How To Decide When To Take a Lower Level Job When You’re Unemployed
When you've been unemployed for a long time, there are times when you just have to give in to taking a lower level job you never would have considered before. Maybe it pays less. Or it's got a much lower title. Or no title. This can even happen when you quit a job you hate, and just need to have some money coming in.
But have you hurt yourself forever by making this downward career move? Not necessarily. Although that is the reason many people decide not to go the lower-level job route.
Why taking a lower level job is not forever
Look. Very few people would willingly choose to take a lower level job for less money if they don't have to. It can feel daunting – and perhaps even devastating to your career and future, not to mention your ego. But it doesn't have to be forever. Careers are more than just a job or two. They can last many decades. And so any step you take now that can get you moving again, especially one that may position you for moving forward later, may actually get you further later on than waiting for the "right job."
Now I do know someone who was laid off from an executive level job in his late 40s and decided to hold out three years for a job at his level. And he finally got it. In between, he managed to get by on savings and some part-time consulting work. But not everyone can do that – or wants to wait that long to get back in the game. It was a scary time for him and his family!
When a lower level job might be a good idea
Sometimes we can benefit from taking a step back to move forward. This is true when we take a step backward for career change, but it can also be true if you want to get your career moving again after being fired, laid off, or for any reason of extended unemployment. Also, as unfair as it is, many job seekers are finding it harder to find jobs after being unemployed for an especially long period of time. So getting back to work again before you've been labeled "long-term unemployed" might have its advantages. I'm not suggesting you should run scared and take just anything.
But it pays to stay open and look for opportunities, even if they are not at the title or salary of your last job. And the good news is, once you've gotten yourself back into a salaried job, there are almost always ways to work your way back up – or at least to a place where you are better able to take on things you really want to do. And that begins to lays the groundwork for your way back – even if it takes time to get there!