Dealing with Paycuts

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Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:48 pm

My salary has been cut nearly 2 class years, and I am very busy and on the verge of burning out. I have been at my current position for less than a year and so I cannot make a move easily. I generally like the firm I am at, but don't like the idea of being this busy and taking a pay cut for an unknown amount of time.

How did people stay motivated after this happened? I am also getting frustrated with the partners who seem to not understand that they have just reduced my income by a huge amount. I understand the reasons, but a lot of firms have not cut yet and may never do so. I am also skeptical that the firm needed to do it. Are firms just doing this to follow market and determining the amount of the pay cut because other firms are doing the same?

Any advice or anyone going through the same thing?

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Whatislaw » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My salary has been cut nearly 2 class years, and I am very busy and on the verge of burning out. I have been at my current position for less than a year and so I cannot make a move easily. I generally like the firm I am at, but don't like the idea of being this busy and taking a pay cut for an unknown amount of time.

How did people stay motivated after this happened? I am also getting frustrated with the partners who seem to not understand that they have just reduced my income by a huge amount. I understand the reasons, but a lot of firms have not cut yet and may never do so. I am also skeptical that the firm needed to do it. Are firms just doing this to follow market and determining the amount of the pay cut because other firms are doing the same?

Any advice or anyone going through the same thing?
It's a good question. I have not been in your shoes, but I suppose the way to look at it is there are others who make far less than you regardless of the paycut? Perhaps that will help you feel better while riding the hope that this is supposed to be temporary?
Last edited by QContinuum on Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My salary has been cut nearly 2 class years, and I am very busy and on the verge of burning out. I have been at my current position for less than a year and so I cannot make a move easily. I generally like the firm I am at, but don't like the idea of being this busy and taking a pay cut for an unknown amount of time.

How did people stay motivated after this happened? I am also getting frustrated with the partners who seem to not understand that they have just reduced my income by a huge amount. I understand the reasons, but a lot of firms have not cut yet and may never do so. I am also skeptical that the firm needed to do it. Are firms just doing this to follow market and determining the amount of the pay cut because other firms are doing the same?

Any advice or anyone going through the same thing?
I read this and thought it was me.

I’m in the same boat. I try to work less, but it’s difficult because there’s just a ton of work for me to do. Because we are all working from home, I have calls at like 8 am and some at 9 pm. My firm didn’t even reveal what the partner cut was, so I’m not even sure if parter’s reduced their draws.

I’m making less than a first year at my prior firm because I had a pay cut and my former firm did not.

I’ve been applying to places, but, like you, it’s difficult because I’ve only been here for less than a year.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by RaceJudicata » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:16 pm

Having your pay cut sucks, no doubt about it. But I’d focus on being thankful for continuing to have a job. Plenty of lawyers who have been laid off (or could never land a big law gig) would be happy to trade places with you.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:20 pm

I know how fortunate I am to still make an absurd amount of money. I am just in a terrible mood and want a break. it just totally fucks up your week.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:50 pm

also doubt that partners will true up salaries at year end. Will depend on whether they can make themselves whole.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:08 pm

Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
jacketyellow wrote:I, too, am angry that I make $160,000 rather than $190,000.
That's a flip response, but a pay cut can have severe consequences, and I don't think we should be in the business of mocking people for being upset about this, especially when those cuts are being imposed by partners making significantly more who may be giving up less than they expect the junior attorneys to give up (and who may make themselves whole at the end of the process).
I am not junior so your taking about a pay cut that is over $60k. It’s disruptive. Saving for a house or other life plans get put on hold. Many partners also have homes and are established. Also the pay cut is much worse for the attorneys in SF/LA/NY than those in AZ/TX/NC/DE/PA. Firms don’t consider this at all.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by inter-associate » Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:50 pm

OP - No reason to feel guilty for being bummed about a pay cut. You can be disappointed with your lot in life while still acknowledging that others have it worse. It's certainly got to be frustrating working as hard as you are and giving up whatever boundaries remained between work and life for less compensation. Not sure what motivates you, but you may have to dig deep for whatever that is until things let up more broadly. Keep your head up and do try to find time to reflect on the things you can be grateful for.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:47 am

My situation is similar to OP: I'm a lateral 4th year, at my new firm for less than a year -- came over from a v15.

In January my firm imposed a class cut on me justifying it on grounds that my old firm did not give the same "experience." Now with the paycuts, I'm making a first year salary.

Did not sign up for this bullshit!

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:37 am

OP here. There is nothing privileged or wrong about reaching out in this forum to others to see how they are dealing with it.

Having a pay cut and still being really busy is hard. It drains you of motivation. It’s frustrating that there is no trade off, like reduced hours. For some, I am sure that this period is slow, for others it is nonstop work. Also why don’t firms do this at the end of the week instead of the beginning so it’s not like your pay is cut where the fuck is x work product.

Frankly, for junior people and staff who are in a major market, the cut may make it hard to make rent or meet other obligations. I don’t know if the firms think stuff like this through. I am fine for now.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:My situation is similar to OP: I'm a lateral 4th year, at my new firm for less than a year -- came over from a v15.

