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Do You REALLY Want to Work?

June 27, 2010 11:02 PM

Almost every day I hear from people who have been out of work for many months—if not years. They say they're desperate to work. When I ask what they've been doing and how the process is going, very often they tell me that they've "only" been offered jobs that pay $8 to $10 an hour. That's followed by the same refrain from everyone, "I can't possibly work for that little."

Why I wonder? Because making NO money is better than making some money? I'm not talking about people who make more on unemployment and don't want to jeopardize their much needed benefits. I'm talking about people who've exhausted their benefits and don't have a penny coming in.

They say working for so little would negatively impact their ability to job seach effectively. Really? Working 20 hours a week in a low-paying part-time job wouldn't leave you ample hours in the day to devote to your search? Maybe they'd be more deliberate with their time if they had such a busy schedule, no?

I challenge them to think about why they SHOULD work for so little: it gets them out of the house, it puts their mind to work, it connects them with new people, it's someting to talk about, and it's cash in hand. The gal who was the senior VP of sales is now working a cash register—how would that look to a future employer? Potentially quite well if she spins it as a unique opportunity to get back to basics after 30 years away from the front lines and a chance to see the end-user experience up close and personal.

What's your take? To work for less in the interim or not?

Comments (43)

Well, I wish I would get a offer for $10 per hour...I have not received an interview, call nothing.. its been 13 months, and there are people out there turning down jobs? I was on the train and overheard an out of work lady say to her friend that she was offered a position but it "only payed" 40,000 dollars a year...that was "too little". She had been looking for work for a few months...I was speechless.

In another vein, maybe you don't have to mention the job on your resume at all? I've worked in a variety of fields, and when I'm applying to work in human rights, I don't mention the bike-sales. When I apply for retail, I don't mention the software development. Because I volunteer, I can fill a resume. I am proud of every place that I have worked, but whoever I am applying to does not necessarily need to know about all of them.

I turned 61 this year, and I am going to *have* to work for another 10 years or so. I have been unemployed in the past (until 6 years ago), and I know what it's like when your unemployment runs out and you don't know where your rent money is coming from.

My biggest worry now is that I can't stand for longer than about 20 minutes at a time, which means most lower paying jobs would be out of the question for me. I'm an administrative assistant now, I don't like my job, but boy, am I ever grateful for it. If it disappears, I don't know what I'd do.

Not everyone can physically do a job that requires standing. And it takes months and months to get disability, if you can stick with the process of applying and being rejected time after time.

This is just one more point of view.

There are reasons I want out of the $10/hr or less wage hellhole.

There's the psychological. I find it very draining to work with the general public. I'm tired of having to take time away from my family after work because I need to be alone for a while to feel human again after a full day of dealing with the general public. I am a sales associate. I am not your maid. I am not your shrink. I cannot wave a magic wand and make things that are against company policy happen. I am not your emotional punching bag on which to take out the suckage of your life.

There's how so many retail chains want to own you. One major department store I interviewed at- and this was back in 2004- had the policy that if you missed more than your two allotted days off that week, you were gone. Didn't matter why. You- or your kid- could be sick as a dog. You'd still be out of a job and have to reapply. Job before last (where I made $7.50/hr), there was an intellectual property clause that said anything you came up with that COULD be useful to the company was company property. I had to file a letter stating that I had intellectual property that predated my employment there to protect myself. This was also the place where most people didn't care that I had to get my kid after my shift was over- if that dressing room got trashed shortly before my shift ended, the expectation was that I would stay late to clean it and risk being late picking my then seven year old up.

Then there's the economic. Not only am I making peanuts, I never know how much my check will be because my hours vary from week to week, commission is part of my current pay structure, and my hours may be cut when business is bad. If you're making $40/hr or more and your paycheck varies by $200, it shouldn't be a huge deal unless you've gotten yourself into financial trouble. When you make less than $9/hr base pay, that $200 fluctuation may mean your check is only half of last pay period's check. How do you live on that?

I'm also finding that the longer I'm employed at under $10/hr, the less employers want to look at me for things that actually pay a living wage.

Some sort of income is usually better than nothing.
I moved from the DC area to DE in 2006 and took at 60% pay cut in an effort to have some sanity from a high-stress job.
I am currently trying to find a job back in my career field and send out my resume in this crazy market.
Besides working, I am a single mom and go to school full-time.
But I have what I have. And I make do until I can do better. And I'm setting a good example for my son.
Yes, I struggle.
Yes, I shop at thrift stores sometimes.
Yes, I volunteer to keep my skills sharpened.
Yes, I have re-enrolled in college to finish my degree and expand my experience.
Yes, it can be done.
But it starts with YOU.
I'm getting off my soapbox now.

