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  • Leslie Juvin-Acker

Is No Job Better Than A Lower Paying Job?

A reader recently sent in this question:

I was laid off 3 months ago and I haven’t been able to land a job. I am running low on cash and my unemployment benefits are running out. Is it better to have no job than to take a low paying job that has little to nothing to do with my most recent job?

My first instinct is to ask you how you’ve been conducting your job search and I’d like to see what your resume looks like, but for the sake of this article, I’ll just answer your question in regards to your finances.

Let me begin by giving you a personal story about my husband, Franck. Three months after Franck was laid off, he accepted a position in the same field, but in exporting, that paid 70 percent less than his former job. Obviously, the salary didn’t even come close to matching our basic standard of living, so he took a night job as a valet parking Ferraris, Maseratis, and Aston Martins for a private club in Boca Raton, Florida. He got the job thanks to a great friend who managed the business. Even still, it wasn’t meeting our financial goals, so we slashed our budget. No going out, consuming less energy, food budgeting and meeting with our financial advisor. It wasn’t fun, but it had to be done. As a friend once said about taking a job less glamorous than his previous, “It was a slice of humble pie.”

It sucks to go from a six figure income to a low paying job that made a mere fraction of that. Franck complained that he was earning less with all the experience and professional success he had under his belt than when he started as an intern. The experience certainly bruised his ego, but I can tell you he wasn’t too proud to refuse a job and support his family. In terms of our marriage, my respect for him was set in stone at that point.

If you have children, I’m sure you’re willing to do whatever it takes to feed, educate, and protect your children – even if it means your professional satisfaction takes a backseat. Even if you’re single and unattached to your lifestyle, finding a new opportunity can be as equally daunting.

If you haven’t already asked yourself, “What can I live without and what is my financial bare minimum?”, now is the time to ask that question and work out the numbers. Identify your transferable skills and look for side opportunities that will help make ends meet. I hope you haven’t slacked off as a friend, because now is the time to leverage your social network to find side jobs. That is how we survived the recession.

No matter what low paying job you accept to feed and clothe your family, make the most from the experience by identifying what can be learned from it and how you can apply it to the higher paying position you find down the road. Sure, your ego might take a beating for now, but it is better to accept the tough situation for what it is and do what it takes to thrive during a tough time. Your ability to explain how you have evolved through the situation will help you explain the short term change in course during interviews and social situations.

Have you ever taken a job that you first thought was “below” you? What did you learn from the experience?


Leslie, Inc. offers solutions for finding happiness through one-on-one coaching, mindful leadership retreats, and digital products. If you’re ready to GET HAPPY, check out Leslie’s guide packs. For more tips on achieving your state of happiness, sign up for Leslie, Inc’s weekly newsletter.

#careerplanning #jobsearch #financialtopics #jobhunting #money #financialmanagement

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