Should I take a badly paid job

Change of job despite lower salary? These 6 reasons speak for it

There are many reasons to change jobs. A basic rule, however, is: The new job should always represent a financial improvement on the previous one - or at least no deterioration. However, as is well known, exceptions confirm the rule. We would therefore like to explain to you today when you should think about changing jobs despite your lower salary. After all, money is not the most important thing in life and therefore not the only legitimate reason to quit.

Does a new job always mean a salary increase?

As a rule, you will be asked about your salary expectations during the application process. Would you then voluntarily rate a lower pay than your previous one? Probably not! Experts cite as a basic rule:

Changing jobs should always be an improvement for you.

But this does not always have to be of a financial nature. Of course, it would be nice if you earn at least the same amount after changing jobs as you did before. It is even better if you negotiate even more salary. After all, you now have more professional experience and know-how with you than when you applied for the previous job. What sounds so nice in theory, unfortunately, cannot always be implemented in practice. For example, if you switch from big industry to a start-up, you usually inevitably have to expect financial disadvantages because your new employer simply does not have the same financial resources.

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However, this does not mean that the new position cannot represent an “improvement” for you. The salary may be an important argument for or against a job offer, but it is by no means the only one. There are legitimate reasons to take a lower-paying job. We'll tell you what these are.

When to turn down a lower paying job offer

But first we will address the question of what reason speaks against a job with a lower salary. This is simple: When there is not enough money to live on. You are used to your previous salary and have based your standard of living on it. When you are ready, you can put that standard of living to the test, and possibly cut it down a little. However, if there is not enough money for rent, car etc., or if you are already gnawing on starvation in your previous job, you should by no means take a job with a lower salary. Therefore, calculate carefully whether you could finance your current standard of living or the new standard of living you are aiming for with the “less” money.

6 reasons that speak for the position with a lower salary

If, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion that the new job would mean financial deterioration, but you could still live off the money without any problems, there are also good reasons for an acceptance. Because sometimes the improvement in other respects is greater than the deterioration in the financial one.

You can find more infographics at Statista

While money is the most common reason for dismissal among the so-called “Generation Y” in the USA, numerous overtime hours are a problem for the German respondents. Inadequate salary increases only come in second place, closely followed by inflexible working hours and a lack of career prospects .

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We have therefore put together six reasons for you that can justify changing jobs despite lower pay, as they mean an improvement in other ways:

Reason # 1: Less workload

If too much overtime is the most common reason for young Germans to quit, a lower workload can make up for poorer pay in the new job. Do you feel like you have spent your entire life at work? Is the “work-life balance” a foreign concept for you? If right now a headhunter approaches you with a job offer, you should at least take a closer look at it, despite the poorer pay.

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You can also take the initiative yourself and look for a “better” job where you can have a private life in addition to work. In this case, an internal reduction in working hours would also be conceivable, if this is possible with your current employer.

Reason # 2: Health relief

The relief through a lower number of overtime hours also means one for your health. At the latest when you have already noticed the first stress-related health complaints - psychological or physical - it is time for the emergency brake. A lower salary is worth its weight in gold if it saves you from burnout syndrome, stroke, heart attack, herniated disc or the like.

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Because as unrealistic as it may sound to you, death from overwork is no longer just a problem in Japan, but also in Germany.

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In addition, burnout clinics are overcrowded and more and more people say they are suffering from constant stress at work.

You can find more infographics at Statista

Reason # 3: Flexible working hours

A plus for your work-life balance also means more flexible working hours. If you would like to quit your "nine-to-five job" and instead can organize your working hours yourself or at least a little more flexibly in the new job, this can trump a poorer salary under certain circumstances. For families with small children in particular, flexible working hours often mean a great deal of relief and more valuable time with the children. But it is also otherwise a privilege that, thanks to digitization, we can work from home, the beach or a café in many industries these days. A life as a digital nomad has not (yet) been possible for many employees.

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However, regulations like “remote work” or “home office” are currently hard to come by and are already an integral part of employer branding in many companies. So become aware of what is more important to you in your job and, if necessary, decide in favor of flexible working hours and against the higher salary.

Reason # 4: Reduction of commuter routes

Commuting is part of everyday work for many German employees. Not only in the USA, but also in this country there are more and more so-called “extreme commuters”, ie people who commute 90 minutes or more each day to get to work. That means at least three hours a day in the car, train or plane. But even a half hour to a full hour's commute can become a burden in the long run and eat up a lot of valuable free time.

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So if you had to commute to your previous job, but the new one was only a five-minute walk away, that's a legitimate argument for changing jobs despite lower pay. In addition, there are no travel costs - be it for gasoline or train tickets. Despite tax deductibility, this can mean a plus in your wallet at the end of the month, which should be taken into account when making your decision. Don't forget your good deed for the environment.

Reason # 5: Career prospects

Sometimes a job offer means a financial deterioration at first, but in the long run it actually means an improvement. If you are well paid in your previous job, but have no further opportunities for advancement, you will stagnate in the long term. If the level is high enough for you, this may not be a reason for you to resign. However, sooner or later many people long for new challenges or a hierarchical and thus usually also financial advancement.

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It is then quite possible that you will enjoy better professional prospects in the long term in your new - but lower-paying - job. It is important to check this at an early stage and to clarify it in the interview so that the job change is not a disappointment for you in the end and you stagnate at a lower level than before.

Reason # 6: Better working atmosphere

How much time do you spend at work per day? Six hours? Eight? Ten? It is therefore essential for your health and life satisfaction that you feel comfortable here. Anyone who has to work permanently in a bad working atmosphere or in a conflict-prone social environment will sooner or later suffer from it. If mediation or internal transfer are not possible in your case or do not bring the hoped-for improvement in your work situation, you should consider changing jobs. A good working atmosphere and a friendly relationship with colleagues can be more important arguments than the salary.

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Unfortunately, it can turn out to be problematic to realistically assess the internal conditions of a company in advance. Therefore, before you choose a lower paying job, you should check that the grass on the other side is really greener. For example, you can gather information from friends or acquaintances in the company, ask for a trial working day or do research on the Internet on platforms with anonymous employer reviews.

Conclusion: A job change despite a lower salary needs to be well thought out

The last point already clarifies the problem with the job search: You will only find out in retrospect what the conditions are like in the new company and whether the lower-paying job actually represents an improvement on another level, for example with regard to the working atmosphere, working hours or career opportunities. After all, every company presents itself positively in the application process and tends to gloss over here and there - just like the applicant. However, you are in the unusual predicament that if your expectations are disappointed, you will find yourself in a lower-paying job with no significant improvement. The decision to change jobs despite a lower salary is therefore a risk that needs to be well thought out.

What do you think? When does a job change make sense despite poor pay? What is your personal experience with it? Or is a lower salary a general no-go for a job offer?

Photo credit: Erhan Inga /


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