No, people are not taking giant cuts to stay remote

No, people are not taking giant cuts to stay remote

“That’s just the way it is / Ah, but don’t you believe them…”
-“The Way It Is”  Bruce Hornsby

Yeah, no. Don’t you believe them!


And then you’re going to discover that, in fact, the job market right now sucks. It’s a bit of a hot dumpster fire. I’m in and out of the job market every day, every day, as I have been for over a decade now and I’m telling you right now it stinks. If you publish a job posting for a remote position, you will get throttled. It’ll be like you’re getting slapped upside the head with all kinds of applicants: people who make no sense for the job, people who are way under, way over, etc., and some of them will tell you, they will use the D word: desperate. “I am desperate to stay remote. I have finally figured out that there aren’t as many remote jobs to go around anymore.”

-“Bonus Episode: Things are a mess”  published on October 21, 2023


If you publish a remote job, you will indeed be overwhelmed. But are these people taking huge pay cuts in order to stick it to Corpo America and its RTO mandates? Nope. Not what I’m seeing.

Here’s the way I’ve seen the scenario playing out:

Person who’s grossly overqualified and/or already way above the posted salary range applies for a remote job solely because it’s remote. ➡️ When contacted, they admit they are above the salary range and do not want to take much, if any, of a pay cut. ➡️ They decide to bow out of consideration once determining they cannot “talk the hiring manager up” by twenty or thirty grand.

“Well, I mean, I’m making $85K right now.”
“So this role is posted at $60K. Why did you apply if you’re already $25K above the salary?”
“Uh, because I figured I could show off my skills and talk the manager up.”
“That’s not possible on this one. $60K is a hard stop. The manager is looking for a lesser level of experience, so this is not unreasonable.”
“No, I get that. I mean, I might step down to $80K from $85K, but, like, I couldn’t go lower than that.”


Because of the D word: desperation. Yes, they are desperate to stay remote, BUT: no, they are not desperate enough to take some giant pay cut. Inflation is too high. Too many people live paycheck-to-paycheck and have personal debt. Ain’t no working class person out here saying, “Yeah, OK, I’ll go from $80K down to $60K just to stay remote.” I’m not seeing it!


Despite an enduring cost-of-living crisis, nearly two-thirds of workers would be willing to take a pay cut to be able to work remotely, according to a new survey of over 8,400 U.S. workers from FlexJobs. Seventeen percent of workers said they’d sacrifice up to 20% of their paycheck, and one in ten said they’d relinquish more than 20%.

-Yahoo Finance, Ibid.

*looks around* Who are these people? (said as Seinfeld)

I’m not encountering them!

Here’s the deal: someone responding to a survey about a hypothetical is a wholllllllleeeeee lot different than actually following through in reality. Think about that one coworker you always have who claims they’re gonna tell the boss off and walk out, yet they never seem to do it. They’re full of hot air and big talk but zero action. Same energy here. Oh yeah, man. Theoretically, I’d take a big, fat pay cut to stay remote.  Yeah, sure you would.

Let’s look at the other part of their statement – that RTO mandates are failing. This too I fail to believe.


All this is particularly bad news for said workers, given that finding a remote job has never been more difficult; over half of respondents said that compared to this time last year, fewer remote-first gigs are available on job sites, and the ones that do offer flexible perks are instantly swarmed by applicants. Even so, over half of workers know someone who has quit or is planning to quit because of return-to-office mandates, FlexJobs found.

“Lack of remote work options is a significant reason why people leave their jobs,” Keith Spencer, a career expert at FlexJobs, wrote in the report. “Remote work is incredibly valued by today’s workforce, and with more companies adopting these types of policies, employees are increasingly open to exploring new career opportunities with the flexibility and remote work options they need.”

-Yahoo Finance, Ibid.


Planning to quit, LOL. Yeah, I plan to fly to the moon tomorrow with wings I made out of wax and feathers like Icarus… that doesn’t mean it’ll happen.

But think about the argument here. On one hand, you’re told that remote work has “never been more difficult” to find but on the other, you’re supposed to believe that RTO mandates are failing. That seems an oxymoron to me. If RTO mandates were actually failing, more companies would cave in and offer remote work rather than having office space sitting empty.

Be careful with anything that appears to be hopium. These confusing mixed messages seem to be everywhere these days.

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