Should You Take A Lower Paying Job?


When faced with unemployment or a less than satisfactory job, many professionals are pained with the question of whether to take a lower paying position. It’s a tough decision to make, and one which depends on many factors for each unique situation. However, no matter what the scenario, there are a few constants you should keep in mind: Here are a few things to consider if you have to answer that question yourself.

Job Satisfaction VS Salary

If your choice is between a lower paying job and extreme unhappiness in the job you’re currently in, regardless of if it’s higher pay, it’s usually best to put yourself first. If your happiness and overall emotional well-being is at stake, chances are that the higher salary isn’t worth hanging onto your current job for.

Additionally, your productivity, attitude, and general work ethic could be significantly and negatively impacted by your unhappiness. This puts you at the risk for bad reviews, worsening work conditions, and even termination. If your emotional well-being isn’t enough to convince you, then this resulting situation should be a clear sign that you should move on from your current positions, even if it’s for a lower paying job.

Living Expenses and Skills Maintenance VS Salary

If departmental layoffs have left you jobless, a reasonable pay cut may initially be necessary to keep up with your living expenses. Additionally, while you may not want to settle for less, it’s important to minimize that employment gap on your resume and keep up to date on your technical skills.

When faced with this scenario, your best game plan is to look for a job that can cover your basic essential expenses while also giving you a similar level of responsibility.

Career Advancement VS Salary

If you’re looking for a new job purely for advancement purposes, then taking a lower paying job is typically not going to cut it. The exception to this rule is if taking one step back will give you the opportunity to take two steps forward. If you can guarantee that a pay cut now will lead to a higher salary and career advancement in the the near future, then the opportunity may be worth it. If not – and assuming your advancement goal is not on a deadline – focus on your job search to help you find the right position.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that pay cuts can be temporary. Depending on your situation, taking a lower paying job may be the smart thing to do until a better job or promotion comes around. Avoid the mindset that pay cuts are always negative, and make sure you weigh both the pros and cons before throwing the job offer for a lower paying job out the window. Good luck!

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