Should I Take a Survival Job?

By Denise Taylor

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Most of us are looking for a job in line with our career aspirations but with a challenging job market we may not get the job we want.  There are fewer jobs advertised that we want, and the competition can be tough.

So do we hang on for what we want or settle for something well beneath what we can do - take a survival job?

A survival job is one we take whilst we seek out a better fit. So it could be a short term contract job or working in e.g. a shop or call centre.

A survival job isn't necessarily full time, you could do part time work in a local shop for example.

Let's look at some things you should consider

How is your mental health?

Too long at home looking for jobs and getting knock backs can affect our self confidence.

We may spend less time job hunting and more time watching TV or spending much longer completing tasks so accepting a job offer, even a low level temporary job can be of great benefit.

Can you learn new skills in this job?

A temporary job may give you the chance to learn new skills that will be an asset to your CV, so if you can see the connection between this temporary job and your ideal career job that will be helpful for your job search. You will also make contact with new people and this could lead to a useful introduction about a job.

How will this job appear on your CV?

If you have held a senior position and this temporary job is perhaps working in the stock room of a department store it's going to jar and detract from your career history. Less of a problem if the temporary job is closer in title and status to your previous jobs.

When you apply for a survival job

You must demonstrate interest in the job. You won't get the job if you see it s something beneath you, or a stop gap job. So think hard about the reasons you will give as to WHY you want the job and how you match up and meet the requirements of this job.

And if you say yes ...

Avoid taking on a job and acting as if you are better than other people, although if you have that attitude you are unlikely to get the job offer. Whatever the job demonstrate interest and enthusiasm and look for what you can learn from the experience. Perhaps the job needs you to pay close attention to detail and you know that is a weaker area, so look on this as a way to gain these skills. Or it might help you to develop interpersonal skills to relate to people you don't normally come into contact with.

How will it affect your job hunt?

You would think full time job hunting is better than trying to fit it in around a job. Of course when you have a busy job it will not give you much time for job search. But a lower level job that does not involve additional work at home can still allow you to spend a couple of hours a day on job search, plus some time at the weekends.

Sometimes job hunting works better when we are forced to be focused and you will also be meeting new people and some of these may know about a job opportunity or be able to introduce you to someone who can help your job search.

Don't forget that you may also find it harder to get the time off to go to a job interview and you need to be very organised to manage your time but in a survival job it's often possible to change shifts with a colleague so you can get to an interview, but you also need to consider this before accepting as without the flexibility you will find it hard to get the time to go to these important interviews.

Still finding it hard to make a decision?

Brought to you by Denise Taylor, award winning career psychologist. Follow Denise on @amazingpeople


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