Why I Turned Down a $110k Job Offer for an $80k Offer at 22 Years Old


When I graduated college this past June, I promise you I did not expect that a mere five months later I would be employed full-time and living in the city of my dreams. Things were looking pretty bleak, actually, as I graduated into an economic crisis, in the middle of a pandemic, with a typically non-competitive undergraduate degree in psychology. The only thing I foresaw in my future was the continuation of my retail job, which although I did enjoy, made me feel incredibly stuck. I lived with my family still, made just above minimum wage, and was still in the same city I grew up in.

I first applied for jobs that I did not feel fully qualified for or passionate about, such as positions in human resources, as a personal assistant, or even as a secretary. It felt draining to apply, and I couldn’t even imagine myself actually doing those jobs — I pictured myself in a sophisticated pantsuit, answering phones and jotting down notes at a desk and felt a shudder go up to my spine. I am an incredibly active and creative person, and I never wanted to feel bored at work, which I feared would come with the territory of a sedentary job I did not love.

Next, I tried to be entrepreneurial through my personal hobbies and interests. I started with YouTube and grew a small subscriber base for myself. I met many amazing friends on the platform, and while I will absolutely continue to make content, it became clear that YouTube would not hold the key to fully finance my lifestyle anytime soon. It might be a possibility in the future, but I needed something immediately that would be stable, consistent, and lucrative.

So, what was I good enough at that someone would actually want to pay me for it? I racked my brain and realized that there was one field I might actually be highly qualified for — career nannying. I had almost 7 years of childcare experience, CPR, first aid, and lifeguard certifications, experience tutoring, coaching gymnastics, teaching swim lessons — oh, and get this, I even did a summer internship in the field of childhood psychology. The cherry on top of the cake, I actually loved working with kids. I could take them out to experience the world, help them navigate their emotions, and lead an active and engaging lifestyle with them.

I created a specialized resume and began to apply.

The first offer was $110k per year, working with two boys aged 2 and 4. I would be one of four nannies on a rotating schedule, with two nannies on at a time. The schedule would be 30-days-on, 30-days-off, and the days would be 14 hours long when on.

The pros included the pay, and having a month off at a time.

The cons included the location, which would be in New Jersey (as opposed to New York, where I knew in my heart I wanted to be), and the 14 hour days for 30 days straight. I would be unable to have a social life, talk to my friends, workout, or take care of my mental health in any capacity for an entire month at a time. I knew that I would feel unbalanced and burnt out quickly.

The second offer was $80k per year, working with 2 boys aged 4 and 6. I would be working in the heart of New York City, in Manhattan, Monday through Friday for around 35 hours per week. I would have weekends off and live-out in my very own apartment, which I could comfortably afford to live in on my salary. I flew out and met the family, and it felt right. I was where I was meant to be, with the kids I was supposed to be with, no question about it.

I made a long term investment by choosing a job I could see myself at for years to come. I chose a job that would allow me the flexibility to have a life outside of work, go back to school if I want to, stay healthy and fit, and live in my very own space. I also chose a job with kids who love me as much as I love them, and parents who still want to be very involved in the lives of their children.

I didn’t choose my job based just off of the monetary offer, but on what it could offer me as a person, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

Yet, I cannot forget that I put a lot of hard work into getting where I am today, and I know the path I chose is not suitable for everyone. I grew up poor for the area I lived in, and money has always been stressful. I paid my own way through college, and as a first-generation college graduate, I was never quite sure if I would “make it” or not. I still plan to get my masters someday and become a professional in the mental health field, but for now, I am proud of what I am doing to make a difference in the lives of these kids.

Even if I am not making six-figures per year at 22 years old, I still feel so successful that I made my dreams of living in NYC a reality and found a job I will actually enjoy and look forward to.

I am still figuring all this life stuff out, and I know I still have many years of exploration ahead of me, but I learned a lot about my values and what I find important through this job-searching experience. The true luxuries of life cannot be bought, and success is better measured by the amount of passion you live with than the amount of money you make.

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