If you're hoping to find a new job, now is a great time to look. The American economy created 353,000 jobs in January. And given that unemployment is low and the job market is hot, it's no surprise that 95% of workers are looking for or plan to look for a new job in 2024, according to a recent study. Monster Data.
Meanwhile, I have a friend who is underpaid at her job – and has been for years. Recently, she asked me to take a look at her resume and offer suggestions to spice it up so she could pursue a new opportunity.
My friend's initial goal was simply to get a raise. But after a few interviews, she decided to stop looking for a new job and stay put. And while a higher salary might improve her financial situation, my friend ultimately decided to stay at her current job for one important reason.
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My friend has skills that could probably land her a better-paying job if she put in the work. But at this point, she prefers to stay put because her job isn't particularly stressful or demanding.
She has the flexibility to work from home pretty much whenever she wants (for her mental health, she likes to go to her office once a week). She also has flexibility in her schedule.
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Plus, as she says, the work isn't that hard. Most days, she admits, she only has to work about six hours, even though she is paid based on a 40-hour work week. However, his boss is not a stickler for hours spent in a chair. Since she does her work on time, she is not harassed and her time is not tracked.
To put it another way, my friend works freely. But that's not a bad thing. My friend is in her 40s and trying to juggle two teenagers and their much younger brother who she had later in life. This means she enjoys the flexibility her job offers.
Her current schedule allows her to get her first-grader off the bus when he gets home and attend her older children's after-school sporting events. It also allows him to do things like cook for his family without having to worry about missing deadlines. It is enormous.
There's nothing wrong with sacrificing salary for a better work-life balance
My friend has had periods in recent years where money has become tight. Usually this is triggered by something like a house or car repair, since she and her family live pretty frugally in general.
A higher salary could help my friend's finances. This could allow her to build up her savings account balance and perhaps achieve some of the things she's talked about for years, like finally finishing her basement or taking her dream trip to Hawaii.
Yet my friend maintains a job that she knows she is underpaid for because it allows her to focus on her family, avoid stress, and maintain a favorable work-life balance. So, if you are considering finding a new job to take advantage of the hot market, before you do so, think about your current situation.
Maybe you've done your research and realized you could earn more elsewhere. But if your current job is flexible, you like your coworkers, and you enjoy your work, you need to recognize that it has value. And it might not be worth giving it up for more money, even if a higher salary would mean saving or traveling more.
Along the same lines, if you've reached the point where you're burned out at work, you may want to consider a lower-paying job that will result in a better work-life balance and less aggravation. Accepting a pay cut is never easy. And you may need to adjust your spending if you accept a job offer with a lower salary.
But remember that it is important to have free time and to have better mental and physical health. Too demanding a job could make all of these things more difficult to achieve. So while you might be inclined to seek the highest salary possible, know that in some cases, earning less can make a lot more sense.
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