This is When You Should Take a Pay Cut
Money

This is When You Should Take a Pay Cut

by Career Contessa
January 14, 2016

YOU’RE MISERABLE AT YOUR OFFICE, UNFULFILLED, FRUSTRATED. THEN SUDDENLY, THERE’S A RAY OF HOPE: A POTENTIAL NEW JOB. EXCEPT WHEN THEY ASK FOR YOUR SALARY REQUIREMENTS, THEY CAN’T MEET THEM.

All logic tells you you shouldn’t take a pay cut. There’s rent to pay, you’ve finally reached a point where you can afford to go out to a nice dinner without flinching at the check, you’ve just bought your first adult car. Still, sometimes the safe approach isn’t the right one. The trick is making the call. {Click to Tweet} Here are a few reasons why you should take a financial step backward:

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY LIST IS MUCH SHORTER THAN YOUR FUN MONEY LIST

Sit down and consider: what are your life commitments and related expenses? Are you married and covering at least 50% of your household expenses? Do you have children (or you're talking about having them in the next year or two)? Is your current salary just enough to cover rent, student loans, car bills?

If you’ve got wiggle room—meaning you’re free to order take out regularly, buy yourself a nice new sweater whenever you please, or you’re setting aside more savings than your target goal—and no one else is relying on you or affected by the potential corners you’ll have to cut, you’re probably primed to take a reduced salary for a job you really love.

If things are tight, but you feel confident that you can sit down with your significant other (or family) and find ways to cut back so that you can make the move, it’s worth considering. Start by gaging your flexibility, then decide if you can really make it work.

YOUR CURRENT POSITION HAS PLATEAUED

Even if your salary and perks are great, does it feel like you’ve climbed as high as you can at your current company? Sure, thing’s might change but ask yourself honestly: are you at a dead end, or are you too burnt out to wait long enough for things to change? If so, moving to a more dynamic, albeit lower paying, company with growth potential is totally worth it. {Click to Tweet}

Ask yourself honestly: are you at a dead end, or are you too burnt out to wait long enough for things to change?

YOU’RE SWITCHING INDUSTRIES

Were you convinced you wanted to work in finance, but a few years of dogged work and tense office politics have proven that maybe you jumped the gun? Are you aching for the days when you worked on your college newspaper? If you want to move from finance to media, you’re going to have to take a few risks—and probably a pay cut—to get that fresh start.

YOUR PERSONAL LIFE IS TAKING A HIT

If you’re working 65-hour weeks, rarely seeing your friends, catching colds 15 times a month, missing out on important life events, fighting with your boyfriend, and developing ulcers—you’re probably suffering more than your salary's worth. Let’s say that pay cut means shorter or flexible work days, additional vacation time, or the chance to work from home. Truth: benefits count as much as dollars. It’s definitely worth considering. {Click to Tweet}

THE TITLE BUMP AND RESPONSIBILITIES ARE JUST THAT GREAT

If you’ve been treading water as "Associate III" at a giant corporation, and suddenly you have the chance to take a job as Director of Marketing at an exciting startup, consider it. Even if the role pays less or if it’s potentially unstable, the chance to learn (and having those experiences on your resume) is priceless. 

* * *

What are some other reasons you think make taking a pay cut worth it?