When planning your career, you probably imagined a smooth trajectory, where you received regular promotions and pay raises to go along with each. Unfortunately, the real world often interferes with any plans you make.

If you are looking at a pay cut, either from your current company or by switching jobs, you may wonder if you are moving backward in your career. You may also wonder if your finances will survive.

You Can Make It Work

Whether the decrease in pay is your decision or your employer’s, you can regain control that you may feel like you are losing by taking a hard look at your finances. If you were barely making ends meet before, you may panic at the idea of less money. Even if you were doing fine financially, a lower income will affect the amount you can put into savings or spend on discretionary items.

Lowering your monthly expenses is one way to make up the shortfall in your budget. Don’t rush to cut out all fun activities, doing so will only make the lower-income feel more painful. Instead, look for less obvious ways to save. When you refinance student loans with a private lender, you can lower your monthly payment. If you are still repaying your loans, take a few minutes to see how much you can lower your payment by refinancing.

Why People Accept Less Money

Whether or not the salary cut is your idea will affect how you feel about it. It can be hard to accept if the cut is coming from your existing job. Where in the past, businesses would often lay off employees when the business struggled, today some companies will enact across-the-board pay cuts of a certain percentage. It’s great that you and your co-workers keep your jobs, but that doesn’t ease the financial strain.

If you are feeling burned out in your career and want to make a switch, you may find yourself in a position where your income drops when you take a new job. Most people hope to advance in both responsibilities and salary when they move to a new job.

If, however, you are transitioning into a new industry or making a major change in the type of work that you do, you may need to take a step back to land the job. The good news is, once you have this initial job in the new industry, you should regain your financial footing quickly. After you learn the finer points of your new position, you may just find that your previous work experience helps you move up the ladder more quickly than you anticipated.

Benefits Matter

If a pay cut is inevitable, look for ways to remove the sting. Maybe you can negotiate additional time off, flexible hours, or remote work. Think of what would make the job more appealing to you, and try to negotiate it as part of your compensation package. Pay cuts at your existing work can be particularly worrisome.

When the new package is laid out to you, be sure it includes information on how long you can expect the pay reduction to remain in place. Only you can decide if the reduction in compensation is acceptable, and you need all the information available to make the best choice.