Updated on 01.25.11

Career Moves and Decisions

Trent Hamm

This week, someone from my past reached into the present and dropped a job offer on my lap.

If this job offer had appeared three years ago, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. It allows me to work from home. It allows me to take complete control of an interesting software development project in an area where I have some significant domain knowledge and experience.

After some thought, I turned it down.

It’s not that we couldn’t utilize the money – we certainly could. It’s not that I wouldn’t find the work itself interesting – I certainly would.

The reason I didn’t take the job is for two real reasons.

First, to do so would have meant a serious change to The Simple Dollar. In 2006 and 2007, I managed to keep The Simple Dollar going while working a full time job, but it was my only hobby, I had only one child at the time, and most of the articles back then were not nearly up to the standards of the articles I write today. Today, I have three children of different ages (meaning they each have different needs), plus The Simple Dollar requires significantly more effort than it did back then, with more readers, more emails, more comments, and more effort required for a worthwhile post.

If I were to take on a full-time effort, it would have to come at the expense of The Simple Dollar. That’s not really a choice I want to make at this time.

Second, this would be a return to work that didn’t incorporate my family. With The Simple Dollar, I can engage in activities that support the site while also engaging with my family. If I work to make an inexpensive, healthy, and tasty dinner, I can not only feed my family, but I can format that into an article. The line between work and home life often blurs in a way that my family really benefits from.

If I took this job, I would no longer have such opportunities, and the aspect of my life that would be shortchanged is my family. The entire reason I chose to take the pay cut and go full time with The Simple Dollar is for my family, so that I could spend much more time with and much more attention and focus on them.

The real lesson here is that sound financial management in my life is the only thing that makes this choice possible. By keeping spending in check, always spending less that we earn, and planning ahead for the future, my wife and I are both free to make career decisions like these.

That type of freedom is well worth giving up trips to Best Buy and daily lattes and whatever else we might be spending money unnecessarily on. Our career choices aren’t constrained by needing to maintain our income level to survive. Our only major monthly bill is our mortgage and we’re working as hard as we can to make that one go away quite early.

What else does that freedom afford us?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been developing a website with a friend that focuses on discussing board and card games as a social and intellectual activity. At this stage, we’re brainstorming ideas and I’m filtering them a bit utilizing what I’ve learned from The Simple Dollar. This is engaging to me because it hits the requirements I stated above – it engages my family (as I can play games with them) and it doesn’t detract from The Simple Dollar.

Maybe this will take off. Maybe it will never see the light of day. In either case, I have the freedom to work on it and the knowledge that I can ride it wherever it may lead. If it fails, I’m financially secure enough to just mark it up as experience.

Frugality and good financial planning underlines everything in this post. It puts you in control of your career instead of being at the mercy of your boss. It puts you in control of your life instead of at the mercy of your cell phone.

That, to me, is worth giving up buying stuff I don’t really need and not having the best of everything at all times.

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  1. Cgirl says:

    When you get the board game site up and running, would you please post the link on your blog? That sounds like something I’d be really interested about.

  2. Not that it’s any of my business, but I think you should have taken the job or offered to do consulting or done just this one project. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to cut down to a single article a day for a while and improve the quality of that single post (a la spell check) rather than pumping out content for the sake of publishing two articles a day.

    It would have been nice to see you take some of your own advice and taken on another job in order to pay down your mortgage even faster (to say you’re doing all that you can to pay it off as fast as possible in the same article that you’re telling us you turned down a job opportunity is silly at best) or to pay off the loan on your car.

    I’m not saying that it isn’t hard to write two articles a day and respond to people’s emails or moderate comments but I think you could adjust your schedule to allow more time to do other things. You don’t reply to comments, so it’s not as if you’re actively engaging in conversation with your readers that needs constant monitoring. Why not moderate comments once or twice a day (I can’t imagine that it would take more than an hour since many of the articles here don’t spark THAT much conversation on a regular basis).

    But hey, it’s your life and your blog and who am I to tell anyone what they should do. If it makes you happy to turn down a job, more power to you.

  3. Angie says:

    Agree with #1 – and I think your older posts are much better than most of what you post now.

  4. Chris says:

    The ability to turn down a job offer because it would interfere with your family life must be the greatest reward for all of your financial efforts. Bravo, and I hope all your readers can enjoy the same perk someday.

    Having said that, I just wanted to point out that you employed the verb “to utilize” twice in this article while neglecting its shorter and more common cousin “to use” almost entirely. I only mention it because “utilize” bothers me so much. Otherwise it is a fantastic post, and thank you!

  5. Shannon says:

    I’m with #2, I think you might be mistaken in thinking that your current posts are of a higher quality than your old ones. And #1 makes a lot of valid points.

