Take a job with signifigantly less pay out of desperation?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (25)

Discouraged in New York, New York

16 months ago

Hi all,

Was looking for some advice from all you smart guys and gals out there. Here's my deal. I've been unemployed for about 2.5 yrs now after the place I was working for went under.

I've done a few things here and there for money that make my resume kind of messy since.
I was offered a job over a year ago, similar to what I had previously held. I turned it down because it was 15k less than what I was making previously. The job would have been fun, but I was worried about ruining my salary history. They obviously had trouble filling it as I saw postings for it months and months after.

My thinking was surely I could find something else (I was still getting unemployment and had savings)

Cut to 1.5yrs later and I have no job, no unemployment and Cobra has destroyed my savings. Luck definitely was not on my side. Just looking at job postings and going on interviews its obvious in this competitive market that the salary range has dipped a little. I can accept that to a degree.

But I'm wondering how low is too low? Due employers look upon that badly?
I have an interview tomorrow for a promising position but the pay is ridiculously low (at least that's what the ad stated). That said, the opportunity is good for growth and good to get me back on track (knock on wood, I havent gotten it yet lol).

I'm just not sure if it is something you should do? This is about 20K less. I could go back to my college job and make the same. But interviews and offers have been few.

Thanks for any insight and reading this long thing!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

John in Catonsville, Maryland

16 months ago

Especially at this point, it would likely be wise to take what you can get. Nobody likes taking such a hit on salary, but that's what companies have been doing for years.... driving down salaries.

How low is too low? That is open to debate. People are willing and able to work for $10/hour and less. Others can't justify getting out of bed for wages that barely cover transportation costs let alone anything else like mortgage/rent, utilities, food, etc. You might want to do the math to determine if you live with what the company offers.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Discouraged in New York, New York

16 months ago

Thanks for the advice. I thought as much but guess I needed to hear it from an objective stranger.

I technically could survive on this salary for a year for sure. I think getting my resume back on track is important too. And yes, I was totally prepared to go work retail or food service as well, as I am at that point where my bank account gets closer to 0

I just wonder how in the future it is looked upon if my salary history is such -

making 35k in 07, making 55k 08-11, and all the sudden going back to 30k in 2013? I mean something is better than nothing, that is for sure. Even in 2007 I was underpaid for what I was doing but the workplace and opportunity were great.

Anyways, guess I'm getting ahead of myself; I haven't even had the interview yet!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

John in Catonsville, Maryland

16 months ago

I know exactly where you are coming from. Going that far backwards in salary really sucks, but that is the reality for many folks these days.

At this point, having a job and being able to survive on the lower salary are the important things. I share your concern on how a lower salary looks, but many employers seem to be shopping for the "bargain employee". If potential employers see past salaries that are "too high" according to them, they could get scared off.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Unix Brat in Asheville, North Carolina

16 months ago

To Discouraged--join the club, you are not alone. If you get the job offer, take what they offer and don't be shy in your gratitude.

If you don't take it, chances are there is another guy or gal down the street that will. And depending on your industry, there is definitely someone ten time zones away that will do it for 1/3 the sticker price.

You have been out of work for 30 months, yes? Your salary history is already trashed. This sounds harsh but it's your reality. So now your criteria has to be gainful employment.

Best of luck on your interview.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bluetea in Texas

16 months ago

Discouraged in New York, New York said: Thanks for the advice. I thought as much but guess I needed to hear it from an objective stranger.

I technically could survive on this salary for a year for sure. I think getting my resume back on track is important too. And yes, I was totally prepared to go work retail or food service as well, as I am at that point where my bank account gets closer to 0

I just wonder how in the future it is looked upon if my salary history is such -

making 35k in 07, making 55k 08-11, and all the sudden going back to 30k in 2013? I mean something is better than nothing, that is for sure. Even in 2007 I was underpaid for what I was doing but the workplace and opportunity were great.

Anyways, guess I'm getting ahead of myself; I haven't even had the interview yet!

According to Robert Reich "Aftershock" we have been driving down wages for the past 30 years; its part of the "plan".

I have a survival job and no longer make what I once did. I probably never will again and I am resigned to that. There are many people who I work with who are in the same boat.

