too. And not much of a life between travel and the unspoken 60 hr/week expectation. Unfortunately, I make about 10 times what my husband makes, so there's really no option to scale back without having to make drastic changes like selling the house. If I were in your shoes, and felt I could make the changes, I'd go for the lower stress, lower pay job. You won't be going out for dinner once you have your baby anyway!!!

Lorraine said...

Seems like your other commenters are on my same page - the stress and misery are certainly not worth the money when your priorities shift to family matters.

I imagine it's hard to live on a lower income at first, but being happy can go a long way towards making that adjustment - I hope it works out!

Sandra D. said...

That's too bad it's not the pay you were hoping for - but I do think that having a great boss and a job that could put you on a career path you want are definite positives. I used to work somewhere that paid great, but I could barely stomach the supervisor (she once called me pathetic - to my face!). I don't make as much now, but LOVE my boss and the company culture. If you decide to take it - which it sounds like you will - I hope it's a fantastic experience for you :-)