  6. TC says:

    Given your choice to continue blogging full time, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the blogging industry – do you anticipate that many individuals will be able to make blogging a life-long career? If not, any thoughts on how people should transfer out of it?

  7. Thomas says:

    I thought I’d be unique in my opinion, but #1 pretty much covered it. Slowing to one post per day wouldn’t drop your google ranking much, right? And software development at home would help you maintain or develop skills in a field that isn’t going away any time soon.
    Sorry for jumping on the bandwagon running you over!

  8. kjc says:


    I’ve been a daily reader since late 2007, and there’s no difference in the quality of the writing on TSD between then and now.

    You may be able churn out articles more easily, or perhaps you are able to more easily identify topics for posts, but there is no discernible difference in quality.

    What I would agree with is that you’ve broadened the scope of the blog a bit in the last couple of years, but that doesn’t seem to be what you are claiming when you refer to older posts not being “up to the standards of the articles” you write today.

  9. Jonathan says:

    I, for one, applaud Trent for recognizing what is most important in his life. Too many people with an interest in personal finance focus primarily on the financial side of life’s decisions, without giving proper weight to the other factors.

  10. Telephus44 says:

    I applaud you for making a decision that’s inline with your values. I think that’s a really ghood example of practising what you preach.

    Although as a reader (and I do realize that you obviously don’t make career choices based on my wants), I would have preferred you to take the job and cut back on the amount of time you spend. When you had TSD as more of a hobby, the articles were better thought out and better written, and you were more actively engaged in the comments. There was a sense of passion you could tell was behind the site. Since you’ve decided to focus more on your family, this site seems more of an afterthought or chore now – oh well, I guess I have to write more articles so I can take that family trip I want to do. Or I’d really rather be cooking with my family, so I’ll quickly whip out an article about what I’m cooking.

    Again, I’m glad that you’re following your values, and that you spend your time in ways that support them – but as a reader, I can tell that you’re more focused on your family than on this site.

  11. valleycat1 says:

    I’m with #6 and #7, and I applaud you for making the decision and THEN posting it on your blog. Good for you that you’ve designed your life so that you have the flexibility to opt in or out. And what a message to send to your family, that you value time with them more than a little more cash in the bank.

  12. Emily says:

    That’s a brave move, especially since that job offer would’ve enabled you to work from home in an area of your expertise!

  13. Marilyn says:

    I am in line with #8 – congratulations on making a decision that fits your values and puts your family at the top of the list. However, I also agree with #1 – why not ask (at least) about a PT consulting role? This would allow you to keep up with TSD, even if you scale back the number of articles. It would give you more financial security. It would give you an outlet for personal interactions with adults. It would keep your resume current, so if you ever NEEDED to go back to FT coding you could.

    I also agree with the other posters that you could do this without a drop in quality of the posts. (Perhaps in quantity). The posts probably seem better to you now than before because they come to you now more easily than before, maybe some are researched more. But I don’t see you falling off with quality if you took another gig – the improvements are because you are a more experienced writer – that won’t go away if you scale back. Think about your own advice to readers – diversify. We should all be diversifying not only our investments, but when life allows, our ability to generate income.

    Good luck on your final decision, whatever it is.

  14. Adam says:

    I think you make some great points in this article. When it comes to time vs. money I think a lot of people struggle but the difference is most people will choose to trade their time for money. I believe that time is a priceless commodity and if that freedom is more important to you than paying down some debts, then you made a great choice.

  15. Anne says:

    Everything comes with a cost. Perhaps the cost of making your family number 1 is that you don’t take on a side job (even a temporary one) that will suck up your time and attention.

    You’ve worked really hard to get where you are and you have plenty more years to make money. As long as you’re not living beyond your means (and we all know you’re not!) then I not only concur with but applaud your decision.

  16. Kathryn says:

    I love this post. DH and I set similar priorities years ago and have never looked back. I think that the automatic reaction in our culture is to take any extra work that comes along (especially if it’s enjoyable) because more work=more money=more Stuff, and that’s always a good thing, right? Well, not really, not if it gets in the way of quality family relationships and doing what you’re most passionate about. It helps strengthen my resolve to know someone else is holding that line.

  17. Lex says:

    Good for you if that makes you happy, and good for whoever gets the GREAT job instead!

  18. Rita says:

    I tend to agree with those folks who think you should take the job offer for the sake of your family. I think your earlier posts from 2006, 2007 and 2008 were more interesting and the writing was fresher then. It is starting to seem you are tapped out on personal finance related topics (the the frugal joys of jigsaw puzzles, really?). Your writing seems about the same to me as it was in 2007 and based on the comments of readers, you sometimes make annoying errors. I have no idea of how many hits you get and how much money you make from this blog, but it seems that for many posts you often generate barely a dozen comments. Blogging for a living seems to be a finite activity in terms of a blog’s life span.
    Some blogs transcend their blog origins and become a real business like The Pioneer Woman or Dooce, but I am not sure TSD will have that kind of staying power. Take the job.

