Should I take a pay cut this early in my career?
January 9, 2014 10:24 PM Subscribe
I'm not happy at my job, but it pays fairly well for an entry level legal position. I've been offered another job that pays significantly less. I feel that I've already negotiated the salary as much as possible. What's my best move?
posted by frizzle to Work & Money (22 answers total)
I've been working as a paralegal at a civil law firm for a little less than a year. My starting salary was slightly higher than the market rate for someone with my level of experience.
The problem is, it's a toxic work environment. We have unreasonable quotas to meet and managers who clearly have very little regard for their employees. I have close relationships with the attorneys that I work for (and whom have written me excellent recommendations), but that's just about the only good thing about it.
Ultimately, I want to focus my career on criminal law. I never felt particularly drawn to civil law, but this job came to me at the right time, and I've excelled.
I've been offered a government job as a criminal case paralegal, but the salary is about $8,000/year less than I currently make. I've already negotiated the salary, and have been told that this is the absolute highest they can go.
I think that the new job will be more interesting, more challenging, and ultimately more beneficial for my career. At the same time, I'm very hesitant to move "backwards" while I'm still trying to establish my adult life. (I'm in my early 20's, no kids, and don't own a home. However, I'd like to own a home in the next five years.) Also, I really enjoy not overly worrying about money, and being able to take a few friends out for a drink without constantly refreshing my mental bank account.
I'd appreciate insight and experience into when taking a pay cut has been worth it, and when it was better to stick it out with a less than ideal job. Also, are there other tactics that I'm overlooking? Can I push for more benefits (i.e. a paid bus pass?) in a government position?