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Things to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

deciding on a career path

Being hired after interviewing for a job is flattering. Being offered a job you didn’t even apply for is even better. We all like to be validated. Being mentally rewarded for our talents and efforts, while not necessary to financial success, can be what makes or breaks job satisfaction and allows us to continue being productive employees instead of bored, apathetic seat fillers who show up for a paycheck only. As flattering as it may be to feel wanted, don’t get carried away by emotion. There are several things to consider before accepting a job offer.

It’s Not All About the Money

Salary is obviously an important part of any job, but taking a position solely for a pay increase is probably not a smart thing to do.

  • Would a higher salary mean more hours or working weekends?
  • Does it mean a longer commute?
  • Will the raise mean you have to work with an office full of Debbie Downers?

More money does not mean more happiness.

Also, if you do the math, sometimes salary is not all it’s cracked up to be. We live in a county that borders New Mexico. For teachers, driving 50 miles across the state line usually means a $10,000 per year salary increase. Our district has lost many teachers to the lure of a larger paycheck.

However, these teachers aren’t looking at the whole picture when job hunting. New Mexico takes out social security tax, while Colorado teachers don’t have that withholding. Also, the New Mexico district requires a higher contribution to the state’s pension plan. When you add in gas costs and the extra two hours per day for the commute, it makes the salary seem much less attractive. I’d much rather have two hours a day at home than the few thousand dollars working further away creates. You could spend two hours tutoring from your home and make that much in a year.

Would You Have to Move?

Moving is not a process to be taken lightly. Pulling up stakes has the potential to cost tons of money and create loads of unhappiness, especially if you have a family. Even when done perfectly, there is always added stress during any sort of move, even just going across town.

  • Will your new employer cover moving expenses?
  • Does your house need to sell before you can move?
  • Is the cost of living more or less in the new location?
  • Will a spouse have to find a new job or will kids have to change schools?
  • How does quality of life compare in the new place?

The parents of one of my best friends from college moved while we were in school because of a job relocation. Her Dad’s company was downsizing and it was either move or take a severance package. They chose to move several states away and hated every thing about it.

He had less than 10 years left until he could retire with a pension, but it was a terrible decade that came with health problems probably made worse by stress. He did eventually retire, and they moved very shortly after. I don’t think I would spend almost ten years of my life in misery for any job. Life is way too short for that.

Will You Be Happy Spending 8 Hours a Day at Your New Job?

For those of us who have jobs, there are probably a million other things we’d rather be doing than work. Even if you love what you do, it’s often a struggle. As I write this, I’d much rather be reading the copy of American Sniper I checked out from the library, but I have responsibilities.

However, that doesn’t mean I hate my job. I’m pretty content to spend a couple of hours writing or even 8 hours seeing patients in clinic. If you paid me $250,000 a year to set up financing for broke people buying new cars, I would be rich but miserable.

You don’t have to love your job, but you do have to be relatively happy spending time doing it. If any job, new or old, makes you unable to fall asleep Sunday night because of dread, it’s not worth it.

Why We Turned Down a Job with a 40% Pay Increase

Jim was offered a new job earlier this month. He currently works for the local school district but is a liaison with a foundation that works on improving teacher education and performance. Well, apparently, they really like him and wanted him to come to work for them full time, in Denver. It was about a 40% increase in pay, and he was more than flattered. Ultimately, though, we started really looking at what this job would mean. There were three big reasons why we had to decline.

Moving to Denver

Houses are much more expensive in Denver than where we live now, at least in the area we would consider. We could make enough money from selling our house to make it work, but we are only a few years until mortgage freedom. I’d hate to start over again. We could rent, but ultimately, we don’t want to buy someone else a house.

We also would have no support system. Right now, I have good friends and neighbors I can call on to help out with our daughter or if I lock the keys in the car. I could do it without a child, but you do need that village with a little one at home.

