You may not believe that you would ever accept a job that pays less money than you're making now, or were earning at your previous position if you are unemployed. However, there may be situations where you have to choose between a lower paying job and no income at all. In other instances, you may willingly accept a job offer despite a lower salary.
If you're collecting unemployment benefits, you have to be actively looking for work and willing to accept suitable work when it's offered. That doesn't mean that you have to take a job paying minimum wage if you were previously earning a good salary. However, if you've been out of work for a long time, you may have to lower your expectations. Depending on what state you live in, you may have to consider a job that pays a salary that is comparable to similar jobs of the same type if it's a reasonable fit with your qualifications, even if the pay is lower than what you earned before. If you refuse the job, you may risk losing your unemployment benefits.
Especially during periods of economic downturn, you may face stiff competition for jobs. If you've been unemployed for several months, or even longer, you consider yourself lucky to receive a job offer at all. You may accept lower pay just to get back into the work force. Also, if your unemployment benefits are running out, or if you were unable to collect unemployment in the first place, you may need to take a job just to start making income again, even with less pay.
If you are making a career change to a field that has a lower pay scale than your present job, you may have to accept lower pay. Even if you change careers to a field that pays as well or better than the job you have now, you may still have to take a temporary pay cut. You may not have to start in the mail room with your new career, but you may have to accept a position at a lower level with less pay until you establish yourself.
The financial sacrifice you have to make with a job that has lower pay may be reduced if your new job has better benefits, such as lower health insurance premiums or more paid vacation days. You may have a shorter commute with your new job, or your new employer may allow you to work flexible hours. Income from other sources, like playing weekend gigs with a band, may also make it financially feasible to accept a job with lower pay. Your new company may also have a laid back atmosphere that generates less stress than your former job.
- Forbes: Should You Accept A Job That Pays Half Your Former Salary?
- CNN Money: Life After a Six-Figure Salary
- Tech Republic: Lower Salary Job Opportunities Can Pay Off In the Future
- Career Journal Today: Smart Moves -- Should I Relocate For a Job That Pays Less?
- Nolo: Collecting Unemployment -- Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work?
- Monster: Don’t Let a High Salary History Derail Your Job Search
Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.