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Q "Taking a cut to change careers"
I just finished my second year working for an information technology (IT) company. It's my first job. I have seen my interests change from the tech side of the house to the business side, and have begun pursuing an MBA. I have been looking for another job in order to go ahead and change careers and I am expecting a written offer this week from a major telecommunications corporation. The position looks to have very good potential.

The only drawback is that I'll probably have to take a pay cut. Tech salaries are just generally higher than business salaries, at the low level, at least. I don't feel I have much to bargain with, since I don't have a related degree yet, and I have no experience in the field. It's not a big cut, but I'm pretty bummed to be taking one at all. You just don't expect to take a cut when switching jobs. I was wondering what kind of advice you could give me on how to negotiate a bigger package when I have no experience? Any help is much appreciated.

A  << It's not a big cut, but I'm pretty bummed to be taking one at all. You just don't expect to take a cut when switching jobs.>>

But, you're not just changing jobs. You're changing careers. Don't view this as a cost, but as an investment.

There's an analogy I like. You're climbing a tree, following a particular branch upward. Then you decide you're going up the wrong branch. The only way to change direction is to move down so you can start back up the correct branch. That's the cut in pay, and it will indeed slow your income down. For a while. As you start back up the other branch (the business career) and gain momentum, you should be fine.

Here's the kicker: the farther up the wrong branch you go (and the higher you and your salary rise), the farther back down you'll have to go (in height and salary) before you can start back up.

The message: You're smart to make the change now, before you reach a point in your career where your salary is so hight that it's going to cost you a lot to make the shift.

You're not losing salary. 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. I wouldn't worry too much about the dip you're about to take in salary; focus instead on doing so well at your new job that your value becomes quickly reflected in your first and second raises.


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