Would you trade you're job for a lower paying remote job (hypothetical)

Noble Software Group / Design jesse
Jul 11, 2017 52 Comments

I’m currently the sole UX designer at a small (about 10 team members) 100% remote company. I’m thinking of trying to make the jump to Microsoft or Amazon. To help make the decision I wanted to describe what it’s like working here, and see how many UX designers at Microsoft or Amazon would want to swap jobs (hypothetically of course).

My company makes a web-based product that probation officers around the country use to assess the risks and needs of offenders (mostly juveniles), and create a treatment plan with them, rather then sending them to jail (as long as they are not high-risk).

The company is based out of Redding, Ca. I started with them 2.5 years ago while I was living there. I moved to Seattle a year ago (I’m originally from Washington) as a potential career move, and to move closer to family.

Like I said I work remotely. I usually work from home (North Seattle), though sometimes I work from coffee shops. I’ve also been able to travel to Europe and Africa while working. While I tend to work a traditional 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday schedule along with the rest of my team, I’m able to set my own hours. That means if I need to run an errand, I can go when there’s little traffic. Or I can pop out mid-day to take my 2 year old son to the park. My company just wants us to finish our sprints. Speaking of my son, I’m always here with him. On my breaks (I do the pomodoro technique) I can play with him. It’s awesome. I never miss a thing.

Oh, I also have unlimited PTO. I also never have to ask for it. I tell them when I’m taking off.

Sounds like a dream so far, right?

I’m paid $77k/yr. The last two Christmas’s I received a $1000 bonus. That’s it. That’s my compensation.

So, would any UXers at Microsoft or Amazon swap jobs with me. Why or why not?

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TOP 52 Comments
  • Microsoft / Eng
    BrahmaDeva

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    HP Inc
    BIO
    Just a great guy 💁🏽‍♂️. PM me for details
    BrahmaDevamore
    Would you sell bacon to travellers while naked standing on the sidewalk in front of Pike Place Market
    (HYPOTHETICAL)
    Jul 11, 2017 3
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      yes I would.
      Jul 11, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng Skyped
      If he's naked, shouldn't he be selling sausage?
      Jul 11, 2017
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      bacon wrapped sausage
      Jul 11, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng Hanky Pank
    I would consider it if I could live in developing countries - in Eastern Europe or Colombia that would be amazing comp. But when I have a family and need to stay in one first-world spot, it doesn't make sense.

    Why not apply and see if the comp difference is enough to convince you?
    Jul 11, 2017 4
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      I know the comp difference would be yuge! I guess I need to decide how much the flexibility is worth. Is it worth $30k/yr? I dunno yet.
      Jul 11, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng Hanky Pank
      You'll also see the work environment, see what you'd be working on and if that would be more interesting, etc... lots to consider there.
      Jul 11, 2017
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      So what you're saying is I've got nothing to lose by applying. Defer making a decision once there's an offer on the table.
      Jul 11, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng Hanky Pank
      Yep. Your conception of what it's like there will be totally different from reality.
      Jul 11, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng Skyped
    The upside is that when you work with really good people, you learn a lot.

    The downside is that the "corporate world" is going to be a huge shock and mostly not in a good way.

    Add in the commute time and hassle and it's not necessarily better.

    Like someone else said, you have nothing to lose by interviewing. Make sure to ask lots of questions about the work and the environment.

    Would I take a 50% pay cut for your deal? In a heartbeat. But I'm near the end of my career and my kids are almost out of college.

    It is super cool to be able to point at a big public site and say "I did that". Many of us have been solving huge user base issues for so long, but it's super cool when someone asks what you do and you send them to the site / app.

    Whatever you decide, some level of "buyer's remorse" is normal. Push through it.

    Good luck.
    Jul 11, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      That's a really good response. Thanks so much.
      Jul 11, 2017
  • Amazon oGPoop
    It depends on the Team. I used to work at a agency and it was refreshing working in new projects etc. sad part was the impact.

