“What are your thoughts on taking a pay cut to land a more dependable job?”

by J. Money -

keep working gif

Hey guys! Got our first reader question of the year!

Check it out, and then hit her back with some feedback from that beautiful mind of yours if you’re feeling generous today…

I’m sure she’s not the only one to ever be put in a situation like this!

Hey J$,

I’m a longtime reader/lurker of your blog. I love the features where you give someone your opinion on a matter, and open it up for comments. I’d LOVE it if you did that with my question?

What are your thoughts on taking a pay cut to land a more dependable job?

I work for an elected official (small time, local, not Federal) who is retiring a year from now. The rumor mill is working overtime regarding what will happen, and who will be the next person to hold the position.

None of the most likely possibilities look good for me. It’s not uncommon for a newly elected person in that position to totally clean house, a.k.a. fire everyone. We’re an at will state, and have even less protection working for an elected official. There’s also already starting to be some backstabbing in the office by people trying to preemptively prove their worth to one of the likely candidates; people being set up to fail, finger pointing, and blaming. It’s deteriorating rapidly.

I’ve applied for a job with a different agency, not under an elected official, and with much better benefits. I believe the interview went extremely well. The work seems interesting, the office seems like a nice place to work, and for the first time in my adult life I felt more like they were trying to convince me to take the job, and less like I was trying to convince them to hire me. It sounds perfect, except for the pay.

This job would come with over a $4.00 an hour pay cut. Some of that would be recouped by lower insurance costs, lower/no deductibles, better retirement matching, and a better chance for merit raises. However, it would still result in less money in my pocket.

The commute is the same (it’s in the same building), so no changes in expenses there. It also offers very similar holidays, vacation leave, and sick leave accrual.

Our financial situation isn’t fabulous. We’re currently paying down a lot of debts, and digging our way out from some really stupid financial mistakes. A pay decrease would hurt, but not be devastating. Losing my job a year from now would likely be catastrophic.

What do you suggest? In some ways it makes sense to me to take the job if it’s offered, and in some ways it makes sense to bide my time at my current job for as long as possible.

Thanks!

******

Interesting predicament indeed!

My gut feeling is that if you already went out of your way to apply – and the interview went super well like that! – then it seems like you’re on the right track and already have your answer ;) I don’t know too many people who would spend a good amount of time like that to start interviewing unless they were serious, so it def. shows you’re ready to make some moves and improve that quality of life of yours!

And ain’t nobody has time for jokers and toxic work environments these days, even if the pay is nice. Yeah it’ll suck for a bit getting reacquainted with your new budget, but I’d imagine if things continue to go as smooth as they are with the new gig option, you’ll likely be able to recoup some losses sooner than later as Happy Minds = Better Times! For both you and your wallet!

(I just made up that tagline btw, should we make bumper stickers?? ;))

It reminds me of something my late Aunt once told me when I was questioning life/career/love back towards the end of my college years… She told me that when things start lining up real easily and smoothly, it’s the world’s way of telling you you’re on the right path and to keep going.

That’s been pretty dead on for me over the past 20 years, particularly with jobs and projects, and the main reason I’m still here blogging away my thoughts for the past decade+! The flow keeps going and who am I to deny it? ;)

All this to say that a) I think it’s smart to be looking for ways to secure yourself NOW vs later when you don’t have as much power/flexibility/TIME on your side, and b) the new option sounds like it has a handful of things going for it and the pay part can be corrected as you advance (or even accept a new opportunity down the road – no one says this one has to be The One forever, right?)

So my vote is to go for it, especially since they really seem to want you there and you didn’t have to beg for the job ;) Desperation can be a stinky cologne!

I’ll turn it over now to our dear readers for input…

What would you guys do in her shoes?? Anything particular she should focus her attention on that hasn’t been brought up yet?

Drop your thoughts below in the comments or via email and I’ll pass them over to her, and in the meantime it’s a good exercise to go through in the event it ever happens to you too!

Thanks for opening up and sharing your situation, Belle! (Not her real name, but I’ve always loved it and never had a girl, so…), and I hope you find peace in your decision whatever you decide to do :)

Let us know what you decide later!

