Help me decide on a job offer?

LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 490Member ■■■■□□□□□□
Was pretty much dead set for a while, but after ghosting a recruiter all day and thinking about the money and all that travel time... Find myself doubting myself if I made the right choice? Help me out guys please? :) Sorry for the wall of text below. Putting a tl;dr right away to make up for it!

TL;DR: Accepted offer from company A. Company B gave a better offer. Company A seems like a better place to work for and has more relevant technology to what I've done and want to do. Company B pays more, works at a very large scale, and offers 25 days of PTO but I'm not a fan of their technology stack/challenges or the social atmosphere. Company B does game servers for a household name, which would definitely help my resume. Both highly rated on glassdoor.

Both are for an SRE position (Site Reliability Engineer) in Canada.

Company A
- Small-medium sized SaaS company, recently got bought out by an investment firm
- 110k base + 2500 signing bonus + ~5% bonus (no official structure yet and it's not in the contract; it's being implemented instead of equity) + 500 for each on-call week (rotation of 8 engineers)... maybe 120k total per year, likely less, possibility to get screwed on the bonus
- Mostly cloud architecture hosted in AWS with a very familiar application stack (Java EJB)
- Would be a direct report to the CTO (heard glowing recommendations about him), possibility of becoming a manager/technical lead fairly quickly (current SRE lead stepped down to only work with tech)
- About 40 engineers total (dev + infra, not counting technical support)
- Somewhat hipster workplace, most people bike, everyone looks fit and "normal" (all of these are huge pluses to me)
- Got bought out literally last week by some kind of a financial/investment company... very on the fence about it, lots of potential for some MBA douche to come in and start "optimizing" everyone's work life balance
- 3 weeks PTO (standard for where I am), possibility of 1 day WFH (not "official" but it's technically allowed up to 1 day per week), 40 hour work week

Company B
- Smallish subsidiary of a massive game publisher responsible for running game servers for a massive franchise
- 110k base + 5k signing bonus + 15% bonus (10-20% officially, I've always been a great performer) + 50% RRSP (think 401k) match up to 7k + 1150 for each on-call week (which wouldn't involve 24/7 since there's a second office in the EU)... total can easily be 135k which is basically Amazon money in my city.
- On premises infrastructure using a borderline in-house cloud platform (think shittier OpenStack), kind of hard to apply this knowledge in the future
- Some parts of tech very familiar, some magic voodoo. Massive focus on low-level performance optimization (don't give a damn personally, give me architecture and orchestration), but also get to play with cool database stuff (becoming a passion)
- Would report to a technical manager, I don't see that much room for growth except moving to different technical teams
- 100 engineers total, but virtually negligible other staff (so mostly the same type of people to interact with, kind of a downer as I prefer hanging around with sales and project manager dudebros)
- Tries almost too hard to be "cool techy". Ping pong tables everywhere, espresso machine (I used to barista when I was younger), fully stocked whiskey bar.
- Some people who work there kind of come off as the arrogant tech types
- 5 weeks PTO! Holy bovine! No real flexibility in hours though (9-4 ish and have to be in around 9)... I'm a night owl. 35 hour work week too.

Now, on paper, second company seems much better for a purely tech type, pays A LOT more, offers more interesting challenges.

On the other hand, I'm a very social person and like to be around social people. Really don't look forward to working with Silicon Valley (the TV show) caricatures... They're perfectly great, social people, but not the people I'd love to hang out with after work (I love making friends with co-workers and keep in touch with a lot of them even after leaving). First company seems like it has more "normal" people that ski every weekend and have parties.

Going to the first company seems like giving up (it's actually a smaller environment than my current company), so I'd be hard-pressed to find a better job in a bigger company both at once in a few years... I'd ideally like an early-mid stage startup with tons of equity, or move to San Francisco and get a job at a Big4 or a similarly big household name, again with some equity.

