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Hello All,


I am writing an article about survival jobs and would like to get your feedback.  I would like to hear what you think are pros and cons of job seekers taking a survival job.  No answer is wrong because it is your opinion, so don't hold back.


Please also let me know if I can quote you in my article (it will be published online).  If you don't want to be quoted I will not include your information.  You also have the option to respond anonymously if you like and I can include your quote and leave your name out.  It is up to you.


Thanks in advance for your feedback. 



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Let me think about this. I am in favor of survival jobs in this market but want to give a thoughtful be back soon!
Thanks, Carrie.
Marleen, this is a great question.

My definition of a survival job is a job that you take that is likely below (maybe even way below) your "normal" compensation level and is in an industry or function that may be unrelated to your expertise -- i.e, a job you take simply to get some income in the door to pay the bills.

I wanted to confirm the definition before I provide my perspective on a response to your question.
Andy, you hit it on the head. My thinking is the same...out of your industry and/or extremely low paying from your normal salary just to help pay the bills. Most people take survival jobs with the intention of getting something better later.
I have seen so many people laid off during the last two years and many have had to do what it takes to feed their families. We were all so fat and happy in the old days and so many we caught off guard when the economy slid downhill. I work in recruiting in the consulting market and it was hit very hard. Competition is fierce for any job. The people caught in the downsizing have had to learn new skills of resume writing, interviewing, networking, social media, etc... in order to find and capture another position. Others have changed their career direction or have gone back to school. Many of the people I have coached and others that I present to my companies are highly successful and unemployed. They view coaching as an investment in their future and it typically shortens the time of their job search quite dramatically. Their dilemma is needing to earn enough to get by until they find a job or the market opens up.

In addition, companies are taking advantage of the market and offering lower compensation packages knowing candidates will most likely accept. Companies are also not using recruiters like they used to or even advertising on line because it is a sea full of candidates ripe for their picking. I could go on and on but survival is key for so many. I love being able to help these people and see them find an opportunity they love. In the meantime, I tell them to do what they need to do to survive.
Hi Carrie,

THanks for your well though out reply. You are so correct about a lot of people taking lower paying jobs or retooling their skills just to get something to pay their bills and feed their families. They do have to learn new skills as you mentioned to find new positions. And I hear that many change their careers totally. And yes, companies are totally taking advantage in this economy. They figure that if you are unemployed that you will have no other choice to take it.

Thanks again for these great points.
Hi RIcardo,

Thanks for your feedback. I asked for your opinion and I got it. I appreceiate your honesty. You make an interesting point.


Great discussion going on here!! Keep all the wrenches working!
I agree with Ricardo. Thank you. In my buisness hospitality it is a survival job.
Marleen - Sorry for the late reply but wanted to tell you my observations on this.

I have been networking with people in transition for almost 10 years now, both while I was in search mode and while employed. This is a difficult decision for everyone in transition.

Sometimes it's "do I slow the burn-rate on my cash" and other times it's "gotta eat" but in every case the result is the same. The search for a "real" role is slowed down and in some cases never resumed. The day job takes the biggest chunk of your day and real life requires another and suddenly job search becomes one of those things ranking just above root canal and checkbook balancing on your preferred activity lists.

Next comes the additional stress you put on yourself because you are not devoting enough time to your search. (Actually, passive search has the same problem I’m finding now!)

I wish I had the answer because I'd give it out to every search group there is.

PS - In my own case, I made a conscious decision to wait until I was absolutely out of funds before I looked for a survival job. I had just about reached my date / bank balance limit when I got my offer and landed back where I wanted to be with a great package but it was really nerve wracking toward the end.
Aidan and Kathryn, Thanks for your feedback. Somehow I did not receive a notificaiton e-mail or perhaps I deleted in error, so I did not know that you responded to my post. I am a few months late, but I did read your replies.

Kathryn, it is a hard question to answer and also a difficult decision to make. Some survial jobs can turn out great while others turn into horror stories. Some just pay the bills, while others require a second survial job. I hear of people taking 3 jobs just to survive. The thing is you don't have time to look for the non-survial job when you are working so many jobs.




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