******

// Brilliant gif up top by Jesse Luo

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Thomas January 31, 2019 at 5:47 am

Hi everyone. You can’t put a price on peace of mind. That being said, you do often have to think about risk VS reward. If it was a situation where you could possibly compete for a major promotion, then it could be worth staying.

I was in a similar situation not long ago when the company I worked for was being purchased. Would I have been cut? Who knows but I got out of there and got a better paying role elsewhere. I saw no prospects of advancement in that company.

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2 Sarah January 31, 2019 at 6:06 am

Long time reader, first time commenter here :)

I think the critical sentence in your email is this one: “Losing my job a year from now would likely be catastrophic.” Honestly the tradeoff of lower salary vs. more stable position is going to pan out differently for everyone, and even for the same person under different circumstances – but here you’ve said explicitly that the worst-case scenario for you would be to lose your job. Since that sounds not-unlikely if you stick around, I see no reason to not short-cut the process and get out while the getting is good! True, you might take a pay cut now, but maybe if things go well in the new job you might be in a position to negotiate for a raise in a year’s time… or even if not, you’ll have a stable base from which to operate while you look around for other options, which wouldn’t be the case if you were to tough it out with the chaos of your current job only to lose it through no fault of your own.

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3 Karissa January 31, 2019 at 6:16 am

Just because they offered you $4 per hour less doesn’t mean you have to accept it. First of all, remember that you have a year left, so you don’t have to jump. How long did it take you to get this offer? You can probably get another in a similar time frame so keep your options on the table until you are sure. Personally, I think you should be honest and tell them that you are super excited at the prospect of working for them but that you feel like you are cutting yourself short by taking such a dramatic pay cut. See if there is any way they can offer you a higher salary or flex days. Offer to send in a pay stub from your current job to ensure you are being honest about the pay drop. It may make you nervous but the worst they can say is “No, we can’t be flexible with the starting salary” but they won’t take the offer away just because you asked; negotiation is normal in this stage.

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4 Samantha January 31, 2019 at 3:03 pm

To build off this, I personally took roughly a 15k (63k to 48k) pay cut when I switched jobs, but I really loved the new company a lot. I tried to negotiate my salary, but they countered with them being a smaller company so they can’t make up that much of a difference, so they offered me a bit more PTO instead. I took that, then a year later, backed with all the data from my previous year about how much of an asset I was to the company, I was able to get multiple raises to make up the difference and eventually make more than I was before.

So definitely negotiate, especially if you have experience! And even if I didn’t make up the price different, the company perks along with my co-workers made a huge difference in my happiness and willingness to come into work everyday – based off what you said, it sounds like your current job might be lacking a bit in that department.

Good luck with the decision, though it sounds like you might have made it already, just based on how you presented the information to us :]

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5 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:12 pm

YES!!! LOVE ALL OF THIS – GOOD POINTS!!!

Totally forgot to mention asking for a raise – 100% smart to do no matter what you think the odds are! (And then of course having back up “asks” to try and win on the compromise.)

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6 SuperDuper January 31, 2019 at 6:30 am

Run for the new job!! Toxic work environment + likely catastrophe looming + stress + financial instability is a level of stress that isn’t worth $4 an hour.

But, being that close to the edge is scary and unsettling. My advice is to look into professional certifications that can help buffer you a bit. Take a Microsoft class that leads to certification,or Project Management Professional, or any well respected certification that you see in job postings in your field.

Even look at the Lambda School and becoming a software engineer – they specialize in people who aren’t in that tech track, do online classes, and you only pay if you graduate into a job over $50k (and even that’s capped at a reasonable amount).

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7 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:17 pm

Wha???? You only pay if you get a $50k job? That’s wild!

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8 Josh January 31, 2019 at 7:00 am

I left my old job that had a pension, 401k match, and benefits to become self-employed so I wouldn’t have to be relocated to remain employed. I even changed career paths. Thankfully, we could live on my wife’s income for that stretch until I could begin earning a consistent income as we took an 80% salary cut at the start. Now, we make about 40% less.

We live a very frugal lifestyle and we worked hard to become debt-free so we could live on this smaller salary. And we live in low cost of living area so our property and income taxes aren’t high.

If you can still save for the future and you find a job offer/employer or career that you like, it’s worth doing.

