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AIBU to consider this job (£6k pay cut)

34 replies

thelonelyones · 22/11/2019 10:12

I've been offered a job interview at the start of december but I'm worried about it. The job is what I'm already doing however my concerns are as follows:

1, I'm currently earning £36,000 and the salary for this one is £30,000. As its public sector, I don't think there's any flexibility. Am I crazy to consider it? I worry I will feel like a failure by going back the way and not forwards.

2, what do I say if they ask why I'm leaving? The truth is bullying and discrimination. I raised a grievance and I've started a tribunal claim. I have union support. I don't know how to answer any questions about why I'm leaving though as the truth would put them right off me

3, how do I explain my sickness absence (related to the above), assuming they ask? I know they shouldn't but my DF insists they will ask about my health in a "roundabout way"

4, how do I explain my disciplinary? Again related to the above and was retaliation for my grievance, hence the tribunal claim.

All sorts of worries are in my head. DH and DM say its better to be happier and just tighten our belts, but DF (who was a senior manager before retiring) says to stay where I am and stick out the grievance / tribunal claim.

I'm not unemployed and where I am has a good salary and benefits package. I like the job I'm doing, its just the people. I feel so upset and stressed at the thought of going back and facing all those people and experiencing the same problems over and over again but DF says the grass might not be greener. He says if I'm off sick I shouldn't be going to any interviews and I could get fired if found out?

OP posts:

isabellerossignol · 22/11/2019 10:16

I think you are right to try to leave, the ideal for you is a situation where you are happy in your work. The 6k pay cut will be hard, but not as hard as struggling in a job where you are unhappy.

People take pay cuts all the time, I've done it repeatedly in my working life, in order to secure better long term opportunities. I've always just said 'career development' in response to that question - that I think the work will be more interesting, time for a new challenge or a different environment.


Didiusfalco · 22/11/2019 10:17

You are absolutely right to move jobs. The situation you’re describing could make you ill. I’ve done a lot of interviews recently and none have asked about health, however there was an occupational health assessment once appointed, which may lead to questions. Reasons for moving is easier, as long as you say something vaguely plausible I’ve not noticed anyone labouring over this question.


mrsbyers · 22/11/2019 10:38

There will be many opportunities to progress in the public sector , the £6k thing is a small price to pay for a fresh start away from that abuse.


LakieLady · 22/11/2019 10:44

A £6k cut in salary will only be a drop of £4k net, so perhaps not as bad as you fear, OP. And public sector pensions are still better than most private sector schemes.

Plus you will get decent holiday and sick pay entitlement, good annual leave and probably flexitime as well.

But best of all, you will be out of the toxic environment you're currently in, and by the sound of it that will be priceless.


itsboiledeggsagain · 22/11/2019 10:46

Are you sure that it is 6k? We are public sector and negotiate up the band for experience.


thelonelyones · 22/11/2019 10:48

thank you for the encouragement. I just have this nagging 'failure' feeling that I'd be taking a salary drop when my former colleagues will be continuing to earn £36,000 etc. And I'm worried about the potential reference too!

I've worked in my current place for 16 years but the situation just got worse and worse. I feel kind of institutionalised as well.

I've to deliver a 5 min presentation on why E&D is important in the NHS. So I really want to ace that but not sure what to say. Even though I have the relevant knowledge and experience, my anxiety is making my mind go blank! They also haven't given any indication of interview format or competencies so I'd be going in kind of blind with no clue as to what the questions might be.

OP posts:

Polkadotties · 22/11/2019 10:48

I took a pay cut to move from private to public sector. It was 100% worthwhile. I have more annual leave, flexi time and flexi days. Currently sat in bed watching Netflix on a flexi day 🤣


Velveteenfruitbowl · 22/11/2019 10:49

In most industries public sector work is difficult to escape. I would hold out for a better job.


thelonelyones · 22/11/2019 10:50

@itsboiledeggsagain the salary scale is £30,000 - £38,000. In my current Public Sector organisation, there is no negotiation regarding salaries so I presumed it would be the same in this role. I'm not sure I can ask this question....I've always been taught that its a no-no to question salary!

OP posts:

Dave234234 · 22/11/2019 13:13

Totally negotiate the pay, we employ (public sector) people on a similar scale and would quite happily go half way up this scale if you have experience. If you are moving from the NHS do you not move over on your current pay point?


thelonelyones · 22/11/2019 13:18

I'm not currently in the NHS, I work for a NDPB so still public sector.

