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So which IS worse? Taking a job you’ll hate or waiting? Readers respond … do you agree with them?

be strategic in your job search, which is worse - taking a job you'll hate or waiting?, improving your job prospects,
Be wary of taking a job you will hate.
Recently I asked the question, “Which is worse … taking a job you’ll hate or waiting (and waiting) for the right one?” I also asked people to say why they responded the way they did and to share their experiences. I promised I’d share the answer this week. So ... which is worse?

Many said taking a job you’ll hate is WORSE…
If you have the time and devotion, wait for the job that you're longing. Who knows...it could turn into your career! And that is actually my current plan of the moment. Sure, I could take a job that I hate and stay there a few months but who is that benefiting? The job that makes you miserable so your work may suffer, thus hurting the company? Or perhaps it hurts you more as a result of not having the time to dedicate to the job search/follow up. For me, it's a lose/lose situation to take on a job I hate...therefore, I [actively] wait. – Ann, freelance marketing and PR, St. Louis

This is a trick question, huh? (LOL!) The absolute worst thing would be to settle for a job I hated. That notwithstanding, I'm curious to see what the "best" answer is. - Isker, project manager and technical writer, St. Louis

Spending your days at a job you hate is a slow death. Being unemployed is a quick one. In my experience, there's a honeymoon phase with a new job, then you find out your true duties, limitations, culture of the organization, or just plain outgrow the responsibilities with limited growth or development. – Rob, training professional, St. Louis

Taking a job you hate is like death! I've been laid off 3 times since the end of 2006 and in 2007 I thought I found a great job with a great company. Within a week, I learned I was working with a very angry/bitter group of people, who were very eager to tell you exactly why they were that way. The job ended up not being what they had told me it would be either, the duties were 180 degree different. That job basically ruined the rest of my life. When I wasn't at the office, I had to think about going back the next day. One day, I actually went out to my car and cried it was so bad. Fortunately, few months later, I got laid off -- basically I think they needed someone to finish a project, and when I did, out I went. Except for still needing a paycheck, I about did cartwheels down the hall! – Anonymous, St. Louis

I accepted a job that I didn't want, but at age 48, single and with a mortgage I felt like I needed to stay in my field, continue to have a certain level of salary and maintain status quo. I wasn't brave enough to hold out for another offer, or try something entrepreneurial. Two year plus I still dislike the job, have general job dissatisfaction and wonder if I made the right decision. The only good part about the move is that I spend time reflecting on what type of work would make me feel productive, happy and like I am accomplishing something. I am also reconsidering the amount of income I need to live a practical life. – Melissa

Taking a position that you do not enjoy will make you miserable. Spending 8 hours a day doing something you do not enjoy is something I would not be able to do for long. Of course, I realize every person's situation is different, but as I "get older" I want a job which I enjoy coming to 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. – David W., St. Louis

My experience, taking a job you hate is slow death. Of course being un- or underemployed also isn't pleasant! But at least you can have hope in finding something that's better. – Jeff, St. Louis

Taking a job that you think isn't a good fit will only lead you back to the position of looking for another one. If you HAVE to take a "bad-fit" to pay bills, hopefully it can be outside of your core profession and it won't affect your long term career goals. – Tod, St. Louis

For me it's taking a job you hate...it will beat you down. And then you can start feel like you are stuck. - Heather, St. Louis

Others said that waiting is WORSE …
At this rate, I am open to taking any job. I know it is a bad thing to say, but this has happened to me before. I just took any job because I was tired of the long job search and I was running out of money. Career coaches look at my resume and ask why I take jobs that are below my academic capabilities. My response is that I live in a place where it is so difficult to get a job that one has to take something in order to survive. I am wondering if this seen as a negative by recruiters as they look at my resume. I hope it is not but in this economic climate, one cannot be so sure. – Bernadette, Providence, R.I

Unless a person has unlimited savings, waiting and waiting is worse. Add to that, being on the bench too long causes potential employers to worry about technological or industry obsolescence, I think it's better to be productive at something, than sitting on the sidelines. – Anonymous

I think that given the state of the economy, it is worse to wait for the right job to come along because you don't know how long you may have to wait. It could be months, even years before your "perfect job" comes along. Meanwhile, the bills keep on coming and coming. One can only hold out and wait for a job for so long before he/she takes a crappy job in order to pay the bills and other necessities. – Katrina