    So I came to Amazon and it's a mixed bag. When I first got here, it was 150 engineers to 1 UI/UX. Absolute chaos.

    But you'd be bringing in much more than $77k here, depending on your level.

    What do you specialize in?
    Jul 11, 2017 3
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      currently I'm a ux team of one, so I'm doing research, IA, interactions design. I like doing all of that but I feel like if I had to choose one it would be interaction design.

      I also write a lot of the front-end, unit tests and all.
      Jul 11, 2017
    • New / Design SamStanley
      I feel like one man Ux teams tend to make less than when there are two or more team members... it's been my experience anyway.
      Jul 26, 2017
    • You could easily specialize in what you most enjoy and make significantly more.
      Sep 15, 2017
  • LinkedIn / Design
    DukeSilver

    LinkedIn Design

    PRE
    500 Startups, Symantec
    BIO
    Blind Designer. Not literally
    DukeSilvermore
    I wouldn't swap jobs with you based on the following thing.
    1. Compensation, compensation, compensation. Pretty low to live the life am living in Bay Area. I'd take it up if i was being paid the same outside of US in a developing country.
    2. No team interaction. I learn a lot from co-designers and the team spirit and culture gets me into work on a Monday morning. I have been a solo designer (not remote though, but WFH 2-3 days a week was okay) in my previous jobs, and I missed the team bonding on that front. Though the flexibility to get my laundry and cooking done during work hours was great.
    3. Contracting doesn't get me excited about the product. Need to have a bigger piece of the pie in design strategy to get me out of my bed and keep being a designer.

    Makes sense?
    Jul 11, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      yeah makes sense. although I want to be clear that although I'm technically a contractor, I have major say in the product. the company is so small they don't want to bother with setting it up to have actual employees, so that's why I'm a contractor. Been with them 2.5 years now. But Im definitely picking up what you're putting down.
      Jul 11, 2017
  • Microsoft rawr44
    Hmmm move to Asia and you'd feel soooo rich
    Jul 11, 2017 0
  • Facebook anooonfb
    I dunno, I like coming into the office and I like the stimulation I get in San Francisco.

    The most ideal situation would be frequent first class trips to Europe for short projects and free weekends.

    #dreamin
    Jul 11, 2017 0
  • Microsoft realguru
    Be smart. Start outsourcing at micro level. Hire some one in India or where ever pay them $300-$500 and let them do your jobs. Meantime find another remote job. BTW you will be GOD to outsource person
    Jul 13, 2017 6
    • Microsoft realguru
      Don't care but is good business model. Trump told me so
      Jul 13, 2017
    • Talkdesk / Mgmt (boo)
      hah
      Jul 13, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng Skyped
      I did this on a couple of side projects and made a fortune. You have to try a few before code quality is adequate but I found a firm in Russia that was reasonable (not the cheapest). They did 75% of the work. I finalized everything and almost doubled my bill rate. This is my "retirement" plan.
      Jul 13, 2017
    • New haPT60
      That only applies when you work for a moron.
      Jul 13, 2017
    • Microsoft realguru
      You want to be smarter than your boss and make him depended. Now you can leverage all you can. Unlimited vac, good bonus for couple of years then make a move up
      Jul 14, 2017
  • Microsoft / Design 🚶Wanderer
    I wouldn't solely based on:
    a) compensation
    b) contract gig (not a fan)
    c) product is niche
    Jul 11, 2017 3
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      Yes. The product is niche, but it's used to literally help young people get their life on track. Would you rather work on a product like that, or something like Snapchat?
      Jul 11, 2017
    • Microsoft clippy
      Sounds like you already have your mind made up and you just want to talk about your job
      Jul 12, 2017
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      Just giving a counter argument. I have made up my mind though. I'm moving on... going for bigger and better.
      Jul 12, 2017
  • Cisco / Design borat
    Come work for Cisco. A large portion of our company works 100% remote - designers included.
    Jul 24, 2017 1
    • Ticketmaster / Design uxatwork
      I see that a Cisco team in CA is hiring. Do you mind sharing the salary range for senior UX designers? What is the culture like?
      Jul 25, 2017
  • Microsoft / Mktg
    rSSg06

    Microsoft Mktg

    PRE
    Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks
    rSSg06more
    At this young toddler stage, you may need to factor costs such as child care, increased dining costs due to limited hours, etc. these will quickly cut into the increase.

