The story I’m sharing today is unfortunately a real problem that a job seeker client of mine is going through. I’m positive he’s not the first to experience an issue like this, and while I’m focusing this here blog post on new grads, the challenge he’s up against is one that hat any level job seeker could battle with.
And the problem is…
He just might be making too much money…
Hold the bananas, what the monkey are you talking about Cornz?! Yes, I know… that’s exactly what you just said out loud. Just relax for a second and I’ll explain our situation.
For the sake of our story, let’s just call my client Nicholas Cage.
So, Nicholas Cage graduated from college in May 2010, with a degree in Finance. Nicholas is a smart kid, interviews well, and is generally what many companies are looking for, so he receives an offer with a way above average starting salary for new grads.
Great, right? Hmmm…
Not long into his job (3-4 months), Mr. Cage starts to realize the company and specific job isn’t exactly the right fit. However, he’s doing well, makes great money (which pays for fun stuff and bills), and receives a promotion just over a year into the job, so he decides to stick it out while looking looking for a new employer.
Here’s The Problem
As mentioned, Nicholas Cage wants to leave his current job (even with the high salary and promotion). The career path isn’t exactly where he wants to be, so the search is on. Initially, a major problem is that many companies might not want someone that is essentially starting over, even though it may be a position that’s closely related to their previous experience. So yes, that’s one problem, but here’s the big stinky current issue…
Nicholas had a phone screen last week that went fantastic. He told me that everything felt absolutely perfect until they asked about his current salary. They told him that his current salary was significantly higher than what the job would pay, and they wouldn’t feel comfortable with him in that role, taking that large of a pay cut.
What Nicholas is going through may very well happen again. Most companies don’t want to see someone take a huge pay cut for their openings. Here are a couple reasons why:
- It’s a risk for the new company. When people take large pay cuts, almost all of the time they miss their larger salaries (obviously). The work satisfaction may be higher than their previous job, but you may still find them looking for a new job way too soon.
- New company may question the job seeker’s motivation. Sure, maybe they aren’t happy with their current position, job, and company, but what else is making them start over in skill set, salary, and employer?
Potential Problems With Absurdly High New Grad Salaries
These next three points won’t always be an issue, just something you should consider when receiving an offer that makes your jaw drop:
- Companies typically expect much more from new grad hires that make higher than average salaries. The jobs are more involved and sometimes have higher stress/pressure than a strictly entry level job.
- Because those jobs may be more involved, stressful, and challenging, the higher salary is used to keep that person around longer, when maybe with a lower pay out that person is looking to leave after a few months.
- When the new employee finally gets tired of the work or realizes it’s not for them, it’s harder for them to find a company and position that will pay close to what they are currently making.
What Should New Grads In This Situation Do?
The very first thing someone should do is make sure the new area of interest is absolutely going to make them happy. Imagine hating your job, but loving your high salary, and then taking a job that end up hating both the work and the lower salary. Yikes.
It’s also important to understand that you may be starting your next job at 10-15K lower than your current salary. I know that is awful, but be prepared for this situation. Most companies won’t even consider someone that wants to take a 10K cut as mentioned earlier.
Network your face off. If you have a referral in or actually know the person hiring, you’re more likely to get a job that comes with a pay cut if the company feels like they know you.
Final Thoughts from COTJ
Nicholas Cage is going to come out on top of this situation. He received a high salary for a reason: he’s smart as hell, interviews well, and is what a company wants. He’ll work his way into another company and will hopefully be happy in his new role.
Have you been through a situation like this or are you going through it right now? What advice do you have for Nicholas?