Questions to Answer Before Accepting a Lower Paying Nurse Practitioner Job
There are times when it actually pays to take a lower salary, but there are financial and career growth factors to consider here.
Which is why, just about every week, I’ll be scrolling the big Nurse Practitioner Facebook Groups when I’ll see a post that says something like:
“I just got an offer for my first-ever NP job, but I’m unsure about the offer… Thoughts?”
Now – this person likely does not have a mentor or solid community of NP peers yet, (like The NP Society, for example) so it makes sense why they would share the job salary & benefits and look to the huge groups for feedback.
But usually the Facebook comments sound a little bit like this:
“if you accept this offer you will be a disgrace to the profession”.
Clearly all very helpful feedback, right? 🙄
In today’s episode, I’m shining a light on this issue of crowdsourcing your decision-making, as well as answering the age old question:
“Should I take a low offer out of desperation?”
I’m also covering:
- Questions to ask yourself before signing the acceptance letter
- How to frame compensation – Factors to consider
- Perspective from my own personal experience
LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED TODAY:
If you are an NP or NP student looking for your first or next job, then you have to check out my workshop, No More Job Boards. Click here to learn more and enroll for just $37!
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It’s not always about getting the right answer, it’s about receiving the right question…
My job as a mentor and guide for NPs is not to tell you what to do, but to help you figure out what to do.
Professionally, we are accustomed to being in the headspace of ‘needing’ to give a right answer. This is a big pet peeve of mine for how we give support in general, because sometimes we fail to realize that some questions don’t require us to give the answer. Some questions are best answered with other questions so that the other person can come to their own conclusions. 💡 This is a cornerstone of coaching, mentoring, and counseling.
So, if you’re thinking about taking a lower paying job offer, ask yourself these two questions before signing the acceptance letter.
What is the context of the offer?
Where in the country is this job located? What’s the fair market rate for NPs of that experience level and specialty in that area? What does the benefits package look like? What type of employment is it?
The answers to this question are so important, because a “low offer” is subjective. You should NOT be getting the same salary offer in the ER in California as you would in primary care in rural Arkansas. It’s important to establish where this offer falls compared to other comparable salaries.
What would taking this position all you to be, allow you to do, and/or allow you to have?
It’s important to recognize that salary isn’t the most important thing, and there are so many other benefits of taking particular jobs. For someone, it may be worth taking a lower salary to have a half day on Fridays and weekends off, or to have a 10% retirement contribution, or to be expertly trained in a new area, or to become hired by a health system with lots of future opportunities.
What I Learned From My Own Personal Experience
The first NP job I ever had was working at a student health center as one of many NPs. This was nearly 10 years ago in rural Ohio and the salary was not quite 70k/year. However, it was a 10 month position over 12 months, which meant that I worked year round but essentially as a 0.8 FTE. As a result, I had a large bank of days off that I had to take throughout the year. This was great for me, as I transitioned to a new role and also to a new state, and started to plan a wedding since my husband and I got engaged shortly after I started the position. Not to mention, there was an amazing retirement contribution of 10% of my annual salary, which I realized was money in my pocket later in life and totally worth it for me. It ended up being a great stepping stone position for me and opened doors for me later in my career, especially since I got some great urgent care and procedural experience.
All this to say – it’s completely up to you to decide what is worth it for you. If you are taking an offer that’s lower than what you want, there should be some other things on the other side of the scale that balance it out for you!
I also want to take a moment to acknowledge that it comes from a place of privilege to be able to take a long time finding the right job for you, especially if you are no longer working as an RN. Not everyone has the financial privilege to go long stretches of time
un-or-underemployed, so sometimes taking a position that’s less than ideal for you can come from a place of need or survival.
Keep in mind, that this next job of yours likely will not be your forever job! There is a lot of flexibility and opportunities to pivot and move around in our career, so try to remember that a job isn’t forever when you are making these decisions. Also, your starting salary isn’t forever either! You can always ask to renegotiate after you’re oriented and at full productivity, and you can likely expect annual salary increases in most workplaces.
I’d love to hear from you – Did you ever take a job that was considered a really low offer? Why did you take it, or why did you pass? What happened? If you decide to share, go ahead and tag me on instagram @theresumerx – I’d love to hear about it!