pay cut?

Say you have the chance to go from designing in an industry you don’t care for, to an industry you are very passionate about.
Would you take a pay cut to do it?
If you would, what is the biggest pay cut you would even consider?

Am I single or married?
Do I have kids?
Are my kids in college?
Am I retired?
Will I relocate or not?
What does “passionate” mean?

I did. But not a big cut.

That is very personal call and it really depends. I had an offer from a major automotive studio in the LA area, pretty much a dream job for me. But the pay I was making as a senior designer for the company I was working for in Portland was already more than their creative director was making. After a lot of thought I didn’t take it, and I think it worked out for the best, but in that case I was already working at a dream job. If I was working in an industry I didn’t like at all I think I would have personally jumped for it, but I don’t have kids and my wife is pretty flexible with moving around (within reason, as long as it is a place she wants to be too.)

When I went to frog it was a pay bump, but SF was so expensive, it was still in essence a cut. But my wife and I made the calculated decision to go for that one. One of my mentors had the opportunity to be creative director for one of the most famous furniture companies in the world, and he is a huge furniture buff. He ended up not taking it, but is now VP of design at the company we worked together at and is super happy… and is on the board of directors at that furniture company now…

Short answer, there is no right answer. Sometimes you have to make a decision and then make it right.

Freshly married,
no kids,
at the beginning of your career,
small relocation (lets say within 100 miles),
“passionate” as in work that is meaningful to you personally and fills your soul!!

That sounds like some good decision making.
I’m definitely taking the new gig even for less pay.
I was just curious if anyone else has done this and regretted it or loved it.

I took a paycut before graduating college.
I was working as a Graphic Designer during school part time in order to pay my bills and tuition. Before graduating I took an internship in ID for less money but the decision was easy…I didn’t want to be a graphic designer. I actually had a couple of job offers for graphics but had to turn them down.

If you are not happy then move. Also think of growth in the long term. Which company will offer you more growing possibilities 2, 5, 10 years down the road. Which company has a better design department? Will you be taking a pay cut to work with more creative & talented individuals?

Freshly married sounds like the perfect time…I’m assuming no mortgage yet and renting. Once you buy a house and/or have kids then moving becomes a much harder thing to do and consider. Also, if your wife works, you have to take that into account. How much will both of you be commuting, etc.

Sometimes money isn’t everything. You have to also consider your quality of life. But if you are the sole bread winner in the household then salary, health insurance, and benefits are very important.

There’s the problem, I lease mine, with an option to buy.

Ask anyone.

I think the answer is obvious, yes.

Before you have kids it is massively important to get in a career/job that you want to be in because after you have them it becomes so much harder to change. You can afford to take risk now, not then.

I took a pay cut out of necessity. I lost my job when the company I worked for abruptly closed in 2011. I had a wife, a 2 year old, and a 4 month old. I needed a job and needed it immediately to pay medical bills.

Was it the best choice to make? No. If I had more time to plan for it, I would have opted for a better paying job.

However, fast forward to today, and I’m at the same company making a salary I want with plenty of options for the future within the company, including partial ownership. Sometimes decisions you make end up working, even though they’re not right for you at the time.

Yea there’s a few of those points you made that apply to me.
Like right now I am designing solo, so I don’t get the mentorship I am looking for.
It would definitely be available at this new job and long term, would prove priceless.

NURB, I’m glad it worked out for you and sounds like a bit of patience is very important.
Do you feel like it was hard to play catch up to a salary that you were happy with?
Or maybe you performed so well that it was a easy to get raises?

On the Jim Carey episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee he said something like “The only thing I learned from my dad is that you can fail at something you hate”… his dad took a job that he hated because he needed the money, and he failed at that. Imagine working at something you don’t like for 10 years, getting laid off, and now you have no job, and all of your experience is in an area you don’t like. It is hard to put a price on happiness, sounds like you want to go for it.

You will always have coulda’ shoulda’ woulda’s either way… I’ve often thought, what if I stayed at Nike, what if I stayed at frog… but the reality is I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing where i’m doing it, and I wouldn’t have had the same adventures. We always ask what if, it is in our nature, it is a part of what we do. Making things happen is also a part of what we do though.

It was a time of desperation. A put up or shut up scenario that ended up paying off for me. I couldn’t afford to relocate my family (nor did I really want to), and things needed to happen quickly. It was a tough stretch, but I proved myself to my employer and negotiated my way to getting where I wanted to be. It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of the work I do.

Side note, how great is that series?!? Yes. I remember this line and it hit me pretty close to home. However, I soon realized that I’m happy with where I am, in a niche industry, and rising to the top of it. At the time, I needed the money more than I needed to be happy in the job. But, things change.

I understand it is not too far from where you are now, but is the cost of living in that area significantly different?

If not, or if it is for the positive, I think I would follow my passion, HOWEVER I would not lose sight of the pay cut you took and work towards righting the course as soon as you land. I took a “pay cut” after a layoff in an industry I was certainly happy to find myself in, but I think I let my pay slide with little to no discussion for a too long and it eventually served as a contributing factor to leaving a job I and a company I really loved.


First time posting on here.

Yes, taking a pay cut for a more fun job is a worthwhile thing to do!

I did it and don’t regret it. The last job I had was going nowhere, but the money was there. I took about a 20% paycut to move jobs, but it’s been much more fun. However, my wife and I didn’t have kids at the time. I’ve proven myself at the new gig, and we have kids now. Bottom line is, my next move will probably have to do more with money, rather than fun…unless we figure out a way to move off grid to the middle of nowhere and do design…I’d consider a paycut for that…hmm.

tommyle, what did you decide to do?

Thanks for all the advice everyone. Yo I ended up taking the new job :slight_smile: I start next week, and I finally feel excited about going to work. I’m confident I will be happy about this decision for the job, but also for the talented folks i will learn from

Congratulations! Best of luck with it!