This week on our Career Wake Up Call, I answered a question about salary negotiation with respect to these economic times. The caller who asked the question is currently out of work and on the cusp of financial difficulty. The question was, "How do I make the decision to compromise and take a lower paying job versus holding out for a more reasonable salary?" As I mentioned on the call, the answer depends on your own individual situation. However, there are several different scenarios where stepping down a pay grade might make good sense.
Here are five scenarios where you might want to entertain an offer that is below your last salary.
Future Growth Opportunities
If you believe that taking a step back will offer you growth opportunities in that particular company. In other words, if you believe that you will not only be able to reclaim your former salary but also surpass it in short order, this is a risk that may very well be worth taking.
Regardless of the economic climate, if you are changing professions or industries, you may have to take a step backwards either in salary or in title before you regain the career momentum you have been used to.
If you are ready to take a step towards finding your ideal job, you may decide to do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door. I call it Sweeping the Floor. If the company you have always dreamed about working for is willing to hire you, even if that means you need to start out as their janitor, you might very well consider it.
If you are searching for a job in a competitive market or in a competitive industry, you may consider taking a slightly lower salary just to be able to get to the finish line ahead of your competition.
In some cases, you may feel that you have no choice other than to take a pay cut because you are in dire financial straits. Consider the option of finding temporary work just to keep you afloat. Then, when the ideal job comes your way, you'll still be available to take it. If you decide take a major pay cut with the thought of looking again when the economy improves, you may have difficulty explaining to recruiters why you are leaving your new job so quickly.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
The decision to take a lower salary is rarely an easy one. If you lean in that direction, your goal should be to stick with your new decision for two or more years if possible. Adjusting your standard of living may help to make the lower salary palatable. Just remember that excellent performance can be rewarded with promotions and transfers. Whatever your new job looks like, make every effort to be a superstar and you will soon be back to climbing the ladder of success.