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Voluntary Salary Cut: Brilliant or Baffling?

There have been countless books released this year based on keeping your job during a down economy, and one of these book's authors recently appeared on a Fox News interview segment. Stephen Viscusi, author of Bulletproof Your Job offers Fox viewers typical tips like making yourself visible to your boss, and throws in one tip that made me pause.

If your boss tells you the company is letting you go, he recommends offering to take a 20 percent salary cut in order to secure the job you have. The clip is below: What do you make of his advice?

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Choco-cat Choco-cat 8 years
this guy must make a sh-tload of money (and only hang out with people who make the same) to suggest this!
sviscusi sviscusi 8 years
Hi, I’m Stephen Viscusi, author of Bulletproof Your Job ( ). There’s a bit of a misunderstanding about my suggesting employees take 20% pay cuts in order to save their job. What I was trying to say was that when the boss fires you, or offers you a “package” or “buyout”, and they say that you are being let go purely for budgetary reasons, you should consider asking them what the budget is and perhaps take less money in order to save your job. If you are over 40, it could take you over two or three years to find a new job in this recessionary climate. Medical costs alone will eat up your severance. So, take a look at the details in my book Bulletproof Your Job ( ). My quote was not intended to mean “take 20% less to keep your job”, it was NEGOTIATE to keep your job purely during this job recession we are now in. And once you kept it, you’re always welcome to start looking for a new one. Feel free to email me at
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
If you're desperate, then yeah, go for it. If not then I would look elsewhere.
amycullen2 amycullen2 8 years
I think it's brilliant! You can at least keep earning some money while you look for a new job. 80% of your salary is better than none while looking for a new place to work. I would be baffled though if somebody did that and then didn't look elsewhere for employment.
geebers geebers 8 years
No way- as ilanac said- in today's economy you cannot afford to make ANY less.
RRKenney RRKenney 8 years
If I knew that I made more than my peers I would consider it. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i hate to say it but i think that it's baffling. i think that i would almost rather collect unemployment rather than take the salary cut cause if you take the cut, then you're going to have to build up your salary at your current job rather than get money while you're not working and get a salary that you deserve. in today's economy i can't afford to make ANY less than what i'm making in order to survive since i'm not even making ends meet this month.
SugarKat SugarKat 8 years
I couldn't do it.
cubadog cubadog 8 years
That is something I would not do. There is no guarantee that you will get your current salary reinstated after the shaky times and how do you know you will not be let go in the future. I think it would be smarter to work part time so you have the time invest in a job search. Despite what the news is saying there are jobs out there depending on your field.
MindayH MindayH 8 years
the economy isn't seeming to pick up anytime soon, so I think it is a great idea especially for people with a short carrer history, if you can show that you lasted at a company during significant will be golden in the future!
ladypenguin ladypenguin 8 years
I'm all for taking a lower paying job if it's something you really want to do--but do the same job for the same company for less money? And 20 percent less??? That's a big chunk, and I think that it sends the message that the company can take advantage of you. If the idea is that it may take time to find a new job, why not offer instead to work part-time at the same hourly pay rate, saving the company some money and giving you extra time to find something new (or get your full-time status back when the company is doing better).
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
If you can afford taking a cut, then go for it. Those who can't I would advise against it.
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