Have you taken a pay cut to get a less stressful job?


This is my first post here!

I’ve been 6 years in the same job and I dread going into work each day.

Anxiety, general boredness and stress have got worse over the last 2-3 years because of the bad culture. I had time off for depression and my role in the company has been downgraded. I feel it has gotten worse and nothing is being done about it, despite me repeatedly feeding back to HR and immediate managers.

Last week I had an interview for new job. I’m in the list of final candidates! The only thing is, we’ve talked over the salary and it’s a fair bit less than I’m on now, mainly because I’m on a senior salary, although I feel this job might lead to good things. I’m not sure I can afford the decrease, but its still tempting just for the relief of moving on to new things.

Which choice would you make?

  1. take this job, and just about have enough money to pay the rent,
  2. keep on trying to iron out things at my current place, or
  3. just keep looking for better jobs with same or better pay?


I’ll share my experience, for what it was worth. Keep in mind that I work in government these days.

My prior .gov job was one of a lot of conflict and frustration. The shift from private to public is a big one and there’s just no sense in government of trying things. Iteration is especially hard in government and I thrive on fast iteration. Plus, it’s locked down in ways I never imagined. Part of my job was to do social media, the IT group tracks your internet usage, issues reports, so guess who got bopped for excessive internet usage, WHEN IT WAS MY DAMN JOB? And it was a cluster duck in a lot of other ways that I’ll spare you.

So, I took a chance, went to a smaller agency and wound up taking a pretty large pay cut. It’ll roughly cost me $50K if I stay here 5-years, which I hope doesn’t happen.

I was thinking, smaller group, more opportunity to do things, etc. But the IT director is very controlling, it’s every bit as locked down as the other place and actually worse in a lot of ways, because everything, literally, has to go through him. He’s hyper-controlling, lets go of nothing, so it’s ridiculously hard to learn anything or even just function in it because he’s always there. I couldn’t be a worse fit if I tried.

Anyways, if I could hop in the Delorean, I’d go back in time and not leave. As I see it you are taking a risk, for less reward, that the environment will be better than the old one. It might be, but there’s no reward if it isn’t and really not a lot of reward even if it is. And when you take less money, well, guess what the next job wants to base itself off of. And the lower position might mean you chafe against more senior people in the organization who aren’t really senior to you in experience.

I’d keep looking but I can understand doing it under a lot of stress. It was why I did it, I figured what the heck, it can’t be much worse, but it was actually a lot worse and had I stayed I’d have at least had an extra $10K/year in salary and been part of something that mattered.

I wish you luck regardless. When it gets to the point that you are thinking like this, at least for me, there’s a lot pain involved.

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The thing is I think I’ve reached the ceiling pay of my current role, and in terms of promotion either there’s no jobs available, or I’m looked over for someone who is excelling in the managers eyes (i.e. not me).

If it was just pay, I would stay. But my health suffers from coming in to work and knowing I’m not valued by others. It confirms my own feelings about myself. I need to work somewhere were I believe I am capable and valued by my peers.

I would definitely take the switch; better to have bit less money than to be under constant stress.

I don’t know your exact trade. (edit: got it from your profile).
But, in my book, 6 years is too long for us techies to stay at a same place even if the environment is not toxic. Staying too long at the same place slowly diminishes anyone’s potential to grow as well as his or her confidence.

In your case, it’s too obvious. Your health is suffering. How much of wealth / monthly pay would you tag for your health to sell out?

What is the worst thing happen if you switch? At worst, the new place can be the same or worse. But, it’s way less likely. At least not gonna happen in your early days. So, you gonna have some breathing time.

Even if it turn out to be worse, you’re free to switch again. Isn’t it? :thinking:

lastly, I gonna share a cliché.
“If you don’t like it here, move. You’re not a tree.”

My source of this info: Been there.

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This happened to be about 8 years ago.

I took about a 2k pay cut. At the time, it was worth it. The environment was too toxic for me and I needed to get out ASAP.