Why Being “Above” A Job is a Dumb Strategy

I know someone who has been out of work for four or five months. (He had been a big-wig at a financial/investment firm and got laid off.) I greeted him the other day when we were both out raking leaves and asked how the job hunt was going.

“It’s been hard. I can’t find anything,” he said.

“So you haven’t even had any nibbles?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah. I’ve had a few interviews and one even offered me a job. But none of them wanted to pay me as much as I was making before. And the one that offered me the job wanted me to do grunt work for about half of what I was making before. They didn’t respect my talent at all.”



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17 Responses to Why Being “Above” A Job is a Dumb Strategy

  1. Alice says:

    I agree that he needs to be less picky. I don’t agree that she should go back to work just because the kids don’t pay her. If her kids are in school perhaps then she could find something during the day. When my first 2 were young I worked nights so that I could be with them. I don’t agree with using credit cards to get by. I hope he decides to take a job soon!

  2. Debra says:

    Dude. If I was a stay at home mom and my husband wouldn’t take a job beneath him, I would surely send him to take a job beneath him before I’d offer to go back to work and leave him with the kids. No way, no how. He needs to change his standards and support his family, not look for what he’s used to.

  3. Amanda says:

    One of them needs to go back to work. You do what you have to do, even if you don’t like it. And as the article says you might learn something. I worked two jobs when I got out of college. One at a bank, where I hoped to move into a differnt position and another at a clothing store, that in addition to providing needed income, allowed me to purchase professional clothing cheaply. After a year, I was promoted at the bank and quit the retail job, but it opened my eyes as to what I was capable of.

  4. Heibi says:

    I understand your point that it is better to have some money coming in, but I don’t think it would be worth it for the husband to take a fast food job… or something close to minimum wage. If he were to take this type of work, then he is at risk of being pigeon-holed and therefore making it even more difficult to get the job he really wants. However, in this poor economy he should probably be willing to take at least a 20% pay cut…maybe even further. I would love to see former executives working fast food, but it just isn’t going to happen.

  5. Dan says:

    Wow, your neighbors honk me off. I was employed as mid-level tech support up until 18 months ago. At that point we were purchased, and I went back to school to pursue an IT degree.

    During this time, my wife lost her position at a warehouse that pays very well for our local economy. Needless to say, things are tight.

    I am now working 3 jobs – IT intern, gas station, and ‘tech’ writer for the local paper. My wife is working at a big blue retail chain stocking overnight. The gas station and stocking are below our intelligence levels, but until we are both done with school (this spring), these combined positions help sustain our household and our children.

    Heck, I also repair PCs on the side.

  6. anonymous says:

    I lost mega respect for my own father when in the recession of the 1970’s he seemed unwilling to apply for jobs that were beneath him. My parents were divorced and he did not pay child support for years. He must have thought it made me think more highly of him to not take any of those lowly jobs. Pbbtht.

  7. Courtney says:

    Perhaps someone who has a better understanding of unemployment can shed some light on this – is there ever a time when taking on a much lower-paying job nets your family less money than taking on unemployment?

    If that is the case, I can certainly understand avoiding taking lower-paid jobs. But otherwise, I agree – do whatever you have to do to get by. You don’t have to list fast food on your resume when you’re applying for future jobs.

  8. Kathy says:

    I took a 50% pay cut out of necessity, just because there was absolutely nothing in this area remotely close to my old job.
    Sometimes that’s what you have to do, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. It does cause you to lose confidence in yourself. And employers read on your resume that you did this and assume that it was intentional. It kills future chances, in more ways than one.

    So I wouldn’t be too hard on the guy, he’s not all that wrong.

  9. Michelle says:

    I currently work two jobs to pay off my credit card debt. I’m probably the only person who has a college degree out at the cab company where I answer phones, but I gotta say – working there has been a very strangely fulfilling experience. It’s amazing sometimes what you’ll find when you search “beneath” you.

  10. tynana says:

    Give me a break. I quit a high paying job to stay home and take care of my elderly mom who had a stroke. I was making very good money when I left and had 20 years in with my company. Now that mom is doing better I am back on the hunt for a job in this tough economy. I have an interview tomorrow paying half of what I was making and I am thankful to even get an interview. My DH is facing the prospect of losing him job due to the problems in the Auto industry. He has been telling our friends he is not to proud to ask if you want fries with that or whatever it takes to support his family. You can ride that high horse latter. You are not going to “lose your skills” by taking a lower paying job. Remember Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Might want to review all the deadly sins at this time. It might just change your way of thinking.

    Let me just close by saying I had to vent a bit. Hope I did not offend any one.

  11. Julie says:

    I have to disagree with the thought process that if you take a “job beneath” you that future employers will view this negatively. My husband lost his job several years ago when working for an IT firm. He swallowed his pride and worked 3 jobs one of which was at a local restaurant. After six months he was able to find a much higher paying job with a Fortune 500 company. I am lucky to have a husband whose main concern was providing for his family

  12. Sylvia says:

    Thank God my husband doesn’t have that attitude. After being a minister for 20+ yrs (and with a Ph.D) he found himself unemployed. He took day labor jobs for us to get by. Not easy for a 55 yr old man used to office type work to do labor with strong 25 yr olds used to labor jobs. I can’t work due to MS and collect no disability. We also had 4 kids at that time to raise. Ya do what ya gotta do has always been our motto. That was 4 yrs ago and he now works 4 jobs for us to just survive. And this looks like the way it will be. We were raised middle class with the idea that any job that took care of your family (ie:food/shelter) was a “good” job. And what really amazes me are that these are the same folks who complain about Mexicans, etc taking “our” jobs. Yeah right, like it is keeping them from working a labor position. Unbelievable how we have become such an entitled nation. Entitled to only do what we want to and think is not below us.
    “Pride cometh before a fall”

  13. fathersez says:

    Youyr neighbours need to have their thinking seriously examined. He is getting deeper into debt and putting his family in grave risk.

    I,too,am now jobless, after long stint as a so called bigwig. I have joined a MLM company and started selling an educational product that I can truly endorse.

    I don’t feel that this is below my station at all. In fact I think I am now genuinely adding value to people’s lives.

  14. H.T. says:

    I agree that one should do what is necessary. I also do not believe that working in the fast food or menial jobs is a negative of one’s resume. In fact, I would put that there and it will make me stand out enough where the hiring company will ask questions.

    It will also show to any hiring company with half the brain… A prove that person is “willing” & has the ability/capability to do what it needs to get done. It shows a hard-worker, not a self-entitled dreamer.

  15. threadbndr says:

    My grandfather was a banker at the start of the Great Depression. By the time it ended, he was a rural mail carrier and grateful to have a steady job.

    He used to say, “there’s no shame in being a ditch digger. So long as you are the BEST damn ditch digger out there with a shovel.” Anything that is legal and moral to do is worth doing if it keeps a roof over your baby’s head and food on the table.

    That attitude of entitlement and credit is a big part of what got us into this mess to start with, neighbor. Wake up!

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  17. bindu says:

    I work as a dental assistant and in my present job, which pays higher than the previous one, my boss always gives me shit not for my dental assisting skills,but my garbage removal skills and not so perfect English.(English is my second language. I am thinking about resigning my job, but keep going because of the present situation.

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