Since you have a year left, keep in mind that you’re not forced to make a hasty decision today. Because I worked 70-80 hours most weeks, I essentially had to quit before I had time to job hunt and improve my skills to earn a steady income again.

What other people said about trying to negotiate salary and benefits is good advice if you have that leverage too.

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9 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:19 pm

I bet you love your life/balance a helluva lot better now too, huh? :)

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10 Cecil January 31, 2019 at 7:03 am

If I were you, and this is based on personal experience, I would take the job but would consider a salary negotiation if the employer is amenable to it. One of the factors I consider is the job market where you live in your line of work. Would you be able to easily apply for a similar position AND land an interview? We moved from the DC area (a big IT hub for government/government contract work) to Phoenix and were fortunate to keep our DC jobs as our employers allowed us to work from home. Hubby got laid off a few years after our move due to the contract ending, found a new job, got laid off again, found a new job, got laid off one more time. He must’ve applied to over 100 local jobs and only had maybe 20 phone interviews that resulted in only 4 in-person interviews. He finally found another government contract remote position that still does not feel stable but what could he do, had to take the job as we have two young children. It’s been about 9 months and the job seems to be going but I still feel it could end anytime. The mental stress is not worth it, we always said we would take a pay cut in order to find stability.

As J said, just because you take the job offer doesn’t mean you have to be married to it forever. Down the road you could potentially be promoted or get a pay increase, or an opportunity with another company may present itself. I’m a big believer of things happening for a reason. Things do have a strange way of lining up and working out. Good luck to you!

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11 Ngneer January 31, 2019 at 7:03 am

1. You need to increase your confidence! The fact that you qualify for this job means you qualify for others. Negotiate or you’ll get taken advantage of. Apply for other jobs not necessarily in the exact same field doing the exact same thing. You can do more.
2. The grass isn’t always greener. Every office hasn’t it’s issues. It might look rosy but it’s never perfect.
3. Don’t settle. Don’t think of the “catastrophic” things. Think positively. Good things will follow.

Got it? K :)

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12 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:20 pm

True about drama being everywhere…

Even here in the blogging world! :)

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13 Suzie February 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

Several years ago I was working for a company that was very toxic. I stuck it out for a year because it paid more than my previous job that I had been let-go from. (Similar situation as yours, new regime, “cleaning house”) It is a very tough decision to make, and $4/hr less can be very big depending on how much you are making. But I agree with the logic that “hurt” now versus “catastrophic” later tips things towards jumping ship now and tightening your belt. Take the job, work your butt off and negotiate a raise next year. I can attest to the fact that the grass can be greener somewhere else (but not always). I am at a job now, been there almost 3 years, and am very happy. Good work environment, interesting job, enjoy what I do and don’t mind getting up in the morning to go to work. (Everyone would rather sleep in!) Don’t worry about jumping ship from the new job if a better opportunity comes along. These days job hopping is not frowned upon as it once was, especially if you are really good at your what you do.

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14 J. Money February 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Thanks for the input, Suzie. Glad to hear you’re at a job you enjoy going into these days :)

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15 Cindy January 31, 2019 at 7:57 am

Get a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and write all the positives about the old vs. new job, then do the same with the negatives. I’m guessing you will see the positive side far outweigh the negative in favor of the new job. I can see it in your words.

Though the pay cut may seem like a lot, I would gladly take that for security and better benefits. Plus, there are ways to increase your take home pay by contributing to the 401K, pre-tax, at least to the amount the employer matches, and exercising any pre-tax benefits that are available. Your tax burden will decrease and your investing increases – a win-win.

Since the interview went well, and I’m assuming they made the offer, you can always respond by highlighting your qualifications for the job and how your skillset will benefit them and ask for more money. I wouldn’t outright reject the offer but rather state that you were hoping for some such amount given your qualifications and the requirements of the job. All they can say is “the job pays this, take it or leave it.” Then you kindly accept and begin your new life away from the cut-throat environment you’re finding yourself. You can always keep looking but from a more conducive environment.

Much admire you for focusing on your debt and getting that paid off. This job change may set back your schedule but please keep plugging away at it. As you are experiencing, debt can begin as an awesome relationship where you get what you want, then debt begins to control your very existence. Once your debt is gone, do whatever you can to avoid any monthly payments that charges interest. It’s so liberating!