Some people think that things will "get better". I am not one of them.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

Tiffiney O in Northbrook, Illinois

16 months ago

I'm in the exact same situation. My advice..take the job, especially if the skills are a close match to your career. I've been unemployed since 2009, I had a temp job in 2012 for 4 months that was a $30K decrease, and now it looks like starting next week, I'll be accepting yet another temp job that's a $40K decrease for the next 3 months.

Why am I doing this? As someone said earlier, it's my reality right now. What also helps, is that I have other means of small income that can make up for the difference in pay for example freelance work, credit cards, IRA funds, all of this put together equates to one job salary that I use to have. Also the temp jobs are closely related to my field so it looks good on my resume.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Unhappilyunemployed in Pennsylvania

16 months ago

I would take the job as well. There was a time and a day when taking a low paying job could be seen in a negative light by a future employer, but these days, salaries have been cut drastically across the board and employers know this. Being able to finally stop that gap in your resume can only be a good thing. Good luck! Many of us are right there in your shoes.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

16 months ago

Unhappilyunemployed in Pennsylvania said: I would take the job as well. There was a time and a day when taking a low paying job could be seen in a negative light by a future employer, but these days, salaries have been cut drastically across the board and employers know this. Being able to finally stop that gap in your resume can only be a good thing. Good luck! Many of us are right there in your shoes.

Nowadays more than ever employers misinterpret performance with salary. Higher salary with better employee, Lower salary with sub par employee.

I agree it stops the gap and gives one an income.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

Jeff in Washington, District of Columbia

16 months ago

This is a dilemma. I took a 10 percent pay cut, basically because I didn't like the idea of living under a bridge. Yes, it looks bad. Yes, it means that I probably will never get a really good job again. Yes, it frustrates me that people with less ability that I have are making a lot more money.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Jeff in Washington, District of Columbia

16 months ago

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York said: Nowadays more than ever employers misinterpret performance with salary. Higher salary with better employee, Lower salary with sub par employee.

I agree it stops the gap and gives one an income.

Taking a pay cut is probably the lesser of 2 evils when compared to not working at all when it comes to job hunting.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bluetea in Texas

16 months ago

Jeff in Washington, District of Columbia said: This is a dilemma. I took a 10 percent pay cut, basically because I didn't like the idea of living under a bridge. Yes, it looks bad. Yes, it means that I probably will never get a really good job again. Yes, it frustrates me that people with less ability that I have are making a lot more money.

Many people with far more ability than you have are living out of a shopping cart.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

16 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: Many people with far more ability than you have are living out of a shopping cart.

You can find them playing chess in a park in NYC. Some of those dudes could be world champion chess players but they have other problems that prevents them.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

John in Catonsville, Maryland

16 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: Many people with far more ability than you have are living out of a shopping cart.

So how do the folks with lots of ability adjust so they can get a job (if that is possible)? Leave a bunch of skills, education and abilities off the resume?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bluetea in Texas

16 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: So how do the folks with lots of ability adjust so they can get a job (if that is possible)? Leave a bunch of skills, education and abilities off the resume?

Ssssh! That is what I do.

If a company wants to buy a Hyundai, trying to sell them a Cadillac ain't gonna work.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Calfornian in Hayward, California

16 months ago

I'm pretty similar to your story. I'm figuring on a $20K hit too.

It's a tough problem because there are so many things that can go wrong if you do it. You will struggle to get your career back on track. The job will be less demanding, hence, less interesting, so you might be bad at it, making it still harder to recover. You might threaten your boss if you know more than they do. You might be used to having control and your boss turns out to be a control freak. You won't know what's going on and it might chafe at you.

And a bunch more.

But, you gotta eat. It's as simple as that.

As to the job hunting process, that I can do. I simply write my resume to the job. I had such broad latitude at my last job that it's easy for me to list projects equal to the job.

