What To Do If Your Dream Job Comes With a Pay Cut

Should you take the pay cut for your dream job?


Aug. 19 2015, Published 3:30 a.m. ET

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No matter what industry you work in everyone thinks about their salary. Perhaps you could be making more? How can you stretch your paychecks out to cover your expenses? Will you get a bonus this year? The questions go on. Have you thought about what you would do if you landed your dream job but it meant taking a pay cut? I’ve recently been seeing more of this around my colleagues. People taking pay cuts in order to create new opportunities for themselves and for their futures. Here are a few things to consider before you take the pay cut for your dream job.

1. How important is salary to you vs position and title?

If the job is clearly the position or title you have wanted that can really make you overlook the salary drop. To some it’s really important for them to be making those jumps in their career upward instead of laterally. If the company is the right fit for you and you know you can really excel in this position then perhaps the pay cut is minor compared to the benefits.

2. How much will you have to change your lifestyle with this lower salary?

Will this new salary require you to move back into your parents’ home? Get an apartment with a roommate? Will you still be able to cover rent and save a little each month for emergencies? It really depends on what you are comfortable with. If you can still afford the same lifestyle then why not go for this new job? If you really feel like you’re giving up a lot of the things you enjoy because of your salary constraints maybe it’s time for some thought about this being the right job for you.

3. Can you negotiate other perks to compensate for the pay cut?

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When you’re negotiating the terms of your new position and you’ve done what you could with your salary try and move on to other areas. Will this new job give you a bonus? Will this company cover gym or transportation expenses? What about a sign on bonus? These are all great things to talk about with HR in order to may make you feel more comfortable with taking the job.

4. Is there room for growth in this position?

So you’re getting a pay cut now but what about in a year or two? If you really hit the ground running perhaps you can get promoted in six months with a raise. Talk to other employees at the company and talk to them about their growth. Find alumni from your school on LinkedIn or see if someone can introduce you to an employee there. The more information you have the better. If and when you take the job talk with your manager after your growth at the company and that you’re committed to seeing yourself grow as a leader there. Your manager will invest in you if you show that you are truly going to be an asset to the team and company.

5. Will this new job bring you more happiness?

Beyond just the salary and the vacation time and the perks you really have to ask yourself if this job will bring you more satisfaction. If you’re just looking for a way out of your current job and don’t want to job search anymore I would not recommend taking a job with a pay cut. On the flip side this article is about finding your dream position… Sometimes it lands in our hands for a reason.

At the end put everything on a scale and make the right decision for you and your future. Where do you want to be two years from now? Five years from now? If that new job is going to take you there then money shouldn’t matter. Follow your gut and follow your heart. We spend so much time at work and with our colleagues at work that it should really be a place that you feel happy to come to everyday.

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