    The flexibility you have now will be invaluable when your child is school aged and in multiple activities.
    Jul 11, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      True. Although my wife is a stay-at-home mom so we won't have childcare costs. But the idea that when he's school aged I can be at everything he's involved in is important to me.
      Jul 12, 2017
  • Talkdesk / Mgmt (boo)
    if you're earlier in your career, it's time to move on. you'll learn so much more working in a team environment.
    Jul 11, 2017 0
  • Microsoft Gmaj58
    Some MSFT roles are mostly remote. Talked to a person yesterday who lives in Eastern WA and never goes into the office. She's got a global role, and mostly works with people who are abroad. Might be worth a look. Just ask in your loop what percentage remote you can be.
    Jul 19, 2017 1
    • Microsoft Gmaj58
      BTW, she earns a Redmond Salary. 😜
      Jul 19, 2017
  • Amazon StarInPnd
    You would more than double your compensation at Amazon. I think the product might be more exciting too. But you will lose on the commute and time with your child.
    Jul 13, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      If compensation was double I think it would be worth it. Especially if the product is more exciting.
      Jul 13, 2017
  • New haPT60
    I worked from home for few years but it was impossible to leave my desk not to mention travel the world. It was non-stop work all day long. i prefer to go to the office where you get paid for showing up:)
    Jul 13, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      that has not been my experience.
      Jul 13, 2017
  • New / Design
    NRPtech

    New Design

    BIO
    Sr VP of Creative Media & Technology for Nile Rodgers Productions
    NRPtechmore
    Lots of factors come into play. How much more money are you really making, based on cost of living, time consumption, value of life.

    You would of course be making much more than $77k in SV, but we know many people who's commutes are 3-4 hours a day.

    A lot to consider.
    Jul 13, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      I'm in Seattle.But yeah, I see what you're saying.
      Jul 13, 2017
  • Microsoft userisname
    What do you love about working remotely? How much influence do you have in designing your product? I've worked remotely for a large company but was the sole designer. I liked that I had major influence and made the design decisions. Now I work on a large product in a large org. It takes time to move up and be a big influencer. So weigh the benefits and risks, figure out what you like and what your missing in your current role, and asses if the company you work for is meeting your needs personally and professionally. Good luck!
    Jul 12, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      I love the flexibility, the autonomy, the no commute, the being home with my family. I have an enormous influence on the design. I love that too.

      I don't love the isolation from team members. Collaborating via vid chat sucks. I don't love the lower than average compensation. I don't love that I'm the only designer - no learning from others.

      thanks!
      Jul 12, 2017
  • TuneIn PtNO13
    it's not really that comparable, if your priority is to travel the world, then remote is required; otherwise what are you taking the pay cut for?
    Jul 11, 2017 1
    • Noble Software Group / Design jesse
      OP
      good point
      Jul 11, 2017
  • Ticketmaster / Design uxatwork
    I would take a pay cut if I lived somewhere with very low COL. I enjoy knowledge sharing and interacting with my team so I would probably prefer a partial remote position. I have done partial remote before with a very high pay so I'm not sure why you'd have to take a pay cut if you're producing great work.
    Jul 25, 2017 0
  • Microsoft realguru
    Sorry to say you brought it upon yourself. At the end of the day you have power to say hello or reply email or IM when you want let others jump up and down. Btw keep your calendar busy be creative
    Jul 13, 2017 0