Is It Career Suicide to Take a Step Backwards?

Laura writes:
Would it be “career suicide” to take a position within HR at another company which is
not for profit — and the pay is $12K less than my current salary? The position that I
currently have may be in jeopardy due to a merger and I would rather be employed
than unemployed. What other factors do I need to consider?

The Career Doctor responds:
The ideal scenario of course is that your career path shows an ever-increasing
progression through your field and your salary history shows an upward sloping
line of ever-increasing compensation. How many job-seekers actually have this
ideal scenario? Fewer and fewer. As more and more job-seekers change careers
and/or change life/career priorities career and salary paths continue to bend and break.
In your case however you are not talking about changing careers or taking your
career in a new direction. You are simply feeling a bit panicked and want to make
a move before your current company does so for you. You need to evaluate this job offer objectively — as if there was no hint of change in
your current position. Would you really take what I’m guessing is a lateral job move
for a significant pay cut? I’m guessing your answer would be a very loud “no” –
unless you were very passionate about the nonprofit’s cause and wanted to
support it regardless of personal sacrifices.
Now I totally understand your feelings of vulnerability and concern. It’s an
anxious time within your current company and there is probably quite a bit
of office gossip and rumors.
Instead of taking the first offer that comes your way why not invest your
energies and emotions into a full-force job-search? Develop a plan. Get in
touch with your network of contacts. Stay positive and look for new opportunities
and growth.
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