• You’re Hired! Now Here’s a Car Payment

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    Highway, Houston

    I'll be stuck in this.

    One of the great things about my current job is that my wife and I can commute together, whether it be by public transportation (in the past) or by car (currently). While I’ve waxed poetic on how much I love my job, I found myself a few weeks ago interviewing for another position. It’s a step up from my current position, with much more room to advance and grow. Apparently I impressed them, which is surprising since I haven’t interviewed in over eight years and I only had a few days to prepare. They’re going to give me an offer soon.

    As I wait for the offer to come in, I’ve had to review my current benefits package and lay everything out to make sure that I can make apples-to-apples comparisons with the offer I am about to receive. That’s the easy part. The harder part is to determine the intangible items and see how they compare.

    One of the things I love about my current job is that it is in the heart of downtown Chicago. I have access to museums, shops, parks, history, you name it, all within a 15 minute walk from my office. But like I said earlier; one of the best things is that normally soul-sucking commute time can be spent singing Christmas Carols with my wife and child and having a grand ole’ time while sitting in traffic.

    One of the downsides about the new position is its location outside of the city, in a suburb almost 30 miles out from downtown Chicago. In taking the position, I would certainly have to buy a new car, in addition to not commuting with my wife and child who make the commute much more bearable. If I indeed take this position, I’d have to have something I haven’t in my adult life: a car payment.

    Knowing that I’ll have to buy a car really changes the outlook of how I’ll approach the new job’s offer. Should I make sure that I get compensated the amount that a new car would cost? That’s somewhat unreasonable as that could increase my income by over 25%. Do I ask for flexible work schedule so that I don’t have to drive as much? Is this a dealbreaker?

    I won’t know if this is a potential dealbreaker until I see the complete offer. Unfortunately, it seems that if I want to pursue a job in my field, I’ll probably end up commuting out to the suburbs sometime in my life. But it doesn’t have to be now.

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