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16 Cammie January 31, 2019 at 8:00 am

I had to chime in…because you are missing a HUGE opportunity if you don’t negotiate!!! It’s a great learning experience for you. Also, I suggest the book Lean In if you need additional encouragement. If the new company wants you, and it sounds like they do, they will work around your dollar requirement and most likely expect (budget wise) to pay you more anyway.
1) If you don’t ask, you don’t get and 2) the lower starting salary will dog you as long as you are there (one example is if they match a percentage of your retirement).
I do agree the money is not a reason to not take the job in and of itself but it should factor in. Also now is the time to get that side gig going. As Karissa said above, if they can’t get you the hourly rate negotiate other benefits – additional percentage to your retirement, vacation days (aka side gig hustle days)

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17 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:22 pm

Love that you guys are chiming in with the negotiating part – totally missed it and it’s so important!! Even though it’s hard for some reason to still go for!

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18 Toxic Avenger January 31, 2019 at 8:03 am

I say take it and don’t look back. However, I need to take my own advice being that I have an extremely stable and lucrative career but it is in an extremely toxic environment. I could take a lower paying still stable job but I keep waiting for the straw to break the camel’s back so to speak. So hey, maybe you’ll end up helping me and others as your story progresses. Best of Luck! :-)

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19 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:23 pm

Oh jeez, haha… Must be some damn good money! :)

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20 Mr. r2e January 31, 2019 at 8:05 am

First, it is great that you are seriously looking at this a year ahead of time! Kudos to you for being prepared.

We don’t know the context of what the $4.00 an hour cut in pay is – 5%, 10%, more….However, you provide clues that there is some ‘paycheck’ offset via lower benefit costs, higher retirement matching.

You do have time on your side. It is tempting to jump at the first job you see or the first offer on the table. See if the offer can be negotiated a bit to close the gap on the $4 pay cut.

At the end of the day though, having a bit more peace of mind may be the priceless factor that you are looking for.

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21 MK January 31, 2019 at 8:11 am

13 years ago, I took the leap of faith & accepted a job at a 30% pay cut. Old job was a toxic environment with the company on the verge of bankruptcy. Fast forward to today and I’m still at my “new” job & absolutely love it. I am now in a leadership position & the pay has grown with me. I hope to retire from here. One way I looked at making the leap – my hourly wage at old job vs. new job. When I broke my salary down to an hourly wage, I was making peanuts based on 60-70 avg. weekly hours. Yes, my new salary was less but when I broke it down to hourly (40-45 hrs/week), I actually was making more per hour! Plus my mental health improved 1000%!!

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22 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:25 pm

Congrats!!! Even more so on all that TIME you’ve freed up for yourself!! That’s worth good money!

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23 Cyn January 31, 2019 at 8:17 am

Take the new job. I recently left a “stable” job but offered no benefits after 10 years and it took a bit before I found the right job for me. Employers can change the terms at any moment so its best to never get too attached to any job. The unknown is scary but based on what you do know, it’s time to plan your exit. Best of luck.

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24 Felicia January 31, 2019 at 8:20 am

I was in a very similar situation last year and would definitely say take the pay cut and get something you like that’s reliable! Pick up a part time job if you have to until your debts are paid down, then just keep enjoying a good position in a nice, reliable company for as long as you want. I struggled with the decision too but have not looked back once and am so thankful every single day for the positive, low-stress environment I’m in now.

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25 PaulM January 31, 2019 at 8:31 am

From personal experience, I took paycuts twice in my life and never looked back. What was important to me when I took a new but lower paying job was one of two things — whether it would yield either a promotion and growth in the organization and/or would give me valuable experience that would open up opportunites for me elsewhere in case I needed to move on. In one case I moved on to a new field for me (healthcare) in a lower paying job that opened up several job opportunites I wouldn’t have had if I continued on my original path.

You do experience an uneasy feeling that you’re moving backward but I can say that if one or both of those conditions exist with your new job, you should move forward, especially since your current jobidoesn’t seem that safe. And how you feel on the job is paramount. You don’t want to be miserable because it affects your entire life.

