Taking a $25,000 pay cut

I secured employment post-graduatinon back in August and will be starting September 2014, and I’ll be done my degree in April which means that the majority of the summer we likely be spent wandering the world, because I do love travel so much. You know I’m hoping to go to Europe for 6 weeks and I’ve just committed to a concert in another Canadian city (Lady Gaga and Montreal if you must know) with a very close friend. That’s 7 weeks of travel over the course of a 16 week summer, am I spoiled or what. Regardless, the life of an accountant when you are first starting out kind of sucks. You work REALLY long hours, you’re still technically going to school, and you get paid like crap.


Many of my friends have a similar (if not identical) degree that I do, but I will be making substantially less. Read $25,000 a year less, at least for the first little bit. In particular one of my friends will be making a $65,000 starting salary at a company I didn’t even bother to apply for.

Apparently, I view the experience of public practice as valuable or something.

In life, even in the life of a PF blogger, money isn’t everything. There are lots things that outweigh money when it comes to a career. If I stay at the company I’ve signed with for the next five years here is what I have to look forward to in terms of salary:






Looking at a starting salary of $41,000 and comparing it to a friend making $65,000 makes me cringe a little… after all I’m the one trying to become a millionaire.

Am I crazy?


If I decide to leave public practice after two years after I get my designation (so in the last couple years of that nice little salary graph above) I’ll earn $103,000, add a couple years and I’m making $145,000. What’s a couple more years.. in my thirties I should hit the $200,000 mark. Sucking up a low salary now mean the potential for a higher return later. Accounting doesn’t look so bad now does it..?



Related: Accounting GIFs

It’s actually pretty funny, I look a career quiz on wetfeet.com (which will help you find your dream job)  and I got asked what was least important when it comes to career. I ended up clicking “salary” because all of the other answers (work-life-balance, opportunity to grow) seemed like better options.

This is particularly hilarious because when I clicked this answer the company I will be working for showed up as one of the places I should work.

I guess I’m in the right profession after all.

What I’m trying to say is that when it comes to your career, money isn’t everything. Your job needs to be something you love and something you find fulfilling. If you make $100,000 a year but are miserable everyday you go to work, is it worth it?

So that’s why I choose to take a $25,000 pay cut, it still pains me to write that. While it’s hard now and I’m sure money will be tight for the next couple years I know that in the end I made the right decision. I’m going to learn a lot and will eventually find myself in a career I love. As for my friend, I’m sure she will be wildly successful in whatever she chooses to do. Not going into public practice limits what you know which is ultimately why I chose to suck it up for a couple years and work in public practice.

Would you take a pay cut for experience that will lead you to a better job?



  1. i think i would (well, probably, haha) because i feel like at the end of the day, being happy doing what you do is more important than how much you make!

  2. I would definitely give up the short term salary for the long term gains.If you can couple that with a job you are truly happy with you’ve set yourself up for a great career!

    • Thanks, it’s hard to not want the higher salary to start with, but I know in the long term (2 years which isn’t even that long) I’ll be laughing!

  3. Enjoy your last busy season as a free woman and enjoy your travel! Soon enough you will be busy in the public accounting life and will not only be sacrificing income, but time with your family and hours of sleep a few months out of the year :) But you will also be learning a ton of valuable knowledge. Its a great launch pad.

    • Haha oh I know, I am specializing in tax so I hear the hours aren’t as bad but they are more consistently 10 per day for the whole year. I’ve done one busy season before so I know what I’m getting into …. it’s amazing what it can do for your career! I’m sure we’ll be in touch when busy season hits!

  4. I think it’s pretty well known that accountants have a pretty amazing earning trajectory.I know one who doubled her income within about two years when she moved abroad and into her second job. Kinda hard to swallow when I look at my own income and lack of room to grow that, but as long as doing something I really love remains my first priority I am okay with the choice I’ve made!

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