Second company seems like a much better opportunity, but I'm not really sure how transferrable the tech stack is. In the DevOps world people don't care about what specifically you've worked with, but I feel like I'd be setting myself back by not working with AWS (I want to be a cloud architect in a few years).

Biggest issue though... I've already accepted the offer at the first company. There's some mutual acquaintances who work there, and a guy that actually went to work for our current company in an SWE role, whom I'd be replacing. Our tech industry is a very incestuous little thing. Would burn a ton of bridges which may seriously bite me.

Comments

  • cbdudekcbdudek Posts: 67Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    It sounds like you have done your homework. After reading your analysis, I liked where you ended up. More money doesn't equal happiness, and you have to do something that your skills align better with.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youPosts: 2,686Mod Mod
    Go with your gut.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Posts: 947Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    What's the actual debate, here?

    At one Job, you're probably gonna be happy.

    At the other.... probably not so much (but paid more).


    Sounds like you made the right call (based on you personal priorities)...
  • EnderWigginEnderWiggin Posts: 550Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would take happiness over money any day.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,772Mod Mod
    Based on my experience working at companies bought by Private Equity (PE) firms, I'd go for option B. Typically PE firms try to lean out companies, strip them down, revamp, and just try to make it as profitable as possible at any cost, to eventually sell or take back public. Not all PE firms are horrible, but that's the general nature of what most seem to try to do. If any company I was ever working for was bought by one, I'd immediately open up my resume and job site profiles. My experience has probably jaded my view, so don't take it as the only gospel.

    Based on the jobs alone, I'd take option A, but make sure to keep your resume always polished and keep racking up skills and certs in case you need to jump ship.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 490Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Yeah I'm honestly really leaning towards the job I already took
    JoJoCal19 wrote: »
    Based on my experience working at companies bought by Private Equity (PE) firms, I'd go for option B. Typically PE firms try to lean out companies, strip them down, revamp, and just try to make it as profitable as possible at any cost, to eventually sell or take back public. Not all PE firms are horrible, but that's the general nature of what most seem to try to do. If any company I was ever working for was bought by one, I'd immediately open up my resume and job site profiles. My experience has probably jaded my view, so don't take it as the only gospel.

    This is what worries me... My current company (has always been edit: private) suddenly decided to go public in what should have been this year and immediately went into lean mode using new management they hired last year... Yeah hasn't been fun.
  • yoba222yoba222 Posts: 955Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    LeBroke wrote: »
    . . . Company A. . . + ~5% bonus (no official structure yet and it's not in the contract; it's being implemented instead of equity). . . - Got bought out literally last week by some kind of a financial/investment company... very on the fence about it, lots of potential for some MBA douche to come in and start "optimizing" everyone's work life balance. . . .
    That buyout concerns me too.In my experience, whenever leadership informally promises something and then the leadership changes, there's a good chance of that promise evaporating. I'd consider option B more than A, since A will probably not be how it appears soon.
    Obtained: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | CySA+ | PenTest+ | CAPM | eJPT | CCNA R&S | CCNA CyberOps | GCIH | LFCS
    2019: Virtual Hacking Labs then OSCP
  • cbdudekcbdudek Posts: 67Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    There are going to be concerns at any job you take. This is why its important to always be learning, studying, passing certifications or keeping current certifications current, and most importantly always be looking for the next job.
  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 490Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Update: just had a recruiter from company B spend 30 minutes trying to talk me into it.. promised to make a decision by tomorrow

    They do have hours flexibility (10 am start is standard but they're pretty open)... and there's an option to transfer (temporarily or permanently) to an office in a cool european country known for its drinking culture and picking fights (not Russia).

    The new acquisition is throwing up red flags for me so I'm honestly leaning towards the second company now.
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,539Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Have you ever thought about going to truck driving school? Or perhaps a medical degree like nursing instead? I hear those markers are booming.
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,539Member ■■■■■□□□□□
  • soccarplayer29soccarplayer29 CISSP, CISA, PMP Posts: 229Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Not to complicate things but I'd say company A.

