Monday, November 3, 2008

Taking a Pay Cut

Happy Monday!  Welcome to week two of Deviancy 101, a short series I'm writing on how my life went off the 9-5 beaten path.  This week I want to talk about the most challenging area of my deviant lifestyle--the money.  Because choosing to deviate from the norm meant that one of the first decisions I had to make was to walk away from a predictable income that was directly deposited into my account every other week.  It was not an easy choice to say the least.  I was fond of the money (and the "retail therapy" at Target it regularly funded), and knew that I would probably be making a lot less during the transition.  I was right.

The truth is that taking a pay cut is a common side effect of choosing to "go off the grid."  Staying home with children, or starting a home-based business (like me), or a combination of both, usually doesn't churn out a stable, corporate-style paycheck every month.  Those choices usually require financial sacrifice.  And that sacrifice--I'm not gonna lie--has certainly been the hardest for me.  Because making money makes me feel good, especially when I'm earning enough to provide for the basics and few extras.  Money validates my work--tells me that other people care about what I do and are willing to shell out the bucks for it.  And it legitimizes my discipline, too, reassuring me that my labor is not in vain.  Making a choice to forego that temporarily (or indefinitely) is tough--or at least it has been for me.

So why do it?  Why take a pay cut when you don't have to?  (questions I ask myself almost every day.)  Well, because I'm passionate about the work that I'm doing now in a way that I never was when I had a steady paycheck and was working for someone else.  And I believe it is valuable, even if the money hasn't caught up to it yet.

I wish (oh how I wish), that to trail off the beaten path was all about earning tons of money doing what you love.  But in reality, it is more about being willing to take a pay cut to do what you love, and hope that the rewards will outweigh the sacrifice.  The reward of being home more with your kids, or creating a small business from your skills and talents, or the enjoyment of being your own boss.  Of course I hope that my willingness to take a pay cut doesn't mean that I'll always earn less, but for now it does.  And for most it will.

Share your "pay cut" stories with me by emailing me at or commenting here.  And don't forget to stick around later today when we celebrate another Marketplace Maven!

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