Anyways, retooling for a job is painful. On the one hand I feel like I have all kinds of options, yet, in the very same moment, it's like I have none at all. I really wish my best entrepreneurial idea wasn't something I don't want to do.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Hopeless in Houston in Texas

16 months ago

Tough call but after 2.5 years I'd take it. You have to eat and a small income is better than no income. If you do though, have a plan. Don't stop looking for a better job or even better, save what little you can, develop a skill that you can sell, start a business, and make yourself your next employer.
When you are up against people that will work for slave wages and employers that are looking for even cheaper FREE workers (interns, volunteers, etc.), the writing is on the wall, working for the man is not the answer to long term satisfaction. It's not going to get any better either because workers > jobs.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Jeff in Washington, District of Columbia

16 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: Many people with far more ability than you have are living out of a shopping cart.

No, most Ph.D.'s can get jobs as janitors.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas

16 months ago

Discouraged in New York, New York said: Thanks for the advice. I thought as much but guess I needed to hear it from an objective stranger.

I technically could survive on this salary for a year for sure. I think getting my resume back on track is important too. And yes, I was totally prepared to go work retail or food service as well, as I am at that point where my bank account gets closer to 0

I just wonder how in the future it is looked upon if my salary history is such -

making 35k in 07, making 55k 08-11, and all the sudden going back to 30k in 2013? I mean something is better than nothing, that is for sure. Even in 2007 I was underpaid for what I was doing but the workplace and opportunity were great.

Anyways, guess I'm getting ahead of myself; I haven't even had the interview yet!

What does your spouse say about your unemployment ?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (8) Reply - Report abuse

Discouraged in New York, New York

16 months ago

Hi all, thanks so much for your advice and insight.

I had my interview today, and I don't feel great about it? It was an odd interview, I haven't had one like that before. The interviewer hardly asked me any questions. Started off asking me to talk about myself, I did but I think I didn't do as well I could have but also thought I'd be able to say other things later.

But only kind of. The interviewer went on to just tell me everything about the job, what they are looking for, what it demands etc. I interjected and related experience where I could.

The fact that the salary didn't even come up makes me think I'm not even in contention. Also I was one of the first, so it won't even be til next week until I hear anything.

Also I guess I should clear up a little, I haven't done totally nothing in the past 30 months. I've done freelance here and there, although I've been hearing both; that that looks good and bad on your resume, so who knows.

Calfornian in Hayward, California said: I'm pretty similar to your story. I'm figuring on a $20K hit too.

It's a tough problem because there are so many things that can go wrong if you do it. You will struggle to get your career back on track. The job will be less demanding, hence, less interesting, so you might be bad at it, making it still harder to recover.

What's funny is this job is actually pretty demanding, in line with my experience, which is what made me really balk at the salary. Hypothetically if I got this job and then tried to go elsewhere I could lie about my salary by 10k and it would still seem low.

Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas said: What does your spouse say about your unemployment ?

If it must be known, I'm single now. After many years. Losing her (to a more successful better looking bloke of course) definitely contributed to some long personal depression bouts that definitely gave me stretches where I just didn't want to do anything at all.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas

16 months ago

Sorry to hear the bad news, I hope you find something very soon.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Almost Suicidal in Victoria, Texas

16 months ago

Discouraged in New York, New York said: ...

If it must be known, (Beth) I'm single now. After many years. Losing her (to a more successful better looking bloke of course) definitely contributed to some long personal depression bouts that definitely gave me stretches where I just didn't want to do anything at all.

Okay nosy?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Lostmyhope in Virginia

16 months ago

Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas said: What does your spouse say about your unemployment ?

what does your dating agency say about all your stupid questions you ask strangers that have nuthin to do with havin a job???? you have no clue why someone is single and you should keep it that way!!!!! not your business beth!!! k???

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Lostmyhope in Virginia

16 months ago

Discouraged in New York, New York said:

If it must be known, I'm single now. After many years. Losing her (to a more successful better looking bloke of course) definitely contributed to some long personal depression bouts that definitely gave me stretches where I just didn't want to do anything at all.

you dont need to answer her questions.she does that to everybody. sorry about your lady. mine couldnt take having a man without no job and nothing to offer. i hate life right now. seriously!!! and then you get dumb peeps here askin you dumb questions when they have a job. thats right. aks beth how much she makes. she well tell you. she tells everybody. like we care!!!!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No Reply - Report abuse

Beth in Plano in Plano, Texas

16 months ago

Sorry.
But we all have tuff times, it (unfortunately) makes us stronger in the long run.

Lostmyhope,
Things will get better for you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.