Should You Get a Lower Paying Job for Less Stress?

By in Career

Everyone dreams of having a well-paying job that helps them sustain a desirable lifestyle. However, a lucrative salary often comes with its own set of drawbacks, namely increased stress.

So, should you settle for a lower-paying job in an effort to reduce your stress levels?

You should get a lower-paying job for less stress if the job enables you to achieve your goals and dreams while still allowing you to maintain a lifestyle you’re satisfied with. That said, the nature of this decision can vary depending on your situation and current priorities.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not you should get a lower-paying job for less stress. In this article, I’ll take you through some of the most important factors to consider when making this decision.

Keep reading to find out if you should get that lower-paying job that allows you to achieve a better work-life balance. 

Should You Get a Lower Paying Job for Less Stress:
8 Factors To Consider 

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether you should switch to a lower-paying job in an effort to reduce your stress levels.

#1 How Much You Enjoy Your Current Job

Before leaving your current job for a lower-paying position, consider whether you actually enjoy your current job. 

It’s possible you may like your current job because it’s in line with your career goals, but the thing causing you stress could be your boss or a toxic work environment. In that case, I would suggest switching to a similar position in another company. 

However, if you don’t enjoy your current job and have been working there just because of the high remuneration rates, then it makes sense to move to a lower paying job so you can work with peace of mind. 

#2 Whether the New Job Can Sustain the Lifestyle You Want

Having a lower paying job means you’ll have to readjust your financial decisions. If you had long-term financial goals, such as buying a house, your dream car, or even starting a business, you might either have to forgo those plans or not take the lower paying job. 

On the other hand, if your dream lifestyle is more focused on having peace of mind and a good work-life balance, then going for a pay cut that guarantees less stress would be a good idea.

To be safe, I suggest you learn and understand financial minimalism, as the practice can help you fare better when switching to a lower-paying position.

You might need to move out of your current house and find a cheaper one.

You might also need to compromise on the quality of life you’re used to, e.g., buy cheaper clothes or avoid eating at fancy restaurants.

Calculate how much you need to earn to fulfill your basic or most important financial obligations and see if the new job can fund them. For example, if the lower-paying job cannot pay for your mortgage or car loan, you might need to work at your current position until your debts are cleared.

What’s more, consider how the lower-paying job affects your savings. Surviving on a small salary is easy, but reducing your savings will affect your financial well-being in the long run.

Therefore, before starting a lower paying job, be honest with yourself about:

  • How much money you can comfortably live on. Evaluate the kind of lifestyle you desire and see how much it takes to finance it. You might need to reconsider if the new job can’t fund it.
  • How long you’ll stay in the new job. If the lower paying job comes with opportunities for a promotion later on, you can take the leap and work towards getting the promotion.
  • How many hours you’ll spend at work. Your dream lifestyle may not be all about earning top dollar. If you desire more time to spend, e.g., with family, then pick the job that doesn’t require you to spend too much time working.

If the lower paying job offers perks like a company car or paid holidays, it might also be better than a higher-paying job without these benefits. 

Analyze what each job offers and decide if the pay cut is worth it.

#3 Your Career Goals

Everyone has career goals and ambitions. For instance, you might be planning to work in a managerial position within the next few years. If the lower-stress job does not offer possibilities for career advancement, it might not be worth considering if you have such long-term career goals.

However, the switch might be worth it if the lower paying job gives you a chance to progress faster in your career. You can start at a lower position but work your way up to a better-paying one.

#4 The Company Culture at Each Workplace

To enjoy a positive working experience, you need to work at a company with a good culture and policies. While no job is perfect, if you work in an environment where you feel underappreciated or disrespected, you’re more likely to feel bitter about your employment or stressed.

No amount of pay can compensate rude coworkers or superiors.

Therefore, before deciding which job you’ll take, ensure neither comprises a toxic workplace.

Research company policies and culture at each potential employer to determine how satisfied current employees are. 

Some lower paying jobs might also have incentives such as “employee of the month awards.” While these cannot equate to better pay, they show that the employer values their employees. Working in such an environment can make you happier over time and make it easier to progress in your career.

#5 Assess How Each Job Fits Into Your Personality

Apart from career progression, you need to ensure the job fits your personality. For example, a low-stress job with less pay might be worthwhile if you’re more focused on helping people than making money.

However, a stressful well-paying job might be good for you if you work best under pressure. Employers value people who can handle stress, so they pay them more. 

#6 The Effect That the New Job Will Have on Your Life

You must also consider how the less-stressful job will affect your current lifestyle. Apart from making financial compromises, you might need to relocate or move away from your family. Such changes might negatively affect your mental health, canceling any gains you’ve made by working in a less stressful workplace.

