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Thread: Should I take a new job even with a pay cut?

  1. #1
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    Should I take a new job even with a pay cut?

    I currently work for a small private-sector consulting firm in Orange County. I have noticed especially within the last month a drastic reduction in the amount of work at my firm, even with three staff members quitting between the months of October 2007 through January 2008. My boss has mentioned the possibility of 20% pay cuts and cutting back to 32 hour work weeks. This would destroy me financially. Then again, we can very well be fine and not take any pay cuts. At the same time, I had an interview recently with a City for a position closer to my house (my commute would go down from 50 miles one-way to 15) with a minimum 10% pay cut. The desire to be closer to home and the possibilities of building up my job experience are exciting for me (the position sounds very satisfying work wise), but should I hold out for something else that pays a higher salary? From what I've seen in the economy, there aren't very many jobs and the jobs that are available have tons of applicants. In addition, I'm locked into my lease until November 2008. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    RUN!

    That being said.....

    If the public sector position seems to be fairly stable and your commute, and gas costs, would be reduced bt 2/3, no question, grab it. But thats from a guy who has worked public sector for 20+ years.

    Good luck whatever you decide....but take the position, you'll make up the deficit in two or three years and probably save that much in fuel/transportation costs.



    a risk averse DLK
    "There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed." RFK

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    take the job - somewhat more stable and less costly to get there - the signs are there that you could be part of a layoff if you stay

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    As one who took pay cuts twice early in my career to move (once to a more interesting position, once to a new geographic location) I generally recommend considering a reasonable pay cut as part of an overall career/quality of life move. But don't do it if you are the kind of person who really values yourself based on how much money you make.

    Also, don't do it simply on the assumption that you will lose your job soon. There has to be more in it for you than just job security, And remember- while the public sector is generally more secure than the private, you never know when politics or drastic budget cuts will hit you...

    Good luck.

  5. #5
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    One step back to take two steps forward. Who knows? Perhaps your current employer will offer you something once you advise them of your plans to move on. I took a pay cut early in my career in order to get into my first full time Planning position....thankfully, my career has progressed pretty well.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I did this back in the beginning of my career. I was making good money and took a $10,000 pay cut to take a public sector job. It has done wonders for my career.
    Satellite City Enabler

  7. #7
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    Take the public job. Sounds like a better quality of life and relative security. I think there are already warning signs with the job you are in now, plus it sounds like there is a risk of you losing that job in any event.

    It'll also give you another perspective and will help round out your career.

  8. #8
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    I've been out of work because I failed to correctly reading the writing on the wall. If you have the possibility of lost hours or layoffs, and people left and were not replaced, that's not the sign of a healthy company.

    On the other hand, it might be a chance for you to make your star rise there if you can market and sell work! If you're not a project manager, you can gain a lot of headway in the office by taking the bold step to market the company, find clients and jobs. Nothing a private firm grasps more than dedication and motivation. Sitting back and waiting for someone to decide your future makes it easier for them to cut you.

    That being said, my personal belief is the private sector way outweighs the public sector in about every aspect expect security. It pays more, you don't have a salary schedule, meaning you can work your way up as quick as you desire to by working and delivering and the sky is the limit. Plus, you get more accountability and responsibility and the sky is the limit.

    I just turned down a local govt job that would have provided security but was a pay cut with little opportunity for growth. I take the stance that if you'r good at your job, you always have security and that outweighs 3% contract raises every year as long as you live.

    Put it this way, I've been in my position about three years. I came in at about an entry level gig. I busted my but, tried to find clients and market the company and was promoted to a project manager within 15 months. My salary alone has gone up 50% in 3 years.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Go for it. The shorter commute will help your sanity and may help reduce the impact of the pay cut. You're saving 70 miles per day going to the public sector job. That's 18,200 fewer miles on your car each year, which will help on insurance and wear/tear. Let's assume your car gets 25 mpg and gas is $3.50/gal. You've just saved yourself $2,500+ in fuel costs.

    Additional public sector experience will allow you hop into an even better private sector situation down the road, assuming you don't decide that the grass is better on the light side of planning. Also, public sector jobs are typically more stable and provide better benefits.

    On top of that, if your boss is even mentioning the "L" word (layoff), you should start looking for other pastures. Most bosses will avoid using this word at all costs unless they are confident it may happen--they know what that word does to morale.

    Caveat: I happen to prefer public sector employment, so there may be some bias.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I'd take the other job:
    *Shorter commute=less mental stress, saves money, better for the environment, more time for anything but sitting in the car
    *Sounds like you might be losing pay at your current job...meaning this pay cut would be comparable (maybe) to that salary after a cut
    *You like the position and think it would help you grow

    Can you live on the new salary? Will the costs saved in driving less make up for enough of the difference?

    Those are my thoughts...but you have to live with the decision!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Is the work slowdown due to the decline in the housing sector? I was affected by that whole mess, laid off (landscape architecture) in August of last year, found another job within a few weeks, only to be laid off with a group of others 4 months later. I've been out of work since December. I've been concentrating my search to in public agencies since I see it as more secure and thus a good way to remain employed through a recession. I've also noticed I've developed a distaste for developers and just don't like dealing with them. They often seem like underhanded, greedy people and they rub me the wrong way. Its made me feel that perhaps its better if I limit my contact with them.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

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