  19. valleycat1 says:

    This is one of the few blogs I frequent that reliably has multiple posts per day, responses from the blogger to comments when appropriate, well-moderated responses, and detailed Q&A format several times a week. Sorting through all the Qs to put together one post is time consuming in itself. Trent obviously cares a lot about this blog and I for one am happy he wants to continue spending time with us as well as with his family!

  20. Pat S. says:

    Great post. Thank you for sharing. One of my most important long term financial goals is to get to the point where I’m able to accept or decline offers not based on monetary necessity, but on what is best for my family. I’m not quite there, but am aggressively working towards that goal. Congratulations on being there.

  21. Gretchen says:

    I’m with 7, but it’s your blog and you seem happy with your decision so who cares what I think.

    Valleycat, this is one of the very lightest in terms of “blogger interaction” on my blogroll.

  22. Amanda says:

    Not trying to question your decision. However, here’s my opinion as to what a person should do when making this decision.

    Determine which makes more money hourly. If one is double the other, the higher paying one is in first place. Next half of the decision. How much time will it take up? Determine your maximum work and see if it goes over that.

    You never did write a post on a brief comment you made some weeks ago regarding why your wife chooses to work outside the home. I still want to know the answer to this. Seems like you’re sitting at home messing around (card game blog–are you serious?) while she’s working her butt off so you have health insurance. But, if it’s what SHE WANTS to do…

    DH and I both work outside the home but both part time and me, seasonal on top of that. If I could get our finances to where we could have him work one less day a week I’d be happy to work one more day a week to offset (if I could find something). Spending time together is the most important thing for us. So, we volunteer together in our time off from secular work.

  23. Johanna says:

    I agree with those who say that your posts these days are not better than the ones from 2007-2008 (before you quit your other job). I’m not sure they’re really worse either – I’d say they’re similar in quality, although very different in nature.

    I also agree that it’s clear that writing good blog posts is way, way down your priority list (because…you say it is, over and over again). But hey, it’s your blog, and it’s not like we can ask for our money back.

  24. Deborah says:

    Please understand that I don’t mean this in an ugly way but I don’t find your posts better. Much of the “incorporating” of your family life is bland and uninteresting to me.

    It might have been very interesting to have heard your refreshed perspective if you branched out but frankly, it is your life and you get to live it.

  25. kristine says:

    I empathize with this one. I turned down 2 full time jobs this year to keep my part time job after a family conference. It is my daughter’s last year at home, and she did not want the late hours and my stressing with a brand new gig. Not the time to grow apart.

    I can say it is “in line with my values”, which it is…but the bottom line is, it makes things more pleasant day to day. Minimal time pressure. It is what I wanted, and what my family wanted. It was a mediocre money choice, but what it cost us in $$, it makes up for in harmony. And we too, are only able to do this because we live lean.

    But if my kids were young, I would work as much as possible. I mean- what does anyone remember before the age of 3?

  26. Jen says:

    I’m with #6, #8 & similar. I’m impressed with your decision, and your reasons. Having followed your blog for just 6 months, I enjoy your writing and your topics.

    I declined a job this past summer for a similar reason — it was more challenging and a higher salary, but would have changed my family time, not just the quantity of at-home hours but also their quality, since the more demanding job would have increased my overall stress level.

    Wishing The Simple Dollar continued success!

  27. krantcents says:

    If you put family and happiness first, I am with you. I am new to your posts and frankly surprised with all the criticism! Despite the criticism, it is your choice.

  28. SEC Lawyer says:

    Believe I dissent from the “If it feels good not to do it, don’t do it” school of thought. The reason my family is financially secure is that I’ve been turning myself “inside out” for them outside the house from age 18 to date (54). That’s what husbands and fathers do. As explained by that great philosopher, Don Corleone, “I spent my whole life trying not to be careless. Women and children can be careless. But not men.” I realize this is politically incorrect. Most great truths are.

  29. Gretchen says:

    I also fully expect each post where you talk about your family and spending all hours of the day with them to end “and that’s why I’m quitting the simple dollar.”

  30. JC says:

    #20 Interesting saying…but for women it’s not true.

    Many women make decisions believing it’s true…but it isn’t. Women live longer, earn less, and probably save/invest less (conjecture on my part-I’m a woman BTW). Women shouldn’t be careless, but for some reason many think they can be.

  31. Miles says:

    Great article and I agree with your decision.

    I myself have made similar decisions. I am constantly offered a lot of money to return to a company from my past (I am an IT Manager), but I tell them no because my family likes the area we are in now and our quality of life in general is better with my current job.

