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Stick or twist? (Stability and better maternity v more money)(7 Posts)
I'm at a bit of a crossroads career-wise. I'm 31, recently married, no kids (yet - just started TTC), BSc/MSc in CS, 4 years as a full time software developer plus 2 years of QA. I work for a large company in a very corporate environment, was originally hired as a Python developer but the role has switched much more towards being almost exclusively a front-end web developer which isn't exactly my cup of Earl Grey as I prefer to work server-side.
I've been reaching out to recruiters recently and investigating my options, and by the looks of things I could take a fairly significant raise by moving - we're talking approximately £10-15k a year, a lot when you're on around £36k now. I have an interview with a very small startup later this week, would go up to 50k if I took a job with them, but working in a company with 5 employees and funded by an angel investor feels very unstable.
The elephant in the room is that we want kids, and preferably sooner rather than later given our ages (my husband is 30). My current company has a very good maternity leave policy - 4 months full salary before switching to statutory, which would be great for us because statutory maternity pay doesn't even cover my half of the rent in London.
I suppose what I'm asking is whether I should stick with a very stable role that doesn't massively interest me and pays poorly, or push a bit harder to try and get significantly better money but with possible risks involved.
Stick where you are and move once you have had kids.
Once you have kids be wary of start ups because the hours are often grueling. I've been asked a couple of times to work for start ups and didn't because they didn't offer equity.
The other aspect to consider is the flexibility offered by an employer. I love that my employer has unlimited sick, true flexibility and good vacation even though the salary sucks.
I'm also a software developer. I had my first with a very large silicone valley firm. Very good maternity package etc etc. I stayed with them despite earning a much lower wage compared to when I looked on sites like jobsite because it just felt safer. I was also on around £36k in 2013. However DD2 took a lot longer to conceive. Had trouble with recurrent miscarriages and after 18mom and no pregnancy, I got made redundant. I found another job within garden leave and a payrise. (Less than £50k). Then I felt pregnant within 2-3 months in the job. I'm on maternity leave now. However there is no enhanced maternity, but the payrise more than compensate for it.
What I wanted to say is, don't put your career on hold because of you wanting to have a baby. You never know what will happen. Read lean in by Sheryl Sandberg. She's very right on this point. The more you advance while trying, the more likely you can return to work.
However, that said, I wouldn't pick a startup with only 5 employees. They are unlikely to have childcare vouchers (though this won't be a problem once the new system promised by the tories come in place). Also, I would feel bad for them trying to cover you while you take a year of leave. Also like you say, they are much more likely to be unstable. I interviewed for a few places in 2013 and I didn't pick a startup for the reasons I stated. (It was also a team of 5 developers, also no childcare vouchers, no pensions, etc).
Keep looking. There will be a larger more stable place that will pay you more.
I mean even a place with only 5 developers, but a lot more employees. There are a lot of medium sized companies around. And even some large ones who will pay a lot more. And also definitely ask about flexible working. It was on the forefront of my mind when I interviewed. I asked about working from home when needed, early start instead of 9-5.30 etc. One place I ruled out instantly because they do pair programming and have strict 9-5 core hours. Not sure how you'd phrase it in when you don't have children yet, but I'm sure you can think of some reason to ask! I am guessing you wouldn't want to say you are ttc when interviewing.
The previous post says exactly what I'd advise. Do not leave a large corporate to go to a start up.
On another note, IT recruiters are very very pushy and will tell you exactly what you want to hear, but from recent experience they'll push down your salary expectations as quick as they've raised them.
Typo in mine as should say kid not kids. I'm sticking where I am earning less than I could get in industry but I get fab maternity leave and unlimited sick. I am on a promotion track so should be able to transition to a fab role in industry making a good salary once I am promoted to the next level.
I'm in a similar job to you, so hope this helps.
I stayed at my current place of work when I was TTC as their maternity package was OK, but my friend left and went to another company who had a much better maternity package and she got a substantial payraise. She was also TTC and was pregnant before she'd been there long enough to quality, but she will qualify for her next DC.
We've both gone part time, but her pay rise has helped this. Now I've gone part time, I'm really stuck with my company as there aren't many companies who advertise part time roles and she's made the better choice to my mind to take a short term hit for long term benefits.
I suppose it depends on whether you can survive on statutory but I think it would be worth taking the risk of moving (though not on a startup!)
The only catch is that in my experience recruiters promise more salary than you're actually likely to get.
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