I Changed Jobs and Took a Pay Cut

Posted by Mrs Money on September 16th, 2010

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A few months ago I decided I had enough of my current position and that I needed a change.  I was tired of supervising and being responsible for everything on the teller line.  When they eliminated my office manager position in February, I decided to give the teller supervisor position a try.  I kept the same pay, but my job responsibilities greatly shifted.  Instead of being responsible for opening accounts, meeting sales goals, and managing the office, I was in charge of the teller line and spent every day working as a teller while supervising the staff.  It just wasn’t something I was interested in.  I figured I had a few options: quit and find a new job, look for a new position within the company, or go part time and transfer to a new branch.  All sounded good to me, but I didn’t really want to give up my 5 years seniority plus vacation time.

I decided that the best idea would be to try to find a new position within the company.  I searched the available postings and found a position for a relief team member.  When you’re on the relief team, you travel to different branches to help out when they are short.  I figured that position would be a good change of pace for me since I wouldn’t be stuck at the same branch every day and have to deal with the crap that comes along with it.  Plus, the branches I would be going to would be happy to see me because they are short and would most likely be nice to me.

The only downfall about the position was that it was a lower pay grade than I had been.  I talked it over with Mr. Money, and despite everyone’s shock at work, I accepted the position.  I figured the less stress the better, so why not.  I was tired of always being stressed out about work and thinking about it.  I didn’t want to live my life that way forever.  I don’t want work to be my whole life.  That’s the last thing I want. I also figured that if I accepted this position it would be easier for me to go part time if I chose to, or even quit when we have kids.  I figured it would be a win-win situation.

I’ve been in my new position for over two months now.  I’ve been hesitant to write about it because I was afraid people would think I was stupid for taking a pay cut.  Sure the economy’s bad, I’ve got bills to pay and savings goals to make, but what’s the point of life if you’re miserable?  I’ve found myself much more relaxed and happier since I’ve been on the relief team.  Sure, it’s not perfect every day, but nothing’s going to be.  I’ve learned to let a lot of stuff roll off my back because if something bothers me, I know I’m not going to be there permanently so it’s really not that big of a deal.  It feels good.

I always thought that career decisions would be based mostly on money.  I am thankful that I’ve gotten past that and have the ability to do something that I really wanted to do, versus being tied down to making more money because my lifestyle demanded it.  I’m happier now, and that is worth more money than any pay raise or promotion.

Would you take a pay cut to do something you really wanted to do?

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19 Responses to “I Changed Jobs and Took a Pay Cut”


  1. Jenny says:

    I can definitely see the appeal of working in different locations. I get bored easily and love a change of pace. Some people thought I was making a mistake when I quit my part-time job to stay home with my girls, but I would’ve been miserable had I stayed and I don’t think it would’ve worked out for my girls or my mom, who would have been keeping them for me, either. Things are tight now but I know I did the right thing! Not only did I want to be with my girls, that place really was full of negative feelings and unpleasant people at times. Didn’t need to take any of that home at the end of the day!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jenny- I am the same way. I like a change of pace too. I dream of quitting my job a lot. I would love to stay home and work from home. I would love to be able to do that!

    I really admire you because I think you are a great mom!

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  2. Nicole says:

    Great post! I think once you’ve got “enough,” many things become more important than additional money. After all, money is just a tool to provide things that we need or make us happy. Taking a pay cut in this case is just like buying less stress… and you get a tax advantage for doing it too. :)

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    Nicole- Thanks! I feel like I’m at the point where we have “enough” and I don’t need many more things. It’s a great feeling. I feel so free!

    I also like the tax advantage. :)

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  3. Sue says:

    I’m glad you took the different position – you’re entirely right. Money, if it accompanies misery & stress, is not worth it. I quit my job entirely last year (right in the middle of the Christmas season!) because the stress was killing me.

    I applaud you for being brave and doing what you needed to do. It’s been my experience that when you do that, you are still provided-for and your responsible choice is rewarded. :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Sue- I dream of quitting my job and working from home! I would love to do that. I need to start making more changes to try to make that a reality.

