Dilemma - Two opportunities..tough decision

googolgoogol Member Posts: 107
Hoping perhaps the expertise, knowledge and background of TE forums can maybe help me with this decision, maybe something I am missing, but I know the decision has to be ultimately made with me and have to be satisfied with it. I know it is a lot to ask, but I am sorry if this offends anyone and I hope that all of you will have a similar issue because you have earned it.

I am currently a Senior Windows Systems Administrator who also handles networking for the government currently. I handle with security day in and out, as well as Citrix and VMware.

Company #1
Global Gaming Entertainment company, "dream job" when I was in college and early ages of IT, then became busier and do not play as much games, but still enjoy it. Involves moving away from family about another hour (currently 45-60 min away now).
Lower pay (by like 30% estimate), unique benefits and perks such as free games, gaming geek culture, casual dress code such as shorts and flip flops if you want.. Ability to work up within the company, work on multiple things, primarily Windows systems administrator. Would probably rent a place, maybe buy condo down the road due to some cost of living in area and lower pay. If I do not accept offer, may have burned bridge for future employment at such company. There is still always a possibility to join them later..but pay would probably still be less.

Benefits for both companies for medical/vision/dental pretty much the same. Some perks on campus, like subsidized foods/drink (Entertainment Cafeteria), or catered food (law firm somedays).

Company #2
Law firm, networking oriented, primarily network security engineer, so involves networking 50% and security, VPNs, firewalls, securing the network, but also maintaining and resolving server, software, SCCM/monitoring, VMware, etc issues. Always have been a systems/server guy, but do have a background in networking which was secondary (CCNA certified). Firm is looking for focus on networking, but also handling everything else and enjoying doing it all like I do. They do not want an individual that only does networking, and have tried that, utterly failed from what I have heard. This law firm would pay around 30% more, give or take..20-30% to be on safe side. I would have to commute in via train, making commute about 1.5 hrs roughly a day when taking train, about the same via car unless leave real early and probably be like 45 min? I would be able to buy a house, close to my family and some friends. Unsure when to workout, good benefits otherwise. Would need to shift gears to networking, certification paths, Juniper and security, VPNs, oriented material.

I have always been a systems administrator/engineer, now at the senior level. Entertainment company is maxed out, as role was reduced from senior to regular position, but opportunities to work up, sometime in the future..who knows. Law firm is pretty maxed out title wise, but can be there long term just like entertainment company.

I am trying to put value on passions, intrinsic value on quality of life and other measures that are tough to measure. I have done pros and cons lists, but it is still a tough choice. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I have worked extremely hard with certifications, education with masters and will continue to maintain and improve. I am a kind of guy that tends to dwell on decisions in the past, then they dissipate. I do not want to have regrets, but seems like either way I might.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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    pixa241pixa241 Member Posts: 207
    Do you love your job more than your family? Being closer to your family is always better especially if you have kids. The less time you spend with them the more you will regret it down the line.
    WGU Complete: September 2014
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    ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo Member Posts: 389 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Sounds like a tough one....and regardless of which you choose there are parts that will "look greener" in spite of which you choose. Two things jump out at me here: time and corporate culture. You mention a long commute with one job, and living about an hour from friends at the other. In either place time is a factor whether it's driving to meet your friends and family for socializing and events, or a longer commute. Only you know how you prefer to use your time. To me the commute time is gonna be the bigger time issue because to get to work you will put that time in, whereas at least if moving a short distance from your current friends and family you can be a bit more flexible as to when you use that drive time, and after a while the time spent going to, or from, enjoyable events with people you care about will probably seem less like the daily drudgery of getting to work. Corporate culture is generally a big deal. Much as I like some extra money, I'd rather work in a relaxed culture moreso than a law firm - which is typically more straight-laced. One thing to consider where time and culture merge is job expectations. How often will you have to work weekends, nights, on-call, etc.? Is the management, or lawyers, going to pester the ever-loving crap out of you in your personal time because they are driven, type-As, who think your life belongs to their organization? If I were a betting man, I'd bet the law firm will be more demanding and pestering than a lot of choices.