    Bottom line; we also live under our means allowing us to do the same; turn down a really high paying gig because we can!

  32. stinkindog says:

    Funny, it was my who Mother kept the family together when my father was out drinking, chasing other women, and being “careless”. She did everything inside the home,and worked outside the home. She couldn’t afford to be careless with anything!
    I got a great laugh out of your great “truth”.

  33. Carole says:

    “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You’re obviously happy, so I agree with you, why change?

  34. Julie says:

    I agree with Kristine. This is a thought that is rarely verbalized. Yet in hindsight I think it does make sense to work more when your kids are little, assuming they are still getting good quality care. I worked my hardest when my kids were very young (I was lucky that many of the hours were late at night and from my home) and fortunately I managed to get myself in a position where I had more flexibility with my career as my kids got older. I didn’t plan it this way, nor did I even really think about it much until recently. My oldest is getting ready to leave for college and I am so thankful for the long hours I put in when he was younger (that he doesn’t remember) as they have afforded me the extra time to spend with him now.

    Those extra hours that Trent might have worked now could have paid some big dividends when the kids were older.

  35. Julie says:

    SEC Lawyer. This isn’t just what men do. Your comment is a little outdated. Every decision I have made in my career and every hour past midnight that I have worked has been for the sake of my family and their future as my salary has been the major contributor to the family income. Lady CFO

  36. That was a very strong decision you made Trent. As much as I would like to envy you for even getting a job offer (haha) I admire you for really considering it, and especially bringing your entire family into the decision. That was HUGE.

  37. MD says:

    First let me say, I applaud you for being in a position to make a decision based on your values and not financial pressures. I didn’t miss that point and it’s added more fuel to my fire that I need to get my finances in the same place.

    But, I would say if I were in your position. I probably would have taken that job. It’s wonderful that you want to spend time with your family and that you put them first, but it’s ok to do things that stimulate you as well. It’s a great opportunity to use your skills, possibly learn new ones, and it was good paying position. The money you earned from the job could go to college funds for the kids, vacation funds, giving that is important to you and your family, a future investment opportunity, etc… Since it was temporary position, you would not have to alter your lifestyle or your commitment to TSD permanently. I don’t know how many hours a week this job would require, but if it’s a regular 40 hour a week job I think that’s definitely doable and still be present with your family and write for TSD. It may mean a few less post, but I think most of your readers will understand and as long as what you post is relevant, helpful, and written with quality I don’t think it would harm your readership. That’s just my two cents, but regardless of my opinion kudos to you for making the decision that is best for your family and being in a position to make the decision based on just that. Peace!

  38. ChrisD says:

    I think it’s great to be able to make this choice. I’d also be interested in part time, small scale work on a project like this to keep your skills current. But you have other work as well, you are developing your writing skills on other non-TSD related work so that job is not the only important thing to do.

    @kristine But if my kids were young, I would work as much as possible. I mean- what does anyone remember before the age of 3?

    I’m reading a lot on this topic at the moment, (read Oliver James and Sue Gerhardt and all the studies they quote) and conversely they say that the first three years are the MOST important as you are laying down the brain chemistry and pathways at this age. Thus a baby who is left to cry vs a baby who is always picked up will have different brain chemistry and even at age two will respond differently to another crying baby. The first child will get angry at the baby and feel that they are doing something wrong, the second child will go over and try to help. Re, good alternative care, this can work well but do bear in mind that 90% of day care in the US and the UK is really NOT good quality.

    So providing excellent care for your children now is the MOST important time, their memory of it is not the most important thing.

  39. CarA says:

    SEC Lawyer-
    If your “woman and children” are careless, that’s a personal problem. I, for one, am a working mother who has spent most of my career and grown-up life giving to others. And I am happy with that decision.
    Great post Trent.

  40. Barbara Peter says:

    Trent, your post today warmed my heart. You said “No” to the job because it would have conflicted with a lifestyle you have taken time to both cultivate and love.

    Your example inspires me to look at my life and see what I have lovingly created for myself and my own family. I am at peace. Yes, a different job would allow me to buy more stuff, but at the expense of what?

    I have only been following you for a few weeks, but want you to know how much I am impacted by each and every thought you put out there. What you share is worth it to me and so many others, I am sure. THANK YOU!

  41. Ryan DeLeon says:

    This is my first time vising the site and first article I read. So I dont know exactly where your coming from, but I just had my first child 6 months ago and I could soon face working 2 jobs and I know I will be hate being away from my wife and daughter. I can respect taking less money for more time with family. That being said I would probably at least try to reorganize my time to help on that project in order to pay down any debt. We became debt free besides our mortgage recently and not having debt payments really takes a load off. Either way I can respect that decision.

