Last year, responding to a Dr. Phil episode, I asked if any work was beneath you. On the whole, your answers were that in a crisis there isn’t anything truly “beneath” you. With this current economy, I think that question is becoming even more important. (Edit: CNN just featured a story on a man who started delivering pizzas to help his family make it. He was overqualified, but he did it until he was able to get another job.)
I’ve been thinking of the reasons why it would be a good idea or a bad idea to take a low-paying, lower-skilled job when you suddenly find yourself out of work. I found 3 reasons why it could be a bad idea, 3 “reasons why it’s a bad idea” that don’t hold water, and 3 reasons why it could be a great idea. Let’s start with the reasons why it’s a bad idea.
From what I can come up with, these are the best arguments against:
- Taking a job that earns less than you’re worth takes up valuable time that you could be spending job hunting. And since lower-paid jobs are often quite tiring, you’ll have less energy to apply for jobs. Your shift schedule may also make it hard to interview.
- Low-paying jobs aren’t a solution (unless you don’t need a higher income). If you take one, you may let yourself relax into it and stay there for much longer than you need to.
- Less-skilled jobs don’t look good on your resume. Still, if your interviewer asks you to fill in the gap in employment, I think it’s more honorable to say that you took a job unrelated to your field than to say you did nothing. The interviewer may not see it that way.
Arguments “why it’s a bad idea” that do not work:
- Because you have an advanced degree, you don’t have to do that kind of work. I’m sorry, but unless your advanced degree is paying for your meals, you have to find a way to earn money. Same with all your mad skills.
- Your time is worth more. Tricky…because your time may be worth more to someone and you don’t want a job keeping you from finding that someone. But your time is worth what you can convince people to pay for it. If they won’t pay, then your time is currently NOT worth that much, sorry.
- Something better will come along. It may, but do you have a plan for making ends meet in the meantime?
Ok, and arguments on why taking a low-paying job may be a great idea:
- Some money is better than no money. If you can continue a serious job search then it gives you longer to find a job. You can stretch the emergency fund or whatever you’re living off while unemployed.
- It keeps you active. These kinds of jobs can crush your soul, but being unemployed can do that too. Staying active and actually earning money contributes to your emotional stability and feelings of worth as a person. Those feelings make you a better candidate for a good job.
- It may be an unexpected way to network. Who knows who you’ll run into. If you remain open to the possibilities of interactions with the people you meet, you may find your next and better job.
Those are my thoughts, what do you think? Is it even more understandable in this economy for a person to take a job that’s below their skill set? Are there still jobs that are beneath you? When would you take a low-paying job just to have a job?