I've been working on UNIX/SysAdmin/InfoSec/development/DBA since I was 15 back in 95. Dealing with various politics, Good O' Boys club, racism, sexism, budget issues, morons in management, unrealistic deadlines, and pager calls, merges, buy-outs, hacks, and illegal operations of company polices (of some major corporations). I realized I was anti-social, hated what I did, the tech controlled my life, and I felt I lost myself into the world of consumer America. I thus, now treat it as a job and nothing else, I since feel liberated and am expanding my mind.
How to adjust with a pay cut? Simple, don't be a techy nerd and flaunt your American cash everywhere. I've embraced being a minimalist. I have one laptop, I reduced my living expenses as minimalistic as possible (I read books & music than pay for T.V.) walk and take public transit. This has made me interact with people more. I realized working 8hrs a day and coming home I didn't need to pay $60 for a constant connection. I thus, use my phone's connection if I needed the net at home (iphone tethering rocks). I have budgeted my money to live close to bare bones with a percentage for going out and having a few luxuries (dinner out, movie rental, etc. money for occasions NOT materialistic items).
The remainder? It goes into a 5yr plan that in five years I have enough saved where I can pay myself to go to college full-time to change careers and be introduced into a new circle of people of what I'm interested in. On the other hand, if I wanted to change into another career that saved money would help as a 'buffer'.
It just takes dedication and a plan and sticking to both. If you're serious you'll make it happen. As for myself I hope for when I'm 35, I have a new fun filled adventure :) Hopefully one I'm not burnt out on.
As another posted pointed out:
"You can be good at something, but you may not necessarily like it or be passionate about it anymore"