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26 Paul January 31, 2019 at 8:46 am

I’m not the best person to give advice on this as I have been in a money/volatility vs less money/stability/less job related stress situation for many years now. I opted for the money because I view work as a means to an end, not the end in and of itself. My reasoning was to select the job that would potentially allow me to have to work for less time to reach retirement. My choice was never about purchasing more things but was a feeble attempt to buy my life back. In hindsight I’m not sure I did anything more than make a choice that leads to frustration and stress. Truly, I’m so stressed out all the time because I never really know beyond 6 months or so, if my job is stable. It feels almost as if I am trading my life now, for the future life I perceive I will have, which if you look at it objectively, is stupid because right now this moment is all we ever have. On the flip side, taking less than I am worth doesn’t appeal to me either. That’s how employers get you, they pay you just enough to keep you comfortable but not enough that you can ever easily leave.

There are so many variables that go into a decision like this, ultimately, you have to decide if you would even be happy working for less than you are worth just to avoid the temporary displeasure of unemployment. I know interviewing sucks, it sucks so bad that most of us avoid it and accept less than we could have otherwise. Employers make you feel like you need to have 3 PH.Ds, 7 published papers, 12 patents, and can dead lift 405 for reps just to be eligible for a $30k dollar a year starter job. Just be sure you aren’t running away from that, someone will notice your quality eventually.

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27 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:27 pm

You crack me up man, haha… Except for that first paragraph – I want to give you a great big hug and then magically make you feel better somehow :)

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28 Joe January 31, 2019 at 9:09 am

I’m with J. To me, a more secure position is better. Hopefully, you can increase your pay after working there a while. Also, you can just find another job in a year or so if it doesn’t work out.
Staying in a toxic work environment will be stressful and it sounds like it’s not going to work out in the long run anyway. Just keep your eyes open for new opportunities. Good luck!

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29 Becky January 31, 2019 at 9:53 am

Hi there!
That is a tough situation, but it sounds like this potential job would offer much more peace of mind, that that is priceless!
Also, is there room for negotiation of your pay? If they present you with an offer, push back and ask if they have room to split the difference in pay, so then you’d only be on a $2/hr deficit instead of $4. It doesn’t sound like much, but it would help. You can also use this time to highlight the transferrable skills you will bring from your old (current) job, and how that experience can help you help them at the new place.
Also, just because this potential new job seems more stable, doesn’t mean it will be. It could be a bad fit, personality issues, downsizing, etc. that you can’t necessarily predict. So take your time (you do still have a year), and do good research before you make a decision. Like another commenter said, have confidence! This isn’t the only job out there, and if this one isn’t “it,” you have the skills and experience to find something great.
Good luck!
If they’re not willing to compromise straight off the bat (which is understandable, to some degree), then try to negotiate for a 90 day review, that would come with an increase if things are going well.
Like

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30 Kim January 31, 2019 at 9:59 am

I agree with others who’ve recommended negotiating, but it’s also okay to take a pay cut!

Sure, in an ideal financial world you would probably stay at your current job as long as possible before making the jump. But it sounds like you’d be miserable the whole time, and you said things are rapidly deteriorating anyway, so who knows if staying another year at your current job would even work?

It sounds like you’ve found a job that you would be excited to take, and it wouldn’t require relocating or a drop in benefits. I think you should go with it.

It’s kinda like what J$ says about paying down loans vs paying off mortgage vs saving more for retirement: you don’t have to maximize every single dollar. As long as you’re on the right track overall, put your money where you’re most excited about it.

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31 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:29 pm

heyyyy!!! that was one of my favorite posts I’ve written here! love that it’s stuck with you! :)

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32 levfarr January 31, 2019 at 10:08 am
33 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:31 pm

THE SAME PERSON!!!!

