Why I Turned Down A Six Figure Job Offer

Why I Turned Down a Six Figure Job Offer

I turned down a six figure job recently that I was uniquely suited to be an excellent candidate for.  Although no offer was officially given, I feel it still counts as turning it down.  The opportunity was presented by a key decision maker in the hiring process, after having a discussion with other key decision makers.  I quickly turned down this opportunity in this initial conversation, and to most outsiders I think this move may look crazy. To others it looks like I am of the “just doesn’t want to work” class.  Here’s the rationale for why I turned down a high paying job.

(Note The original version of this article was posted on November 22, 2021.  My hosting service reset my website to a backup from October and this article was lost. This reset also deleted all of my WP-Backup files.  The first 1/3 was preserved from my mailing list campaign, however I had to rebuild the rest of the article to the best of my abilities.)

The Good:

This would be a stable job with a six figure income, a significant bonus target, and all the normal corporate benefits.  I have never had a job with benefits before, so it would be interesting to have employer sponsored health insurance, a 401K match, an HSA, and all the other cool benefits. I’ve never had a matching 401K and I believe this company matches 6%.  I would max out my Roth 401K which would give me the max match of around $6,000 per year.  I wouldn’t have to travel for work. This job would be a challenge and give me the opportunity to work on some of my weaker points as an employee and leader.    In addition to being the leader for the project I normally work on, this role is also responsible for supervising other contractors on different projects throughout the plant during non outage times.  This role involves a ton of planning, budgeting, and projecting, which are all strong areas for me. It is also the primary leadership role in the area I have been working in for 15 years (and in varying leadership positions for 12 years). I am appreciative that I was considered for this role.

A big plus this job would have is that it would put me in a position where I think I could leverage my career to climb the corporate ladder at the plant. I would be on the younger end of people with this level of responsibility in the plant and I could chart a course towards upper management.  That’s the dream right?

The Bad:

The Job is Year Round:

Currently I work seasonal refueling outages at nuclear power plants.  This year I worked 17 weeks and earned approx. $50,000.  This means that I had 35 solid weeks “off”.  If I were to take this job I would be working 50 weeks out of the year.  From a time freedom quotient, this is moving in the wrong direction.  For next year I plan to work closer to 24 weeks, then drop down to under 15 weeks for 2023 and 2024. 2025 should be between 0 and 8 weeks.  Very few people in our western job culture get more than 4 weeks off per year, and over 8 is an extreme rarity.

I’ve been killing the job culture since day 1.  I am 100% against the concept of a 9 to 5 year round job working for someone else. It is the highest risk, highest taxed form of living and is unnatural through the entire history of man.  The industrial revolution spiked average working hours to over 70 per week, and then they dramatically fell between 1870 and 1940, then stabilized at 40 for the last 80 years.  There is nothing special about a 40 hour work week.  We just haven’t had the will needed to challenge it en masse, perhaps until today. I strongly believe that the 15 hour work week that Keynes postulated in his 1930 essay “possibilities for our grandchildren” is a real possibility, and it would be against this belief if I signed up for a career that required a 40 hour weekly schedule.

Anyways, this job would normally be on a 4 10s schedule, which I like the concept of a 4 day work week, but I find 10 hour shifts to be an over bearing artificial construct.  The days are too long and it steals the ability to function significantly on the working days.  If it were a 4 7s schedule I could see this being a better work life balance.  I have no desire to work 6AM to 430PM.  I am against the concept of a 40 hour work week.  Actually, I believe the start time for this position might be 530, which is even worse. I could go for 8 AM to 3 PM, I think that would be a doable schedule.

This Job Is Losing Support:

This job has historically always had a day shift and a night shift lead during the refueling outages.  A few years ago the day shift lead retired and was not replaced, putting extra risk on the project and extra work load on the project manager.  The current night shift lead is likely to retire soon.  As are the project managers for the contract group.  If I were to take this job I would also not have me working for the contract group.  Long term this job is going to get more difficult.