    The potential ~20k or whatever salary difference is only taking into account your 1st year there. Think about 2-5 years down the road. The AWS cloud skills you develop and the upward mobility opportunities (reporting to the CTO and the ability to become a lead engineer) could put you in a better position with company A or arm you with new transferable skills/experience for other opportunities if you're unsatisfied or the acquisition doesn't go well.

    You said that your goal is to become a cloud architect and I think we can both agree that company A offers you the most direct experience towards that goal.

    Most PE firms have the goals of returning value and there are many ways to do that and not all of them involve leaning down a company--and honestly some companies need to be leaned out....if the company can reduce expenses and become more profitable (either growth or efficiency) then this could be good for the the overall health of the company. But the PE investment also likely means an increased emphasis on metrics and aggressive goals throughout the organization (including the CTO) who would funnel aggressive timelines/projects to staff which may be stressful but could also be pretty cool.
    Certs: CISSP, CISA, PMP
  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 490Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Not to complicate things but I'd say company A.

    The potential ~20k or whatever salary difference is only taking into account your 1st year there. Think about 2-5 years down the road. The AWS cloud skills you develop and the upward mobility opportunities (reporting to the CTO and the ability to become a lead engineer) could put you in a better position with company A or arm you with new transferable skills/experience for other opportunities if you're unsatisfied or the acquisition doesn't go well.

    You said that your goal is to become a cloud architect and I think we can both agree that company A offers you the most direct experience towards that goal.

    Most PE firms have the goals of returning value and there are many ways to do that and not all of them involve leaning down a company--and honestly some companies need to be leaned out....if the company can reduce expenses and become more profitable (either growth or efficiency) then this could be good for the the overall health of the company. But the PE investment also likely means an increased emphasis on metrics and aggressive goals throughout the organization (including the CTO) who would funnel aggressive timelines/projects to staff which may be stressful but could also be pretty cool.

    Actually I already have pretty good AWS skills (basically wrote an infra as stack code for it from scratch at my current company and did some fancy stuff)... One of the main reasons they want to hire me is because they don't have a good in-house AWS expert (their senior SRE comes from a more traditional background and everyone else on the team are developers working on tooling).

    My one concern with company A is that it feels like a sidegrade, with maybe a marginal upgrade.

    Main upside is the social atmosphere (though I could be perfectly happy at either company). This ^ is one of the main downsides. Pay doesn't really factor into my decision that much (more of a nice bonus... if I max my RRSP, I'll have a down payment that might allow me to get an apartment 2 hours out of the city).
  • Bjcheung77Bjcheung77 Posts: 89Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    OP - Original Poster, do you have a computer science or engineering degree? I looked at positions in the lower mainland for similar job postings a few days ago, but most likely going to stay put at my current job of 9 years as a Technical Analyst. I kind of want to go into Cyber Security as it's getting hotter in our markets, but a part of me also wants to get into System Admin or Dev Ops, and the SRE role is pretty much in between the two.

    If I was in your shoes, I would decide on several factors. Location, upward mobility, ability to work at home office (I am a telecommuter that works 4 days at home entirely, 3 days off is awesome), perks, tuition assistance (my previous job had this and I was dumb - I didn't take advantage of any of the benefits for 7.5 years at a help desk/desk side analyst position, however; current job only pays for passed Industry Certifications that the previous job didn't pay for), and several others such as union dues or rrsp contributions, vacation, etc.

    Lastly, if there is no clear winner, flip a coin and give the other job to me... haha, just kidding, I just finished my degree with a BSBA General Management and CIS double concentration, going for my Masters in Info Systems (CyberSecurity) in May 2018 after I get my CCNA CyberSecurity, I think I'm going to go into Cybersecurity and get a CASP AND CISSP.
  • Basic85Basic85 Senior Member Posts: 179Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I wish I had the issue of choosing between 2 6 figure jobs. I hope you make the right decision and the important thing is to be happy.
  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 490Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Bjcheung77 wrote: »
    OP - Original Poster, do you have a computer science or engineering degree? I looked at positions in the lower mainland for similar job postings a few days ago, but most likely going to stay put at my current job of 9 years as a Technical Analyst. I kind of want to go into Cyber Security as it's getting hotter in our markets, but a part of me also wants to get into System Admin or Dev Ops, and the SRE role is pretty much in between the two.

