Why I Accepted a Part Time Minimum Wage Job

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.

It’s Flexible

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.

19 thoughts on “Why I Accepted a Part Time Minimum Wage Job”

  1. I left a job to take a lower paying, with more hours and WAY more fun job. I still miss working at that place!
    Network like mad with the parents, while you’re there. I think that’s a key part of the “easier to find a job while you have one” thing… which I agree is a thing.
    Here’s hoping there are bright spots in the future πŸ™‚

  2. I have to really commend you for taking on a minimum wage job with your qualifications. When you’ve got debts to pay, an income is better than none. It also sounds like you enjoyed your job and that you’ll have time to pursue other passions, so you might have just come our ahead instead of being stuck in the usual 9-5. Best of luck at your new job.

  3. I’m glad you’re happy! That’s one of the most important things. I’ve been there with taking the only offer I could get, and while it was loads better than working retail, it can still be a blow to the ego. It’s great to look on the bright side!

    I did accept a lower paying job once, because the job I had been at was extremely stressful, and not worth what I had been getting paid. The new job was much less stressful and didn’t require any overtime. When we moved, I obviously took a big pay cut, as I went from being unemployed to trying to be self-employed, but things are finally starting to look up. Good luck on freelancing, and if you ever need any help/advice, let me know!

  4. Congrats on getting your job! Right after college I could only get part-time jobs and I subbed 4-5 days a week during the school year. It was rough, but I was glad to have something. It sounds like your job is going to go great and $11 isn’t too terrible (depending on where you are). The flexibility and room for advancement can make it worth more than some full-time jobs too!

  5. Congrats on landinga position! It may not be your forever job but you’re right any job is better than no job! You might want to consider doing some sort of certificate while you are working full time!

  6. I’ve definitely had to take a low paying, retail shift work job (with a college degree) and I have to say, I was really lucky to get it. It’s not glamorous, but it does help pay the bills and it REALLY gets the butt in gear to keep looking for better work. I second Anne- network like crazy with the parents!

  7. Exactly right. Min wage is better than $0 and it beats fast food or retail. You could have done a lot worse so I think you made the right decision. It’s something. Congrats!!! It will make you feel better about yourself to get out and have a schedule again too.

  8. Congratulations! That’s great news. I completely understand that it’s not perfect and it wouldn’t be your first choice, but there are SO MANY positives here… paid work ($11 is a LOT better than $0!), renewed enthusiasm, opportunities. I’m really pleased for you.

  9. I’m glad to hear you have some money coming in now πŸ™‚ It’s disheartening to take a job that you feel isn’t necessarily the best for you, but you’ve mentioned many great things about the position… and $11 is definitely better than $0! Keep searching and applying and I’m sure something will come along soon – oh smaller cities and rural areas with poor economies… it isn’t a fun place to job search. But something will come up. And I agree with the adage about being easier to find a job with a job, but I don’t know the stats on that.

  10. Yeah! Congrats on the new job! I think on of your most valid points in this post is that there is room to grow–there is! I actually worked the exact same job before, I was there for about 2 months before I was managing the daycare, 8 months before I was doing administration for the whole gym. I ended up staying 3 years and “freelancing” for them for years to come for extra cash. Plus it opened up the doors to so many other opportunities via the people I met. This is so exciting!

  11. Congrats on the job. It may not be your dream job but it pays the bills. πŸ™‚ And you can still look for another job while doing this one. When I graduated from university, I could not find a job at all because I had no experience. And I took a minimum wage job working as a cashier at a supermarket. I think I was paid $7.25/hr at that time. Did I like it? No. But I stuck to it til I found something better. And in all honesty, I think it gives me an appreciation for retail jobs. Also, I still know some random codes & barcodes of produce and products which always surprise people. XD

  12. I agree — congratulations on having *some* income coming in, and from a place that’s not so bad — there are pros (you like the work, the company seems to have its act together) as well as cons. You can and should definitely keep looking from here, but in the meantime at least it’ll help keep you afloat and keep you busy, too; one of the worse parts of absolute unemployment is the depression of having no structure to your day. Good luck!

  13. Ok I’m super late to the game here but CONGRATS! Any job is better than no job, and if you can get one you like, all the better.

    When I couldn’t find an internship in the summer, I got hired to serve tables and sell beer at the Calgary Stampede. It wasn’t exactly where I imagined myself with 6 years of university under my belt, but I didn’t have a choice. I lucked out and got an office gig before I had to start, but I was still ready to work bad shifts in the service industry to stay afloat financially.
    Honestly in retrospect I think I would have earned more money and liked the job more serving tables than working where I did for my internship….


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