Is a Pay Cut Worth A “Better” Job?

Career change often means accepting a lower salary as you gain experience in a new area of expertise. Forbes reported on a recent survey by the talent acquisition Thinkingfirm Mom Corp that found that 45 percent of individuals would relinquish a percentage of their salary for more flexibility at work. The benefits of a more desirable job can include less stress, improved work-life balance, and a general sense of well-being. A lower salary could be worthwhile, especially if the long-term outlook is positive. Here are some factors that can help you when weighing a pay cut:

  • If you are switching industries, the new skills that you will learn may be worth the temporary loss in income. It is unreasonable to expect a high salary when you are inexperienced in your new role, but the long-term outlook could be bright.
  • Consider factors other than salary. Try negotiating other benefits such as more vacation, a signing bonus, annual performance increases, or tuition reimbursement. Similarly, a job closer to home may save on gas expenses, or a move to a new city may mean a lower cost of living.
  • Sometimes a new job offer is your dream job, it just falls short in terms of pay. Taking the job, however, can mean leaving a miserable one. You are more likely to learn and grow in a role where you are engaged and enthusiastic. In a few years you could exceed your expectations in terms of personal growth and salary.
  • Have you hit the ceiling and there is no room for advancement? Then it is time to look for other opportunities. A short-term pay cut can be an investment in a long-term career plan.
  • Freelancing or becoming self-employed takes courage and risk. A pay cut is necessary until your business gets off the ground; however, you may find that you need to work fewer hours to earn the same salary once you are established.

A pay cut makes sense in many situations. It is important to weigh your options and decide if it is right for you. If the prospect of a new opportunity excites you, consider adapting your budget so that your finances can withstand the temporary change. If, however, a pay cut demotivates you, think again.

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