Although thousands of people have lost their jobs in recent months, there is also a segment of the working population that has taken a pay cut in order to keep their jobs. If you are one of those people who has had their salary reduced, you may be thinking about looking for a new job. It can be conflicting to consider a change during uncertain times, and especially if you enjoy your current work or workplace culture, but sometimes it does indeed all come down to making the math add up. Use this as a good opportunity to reassess your career and do a thorough analysis of what you’re good at and what you love to do. You may end up discovering that looking for a new job doesn’t make sense, but it may be that the salary reduction means it’s time to move on. These tips will help you to evaluate your position, your options, and make your search smooth.
Look for internal options first
It is likely that if your salary has been reduced, salaries have also been reduced across the company. But if you like where you work, you might consider making an internal move: There could be opportunities for you to be promoted if others leave due to the cuts, or perhaps some new projects or positions will be created as a result of recent circumstances.
Turn your search outward
If you decide to leave your company altogether, make sure you have a deliberate plan to do so. As much as it might be tempting, don’t use company time or resources (like your computer) to job search as most companies track Internet usage on their devices. Be sure to use your personal e-mail address and contact information when you apply.
Guard your social media
Although it may be tempting, don’t post your resume on job boards and certainly don’t mention your job search on your social media accounts. You might also ask your family and friends not to mention your search publicly as well. Make sure your current career-based social media is up to date, but refrain indicating you are looking for a new job in case your employer monitors your page. Make sure any updates you make are made in private mode so that your contacts won’t be immediately alerted that you’ve made changes.
Be selective in your networking
Be sure you network wisely with people who can help you, but who won’t sell you out to your current company or manager. Countless studies show that getting a job through a referral is much more effective than applying through a job board. Be very deliberate about any information interviews you request of contacts. When you reach out, be explicit that you expect their discretion, and be honest about why you are looking to leave your current role.
Manage your interviews respectfully
Any kind of interviewing, even simple phone screens, should be done out of the office. When you do get a video or in-person interview, try to schedule it during non-work hours; if you inform the interviewer you’d prefer to keep your job search a secret, they will often accommodate you as best as they can. Resist the urge to immediately accept any invite the recruiter offers and make sure the time and date are conducive to you maintaining a low profile, such as a breakfast or lunch meeting, or ask for a time in which you can leave your current job early. If you have to meet during regular work hours, try to take personal or vacation time instead of sick time, so you won’t have to lie. Something else to think of is attire: If you dress differently for an interview than you would at work, consider bringing a change of clothes with you.
Consider any offers carefully
You may be desperate to at least get back to your old salary, but make sure you really review the entire offer, including the benefits package, so you can be sure you are getting a fair offer. Also, think about your personal happiness: Is starting a new role during this time going to be possible for you to focus on? Once you have decided to go ahead, it is also inadvisable to accept a counteroffer from your current employer; research shows in most cases when people accept a counteroffer, they end up leaving or even fired.
Evaluate the full implications of a move now
Besides a new opportunity to do meaningful work or join a new dynamic team, once you have an offer in hand you’ll want to make sure you aren’t trading one perilous situation for the other. Do your research and ask the tough questions: What is the financial health of this company? Is the company growing, or is there a chance there could be layoffs or salary cuts? Are the current employees happy with how leadership has handled the pandemic?
What to do in the meantime
Resist the urge to tell your co-workers you are job searching. Not only could they spread the information to your manager, but it may make things difficult for you with your co-workers until you find your new job. You should also stay focused on your current job, and show professionalism not only because they are still signing your paycheck every week, but because there will be less suspicious that you are looking to leave.
Go easy on yourself. Even if your salary has been cut, it is a sign that your company is seeking creative even if not ideal solutions to keep you on their team. It’s easy to get absorbed and spend hours upon hours job searching and networking – which can be especially draining after a full day of work. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day to your search and stick to it.