Coronavirus Cuts – Accept a Pay Cut or Look for a New Job?

I had someone ask me the following question today about his cousin’s situation:

Q: “What if, due to the virus, your employer is furloughing the majority of staff, but is keeping you on at a 20% pay cut. If it took you 5+ years to make that 20% you are losing, won’t taking the pay cut  affect your marketability and ability to negotiate to get your original salary back at your next job? Or do you think it would be difficult to get your current salary if you were furloughed anyway?”

A:As for your cousin, I would tell him to SHUT UP AND BE GRATEFUL.  We are going to be getting into very, very difficult economic times. “Furloughs” are going to be turned into firings and many companies are going to be folding. He should be grateful he was deemed valuable enough to be kept on. Law firm partners, associates and staffers are all taking pay cuts now — some up to 50% — and the same holds true for the corporate world. I’d rather have 80% of something than 100% of nothing!”

The truth is that no one knows what the economy will be going through, or what’s going to be happening on the job market. We don’t know how long this situation will last.

You may be upset that your salary was cut, but many, many people – millions in fact, including attorneys and white collar executives – are going to be looking for new jobs. With companies and markets in economic chaos, there won’t be many new jobs out there and the competition for them is going to be unlike anything we have ever seen before.

I make my living by helping people find new jobs, but if you already have one, I’d hold onto it as tightly as you can. It’s not pleasant out there.

If you have been furloughed or laid off, I can help you compete in this very complex market. We are even offering up to 50% off our services for those who have suffered job loss because of Coronavirus. For the rest of you, hunker down and be as indispensable as you can to your firm.