A Pay Cut, Now What?

A woman seeks advice about what to do now that she has gotten a pay cut.

Your Career Coach

The Debt Blues

Dear Michele,

I’m a mortgage underwriter with 25 years experience. As with hundreds, maybe thousands of people, I have had employment issues the last year and a half due to the economy. This year I’ve been lucky somewhat, but I’ve still experienced a period of unemployment that has resulted in more debt than I am use to. Thanks again to the economy, the businesses are now only offering low ball salaries. I’ve recently started a new contract/temporary job” which is the only thing that seems available.

My issue is I received a pay cut equal to over $11,000. This won’t cover my bills. This job doesn’t allow for a second job. How can I manage my bills? I don’t want to have my credit ruined through no fault of my own.

— I Got The Debt Blues

Dear Blues,

I hear you, sister. Congrats on landing the contract job — not an easy thing to do in the current economy. But you have an $11,000 salary cut to deal with. Let me ask you (because I have to): Have you made an attempt to cut your spending to accommodate the lower salary?

One thing I know for sure is that plenty of us are going to have to re-figure how we value our salaries — and we have to get our egos
totally out of the equation. We can’t just say, “I was making $100 grand last year and now I’m a big, honking loser because I’m only making $89.” Huh uh. Sorry to say it, but salaries are going lower across the board. You need to focus on the now, honey, and figure out how to make what you have work. Yesterday and that bigger salary are gone. Cut your expenses as much as you can, take on another consulting gig that you can do in the evenings or on weekends, and adjust to your new reality. Harsh, I
know. But very, very real.

For another great question on being a mortgage underwriter, go here.

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