Careers

Move Up The Ladder Quickly Or Stay Union Protected

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 13th, 2019 6:05 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 12, 2008
2632 posts
646 upvotes
GTA

Move Up The Ladder Quickly Or Stay Union Protected

- Very early 30’s, marriage and possibly kids in the next 2 to 3 years
- 90 - 100k job (great benefits and defined benefit pension), no lay-off clause, very very educated. Almost 9 years experience in this industry
- Can stay in current role, ride increases and top out at around $110k
- Can move to manager, work a lot more hours but have the chance to move on to Senior Manager, Director, Avp etc The sky is the limit (a few people in their 30’s making $200 to $300k). Can be laid off at anytime though but with a nice package (1 to 2 years salary) and accrued pension value.

What are your thoughts on staying safe or moving up quickly?
25 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 22, 2013
2239 posts
1313 upvotes
badmus wrote: - Very early 30’s, marriage and possibly kids in the next 2 to 3 years
- 90 - 100k job (great benefits and defined benefit pension), no lay-off clause, very very educated. Almost 9 years experience in this industry
- Can stay in current role, ride increases and top out at around $110k
- Can move to manager, work a lot more hours but have the chance to move on to Senior Manager, Director, Avp etc The sky is the limit (a few people in their 30’s making $200 to $300k). Can be laid off at anytime though but with a nice package (1 to 2 years salary) and accrued pension value.

What are your thoughts on staying safe or moving up quickly?
If you’re ok with possibly being laid off within 10 years as a Senior Manger, then go for it.

You should do a cost analysis as to how much more you would make in the new role and see if it’s really worth it considering that it may only be ‘temporary’.

Myself, I’m in a very similar spot as you, just a bit older.
I prefer to stay in the union as I’m more comfortable with the job security as opposed to seeking a role with higher pay but with a chance I could be out of work in my 40s. That would be a nightmare situation for myself, but not everyone feels the same way.
Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
4043 posts
1173 upvotes
Woodbridge, ON
when you have kids its hard to advance your career, so its better to stay where you are and use your free time to take care of da kidz until your kids get older that they do not rely as much on you then you can work hard and hustle at work and try to move up the corporate ladder
Hi
Sr. Member
Jul 15, 2003
688 posts
193 upvotes
GTA, Ontario
Similar scenario here. This isn't really a yes/no question, but situational and you should check with your partner/spouse to see how they think.

I decided that I would take the jump to see what would happen (I'll be leaving in a few weeks, been in public for the last 9 years). In my specific case though, I'm non-union, and being in IT, I feel like I need to keep my skills sharp which I was not doing at my public sector job. I don't feel like I need to worry about the lay-offs, but when I was putting my resume out there looking for work, my response rate was around 50%, so I'm not too concerned.

In my mind, I was looking at it from the perspective of if we have multiple children, if my salary is higher, my wife can work less (something that we've talked about, whether it's from FT to PT or not at all).
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 12, 2008
2632 posts
646 upvotes
GTA
GoodFellaz wrote: when you have kids its hard to advance your career, so its better to stay where you are and use your free time to take care of da kidz until your kids get older that they do not rely as much on you then you can work hard and hustle at work and try to move up the corporate ladder
I agree but this hasn’t stopped some people, they use their parents, maids, the wife stays home like the other poster mentioned and so on.

A lot of great contributions here so far.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
34548 posts
20593 upvotes
Center of Universe
No lay off clause?
What does that even mean?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 12, 2008
2632 posts
646 upvotes
GTA
vkizzle wrote: No lay off clause?
What does that even mean?
I can’t be laid off, I can resign if I want. I can be offered a package to waive those rights but no one really gets let go if they want to stay.

There is some space to grow on the Union side but due to my age and slowness of Union movements it would take a while. A lot of people in my current section started working before I was born but it’s a mix of young and old people.

Someone went from my role to COO in 10 years with similar credentials with some other examples so I could be leaving a lot of money On the table.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
34548 posts
20593 upvotes
Center of Universe
badmus wrote: I can’t be laid off, I can resign if I want. I can be offered a package to waive those rights but no one really gets let go if they want to stay.

There is some space to grow on the Union side but due to my age and slowness of Union movements it would take a while. A lot of people in my current section started working before I was born but it’s a mix of young and old people.

Someone went from my role to COO in 10 years with similar credentials with some other examples so I could be leaving a lot of money On the table.
That's impressive, that a Union can guarantee you from being let go.
Deal Addict
Oct 18, 2014
1950 posts
848 upvotes
HK
To add another perspective:
-What do you want your kids to see you as?
-What would you advise your kids if they were in your situation?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 12, 2008
2632 posts
646 upvotes
GTA
McKinsey wrote: To add another perspective:
-What do you want your kids to see you as?
-What would you advise your kids if they were in your situation?
- See me as employed but it would be nice if they could see me as highly successful.
- I would say find the safest way to do the management/executive track, the timing is tricky as I can get it now relatively easy but if I wait who knows what might happen

Good questions
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2010
9303 posts
1407 upvotes
100k in union job is a job for life. Management is hard with the cost cutting culture.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 31, 2008
11470 posts
2031 upvotes
Toronto
If you've put the time in, me personally, I'd stay. Actually, purposefully and chose that route where it's more steady and stable. Now, I'm far behind earnings relative to my peers, but I have a very happy, and balanced home life with 2 young kids (5 and 3). In my late 30s. Many of them don't have kids yet, or ones that do, or have gone through more miserable times given the work load and imbalance.