    You have to determine which you prefer however. If you're a driven, type-A the law office could really provide some great opportunity. If it were me, at middle age, knowing what I know, I'd go for more relaxed corporate culture.
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    googolgoogol Member Posts: 107
    Good question. I should mention that I am currently single, family is parents and sister's family (nephew/niece). I am pretty close, but since moving a hour away, I still return home often for family dinners, holidays, events etc. Moving to be 2 hours away, I think it would be reduced, but parents would come visit me (1 retired), but I would probably go home like once every 2 months unless birthday, holiday, etc.
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    googolgoogol Member Posts: 107
    Another excellent post with a good point. Way I am looking at it, at least on such commute, riding the train, I would bring a tablet or read a book (perhaps a certification book) or just read up on slashdot, etc, things I tend to do at home or when I am waking up at the morning getting ready. I think it would just be an adjustment to the train ride. At least I am not focusing and trying not to hit other cars on the freeway, but right now it is about 30 min drive and that I can handle, anything more, not so much. That is 30 min without traffic, just some lights and pretty smooth sailing.

    I am sure I will make new friends with similar tastes in gaming, tech, shows, etc, but hope to retain my existing friends to, but at some part will have to give or people have to be flexible of course. The Entertainment gaming culture is probably most like the government, where I can be casually dressed, but still have some stress at times I am sure, with deadlines. As far as the law firm, not sure on the stress factor, sure I have to dress up with slacks and polos, sometimes suits with clients, but I can handle that. I just hate dressing up every day, thats not me. Polos and slacks/khakis I did years before at a previous govt job, but my current place is mainly collared shirt/jeans these days :D pretty low stress job at my current job, but a bit of a "sinking ship" unfortunately, otherwise that would be the 3rd option (to stay).

    They are covering relocation costs, and temporary housing for a month so I can find such a place, but I definitely do not want to move two times..so trying to find a place down there in one shot hopefully. Figure I would probably rent for a year, make sure I like it, buy a house or condo down the road..or if I don't like it, can always return (security clearance good for 2 years after inactive), or other jobs.

    I have interviews for financial postions in the past and had offers, I have figured out that is not for me, with the stress, and in some, dressed up, but with the tech driven financial like analytical trading and huge requirements for nanosecond performance increases rather than ms, it wasn't for me. I love tech and passionate about it, but tweaking out to get that trade 100ns faster, not sure that is me. The law firm seems semi relaxed, lawyers are all very educated (egos I am sure), but only have to deal with them sometimes, not as much as I am considered a higher tier. I would be dealing with higher level networking issues, outages, securing such network and be a lot behind the scenes unless I am auditing and dealing with a client, which then I would be with a team.

    Time is a big factor, I realize that a lot of things will change switching from government (slow paced) to a more fast paced environment, but reason I am looking to switch is because I fear my skillset will fall behind due to lack of using things like System Center, Exchange, etc. As far as time commitments for weekends, nights, only seems to be for outages or issues that need to be resolved. On-call rotation, but not called that often from what I was told for the law firm. Entertainment, sure there is crunch times, deadlines, maintenance windows..etc. On-call rotation for that one as well.
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    stryder144stryder144 Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Where do you see yourself in ten years? As Stephen Covey would say, begin with the end in mind. With that question firmly answered (as firmly as you can at this point), which of the two jobs will provide you the opportunity to get there? Once you've answered those two questions, I believe that you will then know which one is the best fit for you, long term.

    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

    Connect With Me || My Blog Site || Follow Me
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    NemowolfNemowolf Member Posts: 319 ■■■□□□□□□□
    stryder144 wrote: »
    Where do you see yourself in ten years? As Stephen Covey would say, begin with the end in mind. With that question firmly answered (as firmly as you can at this point), which of the two jobs will provide you the opportunity to get there? Once you've answered those two questions, I believe that you will then know which one is the best fit for you, long term.

    This is excellent advice!
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    googolgoogol Member Posts: 107
    Indeed. That has been an issue that some colleagues sort have brought up, I have been a jack of all trades with specialization in Windows servers/system/ad..but also CCNA, soon VCP, Citrix, etc. I think law firm is if I want to refocus on networking and security with the bonuses that provides, or stick with what I know best at windows server and work my way up working on everything there, but still segmented due to specialties, ie. NIX, storage, windows, etc. With the law firm, I would be able to work on networking and all devices related to that (VPNs/remote access points/firewalls/web filtering etc), but also windows servers (few nix servers as its a windows shop), storage, VMware, Citrix, etc.

    Appreciate the thoughts and insight, hope it helps others deciding their career paths. Time for me to get some sleep, I'll check it out tomorrow.
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