    Thank you! I agree. There have been opportunities for advancement lately but I’ve thought about it, and it’s just not worth it to me. I’m looking to work less and be less stressed, not more.

    I thought that I would be stressed because we are making less money, but I haven’t been. I’ve felt really comfortable with how we are now and I’m always looking for ways to save money and make more on the side from my little side ventures. :)

    Thanks for the vote of confidence! I appreciate it.

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  4. Kacie says:

    Good for you! I think enjoying your job is more important than making the most money possible. The stress just isn’t worth it! Not to mention what it could do to your health. So yeah, good move!

    I think if we are able to move back to Indiana, I’d be a-ok with Shane taking a pay cut to do so. For one thing, cost of living is cheaper, and for two, I’d rather see more of him and have him be less stressed! We know we can manage on a certain income level and we’d be fine.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kacie- Thanks! It is a great feeling. Of course, I’d love to quit altogether but I just can’t justify that right now. I think I’d probably get bored at home if I didn’t have something to do. I like having some human interaction. ;)

    We’ve felt the same way about moving to Michigan- we could get a really cheap house there, but the job market is pretty bad. If Mr. Money could get a good job in Michigan, I think we’d be all for it!

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  5. Evan says:

    There are a lot of different reasons why to take or change jobs. Your sanity is number 1, here are a few others:

    http://www.myjourneytomillions.com/articles/important-money-job/

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Evan- Thanks! That’s a great post- I just checked it out!

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  6. My current job pays half of what my previous job offered. The pay cut has taken me some time to get used to, but I am much happier and less stressed. It has absolutely been worth the pay decrease to change jobs. :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Saving Her Life- I am glad that you’ve found the same happiness in your job. It’s funny how many people value money over their happiness. Not us! :)

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  7. Mary says:

    I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while, but I just had to comment on this post! I too am trying to find a less stressful job, and have been applying to jobs even if they are a lower pay. More stress usually means more pay, so I am definitely willing to take the pay cut. Life is too short to stay at a job you hate just because of the money. If you can swing it, then absolutely! Congrats to you!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mary- Thank you! I agree, life is too short to be miserable. :)

    [Reply]

  8. It’s a little sad that you were afraid to share it with us. I think the vast majority of people will understand that there is more to life than money.

    I took a pay cut years ago when I changed careers. I was gambling on making more money in the long run on the new path. My gamble paid off but what I’m most proud of is that I was willing to take a risk.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kay Lynn- I am not one that likes to take risks, unfortunately. I told my husband the other day that I’m worried about making the wrong decision and then regretting it. That’s probably something I need to get over. :/

    [Reply]

  9. Heather says:

    I went from being a full-time teacher this year to being a half-time teacher. My stress at work is *much* lower, which is fabulous. I have time to try to build a personal training studio. At this point, the business is paying for itself, but it’s not paying me yet. Last year, my husband’s and my paychecks were roughly equal, so we’re living on 3/4 of what we did last year. It’s tight, but we’re doing OK. And some day, I will make money training :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Heather- I hope that your training business picks up this year! That would be amazing to be able to do that full time!

    [Reply]

  10. Sandy H says:

    I switched companies AND took a pay cut because my job (and boss) was making my job TOO stressful. Especially with an 8 month old baby!
    After switching jobs, I was a lot happier- but more stressed about the money aspect of making less. I think it still ended I was less stressed. Being able to let go of a lot of negative feelings about my old job helped me get my head on straight and apply for better jobs. Within a month I was offered a much better job- better money, benefits, schedule, etc. I’ve never looked back! I’m glad I took (even a short time) to get out of such a negative environment for me!!

    You never know what will happen. Positive energy going out promotes positive energy coming in! I have a friend who says that- I never really believed her before that! Now I always try to be positive!

    Continued success in your new position! I’m sure seeing new faces and getting away (a little) from office politics is a nice break!

    [Reply]



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