Choices

Yesterday, I told the people I have worked for for the last three years and one month that when I leave work on Friday, July 17th, two work weeks from now, it will be the last time.

On Thursday, I accepted a job offer that I have been waiting on bated breath for for a month. Well, in truth, I've been waiting for the job offer that would signal my exit from my soon-to-be-former employer for over a year.

I've been vague yet up front about this here on the blog for, pretty much, as long as I've been writing here: I was not happy at my job. For a couple months, it was sort of run-of-the-mill not happy, and the typical kind of not happy that comes with working for a small business that often finds itself understaffed for its big ideas.

But over the last six months, the regular old not happy became a different animal entirely. It was no longer that I simply didn't enjoy going to work—listen, I graduated college in 2011. I am well aware of the realistic nature of my generations' job prospects. I know what economy we walked into. I know no one is guaranteed work/life balance or a happy 9-5. I know that a lot of people out there do not like their jobs. For many, many months, I accepted being one of them, justifying it with my easy commute, amazing coworkers, and casual dress code.

As I was saying. Since 2015 and an altered definition of my roles and responsibilities at work came into view, everything changed. I wasn't simply overworked and underpaid anymore, and my office became a really challenging place to just be in.
I finally had enough.

It was enough to make me take a 40% pay cut for my new position.

(And let me just be clear, my current paychecks aren't exactly weighing down my pockets.)
But what it ultimately came down to (aside from the fact that I've been looking for a new job with intermittent vigor for 14 months without a nibble until now) for me was this: I can compensate for a lousy paycheck. I cannot—not anymore—compensate for the way my life looked and the way I felt 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

My new salary will be enough for me to pay my bills and buy groceries and gas. Probably. But not much else. So I'll return to taking on freelance work. (Wrote a book? I edit those! Need some posts or articles or features? I write those!) It will be fun to hustle again at times, and other times it won't be as much fun. I will manage it, though, and I hope it will be worth it.

(One thing I can say is that I will not likely be monetizing my blog. This space is sacred to me in a way that I can't be confident will be maintained if I introduce sponsored content. That's not a slight at others who have monetized, but a criticism of my own balancing skills.)

Oh, and I guess I should get around to just about the only thing I haven't said yet in this gratuitously verbose post: my new job. I'll be the new managing editor for an area newspaper. I'll be writing—really writing, in a way my job hasn't let me in months. I'll be editing. I'll have a voice, and an influence on creative direction.

Oh, I hope it will be worth it.

I would really love some feedback from you, my sage friends, with all your vast experience of the world and this life. Have you ever taken a pay cut when changing jobs? Was it worth it? What's your best (not obvious) money-saving tip? Do you think I'm an absolute moron for making this decision? What's the biggest leap of faith you've taken in your career?

Comments

  1. Congratulations girl!! Even though taking a pay cut will be hard, you'll be happy and that's all that matters! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. If there's anyone that can make life work on a budget, it's you. I'm so excited for you and I feel like the personal satisfaction you'll get will help soften the blow of the pay cut. I think you should seriously consider editing resumes/cover letters as a freelance way to bring in some extra dollars. Check out a website called Fiverr (https://www.fiverr.com/) and see...Beth has made some money using it. And if you really want to make some extra cash, you can always come down to NC and babysit your niece and nephew and I will pay you in farmer's market popcorn.

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  3. Congrats! I just gave my notice at work yesterday and my last day is the 17th as well. But I am in a different situation. My current job is being relocated and I have chosen not to relocate with it. I absolute adore my job and the company and people I work with. We have until the end of the year to leave but I just can't wait like that and hope I can get a job then. The job prospects where I live are slim. The job I accepted is by no means my dream job but I know it's a great company and will get me in the door there. So that's my compromise.
    Anyway I wholeheartedly support looking elsewhere if you are unhappy at a job. Life is too short to spend at a job you're unhappy with. You spend too much time at work for that.

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  4. I'm probably the wrong person to ask, but I seem to always be taking pay cuts when I change jobs. But that's never the reason I leave. I always leave to better be able to do my own thing and spend enough time with my kids and my writing. And it's always worth it. Your new position sounds so legit and exciting, though! Congratulations! And you seem to be super on top of budgeting, so I can't imagine you not being able to make it work.

    Also, I never knew you had a shout out to me on your editing page! I feel so honored; but more so to have worked with you on my book. I think it's absolutely perfect because of you :)

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  5. I haven't taken a pay cut, but I made up my mind to when my last job became unbearable. You can't go through life miserable at work - you spend more time there than you spend at home. So you have to do what you have to do.

    Maybe you'll make 40% less but it sounds like you'll grow 100% more with this new opportunity. I wish you luck!

    My money minding tips: pack your lunch and breakfast, cook on the weekends or freeze meals so you don't have to order out for dinner, avail yourself of public transport if you're able to, sell what you own that you don't need, shop sales.

