When A Pay Cut Is The Best Thing For Your Mental Health

When is enough, enough?” ― Anthony T. Hincks

That is the question that each of us has to ask ourself at some point in life. Personally, this is a question that has come up not only in relation to personal interactions. On at least two occasions in my career, this question was asked and answered – by me leaving the particular job. With that came a pay cut.

When Money Matters Less Than Mental Health

We have focussed most Wednesday on sharing tips and ideas about starting your own business. Today, however, the focus is on when is it the best thing for you mentally to walk off the job and possibly taking a pay cut.

Many moons ago, still in high school, the guidance counsellor would present career options and tips for keeping a job. One those tips, back in those days, was that longevity on a job looks good on your resume. The advice was that should you need to apply for a new job, make sure it is one that:

  • Pays More
  • Promoted you to the next level

Offering you this promotion or an entirely new job would be after your stability in the current one is favourably assessed.

For years, this teaching formed my approach and in my earliest jobs, I suffered through mental abuse of supervisors. Frankly, the money was not worth the time that you have to put in to be regarded as a “lifer.” There was one job in particular that it got so bad, the abuse of the supervisor, that as we drove up to the security gate, I had to get out of the car and vomit. The tension was so high, the arrogance of the (female) boss was so threatening within a month of that puking episode I quit.

When Is It Okay To Take A Pay Cut

We all want to live a good life but you need to recognise that you get to decide what is a good life. Keeping up with the Joneses is not it but rather simply competing. A good competition can serve a purpose but stressing yourself to drive a better car and have a bigger house than other members of your family is not.

Too many of us waste, yes, waste time trying to keep up with the people in our lives. Some of us get ourselves deep into debt or stress that leads to mental breakdown trying to live according to society’s idea of “success.” Fashioning your life after that of celebrities is a common ‘problem’ these days.

There comes a point when you have to say, “I cannot do this anymore,” and quit – the job and the lifestyle. When is it okay to do that? Here are a few examples relating to mental health.

Quitting To Save Your Sanity

  • When a new job or position will lead to a better work/life balance and less stress. Read this on Monster, one of the large online job search companies, “Having a job that satisfies you is far more important than how much you earn. If you find the right match, the money doesn’t matter as much. It’s about happiness.” 
  • To stop or avoid any further burnout working for a company that is less than your ideal. Forbes Magazine put it this way, “Sometimes a new job offer is a fantastic opportunity.” This would include “if you are dying to work for a specific company, or you are miserable at your current job and have the chance to nab your dream gig.”
  • A more fulfilling role means not only will you be working with a company or organization that fits your ideal but you will be more engaged. The Balance Career website sets it out like this: “Perhaps you’ve hit the top salary range at your current company, and there is no room for growth. In this situation, moving to a different company, where you may temporarily make less money but will have a long-term opportunity to flourish and grow your skills, may be worth the short-term financial sacrifice.”

Do Not Go Crazy For Money

Many of you are working your butts off for little or no money. This is each week we suggest to you that this might be the time to start your own business. That way, your most earnest effort is going into your own business.

Starting a business is not for everyone. We understand that. Your mental health, however, is way more important than any job. In order for you to take a pay cut, you have to consider your bigger picture and cut your lifestyle to meet your new reality.

Take a look at your overall financial health before deciding to either take a pay cut. If you’re burdened by student loan payments, for example, maybe you need to put off a better fitting role for a higher-paying one.”

It is something to think about. Maybe not an option for you right now but remember you always have the option to step back, slow down and regain full control of your life and mental health.

We would be happy to discuss this further with you. Leave a comment below and check out our social media profiles. We are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Peace and love,


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