It's not the 10.00 an hour that is the problem. The job is usually part time and every day leaving it very difficult to schedule anything else. Sometimes the position is almost 40 hours which would be great but not full time with no benefits and absolutely no intention of hiring full time in the future. These jobs are also competitive and take hours to interview. I waited at Macy's for over 2 hours for an 8.00 an hour position and was never interviewed. The door to the room of the people interviewing was opened and I heard the position being offered to someone. Companies are taking advantage of knowing how desperate people are. The hours are usually 2nd and 3rd shift which would be fine if you didn't have children. We aren't feeling that these jobs are below us but we are feeling used. If I thought there was a way to get in a company by working 8.00 an hour part time I would do it. Most companies are hiring interns for free. And forget about getting an interview if you are not right out of college. I have friends that work for large media companies (VPs) and state that the company hires one temp for every 5 executives. This is why there are no jobs to be found. People are settling and the company executives are laughing all the way to the bank!!

I am one of those ladies Tory, who used up my
unemployment that is 62. Although I am in bankruptcy that would end this Sept. (5 years paying $1450 monthly), I am grateful to be working. Working at $8,$9, $10, whatever, gets me around people, I like that. I like to contribute.
Not working is bad for self esteem when it comes to me. I only have an AA Degree but in my life I have been a Medical Sec'y, Legal Sec'y, Flight Attendant and I have worked at Temp Jobs. It may
not be for other people, doing what I do but working "works" for me.

I have been out of work over 2 years now got layed off May 2008. In the beginning I didn't think I could possible take a job so much less than I was making. I admit at this time I am applying for jobs that are way below what I made before at least a little money is better than no money at all lost my unemployed benefits in May.

Four years ago, when I lost my last perm full time job, I agreed with Tory. Today, many temp jobs later, I still agree. But at what a cost: $30K in debt, a serious need to work beyond age 70, and a "current" resume that makes me feel as though I haven't even graduated from high school (I have a BA and loads of professional development). The current job scene is a miserable mess. The economists, government and politicians claim things have stabilized. Maybe for their economy. For my life, the secure, simple retirement, I slaved for,day and night,has vanished. I laugh and am nauseated when I read media articles advising people to work two jobs, work for any low amount, but work. I did just that for (38) years and don't have another (38) years to correct what has happened to the economy in the past ten. I am grateful for many things. I have confidence in my determination to get through tough situations. But half full is half full, no more or less involved. (Note: out of pocket medical, dental and eye costs have caused the bulk of the debt situation.)

I've been unemployed for well over 1 year now. When they figure out that you're nearly 50 years old from the date that you graduated from college, you rarely get considered for anything. Particular when you live in a part of the country where they hire Mexican workers who will work for substantially lower wages FIRST. Even saw that a management employee blogged that her company said to hire Mexicans and black women first. Or, the male over 55 who blogged that he wasn't getting interviewed, decided to use his wife's Hispanic maiden name, and now gets interviews at the drop of a hat. And, to Chilly09...1988 you got your dream job and are retired???! You aren't even commenting about the job market conditions in this millenium!!! Being behind in your bills at $8-$10/hr is just as bad a no job. Same stressors. No different, if not worse because you don't have the flexibility to search for a job. One of my friends did that and she almost lost her sanity trying raise a high school aged daughter alone (she eventually did find something with better pay). She advised me to wait and find something with better pay because it is out there. $8-$10/hr in a major city is an insult...and employers know it. Management will offer it and pay placement agencies tremendous fees to keep their bottom lines low, but I'll bet you a million bucks not one of them would consider working for that amount! And, to top it off, I take calls all the time from my friends who do have their jobs and are so overworked and stressed that they are constantly having panic attacks or going to the doctor for work-related stressors. American Greed at its finest. Don't fault me for not taking a $8-$10/hr job right now when you don't know my specific circumstances or what really is going on in the great state of Texas.!

I have a lower paying part-time job. It's a nice supplement and is complimentary to my self-employment endeavors.

Funny thing is, in this job it will take me two weeks to make what I can make in one hour with a self-employment assignment.

The part-time job is a good fit, however, while I build my business. It does not pay much in terms of money, but it's a good place to network, provides an opportunity to practice skills I use in my business, it's enjoyable, and it helps extend the life of my unemploymnet insurance benefits a bit.

