Leopard Hot Spot and Law Blog


Is That “Step Down” Job Really Giving You A Leg Up?

by Beverly Aarons 27. February 2012 10:02

Job seeker flexibility is important in a tight job market; but how flexible should you be?  One of the biggest career decisions a job seeker will make is whether or not to take a step down in their next position.  Because “step down” jobs can harm a job seeker’s future employment prospects, they should not be taken without carefully weighing the consequences. Let’s take a look at a few questions a job seeker should ask themselves before taking a job which is significantly beneath their previous types of employment:

How Bad Is Your Financial Situation?

If you’re unable to pay your basic living expenses, then it may be necessary to take whatever job you can get. However, any job seeker taking an emergency job should have an exit plan.  Remember, don’t stop sending resumes and going to interviews even after you’ve accepted the “step down” job.

How Does The “Step Down” Job Benefit You In The Long-Term?

The short-term benefit of taking a job beneath your skills and experience is obvious – the ability to get income right away.  However, the job should also offer some longer term benefits especially if you plan to remain there for a year or longer. Will the job teach you a new skill?  Will it offer you experience in a field of interest to you?  Whatever the benefits are, take note and be sure to exploit those benefits once you’re hired.

Is The “Step Down” Job Costing You Money?

One of the negatives of taking a job beneath your skills and experience is that it can end up costing you financially.  Ask yourself the following questions:  How much will it cost to commute?  Will the job’s salary cover the cost of child care?  Will you earn enough to save and invest in retirement? Does the job require travel or further training but fails to offer reimbursement?


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