This week I got my annual merit increase, also know to most as a raise. It was the expected 3% that my company usually likes to good performers. My guess is excellent performers don't really get that much either. Unless you're in the C suite or a different site, it seems like most of the engineers at my company are paid below the median.
I am taking this educated guess because I recently talked to a male colleague, who I found out was being paid way below the median for his engineering job title and years of experience. And my company recently tried to rectify the gap for us by changing titles and increasing salaries. They know they're not paying more "tenured" engineers well. I'm not sure what my male colleague received in terms of an attempt to fix the salary gap, but I got a whopping $300 more a year. That totally fixed the salary gap, not! And now with my 3% raise, I'm still 10K below the median salary for a Staff Systems Engineer with 13 years experience in the Phoenix metro area. I've come along way since last year's: The Salary. Of wait, not really.
I know, I know, I know! Problems of a privileged, upper-middle class, tech worker. I do get paid better than a lot jobs. My mom was a teacher, she told me how sharky the pay was, and that was one reason why I studied engineering in college. I knew I'd be paid better than a lot of jobs.
I also have the ability to search for a new job, get hired, and potentially get a better salary at a new company. I am just having the hardest time leaving because it also potentially means giving up the flexible schedule that I currently have. With being a RA patient, with being a parent and with being a writer, I'd really like to keep that flex schedule. The inflammation and joint pain has been bad this week, and I've been able to log on and work when I can. Get my hours done whenever I feel good. That is a really nice benefit for a chronically ill person. Of course on the flip side, part of the inflammation could be from the stress and unhappiness that the current job is causing me. Something I really need to think about.
But the hardest thing to give up will be the flexibility to go drop off Jack late, or pick him early from preschool/daycare, or staying home with him when he's sick, or being able to take Friday afternoon to submit writing samples to magazines, agents and publishers. This time (to do these things) is what I truly love, and I am afraid of losing that time with the start of a new engineering job. That time is worth so much to me. Of course, having a engineering job that I somewhat like (I don't need to love my job, but not hating it would be nice) is also worth something to me.
I can't tell you today that I have a decision. One minute, I'm ready to apply to new places and quit this sharky job. The next minute, I'm like, I can stick it out for a few more years and maybe "retire" (aka move into a whole new industry). I don't think I'm alone in my career dilemma. Otherwise we wouldn't hear about so many "jungle gym" resumes and careers. The question for myself, is what is my career vs. my time worth? I don't have that answer right now, but ask me again in few months. Because my tolerance for my current job situation won't last forever. Tolerating something that makes me miserable just for a little free time...well, that won't be worth it in the long run.
Take care friends! Enjoy some pictures of dogs for your work afternoon.