“How Do I Deal With A Salary Drop?”

Tim is considering a switch into a new career, but he's worried about money. Not only would his new role be lower paid, he also has to think about keeping himself above water while he makes the move itself. How can he finance his shift?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a Sales Manager for an electrical supply company.

I did a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering 12 years ago, and fell into this line of work when I couldn't find an engineering job after I finished. My managers were impressed with my sales skills and kept promoting me, so it got harder and harder to leave.

How do you feel about your work?

I feel like I'm in a 12-year stopgap!

It was never my intention to be in this job for so long; I keep waking up and thinking: "How am I still here?"

What would you like to be doing instead?

If I'm honest, I think my engineering days are probably behind me.

I've spent long enough in the 'electricity field', if you'll excuse the pun, and I'd like to do something different.

I'd like to teach, either in schools or universities. I've always enjoyed the teaching element of sales, and my knowledge level is certainly enough to hold my own in a classroom.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I'm just not sure how to reconcile myself with such a drop in salary.

I can deal with changing my lifestyle a little, but I don't know how to manage my finances in such a way that I can feasibly continue to pay my mortgage, and so that my girlfriend and I can feel secure if we ever decide to have kids. I have some money saved, which I'd use to retrain and to keep our heads above water while I do so. But it's not going to last forever, and with the job market as it is I'm just not sure if it's a good idea to make a shift.

It feels irresponsible to give up a reasonably comfortable salary for a job which is notoriously badly paid, and if my career change takes too long I can imagine myself sliding back into a familiar job to keep us afloat.

Can you help Tim?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • What can he do to make sense of his finances?
  • Do you know anyone he could talk to?

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