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4 Times When It Makes Sense to Take a Pay Cut

A fat salary can be hard to turn down, but there are many other factors to consider when pursuing a career. After all, at one point or another most of us will leave one job to explore another.

Higher earning potential can send many of us looking for new jobs, but there are instances when it makes more sense to make less.

1. You’re Changing Careers

If you hate your field or want to pursue another industry, a smaller paycheck may be in your future. Changing careers requires you to gain the skills and credentials necessary in order to participate in your chosen market. While switching career tracks may result in a smaller paycheck and perhaps even student loans, it is surely worth it if the end result means greater job satisfaction in a field that you enjoy.

2. You Need (or Want) More Free Time and Flexibility

People may also consider taking a pay cut if they value their free time over cash flow. Making big bucks is nice and it we all need to be able to our bills, but if your extra money is preventing you from playing outside, spending time with loved ones, or being as social as you may like, consider taking a pay cut. Young families may come to find this especially important when children become a part of their family dynamic. In fact, for many families a pay cut that results in greater flexibility can reduce the cost of childcare.

3. You Desire Less Stress and Responsibility

When you spend more time outside of work stressing about your job rather than pursuing your passions with the people you love, something is off. While there are bound to be moments of workplace stress, this should be the exception, not the norm. Depending on your chosen field, you may find turning down a promotion is the best way to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

4. You’re Looking for Greater Job Satisfaction

If you can link your passion with your career you strike gold. Greater job satisfaction is the ultimate reward that can come with reduced income. As someone who is transitioning from marketing to education, I certainly believe so.

Having the option to turn down a raise, change careers, or work fewer hours is a privilege. If taking a pay cut is an option for you, consider how it will impact your life and if it’s worth the trade-off.

Have you ever taken a pay cut? Was it worth it? What career risks have you taken?  —Alex

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