by Connie Felder, Deputy Director

Connie Felder

Connie Felder

Many customers coming to our Career Centers say they just want a job, any job.

That sounds simple. Once we start talking, however, there are often a lot of “buts” – but I want a job that pays the same as my former job, but I don’t want to travel far from home, but I can only work these hours, etc.

The reality is, the longer you are out of work, the less marketable you become. Any period of unemployment can also dramatically affect your emotional health, stamina and self-confidence, which are all important to the job search process. So in today’s competitive job market, how do you get back into the job market more quickly?

It’s essential to examine your expectations. Your expectations at the start of unemployment are often very different than they are six or more months later. Many job seekers have inflated perceptions of their skills and abilities. Be realistic and anticipate that you may need to make short-term career compromises. Too few job seekers are willing to consider a new career or a job remotely related to their former occupations, even after a long period of unemployment.

In my work counseling job seekers and career changers, I often relate my own experiences.

One story I tell is how I was unhappy with my sales job and decided to seek a job in education even though I had no experience or credentials. Shortly after quitting (which, by the way, I do not recommend) my sales job, I took a job in admissions at a local college. It paid less than half of what I was making in my job in industry (not including the company car, expense account, and lucrative benefit package).

I wanted to get my foot in education that badly and was willing to sacrifice a lot financially, hoping it would pay off in the long run. Everyone thought I was crazy. Within three months, I was promoted to coordinator and within two years was making what I had in private sector sales (minus the company car). And I wouldn’t be sitting here in a job I love as Deputy Director of RochesterWorks, if I hadn’t been willing to take that poorly-paid, entry-level job in education.

At RochesterWorks! we know how important it is for job seekers to get back into the job market as quickly as possible. That is why we continue to support our members with our services after they have found employment. We will continue to work with members to help them reach their career goals. This may include helping to get additional training, updating a resume, providing additional job referrals, or providing support services to help them keep their job and move up the career ladder at their current employment.

So, if your Career Advisor suggests you consider a job that may not meet your pay or responsibility expectations, consider this: a job is better than no job because every job holds the potential to teach us something about ourselves and set us on the path to a fulfilling career.

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