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February 06, 2012


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I suppose I've already made my decision in this when making the jump to self employment last May. And I gave up about $25k a year to work for myself rather than someone else. In addition to flexibility I also received increased upside earning potential so that factored into the decision too. I am kind of surprised that only 1/3 of respondents valued increased flexibility, but maybe a good number of them already have flexibility in their jobs?

One thing that people don't always realize is that "flexibility" at that stage of their career could have a much higher long-term cost. If management reads "flexible" as "slacker" then the lower future salary increases and reduced opportunities for promotion could really add up.

So it would be important to take a job with a flexible employer rather than try to negotiate it with a normally inflexible employer.

It made me laugh that the first two definitions of "flexibility" revolved around social media access and tech preferences, rather than time flexibility (which I deem far more important). I'm fortunate to work for an employer who is very flexible on time (I frequently will leave the office early and spend the rest of the afternoon working from the couch at home...or spend the afternoon doing whatever and then the evening working...or making up the work on the weekends...all of which is acceptable so long as it gets done and we serve our clients well).

This is something my family has been considering as our freelance income has started to pick up. How much would we have to make for it to outweigh the downsides? I'd love to work from home all the time but I also love health insurance and a nice salary...

DollarDisciple - I recently made that switch. I know its a simplistic answer, but having a lot of money in the bank after 15 years of saving was the key. Its hard to go back, for many reasons, after you leave.

The time saved from no commuting and the money saved from living (far) from a metro area reduced what I needed to make to maintain the same SOL (my paid off home would cost 3 times more [and not be paid off] in a big metro suburb). This helps to balance out the non-paying clients and the pains of individual health insurance before even factoring in the more intangible benefits...

As a senior in college I will soon be looking for job opportunities, and I must admit that I would fall into the category of picking flexibility over salary (with in reason of course). My flexibility wouldn't necessarily be the desire to access social media sites (however that would be nice) but more towards work hours that fit my schedule. However, if I needed a higher salary to support myself, I certainly could go with no flexibility! I really enjoyed this post, gave me some great things to think about in my future job search.

I tend to agree with FMF about how it varies considering how much money is in question. With a lower salary I'd want to get some more cash and would care about flexibility less. But the more money I make then the more I might chose some flexibility over extra pay.
You need to ensure a certain amount of income to pay the bills and support your family and at lower income range you can't be too picky about things like flexibilty and you need to put income as a higher priority. But once you're making enough money to support yourself and then some then it becomes a trade off between even more extra cash or better work environment.

I also think that smartphone use and twitter access are odd measures of flexibility. I'd think that flexible working hours, flexibile vacation schedule, flexible child care options, flexible.. virtually anything else would be more important than phone choice and social media. But I'm not Gen Y.

It's obviously a trade-off, but clearly most of us are working toward having enough to live on as well as flexibility. The only way to be assured of achieving that is to start your own business. Employers and supervisors sometimes are reluctant to give flexibility even if it's in their own interests. Thanks for the insight!

I'd happily take 5k-10k less for the flexibility of say, working from home 2 days a week. Earning a good living is very important, but face time with my family matters more to me.

So our newest, most energetic members of the workforce are more concerned about being able to use their iPad to talk to all their friends on Facebook and Twitter than they are about making money and accomplishing something.

In other news, I wonder why on earth American companies don't seem to be hiring any more? Why do all these jobs keep leaving America's shores? Why are the BRIC economies growing by leaps and bounds while we're stuck treading water to keep up with inflation? I just don't get it.

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