Very tough decision for me here, I'll try and put it succinctly, but appreciate anyone and everyone's thoughts on what I should do. It basically boils down to massive short-term comp vs a long term job, but with some nuances.
I am a VP level guy. My last 2 PE firms (as Senior Associate out of business school, which I paid for myself, and then VP) were basically startups, and I accepted very below market comp and no cash bonuses in order to get the high upside of carry, to learn a lot, and to get exponential pay as we grew. Definitely learned a lot, but got laid off from both these firms with no bonuses and not much comp. That's 5 straight years since I earned real comp (2 years b-school, 3 years at the 2 jobs). Last layoff was about 7 months ago so I've been feeling even more financial pressure with no paycheck since then.
Current financial situation as a result: No savings, some credit card debt, lots of financial stress. Basically, I'm pretty piss poor in general, much less for my age and level. I'm a single dad with a toddler so that's been incredibly stressful to provide for, but I do have parents close by who watch him a lot (saving daycare fees).
Recruiting situation: Pretty bad. Because of these 2 job moves in my recent past, I had a lot of trouble getting past first round interviews. I got better and better at explaining my situation, but I was basically persona non grata with any PE firm, the Big 4, corp development, smaller firms, and just about anything else I tried etc. It's been a tough journey.
While looking for a full-time gig, I got connected to this guy who was raising $15M of capital for his company. In exchange for me leading and executing that capital raise, I would get 2% of the capital raise upon close. That's $300k! Obviously, a life-changing impact for my personal balance sheet. I did my diligence to see if this was a reputable guy and a reputable company that could and would raise capital and pay me, and I was satisfied. So, I started this project 2 months ago. I estimate the project would close end of May. On top of that, the guy said if this goes well (and he loves my value-add), he would do the same for me for his 2nd company in the late summer, which should be another $200k. I have good reason to believe in this happening. After that, I would need to find a fulltime job, this time being out of the full-time market for 12 months but $500k richer.
In the meantime, I recently finally started to get real traction in interviewing with a firm for a full-time job. I just got the offer, which is the first and only one I've gotten in 7 months of recruiting. It's also a small PE firm, but has some existing investments that have done well and is growing. Comp is ok but not great - all-in about $150k for the rest of this year. Helps the financial situation but not dramatically so. I'm supposed to begin mid-April. It would (hopefully) be a long-term job, rebuild my resume, enhance my PE skills, and set my career path for the long-term in PE or whatever I choose to do after doing this for at least 5 years.
Let me get to the crux of the decision I need to make: Because of the timing I have 3 options: 1) finish the cap raise, get amazing short-term comp, lose the full-time offer, do the 2nd cap raise for great comp, and then basically be out in a tough market again where my job moves and 12 months without a FT job are problematic; 2) Drop out of the cap raise, get no comp, be near broke, start at this good PE job with ok pay and basically have to wait until Dec 2020 (end of next year) to get a bonus that actually really moves the needle in my life in terms of credit card debt, savings, and being financially comfortable. 3) try and thread the needle and do both (but not the 2nd cap raise), but I'd have to push the PE firm start date 6 weeks and there's almost no way that conversation goes well, especially if the guy thinks to himself "who's to say this guy will actually start in 6 weeks and is not just leading me on?" He's a nice guy but he certainly could think he is being taken advantage of, or I am misleading him, or I am breaking my word.
What do people think I should do, or what would you do in this situation?
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