Question: “What’s your take on survival jobs?”
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Let me define a survival job for those readers who are not familiar with the term. A survival job is typically a low-end, low-paying job that a displaced job-seeker takes on a temporary basis (often as a last resort) to cover basic living costs, in order to survive and avoid bankruptcy — or worse. It’s often called by experts as being “under-employed.”
If you have been out of work for several months and your savings is drying up and your credit cards maxed out, I think a job-seeker has no choice but to take whatever job will help pay the mortgage and other bills.
Taking a survival job can be a humiliating experience… or at least a humbling one. You’ll need to check your ego at the door, and you’ll probably work longer and harder hours than you have in years. On the plus side, you’ll be making a living and possibly learning new skills, and perhaps gaining great appreciation for what you had — and will have again.
Just remember that once you have started your survival job, you still need to carve out time every day to work on networking and other job-search techniques that will bring you back to your chosen career path.
Here are some of the pros and cons of taking a survival job:
- Income. The main reason that people take a survival job is the income needed to cover at least the most basic of necessities, such as food and shelter.
- Productivity. While many of us may fantasize about a life of doing nothing, in reality, we have a strong work ethic — and even the most basic survival job makes us feel we are doing our part.
- Confidence. Being unemployed for any length of time is a blow to our egos, but being back in the workforce may be just the confidence-booster needed to help find a new job in your field.
- Lower Wages. No surprise here. Survival jobs do not pay the big money that you may have been getting in your last job, so you will still need to make drastic cuts to your budget and lifestyle.
- Multiple Jobs. Because of low wages and limited availability, you may be forced to take multiple jobs to even obtain a livable wage for you and your family.
- Limited Time for Job-Hunting. Working one or more survival jobs means you have less time to devote to job-hunting for a new job in your profession — and less flexibility in scheduling job interviews.
Read more in this article: The Pros and Cons of Taking a Survival Job. What Should You Do?
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor’s Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.
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Dr. Randall S. Hansen is a nationally recognized career and job-search expert. He is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
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