Pay Cuts, Demotions and 6 Ways to Cope

Pay Cuts, Demotions and 6 Ways to Cope

Companies are looking at every cost-cutting strategy they can find.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a demotion or pay cut, here are some tips to help you deal:

1. Smile. As hard as it might be to see the silver lining in this cloud, think of it this way—you still have a job. Graciously accepting a demotion can help you in the long run.  “A positive attitude, even in a challenging situation such as this, will likely be remembered favorably when the economic crisis subsides,” notes Jennifer Berman, managing director at CBIZ Human Capital Services in Chicago.

2. Discuss your future. Although your company may not be able to give you any hard predictions about when things will turn around, you can discuss possibilities. Find out if the demotion will be temporary or lasting. Can you take a pay cut without losing your title? Knowing all the facts will give you more peace of mind

3. Negotiate. You may feel like you are in the ultimate weak position, but it is perfectly acceptable to negotiate the terms of your demotion. “If the company did not value you, they would have sent you packing to the unemployment line," says Beth Carvin, an HR expert and CEO of exit interview software company Nobscot.com. She cautions, however, “Be sure to think through all the ramifications of the concessions you are seeking so that you can intelligently answer the questions that your manager or HR asks you.”

4. Present possible cost-saving alternatives. If you can think of ways a company can save money that leave your job (and others) intact, most companies will be eager to hear them.

5. Embrace other opportunities. If you are faced with a “job redefinition” that requires assuming new responsibilities, welcome it. “While this may make your work more difficult for the time being, look at it as an opportunity to plant a seed or seeds for the future, for you to eventually move beyond your current job,” says Scott H. Silverman, founder of Second Chance, a program devoted to breaking the cycle of unemployment.

6. Don’t just up and quit without a plan. While a demotion may be demoralizing, look at the situation practically. You don’t want to quit arbitrarily without another job lined up. Besides, “it is always easier to [find a job] while already employed,” Silverman says.

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