Author Topic: Downshifting Career?  (Read 4786 times)


  • Guest
Downshifting Career?
« on: September 03, 2014, 07:56:52 PM »
I'm hoping to transition into retirement by moving to an area with a lower cost of living and downshifting my career to a lower level position.  The cost of living in the area I'm hoping to move to is about 50% lower but salaries there are comparably lower as well and the community doesn't have the type of employers that demand what I currently do.  I think I need to make at least a third of what I'm making now to provide the type of lifestyle I'd like (though of course I hope for more), but for that area that would probably be market rate for a mid-level career position in the field Iím looking at.  My hope is potential employers will realize right off the bat that I don't expect to find a comparable position/salary given where I'm moving from and that the move itself will explain why I'm looking for a new job, but I'm pretty sure I'll need to do more to make myself a potential candidate for the types of positions I'll be seeking. 

Friends have suggested leaving off titles for my last few positions and using more generic/functional job titles.  I've also been told to avoid discussing salary history until the job is offered, but if that's not possible does anyone have suggestions on how to handle questions?  I'm also debating whether, or when it would be appropriate, to mention I'm specifically looking to downshift my career. 

Does anyone have suggestions about how to approach the job search? 


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3171
Re: Downshifting Career?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2014, 08:13:51 PM »
I would read Ask the Headhunter. You can google it to find the website. He has a lot of advice about the salary question.

In sum, don't tell people your current salary. You can tell them what you are looking for instead.

Can you imagine if you asked them for *their* salary history for the position? They would not give you that. So, why should you?

Asking for salary history is a lazy way of trying to pigeon hole you and pay you as little as they can--or it can be a way to decide you are not a fit and move on to the next person. Don't let the employer use this info as a lazy way to judge you for good or bad.

You pay should be based on what they need and how you can get them what they need.

When you interview, DO THE JOB. I took Ask the Headhunter's advice about "doing the job" in the interview, and it really helped. It gets you away from those stupid questions, such as, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" Honestly, how is that going to let them know you can do the job?

When you get ready to do the job, you have to do a lot of work. You don't just go in an answer questions. You research. You find out why the need someone and what their burning need is, and then you figure out how to solve those problems.

Hope that helps!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
Re: Downshifting Career?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 08:27:33 PM »

If salary scales to COL then it would not on paper advance your FI date, correct?  Seems it would be better to wait until retirement to move to this place.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1172
Re: Downshifting Career?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 08:40:52 PM »
In my experience the best approach is one that is genuine, honest, and positive.

You're moving for quality of life reasons, and not to chase money or titles.  You really like the new company and are very interested in the position, and simply want to be paid fairly for someone with your unique experience.  You'll earn every penny.

Don't talk about "downshifting" or speak negatively about your old job(s).  Smile and stay positive.  When asked about your personal motivation for moving, talk about why you're specifically excited about the new city and company and what's in it for them.  If you're truly a good fit, there shouldn't be any issues and the money will work itself out.


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 289
Re: Downshifting Career?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 04:57:37 AM »
I actually did something similar. I was planning to move to an area where salaries were only 3/4 of salaries in the area I was in. The main reason most companies do this (especially corporate jobs) is so they can make sure you don't waste each other's time if the salary range is off. Yes, they will bring it up again at negotiation time (and exploit it if underpaid) so it's best not to say but in your case it's apples to oranges and I would remind them of that.

When asked I just said that my current salary wasn't a good indicator because I knew the market rate for my position was very different in the new area. If pushed more, I would just say something like "from my research it seems to me that a range of x-y seems to be the going rate' in the area. Is this a similar range to what you're offering?"


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: Canada
Re: Downshifting Career?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 06:29:55 PM »
Avoid steering the conversation towards anything that'd clue them into the fact that you are downshifting. I agree about making a functional resume rather than a position-based one. And really, is it any of their business? For all they know you could have an elderly parent that you are caring for and you need a clear line between work and home.

Good luck! :)

btw I was forcibly downshifted in December and could weather it. I took a 2K pay cut to take the job and now my pay is frozen for at least 5 years. Fortunately I live on nearly half of what I earn, so it won't impact me. Frankly, once my kid is grown up I'd like to move one or two levels lower. It'd be easier to stay in the same place and downshift I imagine.

Retired To Win

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1494
  • Age: 72
  • Location: Virginia
  • making the most of my time and my money
    • Retired To Win
Re: Downshifting Career?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2015, 07:12:28 AM »
My standard resume "package" always included a cover letter and a "statement of objectives" near the top of the resume.  I would recommend that you deal with the question upfront via those 2 vehicles, which will allow you to craft your reasons to the best of your ability.  Then you'll know that any employer responding to you gets it and won't be wasting your time.

Good luck on your search.