    Nope, have an unfinished BS in a completely non-related discipline. Pretty much all experience, and also I interview very well, and I'm pretty ambitious (i.e. any time people talk about a project at work, I jump up all like "gimme gimme" so my resume looks like it was from someone with 2-3 times the experience I have). If you're in/near Vancouver, our cybersecurity market is actually pretty crap, to the point where my best friend (super senior security guy who was offered architect positions on the spot in many US cities based on audits he's done, runs his own security company with his brother, and who got me into IT to begin with) can't get an offer higher than like 130k here, when he can easily get 220k+ USD pretty much everywhere else. Too many candidates (even at a senior level), and too few job opportunities.

    DevOps/SRE market is insanely hot here, though. If you've got even marginal Linux skills, take a job as a Linux sysadmin somewhere for 6 months where you can touch cloud or automation, and you can get a DevOps job. It honestly feels like how it was during the DotCom bubble.
    If I was in your shoes, I would decide on several factors. Location, upward mobility, ability to work at home office (I am a telecommuter that works 4 days at home entirely, 3 days off is awesome), perks, tuition assistance (my previous job had this and I was dumb - I didn't take advantage of any of the benefits for 7.5 years at a help desk/desk side analyst position, however; current job only pays for passed Industry Certifications that the previous job didn't pay for), and several others such as union dues or rrsp contributions, vacation, etc.

    Honestly objectively job B is a clear winner, and after talking to a bunch of friends, they've pretty much all convinced me to go for it. I'd also have the option to basically be an "internal freelancer" (i.e. help out random teams with projects), which is pretty awesome to me personally.

    Definitely a major boost to my resume, IMO, rather than taking a job doing basically what I'm already doing for a marginal raise and better work/life balance.

    Stuff like WFH I honestly don't much care for beyond the occasional flexibility and being able to go work in a cafe instead of the office.

    PS: PM me your LinkedIn if you're around here :)
    Lastly, if there is no clear winner, flip a coin and give the other job to me... haha, just kidding, I just finished my degree with a BSBA General Management and CIS double concentration, going for my Masters in Info Systems (CyberSecurity) in May 2018 after I get my CCNA CyberSecurity, I think I'm going to go into Cybersecurity and get a CASP AND CISSP.

    IDK, from what you said, you're probably extremely qualified for a better job (though I don't know what being a technical analyst at your place entails... sounds like a generalist title at Telus or something).
    Basic85 wrote: »
    I wish I had the issue of choosing between 2 6 figure jobs. I hope you make the right decision and the important thing is to be happy.

    If you want to feel better, this is fake Canadian monopoly money. And also, an average price for a house here is about $1.8 million CAD. Yes, you heard that right. Manhattan is cheaper than ducking Vancouver.
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,537Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    LeBroke wrote: »
    If you want to feel better, this is fake Canadian monopoly money.

    That does put things into perspective. Many years ago, I was walking through Amsterdam's red-light district when I saw a gentleman arguing with one of the "workers". Loudly, she said "I don't take any damn Canadian money" and threw the cash at him. My perceived value of Canadian currency was derived solely from that experience. Seeing the words Canadian and money use together still make me laugh because of that lol.
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CCSP, CISM, CISA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, etc

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • NissekiNisseki Posts: 160Member
    Congrats on the job offers.

    Company A sounds like it would be a more relaxing place to work than B.
  • LeBrokeLeBroke Posts: 490Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Update:

    Leveraged company B to get 5k more at company A and definitely going with them now!

    Woot woot. And yeah it's definitely a better place to work at (IMO).
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