“You have to take a salary cut, but it will pay off in the long run,” advised a friend to my husband, the i-banker.
Back home, my husband narrated the conversation and almost cried out, “Have you ever heard that before? Do you believe it? Taking a salary cut to change careers is extremely distressing.” He went on to liken the situation as being similar to climbing a tree only to find the branch you’re navigating is rotten. You have no real choice but to move down before you can start back up the tree in a better direction. Deep thought!
I replied (although I am not sure he was looking for one), “As the US economy spins ever more quickly into a critical mass of e-commerce, new media and Internet-related businesses, it’s unlikely that you will be able to continue in the same career.” The last bit was higher pitched, as he shut himself in the bathroom.
The message that I wanted him to see was — if you recognize that change is necessary, don’t delay the shift in careers. Take a step down to gain two steps up. The longer you wait, the more costly the shift is likely to be. I frequently hear from executives in dying industries who avoided computers and the Internet for years. Now they’re forced to take the plunge, and the drop is precipitous. The sooner you make the decision to change, the more manageable the cost will be.
The same night, he had an offer from a leading financial KPO (a DEFINITIVE change of career). He argued with himself, with me and with his friends. Until he had convinced himself. “When you take a salary cut to move into a better career, you’re not losing money. You’re investing in change. When you invest in a stock, you’re out short-term cash. But if you invest wisely, the returns will more than pay you back.”