Sometimes economic conditions dictate whether you must accept a job or not. Sometimes it may just be the job description or the company that you want to work for. Whatever your reason, accepting a lower salary than the one you have earned previously, is not fun. While this is true, there actually may be some advantages for accepting a lower salary.
Over the years, good employees had to take pay cuts, or have their salaries delayed and have to manage their home and finances by making adjustments. Below are a few valuable lessons that we can all learn.
1. Reassess and Reprioritize
When you take a pay cut, you have to re-budget your fixed expenses immediately. Focus on your work and being very good at it. If you do this then you will open a gateway to a possible hike in salary or being headhunted for a new job in future.
Accepting a lower salary can help evaluate your skills and understand what the most, average and least salary in the industry based on your education, skills and local (and/or international) experience. It can cause you to focus on building up a more valuable skill set that people would be willing to pay more for. Talk to your peers or professionals in similar positions. In fact conducting a salary survey (general survey, industry specific survey or competitor survey) for your role maybe a good option.
2. Focus Your Work-Life Balance
Refocus on the other aspects of your life that do not require money—like your building your health (and cutting down on junk food), daily walks or a morning jog, spending time with family, and building personal relationships. We really start to find out what was important in life.
A lower salary may mean reduced working hours or lesser job responsibilities. In return, you earn back the gift of time so you can rebalance your career and personal life. Beware, it could also mean neither of these and you are unable to get any advantage out of this. You may then either need to happily continue or re-evaluate your options.
3. You Learn To Do More With Less
When forced to do more with less, many people rise to the occasion. I have often been told by my own employers to accomplish a task only using the resources I have, without asking for more. I have soon found ways to do it.
In this case the reduced resource is unfortunately your salary. You would need to pull up your socks and do such a great job that losing you should not be an option for your employer and every possibility for your employers competitors, to pay you right (an increased salary). This is bound to make you more resourceful and valued.
4. It Helps You Find Opportunities You Would Otherwise Overlook
Making less money can also motivate you to take risks to earn more that you would normally not take. For example you may decide that now is a good time to look out for another job or be an entrepreneur yourself. Maybe the previous guaranteed income was holding you back from running your own business and now that your salary has reduced, your are closer to deciding on your dream versus your traditional job. Once that salary starts to decrease, it may push you to finally take the leap. Nothing increases ambition like discovering you will be making less money.
If you are considering or forced to consider taking a pay cut, the first step is to assess its impact on your overall budget—especially if your income helps support your family—and weigh your options in terms of what expenses you can reduce. Accommodation expenses is the biggest fixed expense in the UAE, especially when you are renting an apartment. But the effects of the pandemic may help you there. But don't lose sight of what you might gain. Sometimes it is the experience of dealing with less that helps you do more.