With a little creativity and strategic thinking an interim job can work to your advantage.

For me personally, I cannot afford to pay my bills for $8-10 an hr. It has nothing to do with taking a lower paying job. I've cashiered & that's a pretty low-paying job. I'm moving back to PA at the end of this month, but here in NJ, a 1 rm apt is $800 a mth. Some efficiencies are $700 a mth. How can you pay all your bills making $8-10 an hr??? I'm single, so, I know in my gut that there are many people out there, who are in this same boat. I would work any good-paying jobs if it paid my bills.

I have been out of work for two years. I would love a job paying any amount. I have had interviews for five positions - for one of those positions I was interviewed 23 times.

I am an administrative assistant with over ten years experience with large Fortune 500 companies. I'm a geek with software packages and have a large list of references.

I get rejections before they even meet me, telling me they are impressed with my extensive credentials or similar but they are going with another candidate.

Frustrated...frustrated...will work for money, period.

I would take a lower paying job just to have some money come in until I found the right job, but the problem I have by taking a lower paying job is not self-esteem right now. It is the problem of not covering child care. If I am working for less than child care, it is not worth it. I am still looking each day, but $8-$10/hour will not cut day care.

Ah, a little forced humility can teach a person some much needed common courtesy. If you are of the mindset that a "menial" job is beneath you then you need to change your perspective and attitude. Remember to treat yourself and others with respect. Take the "menial" job and relearn some basic common courtesy skills and not to mention some much needed cash!

I too have a special needs daughter that requires a lot of my time. I was spoiled for seven years with a well paying job working from home. I adopted my 3 kids during that time. But, like a lot of folks, I was laid off from that job 2 years ago. Since then, I have been working short term contract jobs that still allow me the flexibility to be with my daughter when needed. However, this situation takes a heavy toll on self-esteem and self-worth. Even though I feel fortunate to have some type of work, my schedule combined with being a full-time mom leaves little time to look for a better job. I am looking for decent paying full-time work, but with no luck. My family is struggling financially, and I have lost my creativity needed to reinvent myself. I get a lot of grief from my significant other to take a low paying full-time job.

In my experience, taking a part-time job or jobs has made me lose my focus. I feel like I'm scratching around for money any way I can get it, reaching in any direction. You start to wonder if you can't do any better, and wonder what is wrong with yourself. And, yes, depression adds to this ugly cycle! Any advice on how to get and stay focused and motivated?

Tory I completely agree with you. I have 30 years of staffing and HR experience. It is always better to be working, even if you are underemployed. While you are working you never know who you may meet; you may connect with someone who will lead you to your next career position. If you are "underemployed" for a while try to choose a job that is in a field or industry that is related to a hobby or something you love, for example a restaruant, deli or bakery if you love to cook. Or, maybe a clothing store in the mall where you love to shop. You may even get a discount on your next interview suit! Bottom line, keep an open mind.

Out of work almost 2 years with liberal arts B.A., wanting to change work directions to business related or just something lucrative, and various temp, spaced, misc postions in my history. Did not want to get the $10hr positions as I felt that if I found something I liked better the $10 position would be disappointed/feel a company loss that a worker is leaving. Then when I would try sometimes, I would be possibly over-qualified in degree and/or under-qualified in spec. work experience and pc programs for instance....

I am a former teacher with a MA in German. I say "former" because I was laid off from my jobs in education 3 times in 12 years. During the interim (I've only had ONE lasting full time job which paid me over the summer), I've worked a LOT of jobs that other people turned up their noses at (e.g., janitor, nursing assistant in an Alzheimer's ward {midnight shift}, retail salesperson, et al)--many of my jobs paid "only" the amount you cited.
I guess I get sick and tired of the arrogance of a lot of these folks who think they are somehow "better" than other people. My attitude is, I put my pants on the same way you do and, quite frankly, I'd rather knwo that some money was coming in, so that I could at least contribute to my independence

AMEN SISTER!! If you don't want to work for "just" the $8-$10 per hour, go to work for the sense of purpose, personal pride, and self worth that says I have a reason to get up every morning. You don't ONLY get those things from being employed, but many are struggling with the depression that comes along with being unemployed. Having a job to go to - any job - can give a sense of purpose. If you were creative and talented enough to have that high paying job, you are creative and talented enough to balance the "menial" employment and the job search. Plus, who knows what connections you might make? When God closes a door, he opens a window. Do you want to be the person who says, "I am too good to use windows - so I will wait for the door?" What if there are no more doors? I think I'd get a new appreciation for windows!

