Let me start here: is there a job you would consider taking even if it meant a 5% salary cut? Is there a great-paying job you’d reject because the company mission didn’t align to your worldview? I’m willing to bet you said yes to both those questions, destroying the idea that the only thing people weigh when considering a new company or offer is salary.

The fact that you would take a job that doesn’t pay the most means that there are other underlying reasons that are not as directly connected to salary (for most people, anyway). You might choose a job because it gives your better work/life balance. You might choose it because it has a substantially better commute. You might choose it because it rewards your intrinsic desire to build something new. You might choose it because it will give you less interference as you pave a path forward. You might choose it because the brand’s status in the industry feeds your ego.

We are all motivated by different things.