Do I take the salaried job, or the one that offers a commission?

Friday November 24 2017

PHOTO | FILE A stressed man.

In the past two weeks, I have interviewed for two jobs; one offers a salary, while the other is commission-based. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  NATION

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Q. In the past two weeks, I have interviewed for two jobs; one offers a salary, while the other is commission-based. My mentor advises that I take up the job that is offering a commission because I will get to determine how much I will earn.

My parents, however, have encouraged me to go for the job that offers a salary, arguing that it will offer me job security.

I am confused, and as you can imagine, I am yet to make up my mind. Note that both jobs don’t offer significant benefits.


The dilemma that you describe is fairly common. It can be exasperating to handle the prospect of taking a path that you later discover was not the right one for you or to reject an option that later, in hindsight, appears to bear all the marks of a career you consider ideal.

Your perspective matters. Do you see the job that pays a commission as a risk in that it lacks regular pay, or as an opportunity for you to drive the quantum of your financial reward?

And do you see the job that offers regular pay as providing a form of security or as a role that does not offer you enough chance to drive the pace of your career progress?

Your career objectives matter too. Supposing the two opportunities were means of transport, which one would more likely ferry you to your ideal career destination? Which role are you better prepared for?

Which one are you more likely to succeed in? How would you rate your appetite for risk? Do you think you have the sales gene?

Are you more comfortable sacrificing the rewards of taking risk for the relative comfort of regular pay? What do you value most in a job?

Which of the two employer brands do you prefer? Which of the roles provides greater opportunity for your personal and professional growth?

While your mentor and parents no doubt desire that you succeed in your career, you are best placed to define your career aspirations and colour the picture of how success would look like for you in future.

In the end, ability and interest may be better foundations on which to build your career than considerations of job security, which is often an illusion. No job is insulated from the vagaries of uncertainty.

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