I have been laid off for almost a year now. My severance will keep me going for another 6 months. On my last interview I was asked what I had been doing all this time. I have been working to build my small business, volunteering and looking for a permanent job. But I think this answer to the interviewer cost me this job. On the personal side, I met someone that I could be interested in and when he heard that I had been out of work for almost a year and heard what I'd been doing, I think that put an end to him being interested in me. So if you're not working, you're a deadbeat?? Seriously?? Also, it is disturbing to read in the news that some companies won't even look at you as a candidate for a job opening if you are not currently employed. It is my opinion that those who are currently employed do not have a real clue how hard the economy is, and how hard it is for someone to find a job in it. And as I figure it is for most of the unemployed, your self esteem plummets and it's hard enough to keep yourself going mentally as well as to do the networking, job searching, everyday things, interviews and such when you feel the outside world is looking at you as a loser.
Good luck to those of you that are searching for a job. Keep looking up.

I'm still waiting to be offered an $8-10 position. I'm now out of work 2 years and 7 months.

These people are lucky to get the offers. They must have some hidden assets or someone supporting them. I don't.

On the other hand, those who refuse to accept the offers may have psychological problems at this point and need some help to allow themselves to accept a low paying position.

I think working a part time job is an excellent way to make some money and connect with other leads that may lead to the job that you really want. I have had success in doing so.

Hi Tory,
I completely agree with you on this, why sit on your behind and moan when you could be out there doing something. I tend to think they like the drama and enjoy finding the negative in life. My slant is if one thing does not work, then try something else. I currently am using many paths to reach my goal of reopening my catering business. In my life I have run offices, waited tables, washed dishes whatever it took to keep things going. In each job I did my best and learned new skills in the process. You never know who you will meet or what opportunity will present it self to you. You sure won't find it sitting on the couch and feeling sorry for yourself.

Thank you Tory for the encouragement. I'm 57 and left my higher paying position 3 years ago. For the past 9 mos I have been working at a floral shop w/in a grocery store for $7.35 per hr. - a far cry from what I was earning. I hope this is my "interim job" until I can find something better. However, I will say that letting someone else make the decisions and be on the frontline while I can stand back and learn a new trade has been very different to get used to, but also really nice. I don't have the stress of competition and my super. is just great. I am now trying to figure out what other home businesses I might try to earn extra income. Thanks so much for your good advice.

We grow from communicating and networking with other people and understanding the internal company culture. Almost any opportunity, whether it be part-time paid or volunteer will add to our own growth and social understanding and appreciation. A part-time opportunity should be viewed as an opportunity to grow and make a difference.

Better to work than to sit home wondering where your next meal or $ for your next bill will be coming from. When you're out there, opportunities come along because you are out there. Networking with people that you meet and telling them you're looking for a better job will more than likely produce great results

I have worked as an RN, and more recently was a small business owner. I'm now looking for any type of work to supplement my SS income, regardless of the pay rate.
I have always believed in the adage that "Half of something is better than all of nothing".

It is said that it is easier to find a job while you have a job. You never know who you will meet on the job you are in so, I would take the $8-10 an hour job. As said, it would get me out of the house and meet who knows who. Also, I have a friend who worked at a job she could no longer stand. She went to work for Kelly services. They sent her to work at a hospital in a job that was temp to perm. They like her so much they hired her permanently. She has benefits, credit union services, insurance and peace of mind. Her employer needed her when it was such awful snow in Maryland this past winter, she doesn't drive and buses could not get around, so he sent a driver to pick her up! Now that is an employer!!

I believe that if a person chooses not to settle for a job paying a certain amount of money than that is their choice. Than those who will work for minimum wage are more than welcome to do so. I'd rather volunteer my time and work for free than to take a minimum wage job when I have know that I am qualified for more. I enjoy helping people and so freely doing so is an opportunity one does not get often when having a 9 to 5. Dependant upon one's situation will determine their financial plight. Unfortunately, those that have a felony have a hard time finding a job, but those of us who do not have choices. Is is in a time of financial need that will somethimes call out for a person to become creative and go into business for themselves.



My thoughts exactly! I was unemployed just before the economic downturn for @7 months. I spent a bulk of each day job searching, on phone & in person interviews with little or no success in finding an appropriate position relative to my experience & compensation. My unemployment benefits could not possibly cover my montly expenses (mortgage etc...) and faced with continuing to dip into my savings and benefits running out, I decided to take a lesser position (money & title) in order to cover my expenses & continue looking for a more appropriate job. It was a f/t job so job search time was limited to evenings & weekends but the good news is it paid off. I minimized my financial loss & ultimately found a new job that was on par with my background & compensation. I have friends that seem to think it's beneath them to take a lesser position or work as a sales clerk to tide them over...I think it's better than the alternative which could be losing your savings, home etc...!

