Are these places for me to work? Should I go from general manager to “would you like fries with that?”
Before you get all upset and think I’m being an elitest, realize I’m writing this because it’s one of the biggest issues I hear about from professionals who become unemployed. I’ll share my ideas, and I welcome your balancing perspectives.
Before I lost my job, I was quite a stereotyper. I would look at an unemployed professional and say “I would do anything to pay my own way – get two jobs at McDonalds,” or whatever. It’s really easy to say when it’s not you. As I faced the issues of unemployed income (not coming in) vs. unemployed expense (still going out), I thought about McDonalds. Here are three rationalizations for NOT taking this type of (temporary) job:
- Humility vs. Pride. Perhaps you could find a store that is not in your neighborhood, so you don’t have to serve Ms. Jones and her snotty kids (who whisper, all-to-loud, “what’s he doing here??”). It’s easy to say someone else needs to get over themselves and get the job at McDonald’s but when it’s you, with all your education, clout and self-importance, … it’s easy to justify why you shouldn’t. It can probably be summed up in one word: pride.
- Actual income. If I worked 40 hours a week, at $6/hour, I would make about $1,000 a month. Give me a break, this was a fraction of my previous income, and wouldn’t even cover my mortgage. Even if I “need the money,” is this the only way I could earn money? Perhaps I do need a temporary job (see below for another way of saying this), but I have to consider my expenses and find a job that can contribute significantly towards that. Oh yeah, don’t forget taxes 🙂
- Harmful to the job search. Let’s be conservative and say I’m working 20 hours a week. That 20 hours might preclude me from getting to job interviews, networking one-on-one, formal networking events, taking phone calls when they come in (“why yes, Ms. Hiring Manager, I’d love to come in tomorrow for an interview” vs. missing the call altogether), etc.
Those are three rationalizations. Let’s look at it from another perspective. When I went through a two-day job search workshop, they referred to this “temporary job” as a step job. It is just a stepping-stone to get to where I was supposed to go. A step job is what you get to keep the incoming coming in.
It is also helpful to keep you out of your house, networking, even keeping skills sharp or broadening your vision. A step job can be helpful in many ways, and it doesn’t have to be at McDonalds. Consider a step job as a job you occupy while you are looking for that right opportunity.
Perhaps YOU are in a step job right now (and didn’t realize it)!
There’s nothing wrong with that, just make sure that the step job doesn’t preclude you from getting the job you are shooting for. I’ve thought about step jobs with nigh shifts, but knew I’d be a good-fer-nothing all day long (and grumpy, too)!
So what do you think? McDonalds to low for you? Does a step job make sense?