The vast majority of our job candidates aren’t consumed with compensation. Sure, most want to be paid fairly for their contributions to their employers.

Beyond that, they cite many other facets about their careers and jobs which are equally or more important. It’s really about the employer’s entire offering including their responsibilities, growth opportunities, coworkers, and so on.

I thought it’d be fun to share a few non-compensation factors I consider more beneficial over the course of an entire career. Even if compensation were extremely important to you, I’m suggesting these nine career opportunities would be worth a pay cut because the return on their investment should be far greater than short-term cash.

Of course, I realize everyone’s situation is unique and only you can determine value. For example, it might be worth a pay cut for you to reduce your commute time so you can drop the kids off at school every morning before your dash into work. That’s a personal preference.

These factors, to me, are the greatest accelerators of learning and career advancement. I wouldn’t want you to overlook them if you have a chance!

When you get an opportunity to work at a market-leading or great start-up company.

You join a company. You never join a job. I’ve said those words thousands of times to job candidates. In the long run, the company you work for will influence you more than the day-to-day responsibilities you manage.

Specifically, the culture, environment, and people will shape your growth far more than the papers you shuffle around your desk.

If you join the right company, you’ll have many great opportunities. That company will grow and develop new and innovative products or services, which will result in more career opportunities for you. It’s a corporate law-garithm.

When you get the opportunity to work with (for) an absolute rock star.

I’ve written before that a mentor isn’t a requirement in life. I consider it a bonus. But, it can be a big bonus if you get the right one.

If you have an opportunity to work with someone who is a visionary and a great leader, take it.

Bosses manage people. Leaders build people. Leaders create more leaders, not more followers.

This rock star also doesn’t need to be your immediate boss. Perhaps it’s a great leader in the organization whose influence and direction will impact you. It can be someone managing the company, a division, or unit. Of course, this is a bit trickier situation, but one you should consider.

When you want to start your own company.

When you start your own company, you’ll experience personal and professional heartache, pain, and joy unlike ever before.

I’ve written about this many times and would like to share a few paragraphs from the first chapter of Interview Intervention: Communication That Gets You Hired titled The World Actually Does Revolve Around You. (You can download the book free.)

“Most people never act on new adventures. It’s my opinion they would rather live with unhappiness than uncertainty. Instead of taking a chance, they hold themselves hostage, with decisions they made during their twenties serving as the shackles. Consequently, they keep plowing forward until they collect their Social Security checks. There are certainly a select few who are fortunate enough to love what they do for their entire careers. Most are not. I’m not sure about you, but I certainly don’t want a twenty-two-year-old to pick my career for me—not even a twenty-two-year-old version of me.

Realize the absolute worst scenario in the event you “fail” is to revert back to whatever it was you were doing before you made the attempt. I’m not quite sure who invented the expression, “There’s no turning back.” Whoever it was, he or she was sorely mistaken when it comes to the workforce. I absolutely guarantee that if you take that new road in the fork and decide it’s not for you, the bridge back to wherever you came from will still be there. It might not be with your previous employer, but you will certainly find other suitors in your old field who would welcome you back.”

Sometimes people start companies on a shoestring budget. Other times, they start them with capital investors. Regardless of your situation, if you have the urge, give it a try.

You want to make a career change.

Most people are too lazy or afraid to make career changes. Many want to, but can’t wrap their mind around how they’ll support themselves financially (or live on less compensation in the shorter term).

I think the better question is, “Why would you continue to do something you don’t love?” Life’s too short. You’ll be happier if you’re more engaged in what you’re doing.

Take a peek at 5 Requirements for a Successful Career Change, How to Figure Out Your Purpose in Life in Fewer than 600 Words, and 7 Signs You Found Your Purpose.

When you’re about to go insane.

Your mental and physical health is the most important thing in life. While my previous suggestions are for the go-getter types, this one is for those who simply need a break from wherever they are or whatever they’re doing.

Perhaps you need better balance or structure to your day. Maybe you’re traveling and away from the family too much. Possibly the people within your company are a bunch of nut jobs. Who knows?

For whatever reason, a minor pay cut is nothing compared to your sanity.

When the knowledge and training mean more to you.

You’ll gain knowledge through working with a better organization, for a better boss, opening your own company, and so forth.

Some companies might not pay as much as others but offer great training programs. They might have fantastic in-house training or pay those expensive price tags for external training courses and certifications. Either way, these training programs can often be career accelerators.

When you want to travel.

Some people love it. Others hate it. But, traveling can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences.

You’ll get a chance to see other cities, states, and countries. Oftentimes, employers are quite liberal with travel arrangements assuming any adjustments aren’t incurring additional expenses.

You not only get a chance to learn difference cultures, but you might be able to take those extra weekend days if you’re lucky.

As always, I’d love to hear from you: What would you consider worth a pay cut?

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