Have You Failed By Taking A Short-Term Anything Job?

Suppose you’re one of those people – and there’s a lot of them out there these days – who have some education beyond High School. You’ve planned all along on pursuing a job that makes use of that education. However, with a widening gap of unemployment on your résumé matching your growing frustration at not working, you’ve found yourself finding the idea of just taking a job – any job – more and more appealing; something you thought you never would. There’s this nagging notion that you’ve failed though that keeps you from actually applying for work outside your field of education. So have you?

The short answer is no, you haven’t. Exhale and breathe a sigh of relief. Do that a few times and read on.

There’s a lot of common sense involved in doing exactly what you’ve contemplated and like I pointed out in the beginning, you’re one of many who are well-educated and unemployed. It is not only understandable that you’d be looking at broadening your job search at some point – perhaps where you are at the moment – it’s also a very good idea.

So how come? I mean, Employment Coaches and Counsellors often say you should stick to your career plan and never give up on what you really want. Doing anything else is just settling isn’t it? What happened to finding your passion and not letting any setbacks get in your way of going after what’s going to make you truly happy? Flipping burgers, selling clothes, walking school kids across busy intersections: these aren’t the kind of jobs you thought you’d give more than a passing glance at. Could you ever imagine you’d actually be seriously thinking of going after one of these jobs at this point having finished College or University?

Hang on and settle down. We’re not talking forever here. No one is suggesting that you start your first day down at the fast food outlet and pump your first shouting, “Yes! I’ve arrived!”

The jobs we’re discussing here have been in the past called survival jobs. More and more they are also called transition jobs; work that bridges the gap of time and space between the present and a job in the future. These are typically short-term positions outside your field of training and education.

When you find yourself browsing these ads more and more and seriously thinking about actually applying, may I suggest you change your line of perception. Instead of thinking that you’ve failed; that your post-secondary education was a waste of both time and money, consider the positives of these transition jobs.

First and foremost, the income from a job – any entry-level job – will stem some financial bleeding. Admittedly while likely minimum wage, money is money and some is better than none. Perhaps more important than money however is the inclusion factor. Right now you’re outside the workforce; remember feeling that everyone has a job but you? That so many people you see from your window seem to have somewhere to go, something to do, while you sit and grow despondent, frustrated and perhaps depressed? Uh huh. Yep, getting up, showered, dressed and out the door with a purpose is always good. That routine you’ve been missing is more important than you might have thought.

Now if you’ve looked at that School Crossing Guard advertised on some Municipality’s website and scoffed at it, think again. First of all those hours; before school, at noon and late afternoon leave you two chunks of time – mid-morning and mid-afternoon – to continue your targeted job search. Of even more significance perhaps is that once you land a Crossing Guard job, even though you’re working outside, you’ve at the same time become an internal employee. Had you considered that? Yes, you’re now able to see and apply for the internal jobs with that Municipality; jobs that up until now you had no access to. Full-time jobs that pay much better and perhaps come with benefits too.

That Crossing Guard job might be one you have to take for 3 or 6 months before you’re eligible to apply for anther internal job. Okay so be it. Do the job at present and do it with a positive attitude. You’ve got this job so you might as well enjoy it and keep telling yourself you’re in transition from this to your next job – the one you really want.

Remember you don’t have to add a short-term job on your résumé, but consider doing so because it does bridge a gap. In your cover letter or at an interview you can certainly state with confidence that you took the short-term job where you are working to pay the bills but you’re highly motivated to seek work in your field as this is where your passion and strong interest are.

A failure? Far from it. You’re wise enough not to let pride get in the way and perhaps it even demonstrates your belief that no job, and certainly not the people doing them, should be looked down on. Perhaps it’s helped you learn humility and an appreciation for the hard work involved which you’d previously overlooked. Perhaps too you’re actually better for the experience and will be all the more grateful for the opportunity to work in the field of your choice doing what you love.

Suddenly, you might be more attractive to your employer of choice.



Hey, it’s nothing personal


You’ve experienced the frustration of a job loss and have decided to move on with an enthusiastic job search. Good for you!

Fast forward a couple of months and you’re still looking. Sure you’ve landed a few interviews over that time, and you’ve had conversations with hiring managers, HR personnel, even past employers. What might be eating away at you is a feeling that you’re being targeted in a negative way. You see yourself as qualified – perhaps even over qualified for some jobs yet, still you’re not getting an offer of employment.

Because it’s YOU that’s being rejected, it’s natural to take things personally. Saying things like, “What’s the matter with me?”, Why won’t they hire me?” are the kinds of statements that are personal first person statements that are more damaging than you might realize. These kind of statements are useful if they are used for self assessment and critique, but they can be dangerous if dwelled on to the point where we start imagining we’ve been blackballed by an industry or field. Hiring Managers have way too much to do these days and haven’t got the time to send out broadcast emails and make phone calls to each other, advising everyone else to pass you by. Hey, are you that important to them? Really?

Lots of people are unemployed and from time to time, we experience job cutbacks, recessions and periods of change. Many people who are employed today have recently been out of work, or will be soon. No, don’t gloat. Would you wish your experience on anybody out there?

Try and keep an objective, realistic view of your unemployment. It isn’t personal. There are so many qualified people applying for jobs these days, no matter who an employer selects from a group of applicants, you can bet there’s some among the final cuts who would have been quite capable in the position they were unsuccessful at. Keep trying. Keep applying, keep positive, and keep your focus on getting a job. The strain of unemployment doesn’t need more fuel from bitterness, blame, anger and frustration.

If you are just recently unemployed, take some small solace out of the fact that the reality of today is that because so many people are at some point between jobs, there is more general acceptance and understanding for those who find themselves out of work. The stigma of being unemployed is not as strong as it used to be. How you react to your unemployment is what people will remember and talk about, and be affected by.

Even if in your private moments you get depressed and down on yourself, try and minimize the length of time you spend in this private torment. While honesty is good, and when asked it’s okay to share your feelings with others, don’t let your sharing turn into a blast of negativity and cause your audience to shun you in the future. You’re going to need friends.

Unemployment isn’t personal. Business’s are out to improve their bottom line. Sometimes that means changing strategies, re-assessing their organizational structures and needs. This change while designed to re-position the company to be more profitable, has it’s share of unintended casualties. Your company probably didn’t restructure their organization as some plot to justify terminating your services.

Stay true to the person you are. Learn from your experience. Open yourself to new directions. Take stock of your experience, skills, assets and liabilities. Re-evaluate your priorities. Take care of yourself phyiscally and mentally.

You have a lot to offer an employer!