  42. Mark Gavagan says:

    There’s certainly nothing wrong with your decision, but I wonder if you considered hiring someone* to do much of the writing and research and you took on the role of a weekly column plus editing/oversight of the other person’s work.

    *getting the right person is key

  43. Wedell beverstoc says:

    I just want you to know…I think your Simple Dollar posts are amazing! I am constantly amazed aat the variety of subjects addressed.I love it when you comment about family, for me it all means you are a real person! I have been readi g the Simple Dollar for over two years…itisthe oonlypostI’veever chosen to follow daily,
    Thank you Trent for your dedication and passion for The Simple Dollar and your service to those of us who are blessed by your efforts!

  44. Telephus44 says:

    I’d also be interesting in hearing Trent’s opinion on becoming a SAHD. I don’t think he would consider himself one now, but if he really wants to focus more on time with his family and turn down jobs and put less work into his blog, maybe it’s something he’s considering, even if it’s unconscious.

    and to ChrisD (25) – I’d be interested to know where the statistic “90% of daycare in the US and UK is really NOT good quality” comes from. I do agree that a lot of brain formation takes place in the first 3 years of life, but I also think that kristine makes an excellent point. I am a parent of a 4-1/2 year old, and I have both stayed home and worked. And I would rather have my child in daycare when they were a baby, since they pretty much only need basic needs met – food, clean diapers, comfort them when they are crying, etc. When they get older (like 2-3) then I started having a lot stronger opinions on what toys they played with, how much time do they get to play outside, did someone just plop them in front of the TV all day, is anyone teaching them the alphabet. So I’d rather work a lot during the first few years and spent more time with them later. I don’t think 90% of daycare providers just let babies cry. Mine didn’t. When I was interviewing providers, I only found one that did (and consequently I didn’t choose that one).

  45. sara says:

    SEC Lawyer. Way to go to keep women and children careless. That’s how they where made, right?

  46. T says:

    I found this site when I googled “make your own bread” while I was out of work.
    Thank you for staying – your daily posts have changed my life. I now live better and happier. Past life-soccer mom, Target Tart (women who shops at Target buying seasonal stuff while kids are in pre-school) Now-divorced, work full time at a company that is closing this year & I am not afraid of the job market because of what I have learned here.
    I have chickens, a garden, I made grape & apple jeally this year, instead of letting the fruit fall. My kids appreciate life instead of feeling inadequate.
    Basicly, THANK YOU

  47. Maureen says:

    I think you have missed a great opportunity.

    The Simple Dollar may not always generate a worthwhile income for you. Or you may tire of it. Or you may find it increasingly difficult to generate worthwhile ideas to discuss. I think it wise to have another avenue for income. The job offer you turned down would have given you an opportunity to keep up your software development skills. Being able to work from home is icing on the cake. And it could lead to other opportunities.

    This would have been particularly ideal if your wife had stayed home for a couple of years (as you had previously considered). But I would infer from recent posts that that plan has been abandoned and she is going back to her teaching job.

    You could certainly still “make an inexpensive, healthy, and tasty dinner” with your family had you taken the job offer. So that would not make any difference to your family. You just couldn’t exploit the activity. I, for one, do not come to The Simple Dollar to read about your recipes. I think such posts should be on a blog of their own. They may be helpful to others. They seem like ‘filler posts’ when posted here(imo). I would prefer to read one solid article per day on personal finance. I think in general, in your push to come up with 2 posts per day, the overall quality has declined and the content has been watered down.

    Had you chosen to take the job you could still write for this blog (say 5 solid posts per week) and kept up valuable professional skills while working from home. Seems great to me.

  48. Interested Reader says:

    I don’t believe you are worried about the quality of this blog, you’ve stated before quantity is more important than quality and it shows.

    Also time and time again readers have asked for more quality and less quantity but you don’t care about that either. It’s your blog and you can do what you want but at some point the lack of quality , the sloppy writing, and the out right wrong answers are going to cost you readership.

    I don’t see how you can argue quality of your writing is better when you write stuff like this -“The reason I didn’t take the job is for two real reasons.”

  49. Gretchen says:

    Why the heck do I have a comment in moderation?

  50. Julia says:

    Trent, it sounds like you made a well-thought-out choice, and took into consideration the many factors you feel are most important to you. Good for you – I’m sure you will not regret it! More job + more money often equals more stress, stuff, and regret. Financially, if you are covering your bases and are happy with your mortgage progress and your general financial state that’s great if you can make a decision that will leave room in your life for what you feel is most important.

