While catching up on the news yesterday, I read this interesting article on CNN.com. The author, Jessica Dickler, interviews Stephanie Jenkins, who had a background in hotel sales and marketing but now works for a senior living Alzheimer’s community. When she saw jobs in health care were growing while hospitality opportunities were dwindling, she saw the potential for a future career.
So Jenkins emphasized her strong sales experience and started targeting sales jobs in healt hcare. Immediately, her job search reaped more results. “I started sending my résumé out and I got so much interest in that area,” she said. Her background even worked in her favor, she explained. “Companies were interested in my outside sales experience.”
Three interviews and one job offer later, Jenkins is now a community ambassador for Silverado Senior Living, an Alzheimer’s community in Los Angeles. She uses her experience in sales to promote the senior living center to doctors and other health care providers. “I go out and create awareness and educate the health care community about the senior living center,” she explained.
Jenkins says she makes about 25% less a year than at her previous position but after five months on the job she is “thriving.” The best part is that she’s no longer worried about getting laid off again. To Jenkins, that’s worth more than the $20,000 paycut.
Of course, no single job can be declared 100 percent secure. Yet, looking at the statistics, Jenkins was right to see that health care was on a trajectory most other industries weren’t–especially during that shaky economic period. In her scenario, a career switch was a smart move.
Still, it makes me wonder how many people are willing to take a hit to the bank account if it means knowing you’ll have a steady paycheck? You’re not guaranteed this lower-paying job will last, but it’s a safer bet than other better-paying jobs–and probably better than having no job at all. Kind of that whole “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” business.
For those of you who find yourselves in this situation, here are some questions to ask while you deliberate taking a secure job for less pay:
- Can you survive on the lower income?
Some money (the new job) is better than no money (unemployment), but are you taking such a steep cut that you can’t feasibly pay any bills anyway?
- If you’ll be struggling to pay bills, can you take a second job?
Maybe the lower salary almost covers your needs, so a small supplementary income would be ideal. If the new job doesn’t monopolize all your free time, you could possibly get a part-time job to make ends meet.
- Are you positioning yourself as a qualified candidate?
The entire question of whether or not to make this career move is moot if you don’t market yourself as someone who deserves the job. Job seekers who are switching industries must remember to tailor their cover letters and résumés to the new employers. Your old jargon and job duties might not make sense until you translate them for your new audience.
- Have you researched the career potential of your new job or industry?
Look at the projections for industries to see if growth is in its future. Also look at what opportunities for growth are available in a specific organization. On an interview, ask about the opportunities or where the previous person in this role moved to. You want to make sure you’re not sacrificing your professional future in any way.