I finally landed a full-time job after being laid off for over a year and a half ago. And while I would have gladly taken a part time hourly wage job and applied for many (including temp) those people were not interested. I think there is more to this story and perhaps in another geographic area I'd be more lucky in find hourly work but here in NYC there are plenty of young people willing to do that kind of work.

As for adults with mortgages, tuition to pay, credit cards to pay off (not my issue) and utilities working full-time to find a full time job seems more amenable to time spent. Besides anyone hiring a newly laid off VP of anything is not going to confident that he or she will stay around for any amount of time. So why should they invest any time in them?

This is one posting that struck a nerve with me. Long story short, upon moving to an area where I lived in the country with one of my five sisters I had no transportation except for her ten speed bike. The closet town was about thirty two miles one way from the house that we lived in, which was located in the country. Keeping in mind that I didn't have my driver's license this was my only mode of transportation unless I happen to be on the same schedule as my sister which was not very often. I rode that bike for about six years from anywhere that we moved even if it was raining or snowing, in the middle of the night. The comments that I would get from people about how that couldn't do it because there was no job that was worth riding a bike any distance "just for a job". I did this for about six years until I finally decided to obtain my driver's license, because before this I really never had a need for one because I always had the ability to get to where I needed to by some other means albeit walking, taxi, or public transportation (I spent 2 1/1 years in Germany in the U.S. Army I didn't need much transportation there). I would in turn tell when you have to support yourself and there is no one else to do it for you will do what needs to be done to put a roof over your head and food in your stomach. I get really frustrated when people say to me that they don't have a way to get to work or to find a job. There was a time where I had three part time jobs that I would at everyday because I knew that working only one or two jobs was not going to be enough to support me and pay the rent at the same time. I would rather work a part time job than not have a job at all. In 1988 I finally landed my dream job with the Dept of Defense from which I have since retired and I am now looking for something where can work from home while taking care of my Mother.

I would definately take something at $8 an hour.
It would just make sense for the experience alone and just being out there can help lead to better

Currently I am employed at a vocational school where I work as an instructor but also wear the hat of Job Placement Co ordinator. I try to place graduating students, that are not kids just out of high school, but mature people who have lost their jobs to plant closings, downsizing etc.
Most of the training here is for entry level to new career paths and when they apply there are always complaints as to the low pay scale...They just don't seem to understand that when unemployment benefits are running out you should take any job that will bring money in to you and continue to search for something better.

YES, definitely work. I actually think working a part-time lower paying job is a great way to help make ends meet while still having the free hours to spend looking for full-time permanent employment or fostering a new business of your own. This is something my husband and I have often discussed as I work to grow my own small business while still holding down a 40-hour a week job that pays the bills. When the time comes, and I take the leap to making Meghan Snyder Communications my full-time effort, I will likely investigate part-time opportunities in retail or similar to make sure we're bringing in a few extra steady bucks.

And, if I were unemployed with NO money coming in, SOME is better than NONE for sure, so I'd absolutely consider positions such as these. In fact, when I was laid off in 2001, I did just that - worked for $10/hr part-time. In addition to the slight income, I think it also looks good on a resume to be doing something rather than sitting idle for too long. Employers, no doubt, understand it takes a while to find a job after losing or quitting one. However, sitting idle for month after month or year after year doesn't look good. Of course you have to do what's best for personal survival, so if the unemployment benefits are better than the offer, then don't give them up. They will however eventually run out. So that's the time to do something, even if it's not a final landing place. Good luck to all of you out there who are searching for something new.

I am desperate to work. Right now I deliver the newspaper 5 days a week for 16 cents a toss, I want a really job, and I wiould except any job that paid me hourly. I am a felon and no one will give me a break, I have been on countless interviews and once they do a background check, I am finished. So all you namby pambies that won't work for $8.00 an hour shame on you.I would take that job and be very greatful for the chance to prove myself!

It has been 19 mths that I have been working at a position for 1/2 of what I previously made. This position is normally filled by high school and college kids. For the first time in my life, I am the "older Person". Everyday is difficult, everyday I am earning a dollar. That being said, I now have paid holidays,vacation time, sick time, and some medical. So when you look at the dollar amount, try to remember to add any benefits, you are actually earning a little more than is printed on the check.

