Deciding Between Two Jobs: Why I Chose To Make Less Money.

As I progress down my path to financial independence, I realize there will always be forks in the road. There will be life choices you will have to make that go beyond money such as deciding between two jobs.

These life decisions make you question if the money is worth the potential happiness/unhappiness. After all, aren’t we striving for financial independence to gain control and be happier?

The Job Search

After being out of work for a while, taking a much wanted and needed break, I had decided to kick-start my job search.

First interview or two, I was super nervous. I realized there was nothing to be nervous about and didn’t actually need a job in the first place. Being on a path toward financial independence eventually shows it advantages.

Most of my job search consisted of replying back through LinkedIn messages. They were to recruiters that were at companies that sounded interesting. I filtered through the garbage and only interviewed at companies that seemed worth-while.

I found myself a bit overwhelmed and scaled back on the interview process. The IT world is vastly growing and the need for skilled and social people is in great demand. Before I knew it, I had two offers sitting in my hand with other potentials on the way.

Comparing The Offers

The offers at hand were both very good although one was dramatically larger in pay. Being a contract position, it was able to pay more.

Being a contractor has the pay advantage, but you take on more risk when a job ends and you become unemployed again. Plus, you have to worry about paying for your own benefits and usually requires needing an accountant, which can be a pain.

To me, the gap risk is minimal because any job has the same risks regardless if they don’t have work for you to do. You won’t last long in the contracting world if you don’t have a skill that is valuable and if people don’t like you.

The Conundrum

Let’s call the larger paying contract job, Company A. The lesser, Company B. Company B had lots of potential. I could learn new skills while still earning a good salary. It also now included benefits. With Company A, I could have just taken the higher salary and studied on the side for any additional skills I could have wanted.

The majority of a week was spent just trying to decide which option was better. I stalled as much as I could. I also tried to negotiate higher pay for both companies as I’ve learned in the past it never hurts to ask. If it does, then the company likely wasn’t that interested in the first place.

Comparing Both Companies

Company A had the major benefit of pay. The issue was that the company that was a bit stuck in the past. It was much like the work I was trying to avoid. Yes, the building was nice and the pay was good, but the work itself was potentially stale and suffocating.

I even took to Twitter, just to see what people thought during my decision process and the few that responded all said they’d just take the money. This sort of surprised me at first. Then I quickly realized this is what I had done in the past.

In the past, I just chased the money. I never let the dollar amount exceed the potential to be happier though. I even once paid a company over $3000 just to leave because I was still under contract.

Company B had the right culture. Overall, it felt like a great fit. I had worked with older colleagues for a long time. It was a breathe of fresh air to see people that were peers. Mentors are a great thing, but it was time for a new kind of mentor-ship.

The company was also very conscious of the type of project work that they do and sell meaning there was less risk to be doing work that wouldn’t excite me.

The Decision

After taking a full week to decide, I went with Company B, the lesser paying of the two. Until the last few hours of my final decision, Company A was my choice.

I went with my gut as it’s never steered me wrong in the past. If the passion is there, and the environment is right, the money will follow. There has been no regrets. The company is great and the people are awesome.

Money is a great tool, but don’t let that get in the way of your happiness.

6 thoughts on “Deciding Between Two Jobs: Why I Chose To Make Less Money.

  • March 24, 2019 at 12:31 pm
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    I think that is sound as long as the pay is reasonable for the position, even if it isn’t as high as company A. As a contractor you also pay double Social Security and other tax that you get a break on as an employee, plus those benefits you mentioned. However if the pay is below market I would have hesitated. If they underpay you going in chances are you’ll be fighting for fair pay your whole time there. They either believe in paying market rates or they don’t, if they don’t I would not go near them. However you are obviously very smart about your choices so I’m sure you didn’t take an unreasonably low offer, you just didn’t take the highest one because it had so much baggage. That sounds wise to me.

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    • March 24, 2019 at 4:48 pm
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      Totally agree. The position does pay what I’d consider fair market value. In very little time my market value will be higher than it would have been at the other job. In the meantime, I also get to work for a company that overall is a better fit.

      Reply
      • April 2, 2019 at 9:54 pm
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        Sounds to me you have made a good choice then. I will also factor in the excess future value in Company B vs Company A in looking at monetary compensation. This is similar to an analysis for going to college or not. If going to college can increase my future payout more than the $ cost and lost wages during those 4 years, then it makes financial sense to go. Is your compensation (current and excess future) higher with Company B? If yes, you also followed the money in my mind in addition to the other benefits of Company B such as good fit and right culture.
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        • April 9, 2019 at 6:03 pm
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          In the long run the skills I gain from company B will help me to be more valuable in the marketplace, but nothing is guaranteed. I could have just taken the money and ran with it. Only time will tell if it was really the right choice.

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  • March 28, 2019 at 3:13 pm
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    Gut instinct is important. Company culture and fit are important. So if the pay from Company B is enough, even though not the highest, it could be totally sound to select it. That said, another factor to consider, depending on where you are in your career, is what the lower salary does to your earnings trajectory over time. A lot of companies use current salary as an anchor of future salary and what your market value is. To the extent that Company B came in lower, it anchors you at that lower pay. This isn’t an issue if you stay there forever, if you can negotiate yourself back up in your next move, or if you don’t need to worry about compensation, but people earlier in their career or for whom compensation is still a factor, need to think about the anchoring effect.
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    • April 9, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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      It’s such a case by case basis. This was definitely the hardest choice I’ve had to make for a career move because I’m not even sure how long I want to continue my current career path. Happiness comes ahead of money any day, but I definitely agree with you. I’m usually not one to take a cut in pay when I can get paid more somewhere else. It was a total judgement call on the day to day life and looking toward the future.

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