I guess she REALLY wants to hear some advice, haha…

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34 Lynn Cummings January 31, 2019 at 10:12 am

It really is about your peace of mind. Can you live the next year under that type of anxiety or do you need the assurance that you have a “stable ” job that pays less than you current income.
Questions you need to ask yourself .Do you have enough in savings to get you through an extended period of unemployment? Do you qualify for unemployment and what is the amount you would receive. Do you have skills that could be used to start a side hustle to supplement the lower income.
Some suggestions from someone who has been there .Create a bare bones/scorched earth budget. Pay off anything and everything you can now, so you have a little more flexibility later. Save as much as you can in a SHTF fund. Look at all you options and there are a multitude of them out there once you get over the initial panic. Sets some timelines for yourself in working your options through. Above all DON’T PANIC ! When life gives you Lemons…..

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35 Flash Gordon January 31, 2019 at 10:56 am

I have to completely agree with J on this one. It almost seems like a no brainer. Sometimes I’ll grap a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. I’ll list pros of moving to new job and cons of moving to new job. I have a strong feeling that the Pros will greatly outweigh the Cons category. If the $4 an hour pay cut is your biggest concern, which I can fully understand, pick up a side gig to make up the extra cash. My side gig is real estate sales that I’ve done for the past 23 years and that is very flexible with Job #1’s schedule. Or maybe look into driving for Uber or Lyft to supplement your income. You get the idea ! I know if I had to deal with backstabbing co-workers and such a toxic environment that you describe that I’d already have made the move and would never look back. Best of luck with everything !

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36 Simplifibythebay January 31, 2019 at 11:36 am

Hi there!

I agree with J. When there’s flow, it’s a go! You shouldn’t have to work in a toxic environment. I just got out of one myself. I feel so much better physically and mentally so I would recommend it.

I would be honest with them. Tell them how excited you are about the role, the office, the colleagues. Mention it is a $4 paycut and that if needed you would do it, but that it would really help your family to stay at the same salary. Can they do anything now? Meet halfway or take it up in 6 months. Either way say you will be committed but you could use the help. I have often done this in the past, not just on salary, and it has worked for me. Good luck!

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37 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Okay, I’m stealing your bumper sticker idea instead, haha….

“When there’s flow, it’s a go!”

Beautiful!

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38 Abails January 31, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Hi! There is always such good advice in this community. I need to comment on the behavior of your current co-workers. They are not taking the long view with their bad behavior. The world is pretty small, and as Eleanor Roosevelt said (I think), you never forget how someone makes you feel, and you never forget who stabs you in the back. If you decide leaving is the right thing to do, you’ll know the right way to behave. Esp if you’re in the same building, you’ll still see the same folks. People forget they still need manners, and that maybe one day they will need a favor from another person. Keep a happy thought for yourself in case someone tries to bring you down, and keep your eyes on the prize! And if you need encouragement, come to J$ and this community for some love! Good luck to you!

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39 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:34 pm

Amen all around!!!

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40 Steve January 31, 2019 at 12:01 pm

I am in agreement, the universe is telling you to go ahead. My first wife took a job at a lawyers office, pay was a lot lower than she was making at a restaurant. Benefits were bar none though, she went from making 13.75 to 9.75/hour. BUT, everything just felt right,so she took it. within six months she was at $15.75 because she picked up real estate closings and made no mistakes at it. He also gave her a percentage of the closings.. They did one deal at $500,000 and she walked in the house with $5,000 in cash to put in our bank! So, listen to your gut and the universe, it DOES work. Good Luck with whatever you decide! But, breathe and listen to your insides.. Always worked for me

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41 DNN January 31, 2019 at 12:16 pm

We’re unfortunately taught as kinds to get a job and work for the company after graduation. School rarely teaches someone how to be financially independent. I’ve worked many crappy jobs to the point of being underpaid just so I can possibly build up some PPC ad money and other money to pay my hosting costs so i can startup online. Been online now with the site for 10 years. It’s been rough, but taking another pay cut to a more dependable job is not the way. Side hustle entrepreneurship is the key to achieving total financial freedom. :-)

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42 Amanda January 31, 2019 at 12:25 pm

My toxic work environment had me in tears, if not at the office, then definitely on the drive home at least twice a week. When I was laid off, I felt such a sense of relief at not having to be there anymore, I felt no panic at the bills I no longer had money to pay. A few months later I had accepted a job paying $3,000 less a year and an extra 30 minutes away from home. My old job called to say someone had quit, leaving them in a bind. They wanted me to come back at my old salary. I didn’t even negotiate. It was a hard NO. 15 years later, I’ve never regretted it – even though I was young and dumb and didn’t negotiate, which you should do!

