How many of us took a Pay Cut to become full time engineers?

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Ryan Silva
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How many of us took a Pay Cut to become full time engineers?

Post by Ryan Silva » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:14 pm

I have through my Video Production company been making roughly 40k a year for 5 years. I do work as an audio engineer, but it barely qualifies compared to the engineering I do on the side for much less money. I must make the assumption that when I open up my new studio (as apposed to the small one I run from my house) I will be financially going backwards. I will be a starving student again, and trying to forget the comfortable living I was making before.

I'm looking for stories, of adjustment to self-employment, and lack of stability.

The things we risk to do what we love.
"Writing good songs is hard. recording is easy. "

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Post by thethingwiththestuff » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:32 pm

i've been making about 23 grand for the past 4 years and i'm about to leave in april. i hope it'll be mostly a lateral movement, but i'm sure i'll make less as well as lose my health insurance.

i would love to hear stories about this as well......

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Post by Scodiddly » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:36 pm

If I'd stayed in software, I would have had a nervous breakdown.

So I may have taken a dollars-based pay cut, but I'm much happier.

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Post by Professor » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:39 pm

My income dropped about $7k a year when I moved to the University, and to be quite honest, it still hasn't come back up to match where I was then. I also lost a lot of side work because there's really none available around here. And it's not like the benefits or other things have made up for the pay cut, because I had full benefits at the hifi shop too. Indeed, I could take a vacation there that actually meant something because someone else would do the job while was gone, where here the work just waits for my return.
I know someone is probably ready to throw something at me right about now as I whine about salary & benefits in a full-time recording gig. Believe, me, I enjoy what I do and I think it has been and remains a great opportunity. And the other job was an hourly gig in a retail business, so there's no guarantee I would have not had a pay cut there simply from the fluxuations of the high-end home theater market. None-the-less, it was a pay cut to take the job that I wanted to do more.

-Jeremy

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Post by LeedyGuy » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:35 am

I am looking to oopen a studio, with a partner, in the next 5 years, but I'm a teacher and I'll be making plenty of loot by then with a msters degree and all that. I plan on keeping my day job and working the studio at night and weekends and all summer long.

Am I crazy for considering keeping my day job? My partner would most likely keep his as well. We'll need the pension/benefits/salary!!

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Post by Scodiddly » Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:39 am

I didn't give a very clear answer, did I?

I used to be a software developer (nothing music-related), made quite decent money if not the kind of dot-com boom crazy money some people got. On the upside I had a stable job, great co-workers, boss, etc. Small company.

Nowadays I'm working for a live sound company (rentals, shows, sales of a fair amount of pro gear) which is about the same size (8-10 people). I'm wearing all sorts of hats, from IT manager to electronics repair guy to show tech to truck driver. Probably about a 30% pay cut, and the summer hours are a bit crazy. Plus I live in a somewhat more expensive area. But on the other hand I don't have the wrist problems I used to have, much lower stress levels because I get plenty of exercise on the job, and a more interesting set of things to learn.

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Post by i am monster face » Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:01 am

I just recently quit my full time job to be a house engineer at an already established studio.

I will be making about 9K less than I would if I continued working for my other job, but really, this is way more fun and way more cool. I really spent the time when I was workin at a Pro Audio shop to get ready for when I would be able to get the job offer at the studio. I was working for several years as a non-paid studio intern. I got the job offer, said screw it to the regular job, and am now laying in bed at 1:00 in the afternoon because the British band we're recording still hasn't really adjusted, so neither have I. Guess I better get to work now though.

Ian

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Post by meblumen » Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:15 pm

kentothink wrote:
Am I crazy for considering keeping my day job? My partner would most likely keep his as well. We'll need the pension/benefits/salary!!

-Ken
I don't think you are crazy at all. I took a full time salaried position in November and so far things have been great. Mind you the day job is very laid back, flexable hours and a ton of time off. The reason I did it is I wanted insurance which my company provided and depending on music alone to pay the bills forced me to take some gigs that I wasn't always interested in. Now that I don't rely on income from recording to eat and pay rent I can pick and choose what projects I work on, take time off when I want rather than when it's slow and I still get plenty offers to do projects and manage to make time for them.

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Post by NewAndImprov » Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:44 pm

Scodiddly wrote:If I'd stayed in software, I would have had a nervous breakdown.

So I may have taken a dollars-based pay cut, but I'm much happier.
Ditto for me. Happier, and poorer, but getting by, and making more music than ever. I don't know if I could have afforded all the gear I depend on now if it hadn't been for the software job.

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Post by cgarges » Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:12 pm

I took a pay cut to quit the last music store gig I had and just work at a studio. I got wound up making more money at the next studio where I was employed, but took a bit of a pay cut then to become a freelancer. For me, it's never been about the money, so long as I can pay my rent. It's just something I have to do.

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Post by drumsound » Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:35 pm

I own a room so I have definitely taken a pay cut. I still teach one day a week and keep a pert time accompanist job. My wife just got a masters and we now have healthcare and she gets a regular check (she was previously also self-employed).

We get by and enjoy our lives and that's good. It can get pretty stressful when bookings are few...

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Post by Kevin Kitchel » Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:09 pm

I was making $47k as a systems engineer at a large printing company, went down to $27k to be the sound guy for the Senate here. Just like Scodiddly, I would have gone crazy had I stayed there.

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Post by seangordon » Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:28 am

I work at a few studios doing freelance stuff, mainly through bands. I work pretty often, but I still work for my father as well which definitely helps me from going to the poor house. Its a tough industry. I'm thinking of starting my own studio but here in LA I'd be a spec of dust on needle in haystack in a haystack factory.
Sean

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Post by JGriffin » Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:56 am

I make a moderately good salary as an engineer, because I work in advertising. I likely wouldn't make half of what I make now if I was at a music studio.
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Post by Fletcher » Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:52 am

I've never worked outside of the music industry... but I took a HUGE pay cut when I went from being a touring FOH engineer to being a studio assistant... now, at 46, I'm making a little bit more than I did when I was 25... but I have a beautiful wife [19 years married], two great kids [13 & 15], and am home 300 days a year as opposed to being in hotels 300 days a year... which to me was well worth the pay cut.

Peace.

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