I turned down big money, but it was probably the best decision I have ever made. Why move up to a position paying 20-30K more in exchange for a million dollars worth of more headache? One of my employees suggested to me that he'd go somewhere else for higher pay. But it didn't take me long to have him readjust his perspective on that thought process. He's making pretty good where he's at, and the work-life balance is unbeatable. In my environment, he's valuable for the enterprise knowledge that he possess, but going somewhere else in this field, largely means he'll be starting from scratch. He'll stay for the same reasons I will: We know what the daily expectation are where we work now and the synergy is very damned good!
AMEN! You should not make career decisions based mainly on dollars and chasing titles. You WILL live to regret it. I turned down an ISO position that offered a title and slightly better pay, but the salary would be surpassed by that of those managed under that role in 12-18 months due to salaries not being adjusted the same. Yep, it's messed up! It made zero sense to take on the headaches and grief for a title and a small salary increase that has now been surpassed by my current role!
Yes I too have done that. I was once making 85K a year. I got offered a position making 110K a year and I turned it down. When I mentioned it to one of my subordinates, a very green ISSO, he said he would have jumped at that chance and I understood his reasoning. I then explained to him why. First was health insurance, the new job would only pay for me and because of mandatory requirements of the government (plus I wanted my family to be covered) I would have to purchase family coverage myself at the cost of $1000 a month. So there goes 12K a year off of that salary, dropping it to 98K. Second, it was a further commute than my current job and would have added 200-300 per month for gas, so there goes another 2400-3600K per year. I estimated high so that brings me down to 94K, IF gas prices didn't increase. Plus it would have increased the time away from my family and involved me going to a city that was known for traffic issues. So now we are down to only a 9K raise. Thirdly, the work-life balance was pretty good where I was. I was the boss, set my own schedule and had a pretty nice title (CIO) already. I was already earning 13 days of sick leave, plus 26 days of personal leave and 10 holidays. Since I had so much personal leave saved up (maxed out the bank limit) I had to use the personal leave or lose it each year. I HAD to use 5 weeks of personal time each year, poor me. So when I took the whole situation into account, it did not make much sense to leave the good life for an unknown environment for 9K a year.
Now if I were younger and did not have a family I probably would have taken it just to get my "highest you have ever been paid" number up. I have found that if someone else has already paid you a high salary, other employers are more willing to pay you that as well or slightly higher, because someone else has already "assumed" the risk of putting a financial number on you. If you have never made even close to that amount AND something goes wrong, the person who made the hire gets questioned "Why did we pay them so much when no one else had?" so they are less likely to take the risk on you. Yes, sometimes hiring decisions come down to something as trivial as that.
So like @Lamont29 implies, you have to take all the things into consideration when someone comes and throws money at you.
Your response is excellent! One of the most priceless looks I ever received was when I asked a colleague about the benefits, insurance premiums, deductible costs, personal/sick vs. vacation time, etc. for a new position that was so wonderful he couldn't pass up. This was a younger individual with a wife and young child. I received a deer in the headlights look and he finally admitted to not having asked most of the questions of the new employer.....
By the time you take taxes out of the $9k increase and break that across a year, you would have been taking home a whopping $128 more per week. In my mind, unless there is large potential for growth in happiness, income, and knowledge/experience, that's not a lifestyle changer and worth the gamble.