Monday, November 23, 2009

Paying the Bills, or Advancing Your Career: For Me, a No-Brainer

"Are you committing career suicide?"
"Workers fear that settling for a survival job could hurt them when hiring picks up again."
CNN Money (November 22, 2009)

"The difficult job market has forced millions of workers to downgrade into a position they're overqualified for or take a survival job to make ends meet.

"And while riding out the recession might be a practical strategy for now, what will become of the underemployed when the dust clears and it's time to get back on track?

"There are currently 9.3 million underemployed workers limited to part-time jobs because they can't find full-time employment -- a record high, according to the Labor Department's October jobs report.

" 'If you are in a situation where you can't pay your bills and you are going to miss you mortgage payment and your kids need clothes for school, you are going to do what you need to do,' said career expert for Rusty Rueff...."

The bottom line seems to be that, although the occasional hiring manager will be "extremely callous or insensitive" - most people in Human Resources read the papers, and know that a lot of Americans are looking for jobs. To pay the bills, not to self-actualize themselves, or further their career goals.

And would you really want to work for a company that was so out-of-touch that it wasn't aware of the job market - or treated its employees and its paperclips with about the same level of concern?

Anyway: There's pretty good advice, and a few personal examples. Like the fellow who lost his job and expanded a part-time dog-walking job into a more important source of revenue.

The article could, I think, be useful for someone who's 'between jobs' right now - and agonizing over the question of whether to pay the bills or hope that the "right" job will come along.

I've been in that position myself, quite a few times. It's frustrating. But, in my case, it's resulted in my having a rather eclectic resume. The last company I worked for hired me as an advertising copywriter, I soon was doing graphic design on top of that - and later became List Manager and "the computer guy." I've also delivered flowers, chopped beets, and been a radio disk jockey.

The point is, you don't have to be a traditional "corporation person" to be "successful." It depends on how you define "success."

Me? I was laid off in the spring of 2006. As well as getting some long-overdue work done on my body (both hips swapped out, carpal tunnel and other issues fixed on both hands and wrists), I started looking for a "real" job.

And, started doing what I do well: writing. Being self-employed isn't the best route for everybody. In my case, I'm a lousy boss: I don't pay myself nearly what I'm 'really' worth. On the other hand, I'm doing okay. When I've got something to say about the business side of my life, or something about small businesses in general, I generally post it on Starting a Small Business Without Losing My Mind.

(The account of the dog-walker also contains this phrase: "recruiter-come-dog walker". My guess is that the writer meant "recruiter-cum-dog walker". "Cum" means with, or together with, in Latin. The writer may have known the Latin word, and spelled it correctly, to be 'corrected' by an editor - or may have only heard the word spoken. And, in American English, "come" and "cum" sound exactly alike.) (And, if memory serves, "cum" is also a naughty word in English - which may explain the odd spelling.)

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