2018 Update: We still stand by this advice on when a lower salary is worth it — but you may also want to check out our latest advice on whether you have to give your salary history.
Here’s a fun question for today: when, if ever, would you take a job with a lower salary — when is a lower salary worth it to you, and to what extent? Put another way: what are you willing to put up with for higher pay? If a job paid 20% more but demanded nights and weekends regularly whereas your current job didn’t, would you make the switch? (What if there was room for advancement? What if the commute was better, or you were working with a good friend?) On the flip side — if a job paid 20% less but promised a 9-5 existence (with face time requirements) — would you take it? What if the new job was at a nonprofit or had another component of you doing “good” in the world, whereas your current job felt soulless — how much is the “doing good” component worth it to you?
(Do you believe in the idea that there’s a perfect salary for happiness, either in general or for you specifically? If a job paid $75,000 — the supposedly perfect salary — and it gave you more control over work-life balance than you have right now, would you run to take the job — or hesitate? Why?)
Psst: We’ve talked in the past about the person who took a flexible job even though she was overqualified for the job, how some of the worst career advice we’ve ever heard was along the lines of “follow your passion,” how much your career affects your happiness, and when to quit your career.
Pictured at top: Shutterstock / By Syda Productions.