    I left a stressful full-time job in a sick, politically crippled organization, moved to a well-paying part-time job with benefits, all the while straddling lots of debt. Dumb move some would say, BUT my expenses/bills are covered I have even been able to put extra toward debt, and – this is the most important aspect – I have peace of mind and the time to actually live and enjoy this short life without the demands of full-time work and commuting. Sometimes you have to look at the non-material things as a place from which to make your decisions whether that is taking care of your own mental health, enjoying your family, or just having more time to settle into a simpler, more stress-free life.

  51. Nancy says:

    #20 SEC Lawyer: It’s much more socially acceptable for men with children to bust their butt in the work world. Rarely are men accused of neglecting their family in this case. Not so with women. And it’s offensive to put women in the same category as children.

  52. Terry says:

    Time is so valuable. I support your decision totally. Anyone fortunate enough to be in a position to be self employed, doing something they enjoy that allows them to be with family and those they love deserves a lot of respect. That’s what I’m aiming for. I think in our culture we undervalue time in favor of money and time goes so fast. It’s not for wasting. From reading the other posts, I’m thinking that what some are saying is you need to sharpen your edge a little, or do something to stoke your passion — The thing about owning a business is there has to be time to back off a bit and recharge, get new ideas, clear inner space. Maybe you’ve figured that one out. Maybe a ghost writer for a couple of weeks to let you reboot, if you need to do that and I’m not suggesting you are, I really enjoy the posts. Just thinking out loud here. I’m sure as time goes on you will have a lot of great ideas that make money and keep in aligned with your values. I personally an aiming to work full time at my business this year — your blog helps me keep my goal in view and do what’s necessary to achieve it. Thank you. :-)

  53. Katie says:

    I hope SEC Lawyer’s stay-at-home wife (I assume, given his attitude) doesn’t read this; I imagine she’d be pretty offended at the idea that raising children can be done carelessly and foolishly and that it doesn’t matter. Really, even if you’re following the dumb-ass retrograde stereotypes he’s talking about it’s a stupid quote when taken as life philosophy.

  54. Interested Reader says:

    @SEC -are you seriously calling a fictional mob boss a “philosopher? That’s kinda…sad.

  55. Johanna says:

    According to SEC Lawyer, single women (including single mothers) don’t exist. I did not know that.

  56. marta says:

    Reason 1: even if you are doing it full time, we know that TSD isn’t such a huge priority.

    Reason 2: Why do you have to incorporate your family in *everything* you do? That can’t be that healthy.

    You can do whatever you want, of course, but the stated reasons seem to be weak. I also think that the blog would actually benefit if you got out of your comfort zone. How many times are you going to write about board games and programmable thermostats?

  57. Mayo says:

    Dear Trent:

    Congratulations, and thank you! Congratulations on modeling the true meaning of “mindful living.” And thank you for your consistently inspiring and reassuring messages.

  58. Julia says:

    I entered a comment over three hours ago and was informed it was being moderated. Ok, fine. In the meantime, I see 7 or so people after me have their comments go up immediately. What gives? How can you enter into a discussion or an opinion toss if your comment is hung up and nobody sees it? I am an avid, long-time reader and have never commented before…what’s the point?

  59. Earth MaMa Jo says:

    Dear Trent:

    I’ve been at the crossroad that you just visited. It can be hard, but I’ve found that the decision that is best for me and my family is the one that, once I make it, is the one that keeps me sleeping good at night.

    I, too, have made decisions that others don’t agree with. All I can say is that you need to make the best decision for you and your family, and don’t worry about anyone else. It’s your life, we only get one go around at it, make it as stress free as possible.

  60. Earth MaMa Jo says:

    Dear SEC Lawyer:

    You sound like a person who has sacrificed a lot, and is bitter about it. Your “great truths” are not everyone’s great truths. Turning your self inside out your whole life gets you nothing but a miserable life, and obviously, misogynistic thoughts.

    I feel sorry for you, I think you know how to change your life but you seem unwilling or perhaps just afraid.

  61. christine says:

    The message I got from Trent’s brave post (and I admire his courage to put his life in the arena as much as he does!) is that his frugal lifestyle made it possible to make the decision he made, whether others approve of it or not. Thanks for one of the best, most readable blogs out there!

  62. Carmen says:

    I was really surprised to read all the earlier negative comments. I think it’s a matter of having your priorities in the right place. Work to Live not Live to Work. If at all possible, a job should support the life you want to lead. Kudos to Trent for having the insight to see this and the will to keep his priorities in place.

  63. PBM says:

    Didn’t you post the other day that you have $300,000 in debt? You are entitled to your decision, but I would like to express my opinion. If we had a debt like that, and my husband had me working out of the house, so he could keep his “use to be” hobby going, I think a grudge just might creep up if I were not extra careful.

    Why not take the job, work a couple of years, get the debt paid, off, write your TSD article while at lunch? Or is that amount just insignificant to you? I don’t get it.

