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Old 06-08-2010, 01:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is Any Job Better Than No Job?

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June 6, 2010, 7:30 pm Is Any Job Better Than No Job?

By THE EDITORS


Left to right: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images, Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The Labor Department’s monthly jobs report released Friday was not good news. Though 431,000 jobs were created in May nationwide, the bulk of them were workers hired by the federal government to help with the Census — jobs that will disappear in a few months. Only 41,000 private jobs were created, far short of expectations of 150,000 to 180,000 jobs, and unemployment rates remained steady. Economists estimate that the U.S. needs to add more than 100,000 jobs a month just to keep pace with new workers — high school and college graduates — entering the market.
In such a climate, should the new college graduates consider jobs they might have rejected a few years ago? A recent Times Magazine article by Judith Warner pointed out that some studies show young people just out of college are turning down jobs that they don’t like. (Ms. Warner has some follow-up comments, below.) In this economy, is any job better than no job?

There are some interesting viewpoints buried in the contibutors.

What stood out for me is this quote:

Quote:
First of all, many of the young people entering the job market have a great many workplace-related skills to learn — from when to show up and when to leave, to how to dress and present themselves, to how to approach a job, to knowing how to work with others, to setting and working toward goals incrementally. These involve deeper values that cannot be taught theoretically. And although there may be some rude awakenings in the workplace, on-the-job learning is likely the fastest and most indelible way to acquire the values and skills and work ethic that will carry them to their ultimate goals.
There is always something to learn and grow. In my opinion it doesn't matter. I'm in the position I am now in part because of who I knew when I was jobless in the early part of the decade and I temped here as a receptionist. People remembered who I was and that I was a capable worker and a good team player. This works the same way in Film and TV productions where people want to work with people who work well with others and get their jobs done.

There are only few times in my life where I understand that "any" job is wrong. Those are when your job is toxic to your health because of poor working conditions, bad managers, bad coworkers etc. But I must say that if that seems to be all the time over the years, I can't imagine that it's everyone else, but the individual since that is the only constant.
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I refused to take any 'low-income' job, and I got a well-paying job. So in my anecdotal experience (yea, I know, N=1, so take it for what it's worth) it pays to hold out for a good job.

I've never been in a position where I was struggling to find employ, if I were I might lower my standards.
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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^^ Me neither dude, but I'm illiterate. So go figure. No one will hire me. I don't even think about well paying jobs.

So I go where I can be hired. Where they accept GED's.

I've been offered a position as a manager in all aspects of work I've been at. I've been promoted everywhere I've worked. I'm good to work with and I know this. I don't approach interviews with "fake it till you make it" mentality because I don't fake it. I am a results oriented, urgency driven person AND I have good work ethic.

I start at the bottom, and I move up.

Any job, ANY, is better than no job.
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sometimes no job is as good as a job.

I just got out of rabbinical school with a specialization in teaching. I have a master's degree and a bachelor's, plus years of experience teaching, working in nonprofits, and doing other things. Right now, there are no jobs in Jewish Education in the Los Angeles metro area, due to the economy, and a glut on Jewish educators in the locale. I could've taken a full-time job as a midlevel coordinator at a nonprofit this next year, for around $35K, but instead I chose to teach part time for around $18K, get partial unemployment, and spend my remaining time writing a book.

That just seems like a better investment of my time and resources than busting my ass at a nonprofit grind job that any half-competent 25 year old could do, for a salary that's a third of what most qualified rabbis make.

On the other hand, when I was fresh out of college, and trying to make it as an actor, I never turned down a job. I waited tables, I delivered pizza, I couriered, I loaded boxes, I worked in shops and bookstores...you name the low-paying crap job, and I probably did it. There is a time and place for everything. Sometimes any job is better than no job. Sometimes the reverse is true.
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It depends on the circumstances, but yes, I think any job is better than no job.

