For years, my wife struggled unsuccessfully to gain a career-oriented (and non-sales ) job in marketing. After years of low-paying work in a completely unrelated field, she resigned and eventually found a position that was personally fulfilling. Although the new job paid only $10k, it enabled her to find her true calling. She recently earned a Master’s degree in this field and will soon have a job that she enjoys that pays about $40k.
I have been unemployed for the past three months and received my last severance payment last week. My wife is now asking me to take any job I can get, even if it pays as much as $30k less than I earned before.
After a decade of career progression, my most recent salary was about $90k. Recruiters tell me that’s about 10% lower than the typical pay for my role. That being said, I have an interview tomorrow for a job I am qualified to do, but is not aligned with my career interests. It pays about $60k; $30k less than my former job, and enough to enable my wife and I to make ends meet.
Accepting this $60k job with no career growth potential would set me back to my 2004 salary. I would continue to seek employment elsewhere that would be better aligned with my skills, career goals, and former salary. I think it would be even more difficult to find a suitable position at my former salary after doing this.
Savings would carry us for another 2 months and we have another 3 months of cash in the bank which is the proceeds of a loan taken out the day I was terminated. Our home equity line could add another 4 months. As a last resort, my retirement savings could keep us afloat for an additional year (yes, I have listened to the Finances Rule podcast).
What are others thoughts? When unemployed and in the absence of temporary consulting work, should a person take a substantial step backwards in their career solely to earn a paycheck? Should they hold out for the right position even if it means taking on debt or spending retirement savings to keep afloat?