On the flip side, the new job might give you a chance to improve yourself by having more time to spend with family and friends or going to the gym.

You might also find a less stressful job in a low-cost area.

This will allow you to cut back on your budget without impacting your lifestyle too much.

Similarly, moving to a smaller town will provide a different atmosphere, although you’ll miss out on some of the benefits of being in a large city.

#7 Your Family’s Opinion

While you should not be stuck in a stressful work environment because of your family’s opinions, their input matters too since the new job is likely to affect their lives in some ways. 

If you pick up your kids from school but start working on a different schedule, they might have to take the bus. You might also reduce your frequency of gifting them or taking them on trips. Ensure they understand this and are comfortable with the lifestyle change before signing that resignation letter at your current job.

#8 Have an Exit Strategy in Place

Starting a new job requires a lot of adjusting, especially when your new job pays lower than your current one. Before you resign from your current position, consider whether you’re ready to start afresh at a new company. This involves making new friends, reevaluating spending habits, and possibly relocating.

If you have serious financial obligations such as loans, kids in college, or debts to pay off, you might want to save up before leaving the better-paying job. You need to save enough money to take care of your bills for several months in case the new job doesn’t work out.

Before Getting a Lower Paying Job, Consider Your Alternatives

If you’re tired of your stressful job but still need the extra money, you can evaluate your alternatives and find another solution. Here are a few strategies you can implement to leave a stressful job for a lower paying one without negatively impacting your lifestyle.

Get a Second Job

If the lower paying job is not meeting your financial needs but gives you more free time, you can still take it and get a second job. While working at two different positions can be demanding, you don’t have to work another 9 to 5. Instead, look at your skills and abilities and decide the best part-time job that aligns with them.

For instance, if you’re an IT professional, you can offer private clients freelance coding or web development services. Similarly, you can start blogging about your hobbies or career if you’re an expert in your field, and that can be your second source of income in the long run.

Here’s a video to show you how to make $1,000 per month through blogging:

Getting a second job will increase your income and give you something to fall back on if the first job doesn’t work out. It will also diversify your experience and enrichen your resume.

Change Careers

If the lower-paying job is not meeting your needs and the better-paying one is stressing you out, you can consider switching careers. Some careers can be more demanding while also offering less lucrative salaries. Weigh your options and see if there’s another suitable career you can switch to and whether the working conditions will be more favorable. You may find another field that you’re passionate about, and that will earn you better pay.

Alternatively, you can go back to school and learn new skills to help you venture into a new career. The additional training might also be helpful if it can earn you a promotion at your current job.

Start a Business

Starting your own business is the best way to achieve financial independence. With a business, you can set your own schedules and workloads and take a break when the work becomes overwhelming. However, you must also be ready to risk and gamble with your financial stability.

Before starting a business, ensure you don’t have serious financial obligations that you might fail to fulfill if the business doesn’t work out

You should also ensure you have enough capital for the business and adequate savings to take care of your bills before your endeavor takes off. Here are a few considerations you need to keep in mind  before starting a business.

  • What’s the business’s growth potential? Some businesses start really small but have lots of growth potential. Before starting your own business, ensure to enter an industry where you can scale over time. You can also look at other potential businesses that you can run simultaneously.
  • Will you make as much money as you did while employed? While it’s almost impossible to tell how much a business will make, you can estimate your potential earnings. If these earnings are not enough to meet your financial needs, you might need to stay employed and run the business as a secondary source of income.
  • How long will it take to be profitable? Some businesses can take months or even years before they start making profits. If this will be your primary source of income, it needs to start making you money soon so you can meet your financial needs. If not, you can take a lower paying job if it gives you time to run your business on the side.

Ask for a Demotion

If your current position is overwhelming, but you still enjoy working at your company, you can ask for fewer responsibilities and decreased pay. For instance, it can be hard to work a demanding job when you have a newborn baby. Instead of quitting, you can ask for fewer responsibilities and try to get a promotion when you’re ready to work under pressure again.


A stressful well-paying job vs. a low-stress lower-paying job is an age-old dilemma. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma, and your unique circumstances should influence your choice.

If you’ve weighed your options and decided to leave your lucrative job for a less-paying one with less stress, take a bold step and resign. 

If your current job is negatively affecting your mental health or general well-being, no amount of money will make it better. Therefore, you should explore other opportunities and leave your current job as soon as possible.

About Hi' my name is Simon. I am the owner of Top Work Life. Together with a my team, I write content about income generating ideas, entreprenurship and growth as a person Read more about Simon & TopWorklife

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