In January my firm imposed a class cut on me justifying it on grounds that my old firm did not give the same "experience." Now with the paycuts, I'm making a first year salary.

Did not sign up for this bullshit!
Pretty messed up that they did not ask you to take one before making the move.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:03 am

The unnecessary trolling and ad hominem posts have been removed from this topic. Warnings have been issued where appropriate. Going forward, let's all act like we're adults, please.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by sparty99 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:05 am

inter-associate wrote:OP - No reason to feel guilty for being bummed about a pay cut. You can be disappointed with your lot in life while still acknowledging that others have it worse. It's certainly got to be frustrating working as hard as you are and giving up whatever boundaries remained between work and life for less compensation. Not sure what motivates you, but you may have to dig deep for whatever that is until things let up more broadly. Keep your head up and do try to find time to reflect on the things you can be grateful for.
You should be fortunate that you are busy and have work (not to mention a high six figure job). If you were not busy, you would be complaining and living in fear that you would get sacked. Your salary reduction is temporary. You have an income (a high one). Your motivation to work hard is that you don't get laid off. I am quite confident that you can still make rent with your high salary.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by nixy » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:11 am

I mean of course someone whose biglaw salary has been cut is better off than someone who lost their job or someone who's working the medical frontlines or someone working in a grocery store. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be really annoying to take a pay cut at the same time you're slammed with work. This is just another rehash of the perennial "biglaw sucks" "well you could be working in a literal salt mine so be grateful!!" argument.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by JusticeSquee » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:21 am

sparty99 wrote:
inter-associate wrote:OP - No reason to feel guilty for being bummed about a pay cut. You can be disappointed with your lot in life while still acknowledging that others have it worse. It's certainly got to be frustrating working as hard as you are and giving up whatever boundaries remained between work and life for less compensation. Not sure what motivates you, but you may have to dig deep for whatever that is until things let up more broadly. Keep your head up and do try to find time to reflect on the things you can be grateful for.
You should be fortunate that you are busy and have work (not to mention a high six figure job). If you were not busy, you would be complaining and living in fear that you would get sacked. Your salary reduction is temporary. You have an income (a high one). Your motivation to work hard is that you don't get laid off. I am quite confident that you can still make rent with your high salary.
There is no indication of the bolded being true. The firms that have reduced salaries are typically those in unstable financial situations. OP, look elsewhere and apply broadly.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anon-non-anon » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:31 am

inter-associate wrote:OP - No reason to feel guilty for being bummed about a pay cut. You can be disappointed with your lot in life while still acknowledging that others have it worse. It's certainly got to be frustrating working as hard as you are and giving up whatever boundaries remained between work and life for less compensation. Not sure what motivates you, but you may have to dig deep for whatever that is until things let up more broadly. Keep your head up and do try to find time to reflect on the things you can be grateful for.
This. Someone always has it worse than you, that doesn't mean you can't feel bummed.

OP, in a more positive twist on what others have said, I would try to think about the blessings you have atm and how grateful you are it isn't worse. Seems your job is safe and your salary is still relatively secure, given how busy you are. There's been a lot of research on being cognizant of things your grateful/blessed for, and that helping mood (see gratitude journals).

This is not to say you can't feel shitty. No matter what, working harder or the same for reduced pay, while seeing your colleagues still making the same while fucking around on IG feels like shit. Even if you're otherwise blessed in comparison to other people.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Pennoyer v. Meh » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:42 am

sparty99 wrote:You should be fortunate that you are busy and have work (not to mention a high six figure job). If you were not busy, you would be complaining and living in fear that you would get sacked. Your salary reduction is temporary. You have an income (a high one). Your motivation to work hard is that you don't get laid off. I am quite confident that you can still make rent with your high salary.
So glad that you can see into the future! And that you can predict that the OP, and everyone else having their salaries reduced, won't have a sudden expense that wouldn't have been a problem under their old salary. I don't understand the purpose of criticizing people who are concerned at this moment.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:04 am

Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
sparty99 wrote:You should be fortunate that you are busy and have work (not to mention a high six figure job). If you were not busy, you would be complaining and living in fear that you would get sacked. Your salary reduction is temporary. You have an income (a high one). Your motivation to work hard is that you don't get laid off. I am quite confident that you can still make rent with your high salary.
So glad that you can see into the future! And that you can predict that the OP, and everyone else having their salaries reduced, won't have a sudden expense that wouldn't have been a problem under their old salary. I don't understand the purpose of criticizing people who are concerned at this moment.
OP here. I have said that yes I am fortunate. But it kills morale. It’s good to connect with other people. Like should I look to jump ship. Are others looking?

I don’t particularly tell people that they should feel a particular way when something happens. Getting your pay cut significantly is a huge bummer.