If I had to, I would work somewhere for free just to get my foot in the door.
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree that sometimes that any job leads you to bigger and better things. Case in point: when this recession started, I had just graduated from college. I looked for jobs, but I had some savings and so I wasn't looking hard; I was able to limit myself to looking for childcare-oriented jobs. I applied for a job with one of my current employers, and got it at the entry level (this is a very, very part-time position; maybe a handful of hours a week, great for going to school, not so great if you're not in school; that fall I ended up working about 5 different jobs at once). During this time, I decided to go back to college and work on another degree while working in childcare. A year later, I got promoted to manager (still a very part-time position). Then, as manager, I was introduced to the executive director of the place I just got hired at for full-time work. As I see it, that "any job" that most people wouldn't have settled for because of the lack of hours led me up the food chain to a full-time position in my field.

However, "any job" doesn't work sometimes; during the period before I went back to school, I took a job cleaning offices once a week to make some extra money. The problem was that the person knew I needed work, and they treated me like shit as a result. I was SO HAPPY when I was able to say adios and go back to school. I've never worked for them since.
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This is theoretical, as I've never been unemployed, but if it came down to putting food on the table or not, I think I'd pretty much try my hand at anything.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hrm. The last time I was unemployed for an extended period of time, I didn't consider 'any' job - I looked for jobs that matched my skills and would be satisfying jobs for me in the long-term. I'm a software developer. So, while I maybe could've gotten a minimum-wage job, but it wouldn't have made much sense...I wouldn't have been developing my career, or improving my resume, expanding my skills, or on any sort of path to get to any of those goals. I'm not sure exactly how it would have worked out, but with minimum wage employment versus unemployment benefits, my unemployment benefits were a much better financial position.

Now, if I didn't have the skills as a software developer (or other high-paying career), or if my skills were obsolete, then maybe any job would have been better than no job...but honestly, I don't see a way where taking an unskilled labor job would have been better for me or my family than putting my energy into getting a new job with my skill set.

I think in this case, unemployment benefits provide a net benefit to society...If it weren't for unemployment benefits, I would have been forced to take anything available. I'd like to think that, since the company I work for pays me about 10x what McDonald's would pay for an unskilled position, I'm providing more to the economy in this fashion than I would have just settling for any job I could get., and that outweighs the cost of providing unemployment benefits for all.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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After I graduated college, I did have *some* savings and was looking for the high paying dream job. As my savings ran out, and the dream job outlook being somewhat bleak, I came to the conclusion that any job is better than no job. It ended up paying off. I got a part time job, which I was actually very good at, but disliked, and through my interactions with customers in that job, ended up getting more side work in a variety of different fields than I knew what to do with, and while I was good at all of my jobs at the time (at one point I was working for 4 different entities, on top of taking care of elderly grandparents, etc,) they didn't offer what I desired on a professional, personal, or financial/benefits level. However, working my ass off in jobs that I at one time considered to be "under me" allowed me to have both the confidence and financial means available to not come across as completely desperate and needy when I went through the application process and subsequently was hired on with my current employer. I now can honestly say, and will tell anyone that asks me, that I have done a whole lot more for a whole lot less. I can't say that I'm raking in a shitload of money, but I make a comfortable living, and any side jobs that I may do, I am approached/recruited for.

IMHO, it is infinitely easier to find a job when you have a job...as long as you are GOOD at that job. If you are unemployed and looking, you're one of many potential applicants. If you're employed, and are good at what you do, opportunities can and sometimes do find you. Sometimes it all comes down to networking...someone sees your work ethic, observes how you deal with people/customer relations/conflict resolution/multitasking/whatever, and likes what they see...and they are in a position to help influence your chances of employment elsewhere, wants you to work for them, and can help polish up your resume and application to what human resources wants to see: it's a beautiful thing. Add them as a reference: this can be the difference between a great new job or continuing on with something you are really good at, but don't really enjoy. Either way, it pays the bills until that "dream" job comes along.
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Last edited by monkeysugar; 06-09-2010 at 12:09 AM..
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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i think that if you are 'out there' keeping your eyes open and being active & interactive, then yes any job is better than no job. Keep in mind that when I think of no job, I'm thinking that there is a tendency to be isolated, stay in, feel unproductive.

But being out there doesn't rule out job hunting (which I view as serious, if unpaid, work) and volunteering. So half of me agrees with Charlatan, the other with Jinn.
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Bad jobs are like scars - they usually hurt like hell when you get them and go through the experience, but they eventually give you cool stories.