Okay so I can maybe ask about salary, how do I word that question in a non-cheeky way?

OP posts:

Palavah · 22/11/2019 13:29

If the band is 30-38k why are you assuming the salary for this job is 30k or the bottom?


cannycat20 · 22/11/2019 13:45

For health reasons I now work from home and have managed to build it up almost to full-time again.

My salary more than halved, and for a couple of years I was totally dependent on benefits. I currently earn £20K a year less than I was earning when I was employed outside the home but I am so much happier and now that the work from home is a lot more settled and I have some steady clients what I can earn is likely to increase. One of the reasons I collapsed was to do with bullying (not in my most recent outside-the-home job, but the one before that. Which was not NHS but an up-its-own-bum Russell Group university with a narcissist for a boss and a vile witch as the next senior manager. There were nice normal people but not in the management for my part of the department. When I left they split my workload between 3 people. It took over 18 months before I felt safe enough to allow it to take its toll). Anyway.

If you're already within the NHS you should move over on the same spine point as long as you haven't had a break in NHS service; sometimes they''ll even offer you the next spine point up (used to happen automatically but not any more). If you're outside the NHS, especially if it's public sector, you might find they take your experience into account. I'd be inclined to negotiate that if and when they offer you the job. When I moved from the MoD to the NHS as my experience was directly relevant and very comparable they put me on the middle of the scale. The manager will usually have some discretion here.

And something else to remember is that the NHS is one of the very few places left where experience and assumed increasing competence in a role is rewarded by an annual pay rise within the scale, which also gets reviewed and usually increased (albeit slightly) each year. So even if you start on the bottom of the scale, or the middle, in a year's time you'll be on the next spine point up. Have a look at - I'm guessing from what you've said it's probably a Band 6 you're applying for so that will give you an idea. (I came into the NHS after my MoD stint on the middle of that scale.)

Why is E&D important? Well, apart from the fact it's now embedded in the legislation, one of the main principles of the NHS is that everyone is treated equally and fairly, as far as possible (or they should be).This doesn't always mean treating people exactly the same, it means treating people fairly.

The NHS is the single biggest employer in the UK (it's the 2nd biggest in the world), and it's relatively representative of wider society so, again, making sure that it continues to represent that society is important; for workforce planning it's also important since despite what the Tories would have us believe, there are not enough UK trained healthcare professionals so the NHS has to recruit in other countries outside the tiny little pool of those who are left; the healthcare professional workforce is also ageing; so that patients will feel welcome E&D are important (since ultimately the role of the NHS is actually patient care). Maybe have a look at, there are some great buzzwords in there. ;)

The NHS is not perfect, but overall my experience of it (15 years plus, eek!) was that it really does its best to make people feel welcome no matter what their age, background, ethnicity, gender preference, disability or political persuasion. Every now and then you get examples of bullying and they really are the bad eggs.

Your clues to the questions they're likely to ask you at interview are in the person spec and on their website - what sort of questions would they ask to give you the opportunity to show how your skills and experience fit their needs? This is assuming they're using the competency or values based approach and not the ludicrous "what would you do if a spaceship landed in your back garden" and "how many uses can you find for a paperclip" approach that was so popular about 25 years ago. There'll almost certainly be a question about communication skills and there'll almost certainly be a question about conflict resolution.

Most (non-doctor) NHS interviews would take more or less the following format, assuming there isn't a test or task first (if there is, they really should have told you in advance. So for a typist it might be a typing test, or for the records department, data input, for instance.)

  1. Tell us about yourself. This is where you can sum up your experience and explain why you'd like to work at that organisation/in that role.

2. Some questions relating to your experience and how it relates to the role. There are two main methods at present, competency based, in which they like you to give answers based on your own experience and how you personally contributed to situations and solutions, and values-based, in which case they like the examples too but it will also be about how you fit with the values of the organisation. So have a look at the website to see what the values are.

3. Maybe a couple of general questions at the end and a chance for you to ask questions. So you could ask, for instance, about mandatory training (trust me, you'll do lots!!), whether it's delivered in face-to-face or online; how they ensure that training complies with E&D (they may well ask you the same question); how often staff have to complete E&D training; if there's a library for staff use (if it's a teaching hospital there should be); maybe even things like what kind of community outreach or charity work they do, that kind of thing. One of my favourites, as it really throws them, as well as making them realise you see them as people and not just scary interviewers, is to ask what is the project they've worked on that they've enjoyed the most. Most NHS interviewers are not out to trip you up, they're there to make sure they're getting the best person for the job.

