Money Isn’t Everything: 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Take That Higher-Paying Job

You’re offered a job that pays you significantly more than what you currently make. What do you do?

Your first thought is to probably take it. Making more money solves a lot of life’s problems, after all, and lets you buy a lot of nice things.

But every job comes with positives and negatives. Sometimes, the negatives are enough to outweigh the value of that bigger paycheck.

So think carefully before saying “yes” to that offer, and look over this list of six reasons to turn down a higher-paying job.

You might say “no” to this opportunity if…

1. You’ll Face a Longer Commute

The average commute in the U.S. is 26 minutes, which means 52 minutes is spent going to and from work. Almost five hours per week!

If you take a job farther away you’ll tack on more time to your commute. Is it worth it?

Apart from time is the cost: CNN reports U.S. workers spend an average of $2,600 commuting. If you double the distance, for instance, you might lose much of what you thought you were gaining.

Compare the offered job to your current position by calculating what you’ll make from each one after all expenses, including commuting costs. Divide that by the total time devoted to working, including commutes.

You may make more per year with the new job, but not much more for each hour you’re away from home.

That’s the time and money equation. But there is the health issue as well.

A Gallup poll found the longer the commute, the lower people score on well-being and emotional health indexes, and the more likely they are to be obese.

In other words, long commutes are just plain bad for you.

2. You’ll Work Longer Hours

Long commutes are bad for your health, so it isn’t surprising that long hours are bad for you too.

Here’s what the National Institutes for Health reports from a study on long working hours and health:

Women who worked long hours had increased odds of subsequently experiencing depression. Moving from standard to long hours was associated with unhealthy weight gain for men, with an increase in smoking for both men and women, and with an increase in drinking for women.

In addition to the potential health hazards there is the question of your quality of life: Do you really want to work more hours?

3. You Don’t Enjoy the Work

Consider carefully whether the actual work offered is something you’ll enjoy, and how long you’ll be doing it. A larger paycheck might make work you don’t like doable, especially if it’s temporary. But if you don’t enjoy the work you probably won’t be satisfied long-term.

Here, too, you run into possible health issues. A meta-analysis of studies on job satisfaction and health concluded “the relationships found suggest that job satisfaction level is an important factor influencing the health of workers.”

4. It’s in the Wrong Location

It’s possible the new job will be far away, maybe even in one of the places covered in my post on the best cities for jobs. Some places have better employment opportunities than others, which could mean you’ll have the cost and trouble of moving.

More importantly, being a “good place for jobs” doesn’t mean it’s a good place for you. To feel happy about where you live you might need mountains, a beach or a large city.

Thinking about the totality of your life and lifestyle, do you want to live where that job is located?

5. The Office Isn’t Right for You

Even if the job is a short commute and you love the work, hours and location, you should consider the work environment.

My post on how to research a job explains how to find employer reviews on websites like Glassdoor (for jobs in the U.S.) and (for Canadian employers).

Visit the workplace too, if possible. You don’t want to spend your days in a workplace that’s toxic — physically or psychologically.

6. It Doesn’t Fit Your Goals

Some jobs are just a good way to pay the bills while you figure out what you want to do with your life. But if you already have solid goals in place, be sure the job offered fits with your plan.

A detour into a job that makes you a little more money might set you back years on your more important goals. If this is the case, than that’s one of the best reasons to turn down a higher-paying job.

Your Turn: Have you ever turned down a higher-paying job, and if so, why?

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).