The Smartest Or Maybe Dumbest Financial Decision I’ve Made To Date

Thank you all so, so much for your kind words/thoughts/prayers over the last week and beyond.  This journey has been exhausting and exciting.

Quick recap: I’m working this super cool internship that’s wrapping up at the end of this month, I’ve been applying for some awesome jobs.  Friday I got offered my dream job, with a $4k salary increase and a $7500 relocation package.  Monday morning I countered, asking for $6k more.

Here’s what happened: At first it was pretty anti-climactic.  I gathered up my confidence and called Grant, told him how much I needed.  He responded, “okay, email me the numbers and I’ll get back in touch with HR.”  That was it.

And then I waited.  And waited.  At first I thought that because he didn’t come back with an immediate “no,” I was in good shape.  Then my confidence peaked and I thought for sure he was taking so long because he was going to come back and simply say, “I got you what you need.”  Then my confidence waned and I talked myself down.  “If he comes back with half, that’s okay.”  Later, “if he comes back with zero we’ll make it work.”  And then, “he might tell me he doesn’t need me anymore.”

It was a very long two days.  Then Tuesday evening he calls.  $0.  He asked HR, they said no, he re-escalated the request, they came back with no.  It took so long because he was really trying.  I told him thanks and that I’d get back to him.

My boss said that because this is technically a lateral move, what they offered me is generous.  I think of it as a promotion because my current job is temporary, but in the system, I’m a senior analyst, and I’m going to another senior analyst role.

I considered continuing to look for other jobs where the cost of living isn’t so high.  Then I realized, at best, I’m going to get this same offer, but without the relocation package.  Any other job would really be less money.

I called Michael’s Aunt Michelle.  She owns her own marketing firm here in Houston.  She’s been talking about hiring me for years.  I quickly asked her to ballpark how much my salary would be.  Same as what VW is offering.  Minus relo and benefits.  Nope, put that back on the back-up-plan shelf.

I was on my way out of the office anyway.  As I got out of the elevator I basically ran to my car so I could cry in peace.

Then I called Michael.  He’s so cool and calm, God bless him.  His position all along had been, “if they come back with a penny less, you have to be prepared to say no.  If they don’t think you’re worth it, forget them” and so I was afraid to tell him the news.  This was the first time I can ever remember being afraid of my husband.  But you know what he said?  “It’s okay, Chela.  I know you really want this.  If the money works out, take it.”

I cried some more.  Told him I didn’t want him to be mad at me or disappointed.  He told me he’s really proud of me, and this is a great accomplishment.  BUT that we need to sit down with hard numbers and see if it works.

Then I called my mom.  She, too, continues to be really proud of me, but said, “forget about the money, do what makes you happy.  This is great for your career.”  I told her I can’t forget about the money.  I have to have enough to pay rent and eat, and save a little for a rainy day.  She said she’d pay some of my bills for me.  She’s awesome but I can’t let her do that.  More crying.

Then I went to the gym.  Some people go for runs to clear their heads, I take step classes. 🙂 Even though I don’t teach anymore, I still love attending.  I can totally zone out and clear my mind.

I sweat it out.  I took a long shower.  Michael and I got on our computers and looked at our actual budget together.

I switched our budget over from Excel to Google Sheets many months ago so that he could look at our budget from his phone or computer any time.  He never looks at it.

When I asked for more money, it was based on some quick back-of-the-napkin hand-wavy numbers.  And it didn’t include the relocation package.  “Considering the relo is short sighted,” Michael would say–until I realized our budget problem is short term.  We worked through our budget line by line through the end of 2016 (when he’ll finish school) including EVERYTHING.  The move, the UHaul, the relo, flights to visit each other, etc, etc.

And you know what?  It works out just fine.  In fact, we end up having a working buffer of like $4k most of the time, which is actually much higher than we normally have.  (It dips kind of low in January, but that’s okay.)  The only figures that aren’t solid are my new rent, and gas money.  We did our best estimating.

It all works.

So yesterday I called Grant and officially accepted.  But before I accepted, I negotiated a little more.  He agreed to do my raise evaluation in 7 months instead of a year (I was hoping for 3 mos but that’s okay).  And he’s tossing in a new computer and new phone, too.  He wasn’t able to get me more vacation time, but I was glad he was flexible.  He reiterated how hard he had tried to get me more money and how super excited he is to have me on his team.

And so you know what?  I feel good about it.

I got a super promotion, and a raise, and an unheard of relo package.  And I’m going to headquarters!  I’m going to pioneer a brand new team, with an awesome boss, who is committed to helping me prepare myself to continue advancing my career.  I see nothing but growth potential.

Our first year will be tight, but after 2016, Michael will be done with school, he can move up with me.  He can spend summers and Christmas breaks with me.  We’ll be almost debt free if everything goes according to plan, he’ll start earning income, and I won’t have to pay two rents.  Yes, yes.  It’s not exactly what I wanted right now, but it will be soon, in the grand scheme of things.

So there you have it.  Effective 7/6 I’ll be a Senior Analyst of Business Operations for Executive Relations at headquarters.  Six months ago, I was a sales rep in a retail store.  The whole experience has been totally humbling, and I’m feeling really blessed to work for such a great company, and more importantly, to have such an incredibly supportive family.

Thanks so much for reading.  This wild (financial) ride is just getting started!

What do you think?  Should I have stuck to my demands?  Should I have looked for another job?  Did I make the right move?

21 thoughts on “The Smartest Or Maybe Dumbest Financial Decision I’ve Made To Date

  1. I think this is AWESOME. You got a job you really want, a relocation package, the money will be fine, and you have a boss that now feels he probably owes you one on the raise front when the time comes in seven months. Congratulations!


  2. CHELA! YAY! This is a BIG win! You negotiated like a pro! CONGRATULATIONS, BEST WISHES, AND GOD BLESS! 🙂


  3. I love how you wrote out your entire thought process. I would’ve been thinking the same kinds of things! The whole process is nerve wracking.


  4. I am so happy for you. No, it wasn’t the “ideal” salary, but this is a move in the right direction. Getting the raise process negotiated in for 7 months is a huge win. Not everyone will concede on that. You negotiated well and did all the right things. It won’t be long before Michael is done and you guys are enjoying the wonderfulness of your really awesome title at HQ.


  5. Congratulations Chela!! I think you made the right decision, it sounds like you will be able to make it work financially, and happiness is definitely more important than money in my opinion. Even if it’s not the salary you initially really wanted, this may open many doors for you and the potential to earn that ideal salary eventually. Sounds like your hubby is as supportive as could be too, which is wonderful 🙂


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  7. Congrats! I’m glad that you guys looked at your budget and took that into consideration before making any decisions. You did some seriously negotiating there and who knows? You may end up with a promotion and salary raise before you know it!


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