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We all want to make more money – no one ever asks for less.

But sometimes there are circumstances where accepting less money makes sense and can actually benefit you.  Let’s take a look at situations where taking a pay cut now can pay big dividends in the future.

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2.  Relocating.

So, what do you do if your dream job comes with a decrease in pay?  It depends.  The big question is can you afford to take a pay cut?  Look very carefully at your current financial situation to decide whether it makes sense to make this move.  Things to consider:

  • Can you afford to take a pay cut?  Review your current financial situation to see if this is a sound idea.
  • Is the new skill/experience valued in the market place? Will you recoup your monetary lost soon?
  • Is the scope of the job in keeping with your career goals?

 Career management is complicated.  You want to move forward and make the right decisions. I believe the key is to define your goals and make sure the moves you make are in line with those goals. 

1.  Accepting a job with less responsibility.

3.  Opportunity to learn/use new skills.  

4.  Working for a startup.  

Generally speaking, as we progress in our careers we seek opportunities with greater responsibility.  However, there may be times in your life where less responsibility can be a blessing.  Dealing with health issues (your own or a loved ones’), going back to school, or other personal issues are all situations where you might consider accepting a job with less responsibility or a lighter work load.  And generally speaking, these positions don’t pay as much  as more high powered, leadership positions pay.  

The upside is taking the lesser job can free you up to more effectively handle the personal issues in your life.  Once the issues have been resolved, you can always go back into a career growth mode.

Should You Take a Pay Cut? 4 Times When Taking a Pay Cut Makes Sense


Everyone in tech knows you must keep your skills current.  You can do it on your own and gain some experience by working on independent projects.  However, sometimes getting hands on work experience can give you a big advantage in the market place.  Software/systems upgrades, enterprise level software rollouts, large scale integrations are some a couple of areas where real world professional experience trumps personal side projects.​

When moving from a highly competitive, high cost of living area to a location with a significantly lower cost of living you may have to take a pay cut.  If you are a software engineer moving from the Bay Area to say Orlando, Florida, expect to take a pay cut.  Now if you want to get an idea of how much of a cut to expect, look at, or    These sites will allow you to compare salaries for various roles (based on skills, education and years of experience) in different locations.

The good news is the cost of living in Orlando is much less than it is in the Bay Area.  If you want to compare the cost of living in various areas check out Bankrate's cost of living calculators.

This one is tricky.  While working for the right startup can give you an amazing experience – working on exciting problems, working with smart, enthusiastic people, learning new things, etc.  On one hand, you don’t want to miss out on what could be the next big thing but on the other hand you don’t want to waste your time working insane hours for with nothing to show for it in the end. 

The key here is to do your homework.  Find out as much as you can about the company, their products/services, management team, market share sales, funding, etc. so you can make an informed decision.  If they don’t want to answer your questions and balk at your absence of unquestioning enthusiasm, you should probably walk.