Employers looking to cut personnel costs can either lay people off
or lower their wages. Though there are exceptions, employers are
generally more willing to do the former.
Truman Bewley, a
professor of economics at Yale University, has shown that's because
they fear low worker morale and even sabotage. Basically, they don't
want unhappy people around who may cause trouble.
So if your
job really is in danger (and you'd rather have less money than no
money) you need to address that fear head-on. Let the big guy know
you're willing to work, contentedly and productively, at a lower wage
than you currently receive.
Some possible openers: "I don't
consider salary a final measure of my self-worth." Or "My friend Peter
stayed on at his job at lower pay to help keep his company afloat. I
really admire that."
When I press them, behavioral economists usually insist that the "don't cut nominal wages" norm is deeply ingrained in human nature. Maybe they're right. But that doesn't stop you from being the exception that proves the rule. Why not echo Dexter Morgan by saying, "I'm not human"?