Most the time, when discussing salary and/or hourly rate, people state an amount that they desire to make, accompanied by what they're currently making - adding that they would not want to go below that. Certainly, this makes sense. But are there exceptions to this rule? Are there times when taking less money may make more sense?
In my opinion, yes, and here are a few examples of such instances.
1. The opportunity to acquire a new skill set. If you’ve been using the same software for ten years, and find that you’re receiving fewer calls about new projects and have more time between engagements, then maybe it’s time to consider learning new software. Now, because you have no previous experience with this new software, you’ll not be able to demand as high an hourly rate, but you will be adding a marketable skill set to your résumé. This, in turn, will open you up to future projects and, potentially, shorten the length of time between projects (thus the length of time between paychecks).
2. The length of a contract. For many consultants, a longer-term project is much more desirable than one lasting less than six months. This is why they’re willing to take a lower hourly rate — to give them stability for a longer period of time. There are a couple of factors at play here: Obviously, for each week you work, you’ll be receiving a paycheck. Secondly, you’ll reduce the hassle of finding your next contract — a worrisome time between projects when you’re not receiving a paycheck. Suddenly, taking a few dollars less per hour isn’t as big of an issue.
3. Less travel, more convenient travel, or travel to a desirable location: Although weekly travel is part of many consultants’ lifestyles, I often hear that a little less travel would be a lot more attractive. So attractive, in fact, that they would be willing to take less money for the opportunity to work remotely on a regular basis. Along the lines of less travel, convenient travel has also become a factor when taking less money. It’s hard enough to travel every week, but if the travel day is 15 hours long, it’s almost not worth it, no matter the amount of money. So, if we’re able to find a situation with very convenient and/or desirable travel, most consultants will consider a lower hourly rate in exchange for the added benefit of getting to and from the location in minimal time and with less hassle.
Of course, we all want to make as much money possible. But before you set your mind to a required hourly rate, take into consideration situations in which taking a lower rate makes more sense in the long run.
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