This Job Is In A Highly Regulated Environment:

To work at a nuclear power plant you need to be able to pass random drug and alcohol tests, background checks, and have stringent reporting requirements for legal activities.  Marijuana is legal for recreational use in the state of Michigan, however it is illegal at the federal level and that is what the plants go by.  A urinalysis test is NOT an accurate indication of current impairment, yet is treated as such.  You can stop smoking marijuana a month before reporting to site and still “drop dirty”.  A failed drug test is a 3 year ban in the industry and a 2nd failed test is permanent denial of access.  This is insanity. I have seen many highly qualified, important people lose their careers over this.   I understand that this is an NRC standard and the individual plant does not have control over this.

From a background check standpoint, I have known people who have been denied access based on pending litigation.  In America you are innocent until proven guilty, unless you work at a nuclear power plant.  The courts have been moving unbelievably slow due to the pandemic.  I have a good friend who has had a charge pending for an entire year.  My wife’s Aunt has had a charge pending for over 6 months (both of these individuals will likely be found innocent). If they had this job though, they would likely be terminated.   I understand that this is an NRC standard and the individual plant does not have control over this.

I made a mistake about 4 years ago that I was given 2 unpaid days off for at this plant.  What I did wrong did not increase risk to the plant, did not put anyone in danger, and did not cause any equipment damage.  I was trying to help out another employee, which is one of the core beliefs of the plant “Support Your Peers”.  What I did was however against one of thousands of standards we have at the plant.  Over the 15 years I have worked for this plant I have only seen 3 other people receive time off without pay, and those individuals all either caused significant rework or put other people in danger.  While the punishment officially came from my contract company, the site is involved in these type of discussions.  I am not willing to have 100% of my livelihood in the hands of a company that uses that as a punishment.  The way outages work is that they have a lot of overtime, and that is why people work them at all.  I lost 25 hours of OT pay during the brief period where I could earn it and that hurt.


The Opportunity Cost Is Great:

What’s The Opportunity Cost of taking this job?  I would lose focus on building my real estate empire.  If I’m working year round rather than doing 2 to 3 houses per year like I have been I would be limited to doing only one house, and most likely with a much smaller rehab.  For the 2 houses I did in 2021 I added over $800 per month in long term passive income AND added over $60,000 of sweat equity to these properties.  Going from that level to doing only 1 property with maybe $10,000 of sweat equity and only $300 a month in added cash flow would be not ideal, but likely if I took this job.

My rentals will send cash to the house every month. If I stop working, those rentals will still send a check. My rentals don’t care if I got high, if I got arrested, if I’m in prison, or even if I am dead.  The money will still come in.  That’s what building assets is about. The second I stop showing up at this job, the paycheck ends.  As Kevin O Leary would say “A salary is the drug they give you to give up on your dreams.

Another opportunity cost is the time spent with my family.  When working on my real estate projects I drive the kids to school and pick them up from school. I also have them helping on the projects when they are off of school.  If I were working this job I would have less time to spend with them, and less time to help them on their wealth building journeys.  Last year we started a small business selling books on Amazon and hired all of our minor children to work in this business, in order to fund their Roth IRAs.  I also had 2 of the kids start vending machine businesses.  These are activities that would hit the back burner if I had a full time job. These are also arguably, my most important activities. I am setting my children up to be multi-millionaires with a fraction of the effort I have had to put in to eventually reach that level.


This will be a great job for somebody, but not for me. My other projects are too important, my life energy, my kids, and my time are too important.  I happily turned down this six figure job opportunity and I would do it again.

Have you ever turned down a high paying job?


John C. started Action Economics in 2013 as a way to gain more knowledge on personal financial planning and to share that knowledge with others. Action Economics focuses on paying off the house, reducing taxes, and building wealth. John is the author of the book For My Children's Children: A Practical Guide For Building Generational Wealth.

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