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Why you shouldn’t take a job just for the money

Finding a job that pays well is awesome, but you have to consider some other things—not just the high salary—when negotiating a job offer.

Why you shouldn’t take a job just for the money

High-paying jobs might not be worth it—literally.

It’s the best and worst scenario. You’re staring at a very lucrative job offer. How lucrative? Very. As in, you can finally get your own apartment (or car—or both). Hey, you’ve earned it! But something isn’t quite sitting right with you. The job seems…just ok. Maybe even a little not-OK.

Ugh, but would you really turn down all that money? Look, money definitely matters, but if any of the following three features happen to go hand-in-hand with the high-paying job in question, turning it down may be the smart move.

You sense your stress levels will skyrocket

When you’re weighing the pros and cons of a new, high-paying job and things in the “con” field include “80-hour work week, no support staff, boss seems mean,” you might be biting off more than you can chew—and that can take a real toll.

Dr. Stacie Freudenberg, a Colorado-based psychologist, explains that stress releases cortisol, which can lead to adverse health conditions such as difficulty sleeping, memory problems, or even heart issues. “Additionally, consistent stress can contribute to anxiety, depression, and a decrease in overall life satisfaction,” she says.

Remember, too, that time is money. Factor in the hours you are expected to be at work or available at a moment’s notice. “Sometimes people look at the dollar value of the salary without considering time demands,” says Christopher K. Lee, founder of the San Diego–based career coaching company PurposeRedeemed. “If a job pays only slightly more, yet requires 20 hours more a week, that'll hardly be worth it to you.” Talk about a high price to pay.

You’ll hate your job

If you’re creative and thrive on thinking of big-picture ideas, you know that those jobs don’t always pay well. You might be tempted to take a more lucrative gig that requires you to spend your days compiling spreadsheets and crunching numbers, which you loathe.

Don’t do it. “While taking a job that has a high salary may sound like it will improve [your] overall quality of life, it actually may do the opposite if you don't love what you're doing,” says Freudenberg.

“People who use their strengths in their careers are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, and 15 percent less likely to quit their jobs,” says Susan Peppercorn, founder of the Boston-based career coaching firm Positive Workplace Partners, citing a 2015 Gallup survey.

Furthermore, research shows that employees who use their strengths outperform those who don't. So not only will you be miserable, you’ll probably be lousy at your job.

“If the position you're considering doesn't take advantage of your strengths, you're likely not to thrive, and money won't make up for it,” Peppercorn adds.

You’ll feel compromised

If you only consider jobs that pay well, you may overlook critical elements about the companies themselves. Don’t get hoodwinked by the high salary and end up blindsided when you start work and realize it’s not a culture fit...at all.

“If you’re selling a product you don’t believe in or working for an organization with a culture misaligned to your own values, you may struggle to feel at peace with your work,” says Lee. “Money alone will likely not offset the negative feelings you have from doing work at odds with your own beliefs, priorities, and ethics.”

Show me more than the money

High-paying jobs don’t automatically mean misery. People earn very comfortable livings in more ways than you can possibly imagine. Unsatisfied with the job offers you’ve been getting, but not sure how to turn things around? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that actually interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can spend less time combing through ads and more time applying to great new gigs. Don’t sacrifice your health or happiness for a paycheck. It literally isn’t worth it.


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