Also are partners going to true up associates if there is a rebound. I doubt it. They will just pocket it.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
sparty99 wrote:You should be fortunate that you are busy and have work (not to mention a high six figure job). If you were not busy, you would be complaining and living in fear that you would get sacked. Your salary reduction is temporary. You have an income (a high one). Your motivation to work hard is that you don't get laid off. I am quite confident that you can still make rent with your high salary.
So glad that you can see into the future! And that you can predict that the OP, and everyone else having their salaries reduced, won't have a sudden expense that wouldn't have been a problem under their old salary. I don't understand the purpose of criticizing people who are concerned at this moment.
OP here. I have said that yes I am fortunate. But it kills morale. It’s good to connect with other people. Like should I look to jump ship. Are others looking?

I don’t particularly tell people that they should feel a particular way when something happens. Getting your pay cut significantly is a huge bummer.

Also are partners going to true up associates if there is a rebound. I doubt it. They will just pocket it.
I'll say I'm fortunate so far, firm has said salary cuts aren't on the table now and said they'll be last to be considered before layoffs. So hopefully we can ride this out and get on the other side. That said, one piece of advice is take this time to readjust your living to a lower income. Adjust spending (not hard to do being at home) cut back on bills, learn to live on lower income and that way, when the pay comes back (and it will) you can throw that extra cash in savings as if nothing happened. Income creep is a hell of a thing and def locks you in with golden handcuffs. Obviously there are some things you can't adjust - student loan payments, rent, mortgage - but there are other unnecessary expenses you could cut back on and save a bunch. That way, in the future, when pay cuts come back, you won't have to wonder how you'll "deal with it" because you have that savings already built up.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by sparty99 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
sparty99 wrote:You should be fortunate that you are busy and have work (not to mention a high six figure job). If you were not busy, you would be complaining and living in fear that you would get sacked. Your salary reduction is temporary. You have an income (a high one). Your motivation to work hard is that you don't get laid off. I am quite confident that you can still make rent with your high salary.
So glad that you can see into the future! And that you can predict that the OP, and everyone else having their salaries reduced, won't have a sudden expense that wouldn't have been a problem under their old salary. I don't understand the purpose of criticizing people who are concerned at this moment.
OP here. I have said that yes I am fortunate. But it kills morale. It’s good to connect with other people. Like should I look to jump ship. Are others looking?

I don’t particularly tell people that they should feel a particular way when something happens. Getting your pay cut significantly is a huge bummer.

Also are partners going to true up associates if there is a rebound. I doubt it. They will just pocket it.
You obviously have never experienced a recession before. Otherwise you would not be complaining so hard about a salary reduction during a pandemic. You are employed. What will kill your morale is getting sacked. I have seen three recessions. This is not my first rodeo. What happens in a recession is the following: your salary gets reduced, 401(k) matching is stopped, firms cancel Christmas parties, or you get sacked. If you do not like what they did, then leave. Find new employment. But you should be thanking your lucky stars that you are employed with your high salary. You probably still make more than federal government lawyers and partners at Wilson Elsler even with your salary reduction.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Sangamon » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:00 pm

People complaining in this thread need to ask themselves the only question worth asking: what are you going to do to change the problem?

I think you will soon realize that there is nothing you can do except leave. You have no leverage. You signed up for that. It is a very unfortunate circumstance. But unless you want to take control of the situation and leave or push back and deal with the dual consequence of (i) nothing changing and (ii) partners becoming annoyed with you, you're just going to have to take it.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by objctnyrhnr » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:01 pm

ITT, a jaded old-timey (relatively speaking) poster tells people to stop complaining about vault-rated biglaw because they still make much more than people in other professions, firms, fields, entities, and the like.

Yawn.

A huge part of TLS is complaining about biglaw. That’s much of what we do here.

Although Sparty’s premise is of course correct, that doesn’t make his position any less annoying and jaded/jealous-sounding...this strikes me as similar to poster jumping onto a thread about long biglaw hours and saying “this is what you signed up for and you get paid a lot so deal with it you whiners.”

Give it a rest, man.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:40 pm

Poster from above who took classcut and paycut:

Obviously I'm grateful overall. And I can't really complain about these paycuts to my friends or family, because no one wants to hear it. But I'm human, and TLS, and this thread in particular, is my ONLY place to vent.

So there-- Fuck this situation. Fuck biglaw. And fuck these shitty vault imposters.

Should have never left my old firm.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Poster from above who took classcut and paycut:

Obviously I'm grateful overall. And I can't really complain about these paycuts to my friends or family, because no one wants to hear it. But I'm human, and TLS, and this thread in particular, is my ONLY place to vent.

So there-- Fuck this situation. Fuck biglaw. And fuck these shitty vault imposters.

Should have never left my old firm.

I think that my point is and I understand sparty being critical but yes we need to vent. I don’t want to leave my current firm.

We all need a break.

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Re: Dealing with Paycuts

Post by nixy » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:18 pm

Sangamon wrote:People complaining in this thread need to ask themselves the only question worth asking: what are you going to do to change the problem?

I think you will soon realize that there is nothing you can do except leave. You have no leverage. You signed up for that. It is a very unfortunate circumstance. But unless you want to take control of the situation and leave or push back and deal with the dual consequence of (i) nothing changing and (ii) partners becoming annoyed with you, you're just going to have to take it.
Which makes having someplace to complain about it all the more important, I’d guess.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

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