  64. Jeanette says:

    Some of us who really need work (consulting) have a hard time understanding, even given your reasons, why you would turn down work (especially if it’s something you’re interested in!).

    Let’s hope that someone who really needs the work can take advantage of this opportunity even if you chose not to.

    Your lifestyle situation is more unique than you might appreciate, Trent, and not just because of your choices in the last couple of years as regards the blog. Few of us, no matter how frugal, really can structure our lives as you have yours.

    FYI: I think you can put your family first and still have them as a priority and work more “traditionally”. In fact, some of the people we know who blog for a living or have taken a more creative career path, well, they have less time and energy for their family than they did when they were doing the “9-to-5” routine.

    But as always, you gotta do what you gotta do. However, I often feel that many of your blog posts are about justifying your decision. Hey, it’s your life. You don’t have to explain or justify your choices to anyone except, maybe, your spouse. Certainly not those of us who read your blog.

  65. skp says:

    #38- I’m sure Trents frugal lifestyle helped but lets not forget his wife willingness to work full time to provide benifits and “security”. Been there DO THAT!

  66. Rachel says:

    Why are so many of these commenters so negative? It’s Trent’s life and decision and he’s choosing to share it with us – be grateful! And if it’s your opinion that the posts are decreasing in quality, well why are you still here reading?

    I for one congratulate Trent on focusing more on goals and life happiness than pure money and more obvious career success.

    And if I were him I would definitely moderate my comments more carefully!

  67. Evita says:

    I know it is none of my business but since you kept your readers informed, you must be ready for all kinds of comments on your personal life ……

    I have mixed feelings about your choice. If I were jobless in this depressed economy and someone offered me a good contract in my field with NO COMMUTE, I would literally jump on it! Oh, the lure of that house in the country, a possibility coming closer everyday with returns from this work !
    Your wife is planning to return to work, your kids will return to day-care, you’ll be free with you daytime schedule…… all this time for two colums a day and a home-cooked meal?

    I believe that your Simple Dollar followers would still be with you with half (or less) of your actual output. Altough I am frequently annoyed by the repetitiveness of the subjects and the constant typos and abuse of language I read you anyway, the gems hidden in some chronicles make it worth my daily perusal of your site.

    Good luck!

  68. Andrea says:

    Interesting comments from both sides and I can see both sides. It is absolutely a choice that you COULD make and isnt that wonderful that you have that choice because of other smaller and larger choices you have made over the last several years.

    From what I remember reading your kids are already going to day care/preschool several days a week so you have time to yourself to take on this new job. Others have posted that you could cut down to one article a day for a period of time, certainly a reasonable suggestion.

    Seems like this work could get you closer to that house in the country just a little faster where your kids could really enjoy growing up out there vs. moving them there when they are older and have friendships started in your current location.

    We moved to the country way of life when our boys were 17 and 10. All of their friends were still ‘back in town’ and we did a lot of driving.

    2014 when your current house is paid off (according to a post a few days ago) will mean your son is already 9 and will have to face that transition I mentioned.

    Kids need you most at home when they are pre-teen and teenaged, assuming that you kept the ties close when they were younger. Sounds like you are striving for that now, but you can still work hard now if you want to.

    Also sounds like you have already decided, so I’m just offering one perspective of the kids.

  69. almost there says:

    Hmm, I don’t come here daily anymore because I think a lot of the new postings are a rehash of older ones. I think Trent should have taken the job because this blog is starting to “jump the shark”.

  70. SEC lawyer says:

    I knew the feminazis (and lazy men) wouldn’t like what I had to say, but there’s an inconvenient truth that explains their angst: They’re married to beta males, if they’re married. Alpha males don’t turn down higher-paying work so they can “spend more time with the children.” They didn’t do that in the Godfather’s age, and they don’t do it in 2011.

    You’ll need to excuse me now, as I need to get back to work.

  71. agreeing says:

    I think if it works for you and your wife and you both are in agreement with it….then enjoy:)

  72. Carmen says:

    @SEC Lawyer – not that your offensive comment deserves a reply, but did you notice what happened to the Godfather’s children? Didn’t end well…

  73. Karen says:

    A very powerful post.

    I only found your site last year, so I can’t compare it to your posts of 3 years ago, but I don’t see how that matters anyway. I am not the same person now that I was 3 years ago, so surely my perception of past articles being “better” or “worse” would be inaccurate.

    Thank you, Trent, for writing out your decision-making process. Every reader will have to go through important life-changing decisions, and seeing how you came to your conclusion could help anyone who is open to learning. When I look back (I’m in my 50s), although I question some choices, I am at peace knowing I made what I thought was the best decision at that time with the knowledge and maturity I had AT THAT TIME.