No Job For Kim

As nice as this job would be for Jim, they didn’t have a sweet optometry gig lined up for me. In fact, I decided that if we moved,  I would not seek out a new position as an optometrist. I don’t have the motivation to reinvent myself in a new practice. I also don’t want to give up the flexibility I’ve earned in my current jobs. I might do fill in work for a quick buck, but I would have to find another way to make up my income.

No Way to Compete With Teacher Benefits

While this job offered a good salary and benefits package, there were two things they could not compete with.

One was with retirement. Right now, Jim has only ten years left under his current pension plan before he can retire. If he never gets another raise, which is unlikely, his monthly benefit will be around $3000 per life. Yes, we could invest more and still be OK without the pension, but that’s a hard perk to give up.

visit to London

Less vacation? Nope!

Some of you might think this is crazy, but the other huge reason for turning down the job was lack of paid vacation. With Jim’s current job, he gets a week at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, a week of spring break, plus a month in the summer. I don’t know if there is any amount of money that could make us go back to two weeks of vacation per year.

Yes, we certainly have our share of first world problems don’t we? Honestly, we are in such a good place right now that I don’t know if any amount of salary could make us shake things up. Even if you aren’t quite there, it’s still important to consider every new job offer very carefully. Make sure you aren’t giving up more than you’re getting in return.

Have you passed on a job for reasons other than salary? What is the most important thing when considering a new job? 

 

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

12 comments

  1. Sounds like you guys made the right call Kim! I don’t think the lack of vacation time as a reason isn’t crazy at all. Both Nicole and I have been offered positions over the past few years and vacation, freedom really, was ultimately one of the leading causes of turning down the offer. That being said, you’re dead on – there are many other things to consider beyond salary in a job offer, especially when it requires moving.

    • It is kind of fun to think about a fresh start in a new place, but all in all, the stress and what we would lose by moving was just too much.

  2. It’s definitely not all about the money, because study after study has proven that once you reach a certain amount of pay, it’s not going to make you happier, but if you took a job that paid more but had a traffic-jam filled commute, that definitely will make you UNhappy.

    • Traffic would make me very unhappy! If we had moved, that was a huge requirement, living close to where we needed to be or close to the light rail because Jim would have been downtown. I don’t need more stress in my life.

  3. This is what money buys you: choices. If you two were not in such a financially healthy place, perhaps the only responsible option would be to accept that higher immediate paycheck. Instead, you got to carefully weigh your options and choose the best course overall for your lives.

    We moved cross-country last month for my husband’s new job. It’s no joke to take like a month out of your year to execute a long-distance move!

    • Agreed. If there is any reason to get finances in order, it is to have choices. Being forced into doing something because of a paycheck is a disaster. Congrats on the move. I need to go catch up!

  4. I have actually moved for a job – three times in fact! 🙂 The first time was because Chris got a great job offer in DC. It was a great move all-around because that is where I became a financial advisor! 🙂 We were also young and had no children and were already living in a high-cost area, so the biggest change was snow and no family. We moved next to Dallas for my job and finally back to LA for my job again. We wanted to move back home so heading West was a no-brainer and Chris was fortunate enough where his employer allowed him to telecommute, alleviating the need for him to job hunt both times, which was a nice added bonus. I acceptably do agree that you have to look beyond salary because as you said – more money is no guarantee of happier life.

    • Moving would be tons easier without a child. My first question with any new professional opportunity is, “How will this work with getting my daughter where she needs to be?”

  5. It really is about more than just money. I’ve moved for work but I was young, single and it was an opportunity to extend myself. Even then, the money never really came into it for me.

    In your current situation you have a number of benefits that money just can’t buy. Any offer would need to be pretty amazing to trump that!

  6. I have declined a job that could pay higher than what I have now because of the job requirements and location. I myself would like to take a job that is fulfilling and I can be happy with spending my 8 hours a day. It’s not all about the money that matters. There are surely other reasons.

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