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“They’ve Asked Me To Take a Pay Reduction. What Do You Think?”


“Dear Steve,

I am 47, divorced, 2 teenagers, work full time as radiological technologist at privately owned company out of the state. The doctors group that read our films own our building.

After my divorce I filed chapter 7 bankruptcy. I reinstated my van, rent townhouse in mid lease. I have no debt except my van which is a 2000 and I owe about 8 months left. My company volume has gone down and we have less staff then we ever have because of eliminating positions.

Last week the company out of Florida called Presgar sent all 31 facilities in the US an across the board 7% reduction in pay, top to bottom staff.

I now make $20.00 an hour and I have a very strict budget with no extras, no savings, living pay check to pay check because I only make enough for that. I am putting a small amount into a 401K.

How do I know that my company will really be able to pull out of this like they are telling us they want to happen or they are in bankruptcy or something of the sort. I don’t know if I should assume the worst or hang in on my job. Jobs aren’t in big demand in my speciality. I could hang in and do nothing, get a second job, change completely or go to school for another more demanding in my field or get a bachelors degree.

I presently do mammograms with low reimbursement to company. I am loyal and in good favor there. What are your thoughts. What’s your wisdom on this?


Dear No Name,

It is a terrible stressful situation to be just making it from month-to-month and then be asked to take a salary reduction. I’m sorry that you are going through that.

If you find that you are having to use credit to make it each month, you might want to consider suspending your 401(k) contribution right now so you can live within your income instead of supplementing it with credit.

As I write this the U.S. is facing some very uncertain economic times. But the good news is that the vast majority of people do have jobs. Our unemployment rate is not horrible, even though it is a bit higher than what it was before.

I never like to see someone give up a current job without a new job lined up. It is good that you have marketable skills and you can easily identify employers in your area that you might be able to work for.

Rather than wait for a job to appear, I’d suggest that you call all the local facilities in your area and see if they are hiring. Often the easiest jobs to get are the ones that have either not yet been advertised or are no longer advertised, but still open. I put together this America’s Job Bank page also that might help.

It really does not sound like you have much extra time in your life for a second job and going back to school isn’t necessarily a good thing to consider unless you would be able to get a degree that would allow you to make significantly more money in a position where there are openings in your area.

The major issue with going back to school as an adult is that it is enormously expensive. Not only will you have college expenses, but you’ll still have your current monthly expenses to deal with at the same time. Don’t go back to school unless you are certain you can manage those expenses and will really finish your degree. Read “Is Going to College Really a Smart Financial Move“.

I don’t think that you have to worry yourself sick by assuming the worst right now but the prudent thing would be to make a concentrated effort to look for a higher paying job in your area first. Always better to be proactive than reactive.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


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