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3 Times to Accept a Lower-Paying Job

In a perfect world, we'd all love our jobs enough to do them for free, and have the independent wealth necessary to be able to afford it. In this imperfect world, well, someone needs to pay the electric bill. While you should always negotiate to get the best possible rate for your services, skills, and knowledge, there are times when it makes sense to accept less money.

In a perfect world, we’d all love our jobs enough to do them for free, and have the independent wealth necessary to be able to afford it. In this imperfect world, well, someone needs to pay the electric bill. While you should always negotiate to get the best possible rate for your services, skills, and knowledge, there are times when it makes sense to accept less money.

money 

(Photo Credit: _J_D_R/Flickr)

Consider accepting that lower-paying gig when:

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. The money is less than you’d like, but in line with the market.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, salaries inflate out of proportion to specific roles. Maybe you were lucky enough to work for a company that gave decent raises, and started your previous job before the recession knocked out significant pay increases for most workers.

Before you assume that you know how much a job should pay, do your research. PayScale’s Research Center allows you to see salary ranges for various titles, companies, and geographic locations, or you can run a personalized salary report to see your specific pay snapshot, given your experience and skills.

2. The pay is legitimately low, but you need the experience.

Where do you see yourself in five years? It’s not just an irritating question during a job interview; it’s also a way to determine what you need to learn in order to have a successful career down the road. If the job of your dreams requires that you learn, say, a specific programming language, and the job you’re considering will put you in a position to pick up that skill, it might be worth taking slightly less money.

3. You really need a job.

Let’s face it: sometimes, you just need a job. Don’t resign yourself to a life of lower pay if you need to accept a suboptimal salary right now. Careers aren’t linear. Your zigzagging line might take you right back to your old salary levels, next time you make a jump.

In the meantime, feel good about the fact that you’re building your resume, learning new things, making connections — and paying those bills.

Tell Us What You Think

When have you accepted a lower-paying job, and why? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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8 Comments on "3 Times to Accept a Lower-Paying Job"

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Kay
Guest
Six months ago, I moved to a state. I started off applying for positions in my field but quickly found out that those position required different credentials. Most, if not all, required a master degree and licenses as to where they only required a bachelors. where I’m from. The pay was about the same but I was overlooked. I tried to move into a different market that required only a bachelors but was told I lacked experience. I tired to apply for office positions but was told I’m overqualified. I was finally offered a job as a receptionist making 34,000… Read more »
Marsha
Guest

A majority of jobs I apply to have the salaries listed. Even though I’ve had years of experience, I still get calls for these jobs and oftentimes, have gone in for interviews. It’s worth your time to interview and let the employer know how much you’re willing to contribute to the success of their company even though the salary is lower than you’ve received in the past.

Deep
Guest

I am out of job for four heard now,have tired everything,
yet no takers, ready to go for half The salary but that naked my job worthimness
them suspect

D.W.
Guest

It’s worth considering if you’re trying to change geographies — to a different city, or even a different country. You may be interested in taking a lower-paying job at first because it will get you established in a more lucrative market (not to mention resolving a lot of those pesky immigration and visa issues). You can then easily set yourself up so that your subsequent positions are more in line with your new market.

Jeff
Guest

Could be the perks are worth the tradeoff of less pay or even offset the difference. I took a work from home job with about a 20% pay cut but the benefits of working from home plus the cost savings from eliminating the commute make it pretty worth it.

Anastasia
Guest

Also, if you want to work less or have a less stressful job with fewer responsibilities.

Maria
Guest
I would take a lower pay to learn a new career, but I never seen that as an option. If you don’t have the experience, your resume goes into the black hole. If you do have experience, and too much, you may not get a call. I got many calls for jobs and the interview goes well until they asked what I made previously. I always say that I’m open to negotiate, but that doesn’t work. At least from my experiences. Its frustrating because they never give you an option to make a decision to take lower paid. Your damn… Read more »
Ron McLaurin
Guest

What did Deep say on September 18?

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