The Idiot: When should you go for the job with the lower salary?

The answer? When its other benefits are worth it to you.

It’s an idiot story coming up. If you hate reading about me railing on other people, I suggest you skip this post.


So The Idiot whom I’ve written about a lot in the past, has hit another low (or high?) for my brain.

He had originally quit a consulting job because it made him travel too much.

P.S. By the nature of the word consultant, I immediately think: 50% – 100% travel to the-middle-of-nowhere cities.

It is partly the reason why consultants get paid so much; they are forced to be away from their families and make that choice to travel for a job.

You better damn well love what you do if you take up a job as a consultant, because the commuting and the traveling might very well drive you insane. Or zen.

So if you don’t want to travel at all, don’t become a consultant.

Anyway, he had started a new job about 5 months ago that consisted of very light domestic travel.

Maybe 2 hours a day or so — partly because his wife refused to move to the city where the company was located to cut the commute down to half an hour or less.

He seemed happy, until just recently when the company started making him travel all over the U.S.

We are talking 8-10 hour flights every Sunday night and another 8-10 hours back on Friday night.

It is EXHAUSTING, both physically and mentally.

On top of that, he is starting to be worked like a dog (8 a.m. – 9 or 10 p.m. nights), and the commute of 20 hours a week and being away from his kids is just killing him.

He REALLY wanted to get a job where he’d stay permanently somewhere.

So he had applied to another company in the city his wife refuses to move from, and it is a PERMANENT job with them, which means he stops being a consultant and turns into a regular employee.

Dream job right?

Not so dreamy.

He turned it down in the end, because the job paid $5000 less a year.

Yes folks.

He turned down a dream job that let him stay PERMANENTLY in the city he already lives in, doing the same job as before, just because it paid $5000 GROSS, LESS a year.

I was speechless at this point.

$5000 is still a lot of money, don’t get me wrong

…so before you scream: But FB!! $5000 on a very low salary is a FORTUNE.

I’d very much agree with you, but this guy was making close to $100,000. In the grand scheme of his salary, $5000 is not as significant as if he was being paid less.

We aren’t talking about him making $15,000 a year and suddenly the job only offers $10,000 a year. That alone is not even up for discussion and I would make me stay at my old job.

I absolutely loathe traveling for work

To me, if I can do what I already do today and never have to travel more than half an hour a day to an hour a day in total, I would be all over that.

I loathe waiting in airports, I hate being stuck in traffic and it just makes me think of what a time suck traveling is.

…but I endure it, because I really love my job and I make good money, even though I know it comes with this “traveling 100%” caveat.

So to have the choice to NOT have to travel or commute a long time (even currently childless), is worth up to $30,000 a year to me, and for him to give up such an opportunity that he has been asking for because of $5000 makes me think of how greedy, narrow minded and dumb he is.

He deserves the title of ‘The Idiot’. This has just cemented it.

I might have felt bad in the past (a passing twinge here and there), but now I’m ready to make it official.

Lesson of the day: Take the lower paying job when its other benefits are worth it to you

Don’t think of just the gross salary if you have the luxury of being able to not have to worry about $5000 extra a year.

If you have to start off at a job in your dream industry, but it pays less money, consider that you are starting in your dream industry in your dream job, and realize that you are getting other benefits that cannot be easily monetized.

This is probably a good lesson for people to go through and think about — if you hate something about your job, (for me, traveling) and are thinking of moving/quitting your job then put a price tag on it of how much it’s worth it to you.

My price tag is $30,000 a year to NOT have to travel at all.

I’d even take another $20,000 cut to be able to work from home but this is a pipe dream… I need to be in front of clients 100% of the time. *sigh*

What are your price tags?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.