    I didn’t make any horrible mistakes, but my biggest regret is that I didn’t start saving at the very beginning of my working career.

    I admire you and I also admire your family for being supportive of you and The Simple Dollar.

  74. Julie says:

    SEC Lawyer – What you arent considering is that it is now very common for the wife to be able to far outearn her husband…often working fewer hours. This decision could also be affected by a husband’s illness, recession and a variety of other reasons. Thus it sometimes makes sense for a somewhat of a roll reversal…for the sake of the children. It just so happens that I could work less and make quite a bit more than my Alpha male spouse. We had young sons at the time…and it made more sense for him to cut back on his work to help take care of the kids. What would be better for the kids…him working 60+ hours a week or me working 30? Plus, I could work more at home or after hours.

    Today our sons are nearly 17 and 19 and both have just about the best relationship with their father of any teenage boys that I know. I would attribute this to the fact that they actually were able to spend time with their father. Looking back, I know my Alpha male husband wouldn’t change a thing. His career is once again picking up…and he now has the rest of his life to work as hard as he wants.

    And, as the old story goes…I have never heard of a man on his death bed that said, “I wish I had spent more time in the office.”

  75. SEC Lawyer says:

    Alpha males couldn’t care less about how to “relate to teenage boys.” That’s for betas (and their undersupported wives and children). Alphas spend their time competing with, and defeating, men, for the benefit of their families. I think it’s great when women go at careers hard. But it’s sad when their men default.

    Anyway, game’s on in my world. So it’s back to work for me. I haven’t heard anything at this website that I haven’t heard from men that we let go for underperformance. So I’m going to check out. Have a nice day!

  76. Janet says:

    Kudos to you. You know you’re in a good place when you can turn down a great offer.

  77. ChrisD says:

    @27 Telephus44
    and to ChrisD (25) – I’d be interested to know where the statistic “90% of daycare in the US and UK is really NOT good quality” comes from.

    From Oliver James. See also Sue Gerhardt. They both quote a lot of studies so I think there is quite a bit to what they say (not just about daycare).

    @46 SEC Lawyer
    Alpha males couldn’t care less about how to “relate to teenage boys.” That’s for betas (and their undersupported wives and children).

    Wow. Well, that’s certainly one point of view.

    Actually I was speaking to a banker friend about work. He did a three month project where, including weekends, he had two days off over the three months. They he followed that up with another equally intensive 3 month project.
    Yet he wouldn’t believe that he was exploited or overworked. He said that his life was balanced (personally I think if you work more than 60 hours a week your life is not balanced). He said that it was a dog eat dog world and that nobody would hire some one who wasn’t working that hard. I guess I didn’t realise to what extent the people working those hours internalise the values needed to drive themselves so hard.

  78. Interested Reader says:

    SEC lawyer is joking with us right? Someone who talks like that and thinks a fictional mob boss is a great philosopher can not be serious.


    ..Unless he’s a werewolf.

  79. Johanna says:

    @IR (#78): Or unless the career he works so hard at is as a professional jack@$$.

  80. Interested Reader says:

    @Johanna – true.

    Although I’m wondering now why SEC lawyer even reads TSD. By his reasoning men who take time for their families are Betas, so Trent would be a Beta. SEC Lawyer sees himself as an Alpha. So why is an Alpha Male looking to advice for a Beta Male?

    I can’t believe I seriously wrote all that stuff out and it’s not in reference to a Patricia Briggs novel.

  81. SLCCOM says:

    By turning down the software gig, Trent shut down an opportunity that could lead to something down the road. that he might like even more. My bigger concern is that skills like software will outdate, and should he later want to return to something like that, the opportunity may not ever be there again.

    People forget that life is long (in most cases); when you shut doors like that you also close off opportunities that might be very important later.

    I have always made my decisions by looking at another factor that most people overlook: which decisions will give me the most opportunities and options in the future. And by future I mean from five to thirty or so years in the future.

    That is why I went with a science undergraduate degree and an occupational safety and health Master’s; I do safety freelance writing, which I could not be doing without the science background. Writing is my passion, but an English degree isn’t worth much.

    Take every opportunity to keep up in your old field, or to gain skills in new ones. You never, never know which doors will close in the future or which new ones will open if you are read.

  82. kristine says:

    SEC Lawyer- a close friend of mine just posted this on Facebook, and it made me think of your “feminazis” slur, that made you so easily dismissed:

    Stop calling people nazis simply because you disagree with their opinions or tactics. Actual nazis killed my grandparents & raped & tortured my mother as an 8 year old girl. Nobody has the right to call someone with whom they disagree a nazi. It’s offensive to the millions who suffered at the hands of actual nazis. In fact if you have to call a political opponent a name, you likely don’t have an argument.

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