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  6. you are absolutely not a moron.
    i worked at a bank over a year ago and the pay was horrible, the people were horrible, the customers were the worst. i liked it, then i didn't like it, then all of a sudden i hated it - kind of like you. i had looked around for jobs but because we were going to Oz, I didn't think I could start a new job. Plus, it was really flipping hard to find anything. In the end, one day I had simply had enough. KC had been telling me to quit for months, but I have never quit a job without having one lined up. I texted KC 'can I quit?' and he was like YES. I told my boss 'sorry, its not you, it's not me, it's both of us together' which as 100% true and i just wanted to be honest. i was unemployed for 2 weeks and then got my current job. at least once a month, KC remarks that I am so much happier and it's so weird how big of an impact our jobs can have. i also have better hours and I get paid almost double. that helps, but it wasn't about the money, it was about liking my job. i thought i had to hate it, because everyone else did, you know?
    anyway. all this to say that i am sure you are making the right decision and your happiness is way more important than anything as silly as what you are paid. it's not worth being as unhappy as you were for 40% more. nope.
    as for saving money... if anyone can make a budget work, it's you! but really my tips are like Steph's - take your own lunch, public transport if you can, sell everything you don't need, make freezer meals based on whats on sale.. do you have a dryer? buy a clothes horse (not sure what they are called here) and use that instead. if you have to shop, shop online using ebates (and make money! i have made over $100 and i've only been using it a couple months, although i only use it for work purchases because i'm on a shopping ban). eating vegetarian is cheaper, but you do that already. do you have cable? cut it. watch less tv. invite people over, or go to their house, instead of going out. turn off the lights, unplug everything... honestly, i feel like these are all quite obvious and things you do anyway, so really i am no help!
    super happy for you. congrats and good luck!

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  7. Ahhhh congratulations! I am so proud/excited for you. This sounds like it was 100% the best decision and what an amazing opportunity. Money is important, but doing something you love/actually enjoy matters so much more.I can't wait to hear more about it once you start and get into the groove of something new. This was just the inspiring post I needed to read today :)

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  8. Oh friend, I am so excited for you and this leap of faith to something you're passionate about. My biggest leap of faith was giving that same notice with nothing to catch me on the other side, so I'll be finding those money saving tips to help you with your new lifestyle. I know you'll land gracefully!

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  9. Congrats girl!! I say that you cannot live hating life. And by that I mean, we are at work more than anything else we do. It is just the way it is. So when you spend 40 hours a week at a job (and often times a lot more than that) you can't absolutely hate it and be miserable. It is no way to live. We are supposed to work to live not live to work, and yet....when you love your job...you are able to spend more time doing it without it effecting you. When you hate your job? Even a few hours is complete torture. Kudos for you for learning that money isn't the most important thing and giving yourself some sanity. I hope that it works out and is everything you are wanting it to be! You deserve to be happy!

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  10. Yay, I'm happy for you! I have experienced something similar. I left a job once to work somewhere where they would pay me more and it turned out to be the most horrible job and I couldn't work there every day without being miserable. I ended up calling my old job up and they had a new position open, which I took and am still at now and much happier. I think how much you enjoy your job has a lot to do with the environment, and a bad one can make an okay job unbearable.

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  11. NEVER NEVER NEVER sacrifice your happiness for a job/money. EVER. money can always be made, time (wasted at a job you strongly dislike/at which you are unhappy) can never be regained so in my books, a pay cut to do something you LOVE worth it than rotting in job that does nothing for you but make you feel like you're rotting. if i ended up not linking what i was doing, i would switch careers in a heartbeat and not even blink an eye. my happiness is more important than work. i'm glad you did that and when you get settled into your new gig thoroughly enjoying it, you'll be glad you did!

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  12. Congrats girl!!! So proud & excited for you!! I'm very much of the opinion that if you don't like what you're doing, it's time to find something else that you do. Tyler was in a job where he loved the company and was making good money, but the role wasn't challenging him and he had a horrible boss who wouldn't let him advance to another role he desperately wanted. He left for a job that paid more but ended up being a terrible company and while it was obviously scary and upsetting for him, leaving that first role allowed him to talk directly with the right people at his old company and now even though he took a pay cut he's doing the the job he wanted with an amazing boss and is SO much happier! I know it's totally cliche and easy to say but money is never the most important thing. He is so much more engaged and excited about his job, and it's honestly even made our relationship better. I believe there is a plan for our lives and the tough times make the good ones so much sweeter! I hope this job will make you excited to go to work again, it sounds like it was made for you!

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  13. I am so, so happy for you! I know you've been wanting this for awhile and I want to give you a giant hug that it all worked out the way you deserve. As far as the pay cut, it's cliche but you cannot put a price tag on happiness (I could drone on and on about this but I'll spare you). And I think you have the absolute right attitude and determination to make it work (and hey, when my book draft is done, guess who's going to need an editor?).

    Congratulations!!!!

