Salary decisions: weighing the pros and cons

 When assessing a compensation package in today’s economy, it’s important to take a variety of factors into consideration.  Many candidates make the mistake of focusing on salary alone and pass up what could have been a great opportunity.  Here are a few things to consider the next time you get an offer on the table. 

For many professions, salaries have come down as a result of the economic downturn. Employers cannot always afford to pay what they did in the past and still turn a profit.  By being a cost effective asset to the firm, you may actually be helping yourself in the long run. 

If you negotiate a compensation that is higher than that of your peers and there is any instability in the future, you will be more likely to get cut unless your performance is well above average and even then, the number crunchers may have to let you go.  By staying affordable, you will actually be more likely increase your job stability and increase your long-term potential.

Another thing to consider is the duties.  If the position pays great, but requires you to travel 80% of the time, you will need to take your quality of life into account.  If you are single and absolutely love to travel, this might be perfect.  However, if you have a spouse, he or she may not be thrilled. Personal motivations come into play here. Have kids? Extensive travel might not be in the cards for you. A reduction in salary might be the right trade off to balance your personal life.  

I am not saying that you shouldn’t negotiate a decent package! You absolutely should. However, money is not everything; compensation alone should not drive your decision. You should and will definitely want to take a close look at the pros and cons of the role.  Combat pay is no fun – and the scent of money will quickly grow stale in the face of a role or boss or both that you don’t like. Consider the following:

What is the company culture? 

Are the benefits really good?

What amount of travel do I realistically want to do?

How will this particular career move affect my long-term goals?

How does my family feel about this role? 

Each of us has different things that we value and consider important.  You may want to seek advice from friends, family and a professional career counselor to get a different perspective. Of course it is difficult (sometimes) to accept an offer at a salary that is lower than you are accustomed to. You might have valid reasons for doing so. Ultimately the role you choose should be fulfilling on many levels and not focused solely on money. 

You are encouraged to comment on blog posts and/or submit questions to Debra. You can reach her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.

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