Peace of mind is worth so much more than a few extra dollars in your bank account. Considering how much time we spend at work, it should not be a place where you feel awful most of the time.

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43 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:35 pm

Thank you for sharing this!

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44 Becky January 31, 2019 at 1:38 pm

My husband is in a similar but somewhat opposite situation. He recently quit his job to take a job making $2.50 more per hour than his prior job and the hours sounded much better. He previously had a 24 hour shift job for 4 days a week and this job is 9a-5p, 5 days a week, no nights or weekends, much better for family time with our 2 year old.

The only problem is, since the new job is in construction (interior remodels, so weather doesn’t affect it too much), they often finish a job an hour or so before 5, which means he isn’t getting 40 hours a week. He has also had a half day, and had to call in due to slick roads making it difficult/dangerous to get to and from the worksites. He started this job in January, and his 2 paychecks have been about what he got at the previous job because of the lack of hours.

We’ve pretty much decided the he will continue testing the waters at this new job and see if the hours get better, but if the hours get worse he will go back to the other job. Luckily that job has kept him on the books on an as-needed basis, so all he has to do is request a shift, or request to go back to full-time so it is a good fall-back plan.

Anyway, I would tell Belle to weigh both options, but don’t be afraid to take the cut in pay if it won’t hurt your budget too much. Also, you could always ask if they could pay you $1 or $2 more than they offered, which would mean you only lose $2 of your pay. Also, don’t discount how the cheaper insurance will affect your paycheck. Do the math of how the differing insurance costs will affect your paycheck and your overall budget (include deductible, prescription costs, etc. in your estimates) and decide from there. Lastly, don’t forget about your current toxic workplace….If it’s so bad that you would pay someone to make your workplace less toxic, then consider the cut in pay, your “cost” for being happier at work. ;)

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45 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:37 pm

I hope the hours get better for him!

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46 Eric @ Flip n Finances January 31, 2019 at 1:39 pm

This is a really good question.

Working in a non-toxic environment would be enough for me to switch to a job paying $4 less per hour. Add on top of the the job security and I would definitely go for it. And woot woot for that extra retirement company match ;)

80% of a guaranteed salary is a lot better than 100% of a non-guaranteed one. Good luck!

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47 Paula Haataja January 31, 2019 at 1:42 pm

My two cents – If the new job is offered, take it! I would for several reasons, the primary one being the deteriorating environment you are in now. That’s unhealthy mentally and emotionally and you want to be on your best as you go job shopping. You don’t want to be jaded about work in general.

I agree you should ask about the salary and ask if there is any wiggle-room. Maybe there isn’t, but the hiring official will realize that salary is important and if you are a great employee he/she will know you need to be rewarded to keep you.

Take the job, do 140% of your best to make yourself valuable, get a side gig for a few months to help supplement your income and say good-bye to the toxic workplace you are in today.

Congrats for taking positive action instead of joining the fray at your current group.

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48 SL January 31, 2019 at 2:01 pm

I have done this in the past a couple of times… The really interesting part? That more dependable job with less pay, where you are able to exercise your work ethic, tends to give consistently better raises than the one you are in that is not so dependable. That is one thing that makes them dependable. You will eventually get back to where you are, even surpass it. Make sure you can afford the job with base expenses and a little for fun, then cut back if you have to and enjoy the increased productivity and better lifestyle from being less stressed.

Go for it!

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49 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:38 pm

Good point about the dependability! They also realize your worth in most cases I find too!

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50 charli January 31, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Choosing between emotional dollars and financial dollars are choices that can be difficult to make throughout life but as so many commented above, the payoff shows up fairly quickly when you remove the toxicity of an unstable work environment.

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51 SG January 31, 2019 at 2:18 pm

I would go for the new job only because I was in a similar position. I took a $6k pay cut for stability, better benefits, and less stress. 15+ years later and I’m still at the same place. I make 70% more than when I started here, but it’s the pension and health benefits that can’t be beat. I never worried about losing my job during the 2008 economic crisis which not many could say; we did have 7 years of no raises, but I had a job when so many did not.