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  14. Been there, sister!! I, too, took a 40% pay cut when I got a new job after law school. It ended up being even more horrible than where I left, but that's not the point. It led me to my current job, which I DO like (and still pays peanuts). I'm not going to lie and say I don't ever miss that (comparatively) huge paycheck, but at least it made me stop buying shit I don't need! And I make the money work. You'll make it work too.

    Congratulations on the new job! I know it's hard to put into words the relief you feel; I've been there.

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  15. Can I just tell you how freaking proud I am of you for taking this step?! I know the pay cut isn't ideal, I know, but I also know that you couldn't have mentally or emotionally afforded to stay there. I'm so happy that you've found somewhere that appreciates all your talents and will actually let you use them. That's a huge reason why I left my job...even if there are things about it that you enjoy, there's just something completely soul-sucking about your professional skills and intelligence just not being valued at all. And speaking of, I suppose quitting my job and simultaneously committing to spending 3/4 of my yearly pay on more schooling was a pay cut, but it was worth it. And it will be for you too. And even if it's not, at least you a have a chance to take some time to figure that out without having to go to work at a place you hate.

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  16. Best of luck in your new endeavors. A change was needed (it sounds that way anyhow). In recent years, I went from making really good money (enough that I didn't have to work for about a year when I first moved to another country). Now, my guy owns his own small-business, and I help him any and every way. Financially, we struggle sometimes. It's tough. You learn to prioritize where to spend your money. I learned to change my social activities. Instead of going out and blowing a bunch of money, I have friends over and we share some bottles of wine. I've always been a BIG fan of live music and every rock concert that came through my city, I was there. Now, I go to a big festival once a year and see a ton of bands at once. If I can throw in a few other shows throughout the year, great...if not, I still have that festival. Good luck again & congrats!!

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  17. I truly appreciate you sharing about all these things. The classic quote puts it: "Don't get so caught up making a living that you forget how to live." It all entails hardwork, but at the end of day, it's not all about work and money. Trust your choices and don't worry about money. Find your passion and provision will follow you. Cliche but really true.

    Btw, I love how you keep your blog sacred, I have the same sentiments.
    Thanks for sharing! Please feel free to check my blog too, thank you!
    Chased By Bliss

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  18. Good for you for leaving behind a toxic job and getting into a position where you are going to be much happier. I haven't taken a huge pay cut before, but I remember from personal experience working at one of the Big Four accounting firms and being absolutely miserable. I was working 80 hour weeks on the regular, never got a single weekend with my new (at the time) husband or family and was looking unhealthy because of the stress. Leaving the job and finally finding some balance in my life made everything SO much better.

    You are going to ROCK this new job, friend. Your eloquence and gorgeous writing is going to be such an asset at the paper you're headed to!

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  19. CONGRATULATIONS!! I'm so happy to read this! I know you've been wanting out of your current position for quite some time. A 40% pay cut sucks - there's no denying that - and although I've never taken one, I know that the peace of mind you'll now have (less stress, more writing, a stronger creative voice) that will make up for the decrease. You can't place a monetary value on your state of mind. In time I know you'll find a healthy balance between work and "real life" and you'll be able to keep doing all the things you want. Wishing you nothing but lots of freelance jobs :)

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  20. Congratulations! I'm currently in the process of looking for something different and if I do find a job in my field (graphic design), it will more than likely involve a pay cut. So I totally understand the reasoning behind that, even if it's against traditional career wisdom. Hopefully your new budget isn't so tight as to make life difficult and the job is awesome enough to make up for it!!!

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  21. Congratulations! That's so big/brave of you I think to make this change. So many just sit around in discontent! I haven't been in this situation exactly but i did move to Denver from Cleveland for lateral position, turning down a job in DC that would pay me more. I knew the DC office would not be a good culture fit for me + way more stress for a variety of reasons, but staying at my old job just was not an option. Even that was a hard decision to make so i can appreciate how much careful thought and planning went into this. Excited for you!

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  22. First, congratulations!!! Personally, I've never willingly changed jobs but regarding your situation I would have in a heartbeat, regardless of the pay cut. It's not worth it to stay in a place where you are that unhappy, especially when an opportunity presents itself. Kudos to you for seeking a change and accepting it! And good luck in your new position!

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  23. Congratulations! That's wonderful news!!

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  24. Congratulations! I would much rather have happiness over the money. Especially since we're at work most of our lives! Hopefully the extra little jobs can make up for that too. Good luck at your new job!

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  25. Congratulations! This sounds like an awesome step for you. I hope you love it!

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  26. I don't blame you. The extra money from your previous job means nothing if you are miserable. Congratulations on getting the new job.

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  27. Ok glad I went back and read this one. I was going to give you time before I send stuff for you to edit but looks like I can send away. hehe. Congrats again girlie. I was so exhausted by my old job - it just wasnt what I wanted to do and I love that I made the sacrifice of less time etc to come to my new job where I just feel lighter. You will do great. I cant wait to hear all about it!

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