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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
Read more from Jen

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.