After a very unusual year of global pandemic, there has been a lot of uncertainty and scarcity. Many people have lost their jobs. Times like these often call for hard decisions out of desperation. One of those decision is, should I accept a pay cut? I would strongly advise against it. Keep on reading to find out why.
Underearning breeds resentment.
You may justify it however you like. And many people who accept a lower pay than what they were making before do a very good job of convincing themselves that they are OK with it. However, justifying yourself or the company that offers you lower pay will not change how you feel about being underpaid. Sooner or later, the resentment will catch up with you.
One day, in a conversation or research, you may discover that not everyone has accepted a pay cut. Or, perhaps, not everyone was offered a lower pay because of the pandemic. How do you think it will make you feel? You may get a bit judgmental about this other person. You may still try to convince yourself and others that it doesn’t bother you. In the end, this will affect your attitude and performance.
When people lower their salary requirements, they often raise their expectations. Conscious or not, we think the employer will appreciate us more if they pay us less. It doesn’t work this way. In fact, most companies will expect the same contribution and hard work from each employee, regardless of their pay. And when those expectations are not met, it creates conflicts, upsets, and potentially, loss of employment.
When you accept lower pay, you are lowering your value.
Most employers want their employees to be happy. They know that if people are truly grateful and happy to be working there, they will pour their heart and soul into their job. When employees feel undervalued by their company, they instinctively pull away and just do their bare minimum.
Did you ever catch yourself saying “They don’t pay me enough to care about that?” If you ever do, it is time to talk to your boss about a pay raise or start looking for another job. Because when you stop putting in the effort, you stop growing and you bring less value. Unfortunately, this also affects how you can position yourself on your resume. Which will in turn also affect your future career.
You are hurting yourself as well as your employer.
You may think you are doing your company a favor by taking the pay cut, but in the long run, you’re not. Ten or even twenty percent of your salary will not break their budget. But your lack of productivity will affect their success. Have you noticed that companies which are very successful usually pay their employees well? Do they pay well because they are successful, or are they successful because they pay well? It’s both.
In the end, this is not about money, it is about self-worth. It takes a lot of courage to negotiate your starting salary, raise your prices or talk to your boss about your pay, but it will make a huge difference in your professional and personal life. Getting paid what you’re worth motivates you to work harder and show up as your best self. It keeps your passion alive.
Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.