This week, I was talking to a coworker about a new job I applied for. It’s a long-shot, but I figured it never hurts to put in an application. She immediately asked about the pay. She and I are on the same exact pay grade and received our last promotions together, so there really are no salary secrets between us. I told her that if I could get a salary at the top of the pay band advertised in the job posting, that it would be a small pay cut, but that I would be stuck at that salary for my first two years before I was eligible for a promotion. Contrast that with my current job, where I am guaranteed a small raise on the anniversary of my current position for the next two years.
The job is so far from a guarantee that it’s silly to be worrying about it. But it’s a job I’ve wanted for a while, and for a great job, I’m willing to take the slight pay cut. I’m not going to be in my current job forever.
My coworker, however, freaked out. I felt like she was scolding me for the decision (yes, the decision to just apply for the job). She thought it was completely irresponsible for me to leave a job where I know I will be making a good chunk of money for a job where I know I will still be making good money, just slightly less. But in my opinion, if I’m leaving for a job I will enjoy so much more, then it’s completely worth it.
Of course, this is all a ridiculous discussion to begin with, because I’ve not even interviewed for the job. Just applied. And if I get the job and they offer me a lesser salary, I won’t take it. I am willing to take a small pay cut, but I’m not ready for a big pay cut just yet.
It was interesting to see how different our priorities are. She was all about the money, and I’m all about finding a job I can truly enjoy while still supporting myself. She’s about five years older than I am, but also single and without kids. While I can see the expansion of my family a reason to shift priorities, I just don’t see it happening automatically with age.