Every single, crappy, sucky, dead-end, soul-crashing job I've ever had brought me to the place I am now, which is the best job and life I could have ever dreamed for. I am proud of what I do and what it took me to get here (although I deeply regret the pain, suffering, and collateral damage inflicted on Grancey in the process). I thoroughly hated many of the steps and experiences along the way, and I would never want to go through most of them again, yet I wouldn't trade any of them for anything.

No job or experience has to be a waste if you are willing to grow from it and turn it to your advantage in the long run.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I was gonna say no, because some jobs hurt those who do them as well as those who consume the products, but then I remembered the adage regarding working & shame, so I agree wholeheartedly with warrrreagl.
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I ran across this job description from Ancient Rome, and I thought it belonged here in this thread:

Quote:
“Teen female virgin wanted for thirty year service. Must be Roman, having all limbs, and not the child of a slave”. This was the job description of the vestal virgin. These attractive and fully-limbed girls were to spend thirty years giving service to Vesta – goddess of the family. They had to keep the vestal flame burning and were in a position of great honor – the only female priests in Ancient Rome. Now if one of these pretty young girls absent-mindedly forget to keep the fire going, she would be flogged till she bled. If, the heavens forbid, she slipped up in the area of virginity, she was buried alive. Oh – and to make matters worse, the lazy vestal virgin who slept in and let the fire go out was not just likely to get a flogging: letting the fire go out was a sign of loss of virginity. In other words, she got flogged, then buried alive – just for sleeping in!
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Taking a low paid job was the biggest mistake I ever made, I was manager of a company responsible for 12 branches in the north of england, when Thatchers policies hit in the mid eighties I was made redundant and true to the way I was brought up I took a low paid job rather than have no job at all.

The problem was that from then on I was looked upon as not really right for new management positions because of my now lowly status.

Not fair? You bet it isn't. Does it happen? You bet it does.

I would have been better off giving prospective employers some bullshit like "I've been taking a rest to consider my options"
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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For me it's all about environment. If I'm not in the right environment, it could damage my health.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:56 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovejoy777 View Post
Taking a low paid job was the biggest mistake I ever made, I was manager of a company responsible for 12 branches in the north of england, when Thatchers policies hit in the mid eighties I was made redundant and true to the way I was brought up I took a low paid job rather than have no job at all.

The problem was that from then on I was looked upon as not really right for new management positions because of my now lowly status.

Not fair? You bet it isn't. Does it happen? You bet it does.

I would have been better off giving prospective employers some bullshit like "I've been taking a rest to consider my options"
I'm curious since most Europeans use the CV as their method of context. Is it not appropriate to keep off jobs that are not relevant or will do you a disservice like going from a managerial job to flipping burgers just so you can keep a roof over your head?

Would it have been appropriate or possible to exclude that job and make your statement of "taking a rest"?

Americans are much more selective of how they create their resume as it's not the entire body of career or work of an individual.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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as the great dave barry once said, it is better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick.

and +1 to warrreagle, most crappy jobs give you a good story and you probably learn something , or at least something philosophical. I have had many crappy jobs and loved every one of them. except washing dishes. that sucked.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I find it difficult to view this as a black and white issue. I can't see this as something simple as either a) accept a low-paying job and hamper your earning potential, or b) hold out until you get an ideal job both in pay and responsibilities/status/whatever.

It might have something to do with the fact that I'm a white-collar worker who earns less than many blue-collar workers, and probably substantially less than pretty much any unionized blue-collar worker. All said, I earn just over $3.00 more per hour than minimum wage.

Given the parameters, if I lost my job tomorrow, just about any job would be better than no job, as the worst it would mean financially is that I'd be earning around $25 less per day on a full-time basis. I would miss working from home, though, and the type of work I do, but it would be better than nothing. It's difficult to find a job in my industry, let alone a full-time job---very difficult.

It would be different if I were making six figures and was used to a high industry-wide status. I think this question demands a rather subjective answer.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:46 AM   #19 (permalink)
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My answer to this question is strongly influenced by the fact that I view any job as a place to do networking for anything in the future.

You run into people no matter where you are - if you make the best of any situation and keep your eyes open, a low paying job can still give you way to get out of your rut while not falling financially further into the hole.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:15 AM   #20 (permalink)
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probably, you can't survive without a job
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