I mentioned while reflecting on leaving my job  that my husband is reevaluating his plan to work. He was presented with a unique career opportunity, but he only essentially had 2 days to make a decision.
I mentioned that my dad was in the hospital. He was recovering slowly, but wasn’t able to return to his job at the time. He’s a self-employed business owner of 30 years, but has no employees. That means no one to run the business while he’s gone.
His business is about 75% sales, but there is plenty of physical labor involved.
My husband, Scott, has a job at our University as a computer programmer. He’s been there about 10 years and likes his job.
Obviously, the two careers are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Scott currently has a salaried, office job, with terrific state benefits in the IT world. My dad has a manual, self employed business, in a field Scott doesn’t know anything about.
Can you guess where I’m going? When my dad got sick, it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be able to run the business anymore. I thought, why not have Scott take over my dad’s business? After all, I didn’t want to see my dad’s business close, since I’ve grown up around it and I feel a bit of emotional attachment to it.
I pitched the idea to Scott and my parents. One day later we had a plan devised. However, because my dad’s business had been closed for two weeks already, time was of the essence. Scott needed to make a decision immediately.
We discussed various pros and cons all weekend. Here were some of our bigger discussions:
Health Insurance. Scott carries our health insurance, which is the primary reason he stayed at his job when I quit. It’s really important considering the upcoming birth of our next child. We got some quotes from our local HMOs and the price right now is fine…. since we’re all healthy. However, the variability of the health insurance market is something I’m not sure I feel up to placing bets on.
Different Field. Did I mention they are in two completely different fields? Scott would have a steep learning curve, although my dad would be more than willing to teach him. Probably the most valuable asset to the company is my dad’s knowledge, so Scott would have to work really hard to learn as much as he could from my dad.
Being Your Own Boss. Since Scott has watched me stay at home over the last six months and seen the business take off, he has started to consider working for himself more and more. The appeal of being your own boss is something that really is starting to entice him.
Established Business. Because my dad’s business has been around for 30 years, it isn’t like Scott would be starting from scratch. There is a solid customer base, and the majority of sales would continue, even if my dad handed over the business.
Income. The income wasn’t really a factor in the decision, as either position would allow enough income for Scott to continue his hobbies. However, the appeal of being able to have a more direct impact on the income is something that interests him, since his raises are currently not usually tied to performance .
Stability. Because Scott works for our local University, his job is pretty stable. Each time the state faces budget cuts, it’s something that comes up, but overall, his job is much more stable than many in the current economy.
Expansion. One of the possibilities for taking over the business was the ability for Scott to use technology to update it. Currently the business has local customers, however, developing an online presence and a distribution system, could mean endless possibilities, and using some of Scott’s technical background.
Will He Like It? A huge factor, would be whether or not he actually enjoys the work. We thought it might be good for Scott to go to work with my dad for a few days to see if it’s something he might like. We also considered using part of Scott’s upcoming paternity leave to give it a trial run for six months or so.
Back Up Plan. I like to have a plan in place in case things don’t go as planned. If Scott decided after a year, that he hated it, would he be able to return to the computer field? And in a job that he enjoys?
Find out what he decided in: The Decision on a Whole New Career .