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This may sound a weird at first as one usually looks for a job that increases his income; however, what would be the effects of accepting a job offer with lower salary, but results in a high net income?

For the sake of an example, let's say I live in Germany and get 2 job offers one from a company in Germany offering 80k Euros and the other from a company in USA offering 150k USD. Let's say I already own a house in Germany, have a car and as such my expenses will be greatly reduced leading to a higher net income.

Would rejecting a higher salary hurt my career somehow in the future?

This is of course assuming that all other factors aren't critical. I'm not comparing living in Germany to USA. I'm not comparing the sizes of the companies. I'm just interested to hear if one could lose something by passing an opportunity to have a higher number in his contract at the cost of the net income.

closed as off-topic by paparazzo, gnat, Masked Man, Chris E, JasonJ Dec 13 '16 at 16:22

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  • 2
    People do consider net income. For example jobs in the airport area often have higher pays to compensate for the travel expense, as the airport is not located at the city center in most cities around the world. – mandy Dec 12 '16 at 18:46
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The fundamental answer to this question is that your return for services rendered should be commensurate with your personal value scale.

  • Not all things of personal value have monetary value
  • Not all things of monetary value have personal value

Simple Anecdotes:

  • Some people value "high salary" as a status marker and would completely ignore circumstances that diminish net income.
  • Some people value "flexibility" in their working hours and would eschew raw pay in exchange for circumstances that allow them unilateral control over their office hours.
  • Some people value "purchasing power" and would take a lower gross income in an area with lower living costs(say: Birmingham, AL) over a much higher gross income in an area with higher living costs(say: New York City)
  • Some people value the "local liquidity" of their services, should the need arise to acquire new clients, in which case a place such as New York City could provide considerable value over a place such as Birmingham, AL

It entirely depends only on your subjective scale of values and you have not shared enough information to determine whether you would be missing out on anything that you value.

Would rejecting a higher salary hurt my career somehow in the future?

I don't see any personal reason how it could, but what is it you are afraid of losing out on? Any answers in this space must be qualified against the things that you value, or you aren't losing out on anything are you?

I'm just interested to hear if one could lose something by passing an opportunity to have a higher number in his contract at the cost of the net income.

You certainly could, depending upon your point of view. What is it that you value that you are afraid of losing?

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Unless your salary is posted on your resume when you apply for another position, I don't think this will impact you in the slightest. I do think if your were taking a lower position, say Software Engineer versus SR. Software Engineer, that would be more likely to hurt your future prospects.

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Salary is just a number without context. Even within the same country, salaries for the same position can vary widely based on location, city vs suburban, size of the city, demand for professionals in that field, cost of living in that area, ...

Employers in those various locations should pay commensurately, regardless of your previous salary in a different context. If you do feel the need to disclose salary in any future employment discussions, just include that context when negotiating.

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I'm just interested to hear if one could lose something by passing an opportunity to have a higher number in his contract

As you mentioned Germany, this goes for Germany and any country with similar customs concerning salary (i.e. not disclosing it to others including future employers):

No

Why not? Because this number is only known to you, your employer and the tax authority. Only you are part of your next salary negotiation with another employer. As long as you don't mind, your next employer will never know what you made previously.

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