After several months of job searching, I took a 7 month administrative contract that is way under my head. For me, the decision was motivated by 1) economics and 2) wanting to work. Besides needing money to pay my bills, I had been un or under-employed for a long time for health related reasons and wanted to get back to work to rebuild my confidence [so less was more in this case]. An unexpected benefit was working with businesses in the "green" industry, an area I'm very interested in. My first month on the job I was told I'd be managing an account with a "green" company that was on my top 20 list of places I wanted to work! As my contract is up in a couple of months, my boss recently told me to try to network myself into a permanent job at one of the businesses I'm currently supporting.

Yes, many times I'm frustrated that my MA and two decades of experience are highly underutilized in a job that barely requires a college degree. However, I've had the opportunity to learn about and establish good relationships with several small businesses doing great work - places I might hope to work next.

I left a professional, masters-level position 5 years ago for a multitude of personal and family reasons. Since then the economy has tanked, the typical organizations I would normally work for have instituted hiring freezes, and I have not been able to get another professional position.

Two and a half years ago I took one of those low-paying jobs, just to get back into the workforce and have a job, a paycheck (albeit small), and feel productive.

BUT ... what's missing from this advice (work a low-paying job when you can't find what you want) is this: it wreaks havoc with your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Although I did enjoy my co-workers immensely, the work could not have been more boring to me and it was definitely not commensurate with my abilities and education.

I left after two years because it was becoming a struggle to force myself to go to work where I knew I was going to be treated poorly by customers, bullied by a boss who felt threatened by my education, and feel pointless for a measly 4-hour shift.

Top all of that off by the fact that at this retail store (as many, I'm sure) we were required to wear the store's clothing line at work, and that ate up much of my tiny paycheck each month.

So was it worth it? Not for me, personally. I gained virtually nothing financially or professionally. It's a blip on my work history that I don't even put on the resume. Did I gain valuable insight into how retail salespeople should be treated -- yes! I'll carry that with me for sure.

I formerly worked as a contract Paralegal in Atlanta, before relocating to a rural area, because of my husband's job. For the past year, I have been unable to find any work in my field. After being bored to tears, I decided to take a part-time job at a Day Care Center for minimum wage. Working part-time has allowed me to get out of the house, and mingle with other people. I also have time to job hunt in the mornings, before reporting to work in the afternoons. I have also decided to launch a new business venture. So, I hope to spin my lack of employment situation into a promising business. Please don't ever give up!

Well said. I was one of those who thought taking a "menial" job would jeopardize my future employment. Now I'm ready to begin an hourly wage job (waiting on background check to be completed,) low person on the totem pole, and I'm excited! I found something "loosely" connected to the field I am moving into, low stress, allows me to go to graduate school, start my business, be with people I could very well be working with on a more professional level down the road, gets me out of the house, brings in some much needed funds, helps me help people, etc etc etc. They hired me because they liked my "five year plan." Once I let go of my stubbornness and started looking at and planning a bigger picture, good things started happening.

Tory, reading your posts was like hearing myself speak several times to many, including myself.
As a mother of two children, one with special needs, I struggled as a very successful project manager/computer validation consultant. I loved my job but it was extremely demanding and at home we went through 6 nannies in two years because of the lack of understanding of my special needs daughter. Because of the stresses at home, I changed my schedule to part time and it worked for a while until the company needed extensive traveling that I could not do. So for a while, I was jobless and seeking the same exact part time scenario again that never came to fruition. I had to consider other alternatives as I did and do need to work. I always wanted to teach and did corporate training professionally so I began looking at colleges. It took a lot of perseverance on my part but I finally landed a job as an instructor. The pay is much less than what I am use to earning but I always say the words you noted in your blog - little pay is better than no pay. And I am actually enjoying what I do. It is so rewarding to teach someone that comes back to visit you often letting you know that you made a great difference in their life. That really makes me feel that I have accomplished my goals.
I meet women all of the time that give me the same story you described I went for an interview and I turned the job down because they were only willing to pay $8 or $10 an hour and my response to them is this: Well the next time you are at an interview for a job that you really would want, think about whether you are more comfortable explaining a large gap in your employment history or an opportunity to take a lesser paying job and the chance of being on the front lines and making a change or learning a different aspect of a job that will perhaps help you become a better leader in your actual profession.
I would still very much welcome an opportunity for a part time or work from home consulting job but at least I am still employed and making a difference.

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