Should you quit your job because you're paid too much? One worker wrote to an advice columnist to ask.
- A nonprofit worker wrote to the New York Times Ethicist column about being paid too much.
- Their salary is 20-30% higher than comparable jobs and doesn't require their level of experience.
If you're buckling under the pressure of the daily grind, imagine this scenario instead: You work fewer than 40 hours a week. You take long breaks throughout the day. And you earn 20% to 30% more than people in comparable roles.
The only catch: You're painfully overqualified for your job.
Some might say that's the definition of the corporate promised land. But a person who said they work in the nonprofit sector wrote to a New York Times advice column saying the exact opposite: They've overpaid, underworked — and wondering if they should quit.
"This nonprofit could easily pay a significantly less experienced person significantly less money to do exactly what I do," the unnamed bearer of this cushy job wrote to the newspaper's Ethicist column.
And because they're too qualified for their own good, this person said they're not inclined to go "above and beyond" in their current role. In previous roles, they said their passion for the field fueled a desire to take on "extra tasks and work extra hours."
The person asked: "Am I doing wrong by using up extra resources at a job where I am not willing to go above and beyond? Should I tell them they created an incorrectly scaled position?"
Of course, there are no clear answers to this question — especially since it's rooted in subjective ideas of value. How does an employer's idea of an employee's value match with the employee's idea of their own value? And how does that translate into a salary?
Times Ethicist columnist Kwame Anthony Appiah suggested that it may be time for this person to try reframing the job description itself.
"One way to contribute to an organization is to shape your job around your talents," the columnist wrote. "You think your employers would be better off hiring someone else to do what you're doing for less money. That's true only if you take the job's remit as fixed."
The question comes as people are rethinking work in the wake of the pandemic, sparking trends like "quiet quitting" and "grumpy staying." And of course there's also "quiet thriving" and "loud quitting" and so-called lazy-girl jobs.
It also comes amidst a flood of layoffs in companies in tech and beyond.
So is it time to add another trend to the mix? Quitting because you think you're paid too much? Seems unlikely. But for reference, here are the highest-paying jobs in the US.
Do you think you're overpaid? If so, what are your thoughts about that — ever thought about quitting? Contact reporter Lakshmi Varanasi at firstname.lastname@example.org or on encrypted messaging app Signal at 262-408-1907.
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