You have to ask yourself, what are your financial goals? What job does your wife do? Do you have family close by?

I for one, looked at success for my kids, not in what I do, but how I am, the quality of time I spend with them. So because of my generally strict 9-5, I've been able to dress my daughter(s) in the morning, get them ready, take them to daycare. This to me is an important investment in my own self in adjusting my expectations (i.e. the less you do, the harder it is actually), as well as developing that bond with them. Often, after she wakes up, we'll lie in bed, play a game of under the covers, etc., have a good laugh. And I'm in a present mood vs worrying about those emails waiting for me on my phone. Then when I'm home at 6, we have dinner, clean-up, play, read, etc., bedtime routine and put them down by 8-8:30. I was able to do this, be in the present with them, calm, more enjoyable because of predictable hours, schedule and workload.

My best friend growing up who never took his daughter to daycare because of his career focus, the few times he had to actually do it because his wife was travelling for work, would have a breakdown, stressed, get angry because they're not getting ready fast enough, etc.

Now financially, I'm lucky because we bought our house over 10 years ago, so financially, we're not strapped. I've basically adjusted my income levels to expenses, and also live relatively modestly in between. There's a part of me that may be wished I pursued it, but I was on the frontlines (in finance) during the 08-09 crisis, and even recovery was busy. The job basically owned me and for me, I told myself I wouldn't live like that with family. Now I have a personality where i'm more chill (B type) as opposed to A type.

Tougher for you since you don't have kids yet, but I will say, it will be a game changer that many have a hard time adjusting to if you want a steady, more stable home life. But I will say, there is a part of me that feels the ego bruising given that I'm turning into that old guy but doing a job at the more junior level. So that's a factor too you have to consider.
Newbie
Jul 7, 2008
74 posts
8 upvotes
I've worked public sector 3 times, all in the tech areas (app developer, dev manager etc) - once as a union FTE near the beginning of my career, 10 years later as a non union FTE (management), and recent gig as a contract position.

In hind sight, it was the worst place to start a career. I worked with technologies/languages/frameworks that didn't really help launch my career unless I planned to stay forever. When I was looking to go into private sector back then, it took a long time to find a new role even with 7 years of experience (almost 5 with the gov). After my FTE union public sector job, I gained 10 years of working in private sector, I had a desirable skill set (tech wise) and landed back at a cushy public sector role again. The pace was so slow, the people were so slow (not in a good way), so much resistance to change even though I was hired to drive change, so much wasted money on outsourced service providers and consultants. I had my family life back, but I went home hating myself due to the frustration of not delivering at work and such a huge compromise in my personal quality of work. Not to mention dealing with lifers who resist everything, dealing with off shore teams that were lost in the gutters, and the worst was dealing with "tech senior leadership" who can only make powerpoint slides to talk about "going agile" and had no clue about any modern technology platforms, design patterns or even how their blackberry is obsolete.

I quit after 2.5 years, went back to being a contractor in the private sector.

3rd stint ended up being a contractor for a crown agency. I dreaded it, but knew it was only short term and didn't have to deal directly with the slow FTE's. I'm starting to hate myself again.

TLDR: if you have ambition, go private sector. If you have great patience, like slow moving things and don't care about relevancy on technology, the government is for you.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 12, 2008
2632 posts
646 upvotes
GTA
mmrrX wrote: I've worked public sector 3 times, all in the tech areas (app developer, dev manager etc) - once as a union FTE near the beginning of my career, 10 years later as a non union FTE (management), and recent gig as a contract position.

In hind sight, it was the worst place to start a career. I worked with technologies/languages/frameworks that didn't really help launch my career unless I planned to stay forever. When I was looking to go into private sector back then, it took a long time to find a new role even with 7 years of experience (almost 5 with the gov). After my FTE union public sector job, I gained 10 years of working in private sector, I had a desirable skill set (tech wise) and landed back at a cushy public sector role again. The pace was so slow, the people were so slow (not in a good way), so much resistance to change even though I was hired to drive change, so much wasted money on outsourced service providers and consultants. I had my family life back, but I went home hating myself due to the frustration of not delivering at work and such a huge compromise in my personal quality of work. Not to mention dealing with lifers who resist everything, dealing with off shore teams that were lost in the gutters, and the worst was dealing with "tech senior leadership" who can only make powerpoint slides to talk about "going agile" and had no clue about any modern technology platforms, design patterns or even how their blackberry is obsolete.

I quit after 2.5 years, went back to being a contractor in the private sector.

3rd stint ended up being a contractor for a crown agency. I dreaded it, but knew it was only short term and didn't have to deal directly with the slow FTE's. I'm starting to hate myself again.

TLDR: if you have ambition, go private sector. If you have great patience, like slow moving things and don't care about relevancy on technology, the government is for you.
Private sector isn't for me at the moment, people have moved from where I work to the private sector and with my education I should be able to get something at a bank for instance. My educational background is more leadership/policy based not really technology but I agree with your points.
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2018
1290 posts
802 upvotes
Toronto
Very situational, as it depends on your family dynamic and how you work out your personal responsibilities, especially when you have kids. Also it seems you are a main contributor to your household with the money you are making so moving to a more riskier job when technically your expenses will go up might be a bit scary. But to get 1-2 years of salary while you look for another job mitigates that risk I suppose. Guess it depends on how you feel about your job prospects going forward if you do get laid off.

Honestly I think the more important thing is time commitment to family vs work and only you know the answer to that

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