When you’re unemployed, or just really, really need to quit your current job, you may wonder if it makes sense to take a lower level job – either in terms of salary, responsibilities, title, or all three. The answer – as with so much in life – is that it depends. And what it depends on is the nature of the lower level job.
If you’re offered a full time employee position for what is essentially a lower level job than your previous one, consider the ramifications of a short-term solution to a long-term situation. When the opportunity arises to move on from that lower level job, your title and salary will likely be pegged to it. And your responsibilities, and the accomplishments that follow from those responsibilities, will be diminished. In fact, it’s actually hard to get an offer for a lower level job because most employers figure that you’ll bail when something better comes along.
But here’s when you should not only consider taking a lower level job, but in fact seek some out: when they are contract, freelance, or consulting roles. As I wrote in the Wall Street Journal, freelance or consulting positions reflect well on candidates who take care to describe them. This strategy works whether you are a CIO or an Administrative Assistant. While management level candidates may have specific skills to market as consultants, bookkeepers, support personnel (like administrative assistants) can work temp jobs -and those belong on your resume!
The neat thing is that by taking a contractual role, even if it is, in essence, a lower level job, you negate the downsides inherent with those jobs being full time.
So fight the urge to accept the first offer that comes along, and consider taking on contractual work. Who know? That short-term assignment could well turn into a full time offer for the position you really want. Try and buy does work!
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