My Thoughts on Taking a $15,000 Pay Cut at Work

Edited: After initially publishing this post, I did decide to pull it down and edit it. Sometimes I am a little too honest, and I felt like I shared a little bit too much.


Ran this morning at 5:30 a.m.

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 58 minutes

It was a good run—no pain, which always makes me happy. But man it is still chilly in the mornings; it was 32*F this morning. My lungs never bother me in the cold air, but they hurt a little bit this morning, which was odd.



Last spring, I decided I was going to resign from teaching as a elementary physical education teacher. I wanted to do something different. . . . .something completely different. Well, now I am in home mortgage!

I knew that if I was going to do a complete 180 degree change in career fields, I was going to have to start with something entry-level and at the bottom of the ladder. I knew I would have to work my way up, and I was okay with that and excited about the new opportunities.

With an entry level, it also meant I had to take a significant pay cut. I ended up cutting my yearly salary by $15,000. Anyone knows that huge! But I often wonder, was it worth?

Stack of Money

I ended up teaching for a total of four years, and as with any job, it has its ups and downs, but there were a lot of perks: decent pay, I didn’t have to sit at a desk all day, summers off, and the content was something I am very passionate about.

Currently at my job, I like that I leave work at work, it is stress-free, I’ve made some good friends, but of course I am strapped to a desk all day and took that large pay cut. The other thing is that since I am in an entry-level job, I am not using my degree and not really passionate about the content. For right now it is a job and it pays the bills. I always told myself I wasn’t going to care how much I was paid–just as long as I liked it. But a real-life situation makes me reconsider this.


I go back and forth on whether or not it was worth it, and I still can’t decide. Of course now as summer approaches I dream about my carefree days of being a “professional” (in my mind) runner, getting enough sleep, spending 2-3 weeks visiting my family and friends in Minnesota, and having more time to spend with Craig in the evenings.

I realize you can’t have it all, but it seems like there could be a happy medium??



Who else has taken a rather large pay cut at their job? Please share your experiences!


10 responses to “My Thoughts on Taking a $15,000 Pay Cut at Work

  1. Ugh. I wished I had the answer too. Even “Happy medium” seems like a constantly moving target.

  2. Not sure what the exact numbers will be, but I’m guessing my change will end up being about a $75k pay cut? 🙂 Maybe more. And it was the BEST thing I’ve ever done :). It’s all about finding something you’re passionate about, and sometimes just taking a crazy leap of faith. Yes, we have to watch things a little more, but really, I’m surprised at how little things have actually changed – just way happier :). In your situation, perhaps another industry or ?? It’s finding something where the # doesn’t matter at all.

    • I do need to take a crazy leap of faith–life is too short to not! And I do have to admit I am jealous you can train full-time and do what you love!

  3. I have been following your blog for over a year now and really enjoy it. I am an educator as well in Nova Scotia, Canada. I have always been very passionate about educating others. I have recently found an opportunity where I can educate consumer’s about toxins/chemicals in their homes and show them a great alternative. The other great benefit is that our company shares all of it’s revenue with the customers and I’m well on my way of replacing a corporate income. if you are looking for a way to generate extra income on top of a full time job with part time effort!

  4. I too was stressed out and burned out of with teaching two years ago. So, I left it and went to graduate school full time to get a master’s in something I wanted to do. By the time I finished, I had dabbled in the work of a new field via research, college teaching and interning. I knew my heart was still in the classroom. With a master’s I make more money, I have more vacation time, good health care and I am not strapped to a desk. Yes, the grass is not always greener switching schools and all and I am sure that the stress and BS will still be the same, but you always have to consider the tradeoffs and if they are worth it for you.

    • Thanks for the comment. I really need to work on being appreciate of what I have, when I have it and not live in the past or future!

  5. I actually decided not to take a change of career due to money. I was looking into moving abroad and going down a slightly different path, but the money just isn’t feasible with my debt from college.

    As much as I’d love to just up and take a “dream job” (I still have no idea what mine is though), I have to be somewhat reasonable with it since I support myself and I can’t just NOT pay my bills. There’s definitely a way to find a happy medium, and just looking into something new gave me a fresh perspective on why I do like what I do currently. Being an adult is tricky, I have to say!!!

  6. I think you should just be glad you have a job. many people take major pay cuts unwillingly. times are tough in the world today. it was your choice. be thankful!

  7. summer time is the hardest for us former teachers! that…and having more time to train are the two things i miss the most. i used to have all kinds of time after school to run! now, i have to work extra hard to have any time for running.

    personally, i think it was worth it. you were so unhappy and you needed to explore something else. this might not be the place where you want to stay indefinitely, but with each new job you will discover more about yourself and your passions. and that information will prepare you for your next step.

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