I accepted a job where I had a concern about one of the co-owners. I anticipated things being rough but thought I could use the job as a "springboard" out of manufacturing and into environmental services. I figured I could handle things with this one particular co-owner long enough to not look like a job jumper and then move on. Well, the owner let me go after 9 months. About 4 months later I landed a job I liked a lot and about 13 months after starting the good job I landed my dream job. Unfortunately, the dream ended 8 months ago. So I will certainly listen to that internal voice telling me this isn't a good fit a lot more than I did in 2005. But in today's market I still may take the "bad" job for economic reasons. – Scott, St. Louis

In this economy, waiting for the perfect job is worse than taking a job you hate. For one thing, companies are running lean and mean so even at the best companies you are apt to find yourself in fast-paced, stressful, and sub-optimal conditions. (2) It is far too easy to get discouraged and unmotivated if you're unemployed too long. (3) You are a more attractive candidate if you're already employed so you can continue your search even in a bad job. (4) In fact, you may be more motivated to find a better situation. (5) Work, in essence, is about providing essentials for yourself and your family. Everything else, fulfillment, job satisfaction, etc. is a luxury of a robust hiring economy. - Anonymous

Still others said that you gotta do what you gotta do …
In the long run, taking the job you hate will cause more stress than waiting for the right one. However, if you are the only one paying the bills you have to do what you have to do somtimes. - Donna, St. Louis

It definitely depends on where you are in your career and your life. Being at a place where you can afford and have the confidence to wait for just the right opportunity can is a very nice place to be. However, where is the line between being discriminating and true to yourself and cutting yourself off from opportunities to grow and learn from any challenge you face? – Patti, St. Louis

Like most things it depends on your personal situation. At least once in my life - I talked myself in to a position that deep down I did not want - but needed the income stream. If you can afford to wait - you are better waiting for a job that you know will be the "right job" - but difficult to judge how long that may take in this economy. - Don, St. Louis

Sometimes you have to take a job you don't like for the cash flow... to take care of your family. In these economic times, we're experiencing a major shift in our thinking and approach to the good to great jobs because they may no longer be available due to globalization, are in short supply, or simply unattainable because the rules have changed to acquire them also partly due to globalization. As a result, there will be some that may not want to return to what they did before because the pay will never be at the levels they were accustomed to and others will make the mistake of holding out until demand improves and the salaries or hourly rates go up, when in reality, they never will. I believe, for a great many of us, that we need to re-think, re-design and creatively reengineer what we do. That includes the way we network and the methods used for networking, the way we market and sell ourselves and just plain old thinking out of the box! Now's a pretty good time to start thinking about reinventing ourselves. – David E., SAP project and program manager, St. Louis

I took a job, about 10 years ago, that I was not really that enthused about. It was with a small company and I did not do all the research I should have done, so guess shame on me. I knew from the very first day that it was not a good fit, but I dug in and tried to make it work. Things just kept getting worse and worse, and my nerves began to fray. It was causing problems at home so my wife told me I needed to make a decision. I quit the job and was ever so happy I did. In today's environment, however, most people will really need to do some soul searching and decided which is better....a job or unemployment. Can you live on your savings, or do you need to take something "just to get by"? What are your options? Would it be better to invest some time in more education? Maybe you need to look into another field of work? – Robert, MBA, St. Louis

I am currently in a job I do not like, but accepted because of my fear in the current environment. I have continued to look for a job, but I dread going to work because the job is so boring. The company is great so I am trying to move within to a better job. I now wish that I would have held out for a better fit, but after I was laid off from Verizon with more than 10 years, I overreacted. It is the first time in my life that I did not a job to go to every morning so I took the first job that came along. I should have waited for a more senior position because I have only worked for 2 companies my adult life. I would recommend that if possible, a person waits as long as necessary and that will be my policy. – Michael, St. Louis

And for one lucky person, she doesn't have to worry about it!
Both choices are not an option for me at this time ... God blessed me that I don't have to do work at a job I'd hate or try to find one in this economy! I am with my great husband who works his “tushi” off 60 hours a week! I do work part time demo jobs, on occasion, just to get out of the house and socialize. – Linda

Do you agree or disagree with people’s comments? Share your comments!


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  1. Waiting is much harder in these economic times.

  2. Sitting while waiting isn't worth it, be active!


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