Should You Accept a Job that You Don’t Really Want?

Published: May 16, 2014

Topics: Interviewing       Job Search       Networking       Resumes & Cover Letters       

The hunt for a new job, particularly an entry-level job, can be agonizing—endless hours of scrolling through LinkedIn, writing cover letters that, somehow, aren’t just a restatement of your resume, faking that you have two to five years experience, sending applications into the black void of the internet, never to be seen or acknowledged again. The rejection is real, and restraining yourself from throwing your phone into the East River when your Mom suggests that you buy a newspaper and look at the classifieds is difficult. In a weak moment, many job seekers have applied for positions that they didn’t really want, and, of course, received an immediate response and offer.

Although the job may not be ideal, there may be several benefits. Let’s get serious, a paycheck, money, cash, finally. Being able to afford groceries, moving out of your childhood bedroom and maybe even cracking into those student loan payments is a pretty good feeling. A job, even if it’s not exactly a dream job, can give beaten down job hunters a sense of purpose and accomplishment and banish the looming feeling of worthlessness that creeps in during unemployment. If the job is in your industry or somewhat related, there may be other benefits as well. You may be able to build a demonstrated interest in the profession and accumulate the years of experience that are now, apparently, a prerequisite for an entry-level position. You may also be able to move up from the position into the job that you want or network your way into a new one.

Unfortunately, there are downsides to accepting a position that is less than ideal. Although you now have income, you no longer have the time or motivation to continue looking for that position description that combines the holy trinity of your education, experience and interest. A good deal of your time is now spent working , and after spending your week staring at a computer or standing for hours waiting tables, the choice between happy hour and hunching over your laptop becomes an easy one to make. After all, you do have a job now, why not enjoy yourself? Additionally, the clock is ticking, and each day that you are not in your desired field your degree and any related experience that you may have accumulated are now becoming stale. You run the risk of pigeonholing yourself into a career that you aren’t that thrilled about.   

Unemployment can take a financial and emotional toll, but taking the first job offered may not help you attain your ultimate career goals. Be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons of accepting a less than perfect position. Good Luck!