Why I Took a 27% Pay Cut and Why I Would Do It Again

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Samantha Brandon10

A few years ago after nearly a decade of school, residency and work, I landed my dream job. As an ambulatory care pharmacist, I was able to care for patients and practice at the top of my license. I've always been a “career” woman and love to help others and work under pressure. But then I became a mom, and my entire perspective on life shifted as I wanted to be a mother more than I wanted a fulfilling career.

In the words of Michelle Obama, “The whole ‘so you can have it all’ — nope, not at the same time.” And it's true. 

There were simply not enough hours in the day to work a 50-hour career, maintain a household, be that “picture-worthy” healthy woman and still have enough quality time to spend with the kids.

When I missed my daughter's first steps, that's when I said enough is enough. I took a work-from-home job with a 27% pay cut, and it's the best decision I've ever made.

So here are the 5 best reasons you should consider taking that new job or position with a pay decrease.

1. Decrease your stress levels

Although I loved my previous position, I wasn't able to manage my stress well. There were so many sleepless nights that I spent going over the events of the workday or worrying about the day I had ahead of me. Not to mention, when I would get home, I couldn’t “turn it off” and was still mentally checked in at work. These were clear signs that work stress was taking over my life.

My new job is far less demanding. Now there's always going to be a bit of stress, but it’s not all-consuming. I can clock in and out of work mentally and it’s done wonders for my health.

If your work is affecting your mental or physical health, seeking out a lower-paid position with fewer responsibilities may be worth the pay cut.

2. Reduce your commuting time

In my previous position, I had about a 50-minute, 38-mile commute each way, during rush hour. This meant Monday through Friday, I was gone from 6 a.m. to around 5 to 5:30 p.m. That's nearly ten hours spent in a car that I could have been catching up on housework, enjoying time with friends and family, or just taking a mental break.

Not to mention, commuting costs money. With rising gas prices, wear and tear on a vehicle and car insurance, you may be shocked on how much you spend simply getting to and from work.

Taking a work-from-home job with less pay actually wasn’t as big of a budget cut as I initially thought because of the car savings.

3. Reduce your working hours

Although this was not an option for me, another great reason to take a pay cut is to go from full-time to part-time or as needed. If you can afford it, approaching your employer to discuss working fewer hours may be exactly what you need.

With fewer hours, you may be less burnt out and a more productive, happy employee. Even with the pay cut, you may offset the loss of income by saving in other areas such as commuting or childcare.

Not to mention, the extra time off gives you more time to recharge your batteries.

4. Better job perks

One of the best reasons to take a pay cut would be for some extra job perks. One good example is going from a salary to hourly position. Salary employees are notorious for working overtime, so if your current position is salaried and you're working well over the 40-hour workweek, it may be time to look for an hourly position. There may be a pay cut involved, but you'll have the peace of mind that you are not expected to work past your time commitment. And if you are, you'll be getting paid in overtime.

Great benefits may be another reason to consider taking that pay decrease. More time off to enjoy your life, better parental leave, healthcare benefits and more may make more sense for you and your family. 

5. Explore other income opportunities

Lastly, if you're in a highly demanding job with a high responsibility burden, it may be time to consider accepting a lower-ranking position with a pay cut to free up your time for other business adventures.

Devoting all of your time and skills contributes to a company that's ultimately not yours, but if you could use some of that time to start a side hustle or learn how to make money online, then the pay decrease may only be temporary.

Only Take a Pay Cut if it's Financially Feasible

The last thing you want to do is take a pay decrease for more time off, but then find you don't have enough money to do anything or go anywhere. Make sure you are still able to cover your basic costs of living on a reduced income.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Samantha Brandon is a pharmacist, mother of two toddlers, and online business woman devoted to providing tools for women and mother entrepreneurs (Mamapreneurs) at her site at SamanthaBrandon.com.

Have you ever purposefully taken a pay cut? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!