Should You Take a Survival Job? The Pros and Cons of Taking a Job Just to Pay The Bills

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If you are unemployed, you may find yourself in a situation where your unemployment benefits are running out, your savings account is empty and the bills are piling up. With no job offer on the horizon, you might be running out of money and options.

When you find yourself in this situation, it is tempting to take a “survival job” just to be able to pay your bills. In an earlier post, I talked about the making the decision to settle for a job. And, while it is true that ideally, it is better to hold out for the job that is the right fit for you; if you have been out of work for a long period of time, that may not make the most financial sense.

So lets take a look at the benefits of taking a job just to pay the bills:

  • Income – This is the primary reason why you would want to take a “survival job”. There is no way around the fact that you need to earn money in order to provide for the basic necessities of life. Becoming homeless will seriously lessen your chances of finding the perfect job.

  • Feeling productive – Being out of work can sound like an extended vacation, but it really isn't. We all need to feel that we are being productive and without some sort of gainful employment, our self-esteem really takes a hit.

  • Confidence – When you are out of work, you start to lose your professional edge. Just by getting back into the workforce, no matter the position, you will feel more confident.

  • Respect – Even though the job might just be a temporary measure, many employers have respect for workers who are willing to do whatever it takes to support themselves and their families.

  • Getting your foot in the door – Sometimes, taking an entry-level job at a company you want to work for, just as a temporary measure, is a great way to get your foot in the door and find out about other job openings you may be qualified for.

Now, let's break down the reasons you shouldn't take a “survival job”:

  • Lower wages – It goes without saying that this sort of job isn't going to pay nearly as much as you may be used to. You will have to make some big changes to your budget and your lifestyle in order to live on this income.

  • You might have to get two jobs – Because the pay is so low, and you may only be able to find part-time positions, you might have to have two jobs in order to earn enough money to cover your basic expenses.

  • Less time for job hunting – If you end up working two jobs, you will have less time to spend looking for the job you really need. It will be harder to schedule job interviews and do the things you need to do to be available to a potential employer.

  • No job future – This sort of job is not a long term career move, but more of a pit stop on the way to getting your life back on track. This isn't really such a bad thing, but it can be frustrating to work hard in a position you know you aren't going to keep.

If you decide that you need to take a survival job, be sure to keep focused on your job search. Once you are working a job or even two, you may find that you start dealing with low level depression and a lack of confidence in your ability to find the right job. Before you know it, the days run together and go by so quickly. A year or two down the road you may find yourself trapped in the job that was supposed to be temporary, struggling just to get by and becoming more out of touch with the industry you used to work in. But, there are some things you can do to minimize this risk and even help you in your job search. Look out for my next post, that will go over ways to pay the bills while looking for the right job.

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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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