Comparing 2 PM offers. Considering taking the position that pays less

Here’s the situation – I’m here with 2.5 years of experience in tech consulting. I was lucky enough to get 2 awesome PM job offers, and I’m considering taking the one with less TC (by a lot). Note that I live in the bay area.

Job 1:

  • PM at large bank for new mobile app
  • TC: $240k (203k base and 20% target bonus)
  • I would be working 40 hours a week and have a WLB, however I would be going into work in business causal clothes and my co-workers are probably older
  • Concerned I won’t learn that much and this will look poorly on a resume for the future. Also I want to have friends at work so I’m concerned that I won’t make many friends from a bank

Job 2:

  • PM at an apparel company that’s going to IPO before the end of the year
  • TC: ~$180k ($140k base and $27k stock at evaluation from last round of funding, but probably will be worth $45k at the price they are going to IPO at)
  • I would probably be working hard, but nothing too crazy.
  • This is a ‘fun’ company and think I would really get along with everyone.
  • I think I will learn a lot, and this company would be a great resume builder.

People always say go where you will learn, and I think I will learn more at Job 2, however that’s a BIG difference in comp. After taxes that’s about $40k, if you multiply that by 4 years that’s $160k which is a down payment on an $800k house! I’m concerned if I take Job 2 I will never get to the comp I can get in Job 1 again.

I would this community’s thoughts or comments on my situation. I need to get a decision soon so I’m in a little of a time crunch!

PS: I already negotiated salary with Job 2 and the amount I wrote above is the highest they will go.


I like the sounds of job 1. You can do stretch assignments and what not there to build experience, or work at a level above’s work scope. Or you can chill @ 40 hrs a week when you don’t feel like it and have actual WLB and only step up more for the career enriching experiences.

Also, starting high tends to give you a higher salary point to keep negotiating higher and higher off of. Lifetime earning potential is likely to be more and be more stable.

Ultimately up to you though


I’m not sure that an apparel company gives you that much edge over a bank, particularly if you’re building a new mobile app as opposed to some old crust in maintenance.

If you’re concerned about the fit, have another chat with the hiring manager or the recruiter and let them know your concern and see what they say. It’s a lot of money to pass up.


Even though it seems you are leaning towards 2, 1 is definitely the way to go. Those senior coworkers are the ones who will raise your network/give higher referrals when they go to other roles. No guarantee company 2 will have a great IPO and has more “risks” than job 1.


People who I’ll be working with in Job 1 are not going to get recruited by big tech companies.

People in Job 2 are definitely the people that will be able to help me out in the future. I am leaning towards 2 but I am pretty confident about this statement.


Banking is one of the biggest tech sectors, and they tend to take operations and tech serious enough to not have the ATM system down for a database upgrade, or the credit card system down due to a bug, or internet banking down because … or that suddenly the lost your money. Banking tech is serious business, and also connects banks with banks, the Central Bank, Visa/Master Card


@Felipe, I really do believe you, however when looking on LinkedIn at the company for Job 1, I could barely find anyone that went to a big brand name company.


Based on your post and subsequent comments, it’s clear you want job 2. Folks here have given you good reasons to take job 1 but their perspectives don’t seem to be resonating with you.

Take a moment and be honest with yourself - are you actually just looking for validation and take job 2?

All that said, It really comes down to what skills you’re looking to build. A pre-IPO company is more likely to throw a lot at you at once. By the end of your time there, you’ll have scratched the surface of everything and you’ll have a sense of what works and (just as important) what doesn’t. Banking will have more mature processes in place and have the funding to keep people/teams in their lane. You’ll have honed your skills should learn industry best-practices that you can apply elsewhere.


In my view compensation just has to be “enough” for whatever your situation is. There’s a declining marginal utility for each dollar after “enough.” I suspect at 24 that both of these job offers would make you rich, and there’s a lot you could do with that 60k but you also have the rest of your life to earn obscene amounts of money.

Take the one you think you can have the most impact, take the one that you think you can learn more, you’ve already got this far - make sure to have fun with your life and career.

Take more risks when you’re young, when you have a bunch of children and a mortgage and we’re in a recession, then you can make the safe choice.


I work at a FinTech company now. I’ll apply to Job 1 if you don’t take it. In all seriousness, seems as a PM you go where you grow. Big bank may give you numbers but what will give you the skill? What can grow most in 5 years.


Interesting insight – have you noticed that having a bank on your resume to not be as attractive? I’m concerned about people not being as interested in my resume with a bank on it as opposed to a young company.


Valid concern, I believe PM in a Bank sometimes seen as a “lesser” PM compared to PM in tech.

In my case, I knew I wanted to be in FinTech, and Fintech does value Banking experience. So it ended up well for me.


@DaveKim, What do you think you’ll learn at Job 2 that you can’t or won’t learn at Job 1?


Job 1 seems like a BS Product Manager role (id mostly be doing data analytics and user growth)

Job 2 seems more focused on building a good product and learning legit PM skills


If you believe that Job 2 will give you the greatest opportunity to grow in the areas that you want to grow in, and if you’re not instead distracted by the luster of joining a pre-IPO company or working with people with big names on their resumes, go for Job 2. Assuming you’re happy with the offer.


Is the luster of joining a pre-IPO company or working with people with big names on their resumes a bad thing though? People will see you’ve been through an IPO and if you work with high profile names, that can help you in the future.

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I guess this is all down to your motivation,

option1: summary;

  1. older guys/team
  2. more money
  3. banking (which generally pays better)
  4. Guaranteed resume rep builder, more depending on the banks established ranking amongst competitors


  1. younger team /company
  2. fun times
  3. potential resume rep builder

If you step back it’s really down to:

Quality of life NOW vs Quality of life in the FUTURE

Remember banks have regulations and stringent ways of working.

The IPO may have more freedom allowing you to impact things. Although it could work to your advantage being the ‘younger guy’ as with team work your colleagues might learn to respect your point of view when products are designed closer to your age demographic. Making you very valuable.

The decision needs to be yours but nothing is permanent and so taking the actual organises experience you would gain from the bank you could go into another company, option2 and make a significant pact based on what your garner from option1. Whilst also creating a long lasting impact in your personal life i.e money in the bank

Keep us posted on your choice either way, good luck buddy :+1:and congrats on being in that situation :clap:

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