Bust that myth: You’ll have to take a pay cut

Ok, this one is quick and easy. Who on earth says you’ll have to take a pay-cut as though it’s carved in stone.

My experience: I went through my twenties across multiple jobs and three distinct career options, and not once did I take a pay cut. In fact (and not to sound like a Police record here), but every move I made, I actually took a pay rise. Every move. By the time I was 29 years old, I was earning four times as much as I was when I started out eight years before.

Now the myth isn’t totally skewed here. Yes, you may have to take a pay cut. If you’re a city banker on a crazy high salary and you want to give it up to become a freelance goat herder, then yes, the reality is that you are very likely to take a pay cut. Whereas I started out in the antique industry, which is fascinating but not a highly paid sector, I was able to increase my salary by moving into bigger companies and transferring my skills.

The real issue I have with this myth is the presumption that a pay cut is a reason not to make a change. It’s not. And, if you’re committed to a new life of work, a new style of living, and you’re not breaking the law or leaving your loved ones in penury then it’s a myth that presumes to tell people that happiness is born from a paycheque and anyone who’s made or considered a career shift knows that’s just not true.

What you can do:

1. Get realistic. It’s time to ask yourself some big questions and be accepting of the answers. Financially, what do you need to live the lifestyle you choose to move to? Do you have any dependents that you need to consider? If a pay cut is a possibility, but you just can’t shake the dream of herding goats through the Cotswolds, then work out what money you’d bring in doing that and live like it. Take a week’s holiday and see how far that reality of cash gets you.

2. Weigh things up: One of the side-effects of a career change I’ve noticed is that I ask myself questions and challenge ideas I’ve held almost without realising I had them. What does success look like to me, for example? Or does the corporate paycheque really make me happy? If you’re serious about making a change and your financial and lifestyle situations will be impacted, then you need to be comfortable with that. Weigh things up and give yourself time to think.

Have you heard the myth about not being able to move jobs until you've stayed in a role for at least a year? Here's how to bust it! Find out a bit more about my journey here too.

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