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I work as a medical technologist (clinical laboratory scientist) in a large hospital lab and a supervisory role has opened at my workplace. The problem is that the position would result in a pay cut.

Hospital laboratory supervisor positions are salaried, and I'd be expected to expected to work 40-50 hours a week. Normal bench technologists are paid hourly for 40 hours, and I'm told the supervisor position only pays $1-2/hr more, so I'd be taking a hefty pay cut. But I'd be responsible for 10 bench technologists across three shifts, responsible for regulatory compliance, scheduling, and a number of other administrative duties. I'd also be expected to be on-call most days. Management vacancies are common in the field due to the low compensation, so I'll have an opportunity for a supervisory role in the future.

The bench portion of the medical laboratory field has abysmal career growth, is chronically short-staffed, and grossly underpaid relative to other allied health fields. I'm considering moving into a vendor sales or business development position once the pandemic subsides.

Is it beneficial to take a supervisory role for experience despite a pay cut?

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    You have to decide how you value experience cf money and your choice of job.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented May 31, 2020 at 8:31
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    @SolarMike That's why I made the post. I'm trying to determine if it's normal and worthwhile to do a management level job for less money. Commented May 31, 2020 at 21:33
  • So it is an opinion based post which means it is off topic if you read the faq.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented May 31, 2020 at 21:36
  • I'm asking for an opportunity cost analysis. Commented May 31, 2020 at 21:40
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    I'm confused. How is it a pay cut if it pays "$1-2/hr more". By my math, you'd be making 40-80 dollars more per week.
    – selbie
    Commented May 31, 2020 at 22:20

1 Answer 1

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Is it beneficial to take a supervisory role for experience despite a pay cut?

There is no solid yes or no to this question, only experiences and opinions you can use to make the decision on whether you want to take the leap.

I went this route a couple of times early on in my career, where I traded a larger total paycheck (loss of overtime) for a salaried supervisor role. My goal was similar to what I think you are looking for which is to gain experience towards a possible shift in career path.

I found that I gained a lot of additional skills through a different set of challenges that come with managing people. I had to develop new soft skills and perspectives that have definitely helped my career, because I wanted to not be the type of manager referenced above that sit back, watch, and then take credit.

20+ years in and I can say it was worthwhile to me as I have returned to being an individual contributor. The perspectives gained having been in a management / leadership role make me a better team member who can better interact with my management and customers on several levels when advising on various situations that come up. Everyone I work with who has a similar background shares mostly the same sentiments.

Might be worth giving a try. Not impossible to return to being an individual contributor if it doesn't work out, or you find you didn't get what you hoped out of the role.

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