5 Times It’s Worth Taking a Lower Paying Job to Be Happy

times when it's worth taking a lower paying job

Should I Take A Job That Pays Less

Would you take a pay cut to be happier at work? 

Everyone wants to roll in the big bucks, but it might not always be worth the stress that comes along with it. Sometimes, high-paying jobs can present their own problems.

If you’ve ever wondered “should I take a lower-paying job to be happy”, hopefully our thoughts and opinions can help you make the right decision.



The Problem with High-Paying Jobs

Having a lot of money is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not everything.

High-paying jobs often pay well because they come with a lot of responsibility, can drag you down into stressful situations, or require a significant time commitment that will hurt your work life balance. Not ideal for most workers.

But with anything in life, there are often pros and cons that effect your decision. While we believe a great high paying role can change your life, there are times taking a lower paying career path is ideal.

5 times its worth taking a job for less money

1. When You’re Spending Too Much Time on Work

Unless you live in the city, you typically have to accept long commutes to get to a very high-paying job (even with more and more companies going remote). There just aren’t many high-paying opportunities in rural areas or suburbs that are a good distance away from the big city. 

And while you might be making more, you also spend more money getting to work. Beyond that, what might start off as a 10-hour shift on paper can quickly turn into a 12-hour day when you factor in the 1-hour drive time back and forth (as an example). 

Do you really want to spend that much of your day focused on work-related stuff when you could be enjoying your life?

When you consider the 8 hours of sleep you need and spending quality time outside of work with friends and family, long shifts with even longer commutes often leave you with no time to yourself. That’s no way to live. 

Paid Time Off (PTO) Meme

2. When Your Family Life Takes a Hit 

Anyone who has started a family of their own knows that work can often get in the way of spending time with the ones you love. Your priorities often shift and instead of focusing on you and your career, there are others involved that seek your attention. 

Outside of the lack of time you might be spending with your family, daycare can cost a significant amount of money depending on where you are based.

Would it be better to maybe stay home with them or work part time? All choices you have to make but when it comes to family.

Finding a job that balances your work and home life is ideal – even if it means taking a pay cut.

3. When The New Job Opportunity Includes Other Incentives and Perks

Generating a high salary isn’t the only way to build up your wealth. There are many jobs today that pay based on the results you generate, like sales.

If you have faith in your ability to sell to potential clients, taking on a new job that’s more flexible but can still make you money might be a good choice.

Another perk to look out for when reviewing potential opportunities is working from home (or flexible work). Without a commute and the ability to work on a more flexible pace might be more important than making the big bucks.

4. When You’re Not Passionate About it

Alright, we get it. Most people aren’t “passionate” about their jobs. They simply go through the day to day actions in order to eat, keep a roof over their heads, and survive. That’s just how the hand can often be dealt in modern life. But it doesn’t have to be that way! 

We only live for about 70 to 80 years on average, and unfortunately spend the vast majority of that working. While sucking it up and accepting a job that isn’t fun must be done on occasion, the goal should be to eventually do what you want with your life. 

If you’ve been working your “get by” job for twenty years and your priorities take a shift, it might be time to downgrade your job and focus on your passions instead. 

You might not like having to cut back on evenings out and vacations, but you’ll be grateful for it when you’re in your twilight years feeling fulfilled instead of regretting letting your dreams slip away. 

5. When You’re Not Happy

In the same vein as our last reason, you’re only on our big blue earth for a limited time. Do you want to spend the majority of that time miserable? 

Some jobs are torture, and we are all willing to admit that on occasion. 

Your boss might pay well, but they could take it as an open door to treat you poorly. Your coworkers might be gossipy jerks who make every moment of your shift unbearable. The work itself might be so mundane that you feel like you’re wasting your time on pointless efforts. 

If any of those are the case, it might be time to start looking elsewhere.

You deserve to be happy, and while you have to accept that work is work, and not every day is going to be great, you don’t have to accept torturing yourself every day.


“National average income: The national average U.S. income in 2021 was $97,962. The median U.S. income in 2021 was $69,717. Highest paying jobs: Chief executives and nurse anesthetists earned over $200,000 a year on average in 2021, making them the highest paid occupations”

— Fool.com

Related Content


What are some other ways of generating additional income?

Taking a pay cut doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative ways to generate additional income. Here are 20 passive income ideas from Bankrate to help makeup for any lost income if you decide to take that route:

  • Create a course
  • Write an ebook
  • Rental income
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Flip retail products
  • Sell photography online
  • Buy crowdfunded real estate
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • Dividend stocks
  • Create an app
  • Rent out a parking space
  • REITs
  • A bond ladder
  • Sponsored posts on social media
  • Invest in a high-yield CD or savings account
  • Rent out your home short-term
  • Advertise on your car
  • Create a blog or YouTube channel
  • Rent out useful household items
  • Sell designs online

Wrapping Up | Taking a lower paying job for less stress

You might have to take a lower-paying job to resolve some of the issues we listed, but you ultimately have to decide what’s best for yourself. What you could potentially lose in pay and fancy purchases, you could gain in peace of mind and happiness. To recap 5 times taking a pay cut might be worth it:

  • When you are spending too much time on work
  • When your family life takes a hit
  • When the new job opportunity includes other incentives and perks
  • When you are not passionate about it
  • When you are not happy

When you hit your twilight years and look back at your life, it won’t be the money you’re thinking about but instead, the memories you made. 

We hope this helps and wish you the best of luck in your career!


Title: 5 Times It’s Worth Taking a Lower Paying Job (salary) to Be Happy

Category: Career Development

Tags: taking a pay cut, taking a lower paying job for less stress, should i take a job that pays less, would you take a pay cut to be happier at work, should i take a lower paying job to be happier, should i take a pt lower paying job to be happier

Author: Reid is a contributor for theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile


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