SALARIES / JAN. 03, 2015
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5 Reasons Why a Higher Paying Job Might Not Be Worth It

Life is all about growing and progressing. We grow as individuals, and regarding our careers, many of us have aspirations of moving up the corporate ladder and earning more money in the future. You work hard and want to be paid your worth. Also, more money can provide the lifestyle you want and a sense of accomplishment. But although most people want to be rewarded for a job well done, a higher paying job isn’t always worth it.

I write this blog post after a brief discussion with some acquaintances about the sacrifices many people make in their quest to reach a certain tax bracket. On one hand, earning more provides the income some people need to pay off debt, buy a home and enjoy a better quality of life. But these people often sacrifice a lot for a bigger check.

Here are five reasons why a higher paying job might not be worth it.

1. The job may require continuing your education — on your own dime

A friend of mine held the same position with a company for five years before her boss offered her a new position. He felt she was qualified, but unfortunately, the job required a master’s degree. She could accept the position and enjoy a higher salary now. The trade-off: she would have to attend grad school and complete her master’s within the next two years, or else lose the position. But here’s the kicker — the company wasn’t paying for this degree. Not only did she have to squeeze schooling and studying into an already busy schedule, she had to acquire additional student debt. 

2. You may not work a traditional 9-to-5

If you’re earning top dollars, chances are you aren’t working a traditional 40-hour work week. If a company is willing to pay a lucrative salary, you better believe they’re going to make you work for every dime. I know people earning close to six figures and living a supposedly “good life.” Sadly, they typically work no less than 60 hours a week. They bring work home in the evenings, and often spend several hours on the weekends completing assignments from the week prior. They have a nice bank account, but no personal life. 

3. Frequent travel may be a requirement

Depending on the nature of the job, a company might pay more if you’re required to travel several months out of the year. A job that involves travel may seem exciting, especially since you’re able to visit different places on your company’s dime. But living out of a suitcase gets old quickly; and sometimes, work-related travel can conflict with your personal schedule.

To illustrate, I once worked with a guy who was required to attend the same seminar every year, and this seminar always fell around his anniversary. He couldn’t get out of attending the meeting, so he and his wife had to celebrate on a day other than their anniversary. Over the years I’ve heard other similar experiences, such as people missing graduations and weddings because of frequent business travel. 

4. The job can impact your health and well-being

If you’re making big bucks, you might have few financial worries. However, if a company is paying you good money, they’ll want your time and energy in return. And unfortunately, this can have a negative impact on your health.

If you’re in upper management and oversee a huge workforce, or if you have a lot of weighty responsibilities, high stress may be an everyday occurrence. Depending on the demands of your work, you might have to work very late and arrive very early in the morning just to complete everything. This can cause a stressful, exhausting life and leads to burnout. If you don’t get a break, you may deal with high blood pressure, sleep deprivation and depression. 

5. You can become stuck in a job you hate

Most people wouldn’t dare turn down a job paying considerably more than they’re presently earning — despite any drawbacks. Some people may accept a higher paying job in order to build their bank account and reach financial goals, and then reason they can look for another job if the position becomes too demanding. It’s a good strategy in theory — but let’s be honest, it’s hard to walk away from a higher paying job. Plus, the more we earn, the more stuff we acquire — bigger homes and bigger car payments. If you maintain a lifestyle that’s reflective of a higher salary, accepting a lower paying job with less stress may not be an option, unless you’re willing to downsize and modify your lifestyle. 

A higher paying job can provide a comfortable lifestyle. However, before you accept a job with more responsibilities and move up the corporate ladder, consider the sacrifices you’ll have to make, and then decide whether a bigger check is worth it.

Photo credit: Flickr

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