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puzzled

This week’s dilemma is as follows:

You’ve been working at the same company for more than ten years, and although the pay isn’t spectacular, you love it there. Lately though, there have been lots of rumours flying round that the company is in bad shape.  One day you get called into the boss’ office and she tells you that they will have to make people in certain departments redundant, unless they can make some substantial savings.  She tells you that your department is safe, but that some of your colleagues in other departments wont be so lucky.

The boss tells you that you can help save a colleague’s job by taking a pay cut.

What do you do?  You were barely managing on what you were getting paid before, and a reduction would make things that much tighter. Yet, you really don’t want to see people out of work.

Do you agree to the paycut, to help a work colleague, or do you put your family first, and refuse?

20 Comments »


  • Emmy
    March 6
    11:11 am

    If it were just me, I’d go with the pay cut and figure it out. I has my bratling tho, so if I couldn’t support my family on a pay cut, then unknown colleague has to go. My kid comes before anybody else.

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  • sula
    March 6
    12:10 pm

    I’d go with the pay cut. Because if the economy keeps up being crappy, who knows…the next time they consider cutting people or trimming everyone’s salary, it might be my job on the chopping block. Do unto others and all that…karma, etc.

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  • Scott
    March 6
    12:24 pm

    Funny that you mentioned this Karen, because everyone at my employer did just that a little over a month ago. Though we weren’t asked. It was decided for us. All of us had our hours cut in the hopes of saving money so we wouldn’t have to lay anyone else off.

    As it sits now, I might consider another one, if is helps keep us all here. Eventually things will get better. And I don’t expect to get a raise at my yearly review (always done in May), especially if it helps keep us all employed.

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  • Now if you are saying no bonus this year then I will just suck it up and usually I expect the non-bonus years so no secrets.

    BUT… About pay cuts.

    Honestly? As a rule of thumb NO!
    If you accept less pay then you are saying your job and experience is worth less money. I do an important job which I enjoy but I will not simply make it more affordable for my client simply because times are tough. They are getting a deal out of me being hourly as it is. In a contract setting my pay would be double or even triple what I make now as hourly.

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  • M E 2
    March 6
    2:39 pm

    Honestly? As a rule of thumb NO!
    If you accept less pay then you are saying your job and experience is worth less money. I do an important job which I enjoy but I will not simply make it more affordable for my client simply because times are tough. They are getting a deal out of me being hourly as it is. In a contract setting my pay would be double or even triple what I make now as

    Great, BUT, that wasn’t the question. Would YOU take a pay-cut to save another co-worker(s) job? Not would you take a pay-cut to save a client money! @@

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  • I would quit that job ASAP.

    Any company that relied on democratic measures like that to guage the importance of a job or position does not need me as an employee. This is not preschool and the importance of the work I do should not be based on popularity.

    Either they need me doing the work or not that is not a multiple choice answer.

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  • Been there. Done that. They axed the jobs in a few months anyhow.

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  • It depends on how many other people depend on me, and whether there is any leeway in my own budget so I can cut back.

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  • Anon76
    March 6
    4:48 pm

    Wow, too many dynamics involved to say a straight yes or no.

    1) Will the paycut crimp me to the point that I’m living hand to mouth or facing foreclosure while the bosses/owners are relatively untouched? (Been there.)
    2) Are there some workers who really don’t do the job well, meaning they are only attractive to the employer because their pay scales are lower? (Been there.)
    3) Is it even possible that my pay cut will really help to save another job? Not likely. A few months down the road they will slash the other workers anyhoo and not give back the monies you agreed to give up for the general good. (Been there.)
    4) Will they actually save the qualified workers jobs, rather than as listed in my number 2, the cheapest labor? Nope. (Been there.)

    And yet…5) If I don’t cave to taking a pay cut, will I then be labeled as a trouble maker and not part of the “team”? Hence placing my own job in jeopardy? (Been there with a different dynamic involving the company’s choice of charities and payroll deduction for said charities.)

    Again, far too hard to answer as a straight up question.

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  • Voronda
    March 6
    5:04 pm

    I would not go for the pay cut. I have my bills planned out based on my pay.

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  • Kay Webb Harrison
    March 6
    5:28 pm

    I would want to know more about the company’s financial condition, such as who else is being asked to take a pay cut, how much the “bosses” will be sacrificing, etc. Is the company really in danger of totally going out of business? Are those in danger of lay-off truly good workers or dead weight?

    As a high school teacher, on contract, I once voluntarily waived my annual raise in order to save the school–private/parochial(my denomination)–money. Of course, if my income had been the main one for our household, I wouldn’t have even considered the idea. Our local newspaper ran an article today on the increasing number of people who are applying to be public school substitute teachers.

    Kay

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  • If they were asking JUST me….no. One person taking a cut isn’t going to make a difference. Even three or four.

    But if it was a company wide issue where all employees were being asked to take a cut, more than likely yes.

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  • Fae
    March 7
    12:20 am

    If, as you say, I was barely managing on what I’m making now…then no, I wouldn’t. My family comes first, always.

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  • West
    March 7
    3:28 am

    It would depend. Was I making enough to begin with that I was doing okay and could afford it, or was I barely scraping by as it was? Because if it’s the first, I’d take the cut, and probably start looking for another job (not quit, since, ya know, the economy sucks, but at least start looking). If I was barely scraping by, sorry to say, but I’d refuse the cut.

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  • Miki
    March 7
    4:12 am

    I’m with Anon76. I’m awfully cynical.

    If the CEO in my company took a 3% decrease in what he made in 2007, he’d save 25 “regular staff” jobs alone.

    Instead, he forces our managers to hold weekly meetings about how to outsource our jobs to Manila, Mumbai and Panama.

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  • I feel awful answering this way – but it would depend on how much the pay cut was and were the higher-ups taking a pay cut too. If they were and it wasn’t too much of a cut – yes I’d take it. If the higher ups weren’t taking one – I don’t know………

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  • dew
    March 7
    12:18 pm

    First, I wouldn’t believe them immediately. I’d rather wait around to see if people are canned. I’d probably rethink things if asked again, if, and only if, I saw that more than a few coworkers actually lost their jobs. I don’t trust most employers as far as I could throw them, and would assume they were using the economy excuse to cut salaries.

    Second, why not ask if we’d be willing to give our coworkers $50+/month out of our pockets, because it’s the same thing to me.

    Third, I’d be getting my resume in order, networking, and searching the help-wanted ads once I clocked out, the same day they asked this question.

    Fourth, I’d only consider a paycut if higher ups were taking pay cuts too.

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  • My employer implemented a volunteer plan to take unpaid days or a shorter work week for a period of one year without losing full-time status. I volunteered to take the four-day week. Sure, it’ll be less money for a little while, but I also get more free time — hopefully three day weekends — and I’ll have more time to write.

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  • I would not take the pay cut. If I was working like that then I would be doing it for myself and my family. Not others.

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  • SarahT
    March 9
    10:53 am

    Been there, done that, still got laid off. The bosses, of course, did not take pay cuts and paid themselves nice bonuses at the end of the year.

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