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In This Economy, What is More Important: Opportunity or Compensation?

04.13.09   |   Interview Advice   |   Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline Incorporated

I think it's obvious to say that everyone wants to get paid what they feel they are worth.  But what happens when compensation shrinks as does opportunity?

In this economy the amount of jobs that are being eliminated on a monthly basis is astonishing.  People who never before have been challenged by a job loss are experiencing it for the first time.  If you are one of those individuals, the question you should be prepared to answer is : Will I accept a job for less money than what I have been paid?

The answer will vary depending upon each person's own circumstances: Are you the sole financial provider? Did you get a severance package from your last job?  Do you have money to tap into as a reserve? Will this opportunity lead to growth in the near future?

Regardless, once you begin your job search, you could be faced with the reality that you could be offered less money for the same or more responsibilities than your previous job.  Why? For obvious reasons - supply & demand.  It is an employer's market and like it or not, they call the shots. Companies have the luxury of choosing within a greater pool of candidates than they have had in years. So where does that leave you?  One of the first things to do is sit down and write out precisely what your monthly expenses are.  Calculate exactly what you need to make to be able to pay your bills and survive.  Use that number as your absolute low, meaning:  even if it was the best job on earth, if the compensation is expected to be below your absolute low, you couldn't take it. If an offer comes in anywhere over that amount, you are in good shape.  Once you know that an offer will keep you off the unemployment line and out of bankruptcy, the next question is: do you accept or decline?

It's hard not to let your ego in the way of a great opportunity and it's natural to feel insulted if an offer is made below your usual earnings. But the reality in today's market is that there are still great opportunities out there but unfortunately your expectations of what it should pay may be lower than what the company is willing to offer.  In this economy, what is more important:  opportunity or compensation?

 

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