For many of us, accepting a job that pays more money is a no-brainer. After all, if you’re working all day, might as well get paid as much as possible, right? Plus, for those of us with professional degrees and the stupefying student loan debt to go along with it, there’s really no reason to say “no” to a raise.
However, a recent study showed that more people, especially Millennials, favor a flexible workplace over high pay. In fact, in a completely unscientific poll of my coworkers who range in age from 32 to 45, all said they would prefer flexible hours to a raise.
Granted, our work environment is very amenable to parents – some of my coworkers already work flex schedules in order to pick up their kids from school. We’re some of the lucky ones, yet every single person still preferred flex time, including teleworking, to higher pay.
While flexible schedules aren’t the only reason you may turn down a highly paid job offer, these other reasons may make you think twice about accepting higher wages.
Health Insurance Changes
Changing jobs to accept a higher salary can be a fun, exciting challenge. However, before you sign on the dotted line, ask about health care. Even if you’re young, single, and invincible, everyone needs healthcare, but there’s no reason to pay any more than you have to for it.
Some organizations make you pay for healthcare entirely on your own, through the health care exchanges, which depending on your age, could cost you a few hundred dollars. If you have a high deductible health plan, you’ll also have to consider a larger emergency fund in order to cover any unexpected medical costs.
If your current job offers you affordable health care, you may not choose to accept a higher-paid job offer that forces you to go on your own for health care.
As much as we’d like to think everyone is hired and promoted on merit, sometimes it helps to have a big name company on your resume. Particularly if you’re young, having a nationally- or globally-recognized company could make your resume stand out in a pile.
While you may not necessarily turn down a high-paying job offer from a no-name company, it may make the most sense to gain more experience from a big name company, then leverage your skills for a bigger pay out later.
Opportunity for New Challenges
On the flip side of name recognition, you may want to reconsider taking a higher-paying job offer if your current job offers you plenty of new challenges. For example, if you work in a small company and have the opportunity to take on more responsibility than you would otherwise get at a big company, you may not want to leave. Having a broad and deep skill set will offer you greater opportunities in the future.
As I mentioned, in my unscientific study at work, all 5 coworkers said they would prefer a flexible schedule to a higher-paying job offer. Flexible schedules can mean many things: the ability to set your own schedule, telework some days, or have a 4-10 schedule (work 4 days for 10 hours, have Friday or Monday off).
For many people, the ability to have some extra time with family or not have to deal with driving into work every day is a huge benefit, something that a higher-paid job offer may not be able to compete with.
Stress and a Demanding Schedule
Having a healthy work-life balance is important for many people, and a higher-paid job offer may not be worth it if your stress and schedule becomes all-consuming. If your job consists of a lot of travel, or a high pressure sales environment, and you’re not the personality to deal with that, you may prefer to pass up that job offer.
A demanding schedule could also include a terrible commute. Personally, I flex my time slightly (come in at 7 and leave at 4) in order to avoid the horrific 5 o’clock rush hour traffic. While 4 o’clock isn’t much better, it’s not quite the 1+ hour horrorfest of sitting there that 5 o’clock is – and a higher paid job offer would likely not entice me to sit in traffic for an extra 2 hours a day!
Some organizations are now changing retirement compensation rates in order to offer a higher salary, only to take a higher percentage of your pay in the form of retirement contributions. This is particularly true in government, which still offers pension plans, but is raising the rate on new hires in order to balance the books.
While you’ll still (hopefully) get your pension when you retire from these places, some people are opting out of a higher salary because they don’t want to contribute more toward their pension contribution amount. Contributing more to your retirement account may not be the ultimate reason you turn down a high-paying job offer, but it’s certainly a consideration to make.
Have you ever read about or seen on TV a city and thought, “wow, I never want to live there”? If so, then would a higher-paid job offer convince you to move there anyway? For many Millennials, we’re moving to places that are not only affordable, but have many of the amenities Millennials want.
Places like Denver, Portland, Austin and even San Francisco have high rents and fairly low unemployment rates for a reason – Millennials like the culture and ambiance of these places. For many, a higher-paid job offer might not entice them to move to a place like Phoenix, for example (before you think I hate Phoenix – I live here, but it’s not my number 1 spot to live!)
Family input shouldn’t be last, because it’s hopefully one of your first considerations when taking into account a higher paid job offer. Unless you’re completely single and/or aren’t close with your parents, you likely have at least 1 to 2 other people to consider before choosing a new job.
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If your spouse and kids aren’t on board with a higher-paid job offer, either because it would make you all move, or you wouldn’t get as much time at home, you’ll want to reconsider the offer. For many, a happy home life is more important than a higher paying job. After all, you can almost always get a new job, but a new family? That’s pretty hard!
Have you ever turned down a higher-paid job offer, and what made you do so? Would you never turn down a higher-paid job offer, and why not?