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Should You Take A Low Paying Job?

Mrs. Micah recently tackled the topic of whether or not it’s a good idea to take a low paying job [3] (she phrased it differently, whether certain kinds of work are beneath you) and gave three arguments why it was a bad idea: it takes up valuable time while draining you of energy you should be using applying for jobs, they aren’t a true solution and could cause complacency, and the less-skilled job doesn’t look good on a resume.

No job is beneath me. On a recent trip to China, where there are a whole mess of people and not enough jobs, I discovered that it was one person’s job to ensure that the grassy median on the main street was properly watered and trimmed. The total area was about 4 feet by 250 feet and it was that one person’s job to water the lawn and flowers, trim the grass and bushes, sweep the street, and ensure the lawn was free of debris. The job paid, put food on the table, and even had a little bit of fulfillment of a job well done (a nicely manicured lawn does look nice) but it probably didn’t fulfill the worker’s higher aspirations. For many, that job is probably “beneath” you (pardon the pun) but that worker was earning a wage and supporting himself and his family (the alternative for many in China is subsistence farming).

At the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not you can support you and your family (if you have one) and for that reason there is never a job that is “beneath” you regardless of your background, education, or skillset.

As for the good reasons, cited above, why it’s bad to take a low paying job? They’re bogus, here’s why:

One reason why you shouldn’t take a low paying job? Unemployment benefits. If you’re fired, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits [4] (file for unemployment benefits! [5]). Use your benefits as your income source while you search for a job. If you can’t find a new job before your benefits run out, then you should take on a low paying job.

Finally, I find it dangerous to pass judgment on any job, above, beneath or beside you, because it’s someone’s job somewhere.

(Photo: jdeepaniii [6])