Just weigh the pros and cons and do what’s best for you and your family.

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52 Steveark January 31, 2019 at 2:22 pm

You are posing this as a binary question, keep your job or take this one new job for less $. That’s a very limited way of looking at it. Why not look around and see if there is a job somewhere you can apply for that will pay you more than either of those two. Just the fact that the only job you are considering is in the same building tells me you haven’t looked nearly hard enough. Jobs are everywhere right now, employment is record high, unemployment record low. No way I’d settle for a pay cut now until I spent months shaking every bush and tree in the area. Plus, I’m biased, but why in the world take a government job? Governments don’t pay very well, the private sector pays millions of people six figures and higher, government jobs at those pay rates are few and far between and still pay less for similar jobs than private businesses. Pensions are nice but my guess is they will be a thing of the past even for government workers soon. This is a great time to go find a great job and get a great pay raise at the same time!

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53 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:40 pm

Love the tough love and insight – thanks for taking the time, man.

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54 Angie Pannkuk January 31, 2019 at 3:42 pm

I’ve lived in faith the last three years. I haven’t had a consistent 9-5 (or any job)in almost 3 years. I hustle and work hard. All my bills get paid plus there is money leftover for travel and giving large sums to charity.

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55 Richard January 31, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Figure out the bottom line difference, and you may be surprised at how close the two jobs are. Then ask yourself if your mental health is worth that amount. Start with the hourly decrease in pay and subtract the taxes. It’s tax season, so hopefully you have your 2018 marginal tax rate handy. If so, subtract that amount from the $4.00 an hour. Don’t forget FICA taxes and state taxes if applicable. It might be a good estimate t say that $4 an hour difference is only a $3 an hour difference to your pocket. That’s $480 a month (using a 4 week month) How much less is the insurance? How much more is the retirement matching? Can you reduce your retirement savings slightly and still have the same amount saved each month as in your current job? The little things have a way of adding up, so the net difference could be much less than $3.00

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56 Abi January 31, 2019 at 5:59 pm

@steveark. My husband and I are federal workers in the DC area and our combined salaries is approximately 270k. We get to work from home , have a good side hustle , max out our TSPs , and spend time with our children . We have friends that make way more in this area but we still prefer our federal jobs because of the job security .

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57 J. Money January 31, 2019 at 6:40 pm

Wow – nice!!!

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58 Paul January 31, 2019 at 7:01 pm

At one point in my career I also took a step back and accepted a $12,000 a year pay cut. Best decision ever! The cut in money definitely hurt, but my mental stability was at stake and I wound up recouping those missing funds over the next two years in the form of salary raises.

From my perspective, you’ll spend 8+ hours a day in a job. If you get good money but are miserable what have you got?

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59 Linda Meltzer February 1, 2019 at 8:05 am

Great question..and one familiar to me during my days on Wall Street.
Yes, there are such things as pay cuts on the street.
For me, the issue happened in different situations.
When first started at a bank, and made a switch to another with greater upside opportunities, the relatively small cut came with modest benefits….more training, better management, and they paid for a chunk of my MBA, so I leveled out but my personal expenses were low.
The bigger challenge came at a much higher level as a sellside analyst when my firm decomposed (BZW) and I took a major cut to go to a startup investment bank rather than take a position at a blue shoe old line firm.
Hard decision, but a chose the start up, the significant cut in compensation but was young enough to take risks. I worked really hard at the new firm and it took two years or more to catch up to what I was making. There was no guarantee that the firm would stay alive so luck was on my side.
I finally did catch up but learned about reducing costs, traveled less (in part because I was working 24 x 7) and oddly, the other firm closed after more than 100 years on the street (not Lehman!)
There are benefits to going with your gut!
Linda

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60 J. Money February 1, 2019 at 6:22 pm

Thanks for jumping in here, Linda! Fascinating world you’re in, and one I’d probably get eatin’ up in, haha…

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61 Leanne February 2, 2019 at 6:29 am

Take the pay cut and enjoy the ‘Life Raise’!
BEEN being there ;) and doing much better, despite the ‘cut’. There’s no pound or dollar amount that can really compensate for working in toxicity…
Lx

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62 J. Money February 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Life Raise! I like that, haha…

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