The very best of luck - fingers crossed for you.

cannycat20 · 22/11/2019 13:51

@thelonelyones I've just read your comment about salary - you could phrase it along the lines of "when you have made your decision, will previous work experience be taken into account with regards to the pay scale/spine point?"

I'm sure someone will be able to phrase it much more elegantly than that though. Also bear in mind that the NHS still has one of the best public pensions in the UK, even under the new scheme (as I had a gap I ended up having a bit of both), and there are all kinds of discounts you get at shops and other places that they won't tell you about at the interview. In one city I lived in we even got half price fares on the buses, though that was a city where the hospital is still very highly regarded.

Again, fingers crossed.


alifemoreorlessordinary · 22/11/2019 13:53

agree with pp's, especially cannycat; sickness should't be discussed at interview that should be down to occupational health to check your fitness for work; disciplinary also shouldn't come up at interview, it might be down to HR and references. Good luck.


IamtheDevilsAvocado · 22/11/2019 22:30

Look at a book.... Women don't ask....

Its an old book but interesting - covering exactly this sort of negotiation....

You're assuming you'd go in on the lowest point... Look at the transferable skills you have related to the job... And NEGOTIATE!

I came into NHS some years ago from a related field and negotiated as above and went in at the top spinal point.... You have to be sure of your own worth thiugh and sell yourself!


SolemnlySwear2010 · 22/11/2019 22:41

I have just accepted a new job, also going from private to public sector. The new job was offering me a set salary, I said sorry I am looking for something more - they instantly bumped it up by £2500.

You dont ask - you dont get


katielilly · 22/11/2019 22:52

Re my opinion, you wait to see if they offer you the job and then negotiate with HR.
I definitely wouldn't mention salary expectations at the interview stage.


thelonelyones · 22/11/2019 23:21

Some great advice above, thank you so much. I feel a bit less anxious now. Does anyone have an example interview guide or question list for the NHS perhaps?

OP posts:

thelonelyones · 23/11/2019 08:18

and yes, it is band 6.

OP posts:

cannycat20 · 23/11/2019 17:13

Have a look at and and literally just pop "nhs interview questions" into Google - but with over 1.5 million people working for the NHS in England alone, there are as many variants as there are vacancies!

Your best bet really is to study the person spec and try and work out what questions you might ask someone if you wanted to know if they were a good fit for the job.

Also have a look at the BBC and the NHS websites themselves - the BBC will give you good background on some of the issues of the day, as another popular question is what major issues do you think the NHS is likely to face in the next 3/5/10 years.

Depending on your particular part of the country, this might be integrated care, or the introduction of new electronic records systems; another big issue right now is the NHS Long Term Plan (though don't worry if you miss it, there'll be another one along in a minute - I used to sometimes think there must be entire departments devoted to just churning out reports and forms and devising acronyms).

Links are and to get you started.


thelonelyones · 23/11/2019 22:29

you've been great @cannycat20 I'm having another wobble about it tonight. They seem to be asking a lot more than my current job are, and the salary might be lower. I find myself doubting I'd be able to do it. I'm part of a large team in my current role whereas in this new role it seems I'd be the only one....

I don't know if that means its the wrong job for me or it'll be too hard or if my current employment has knocked my confidence so much that I'm just assuming I won't be able to do it :(

OP posts:

lljkk · 23/11/2019 22:34

I've to deliver a 5 min presentation on why E&D is important in the NHS.

What is E&D?


GoldfishGirl · 23/11/2019 22:49

The question is whether you want it OP. Your experience and skills will speak for themselves. If you want it, then your enthusiasm will/should shine through.

Interestingly I've been semi in your place - leaving a job during a disciplinary (references weren't an issue as they gave a tombstone reference). Talk about keenness for new challenge, aspects of the role you want apply yourself to/develop.

Be honest(ish) if they ask about sickness. If it were me, I'd try and make it out to be isolated incidents, not a long saga of related events. If offered the job and the disciplinary was on my record, I'd then offer to provide full(ish) details.

I always think if you don't try you won't know, and it's good interview experience.

Good luck to you {flowers]


GoldfishGirl · 23/11/2019 22:50

Equality and Diversity.

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