The good news is that I’m no longer unemployed! YAY!
The bad news is that I accepted a part time minimum wage job…
I had mentioned a while back that I was considering applying for a job as the daycare supervisor of a gym. I was so back and forth on whether or not I should apply because I didn’t quite meet the qualifications listed and I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to work with kids again or not. And if I’m being completely honest, the advertised pay-scale would mean taking more than a 50% pay-cut from my last job.
But after nearly 7 months of unemployment, I decided that I couldn’t be choosey anymore.
So I brought my resume and cover letter in and was given a per-qualifying interview on the spot. I wasn’t really prepared for it, but must have done well because I received a call that afternoon asking for me to come in for an interview the next day.
Unfortunately, I woke up on Tuesday morning with a migraine. I took pain killers, drank lots of water, had some coffee, and did my best to “fake it” through the interview – but I honestly thought I tanked it. Like, I cried when I got home…
On Wednesday afternoon, I was struggling to somehow turn the experience into a non-“woe is me” blog post when I got a text message from one of my references saying she just got off the phone with the Gym. And sure enough, a few minutes later I was on phone with them being offered a job – but it wasn’t the full time supervisor position I applied for.
It was for a part time minimum wage working as a daycare attendant.
I started on Thursday.
I’m 31. I’m over $50,000 in debt. I have an honours Bachelor of Arts degree and a post-graduate diploma. I have 4 years experience managing my own arts education department and 5 years working in academic support. I’m planning a wedding for June.
So why would I accept a part time minimum wage job?
It’s The Only Offer I’ve Received
Yup, as hard as this for my ego to accept, this is the biggest reason I accepted the job. Sort of by “default”, if you will. After being laid off nearly 7 months ago, not getting my old job back (as I was promised), applying for over a dozen different jobs, and interviewing for 3, this is apparently what fate or whatever has in store for me.
$11 an Hour is Better than $0 an Hour
For most of the summer I was collecting Employment Insurance. Because I actually made a decent wage at my last job, my E.I. payments were high – as in each paycheck was only about $20 less than what I was making working full time at my previous theatre job. So I wasn’t really in a rush to accept a lower paying job while I was still eligible for E.I. But when that ran out, my income dropped to $0, thus making minimum wage a pay increase instead of decrease.
It’s Better than Retail or Fast Food
With the job market the way it is and/or my lack of success in finding a good job, it was becoming clear that I had to expand my search and lower my standards. I couldn’t wait for that “perfect” job to become available, because it may never come. I needed a job – any job. And working in the gym’s daycare is a million times better than most other “survival jobs” out there. Yes there are kids with sticky hands and runny noses, but I’m not stuck in the mall during the Christmas season or with my face in a deep fryer.
There’s Room to Grow
The beauty of a part time job is that it can become a full time job. That full time job can become a supervisor job. And that supervisor job can become a management job. Or, if I want to move into a different role with the company, such as administration or customer service, I can do that too.
I’ve been toying a lot with the idea of “stepping up” this whole blogging and freelance writing thing all summer. The seed has been planted, but I have yet to really do much to grow the idea. It’s hard to find interesting things to write about when you barely leave the house! So, I’m hoping that this job will both inspire new ideas and allow me the time to write (and promote, and find freelancing gigs, and deal with the back-end issues, etc.).
My fiance is also a shift-worker, so the whole concept of evenings and weekends is lost on us anyways.
It’s Easier to Get a Job When You Have a Job
I don’t know if this has actually proven or not but it seems to be the general consensus, anyways. At the very least, it helps avoid any red-flags on my resume.
I Actually Really Like It
For me, this is crucial. I’d like to think I have a strong enough work ethic to stick with a job I don’t like because I need a job, but I don’t know if I would…
Thankfully, things are going really well so far. The kids are adorable. The staff is very nice and most people have been there for several years (which is a great sign!). Because I have open availability, I should be able to pick-up extra shifts if I want. Management seems to really know what they are doing. And it’s really close to my house.
I’ve always toyed with the idea of working with children as a career. I thought that I had found the perfect fit teaching after-school drama classes, but without the proper resources and support, it was a nightmare. I simply couldn’t handle 20 children on my own! But I doubt that’s going to be an issue with this job. I may be left alone for half an hour at the most, but even if there is an incident or emergency the front desk is 10 feet away and the parents will always be in the building.
I don’t know how long I’m going to stay at this job, but for now, I’d be happy to stay.
Have you ever accepted a lower-level and/or lower-paying job? Was it out of preference or was it a necessity?
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.