I was offered a part-time job that's 1.) an hour away and 2.) pays very badly. I need the work, but also feel like I need to assert my worth, as someone who is hardly
just out of college, and has a lot of related experience. Should I just suck it up and take it?
posted by FlyByDay to work & money (39 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is a box office manager position at a theater (a live performance theater, not a movie theater). I was recommended to the venue by a friend who is actually taking over as their production manager (their old one just got a job doing sound for "The Tonight Show"). They want me so oversee the box office, do some design work on their website, and help with booking and promoting of shows.
I have years of experience as a 1.) web and print designer, 2.) advertising copywriter (with strong social networking skills), and 3.) concert producer. I have great attention to detail and motivation (other qualities they're looking for), as I'm used to working for myself, but as times are tough, freelance work has been very slow. Where I charge $50-75/for design work (will lower it for certain situations), these guys are paying $13/hr. I am 43. This is what I was making 10+ years ago. The job is also a solid hour's drive away and does not include parking (though they say that there are 2-hour spots where I won't get a ticket).
When I went in for the interview, they told me the pay wasn't good, but they were looking for someone who would really take charge and help build the business, and not just do the minimum, as their other box office people have apparently been doing. During the interview, they went to check (on a computer) what they were paying their current design guy (across the country) and it was $40/hr. It seemed like they were saying that I could take over their design projects (their current guy is slow to make changes), and do the box office stuff for $13/hr. That sounded more acceptable to me. But in subsequent emails, they've said they do not intend to pay $40/hr for design, as they're trying to save money. I've asked what's reasonable, but haven't gotten another figure. Their current guy isn't doing satisfactory work, but they want to pay someone less to do a better job? This is confusing. I've been clear that I'd like to lay out the terms explicitly before we start anything, but haven't gotten an actual number for design tasks.
I have asserted that this is a low rate for me ($13/hr), and I can tell that they're sympathetic to that, but we still have no solid compromise. I've also reiterated my years of experience in the areas that they need, and they've come back with "we know that and we need that, but you don't have box office experience", something that I'm fairly sure varies from place to place, such that box office experience at x venue is completely different from box office experience at y venue. They also want someone who will commit to 6 months to a year.
Am I just being unreasonable? Is it just crunch time, and I just need to suck it up and take it? I'm trying to learn how the people I know who are well-paid convince employers that they're WORTH their salaries (or are ok walking away when they don't get a reasonable salary), but mostly I get offered either nothing, or situations like this. It's hard, if not impossible, to have any enthusiasm for a job that pays so low. It certainly won't increase my visibility, or benefit me, or advance me in any way (other than the purely monetary).
And if I myself didn't have reservations, the people that I've told about this have been pretty clear that THEY think it's ridiculously low. Before you say, "hey, $13/hr isn't that bad", please keep in mind that this is a Boston suburb (very high cost of living), and that my years of experience are why they're interested in me. But again, I need work. And they want me to start on Monday. Would appreciate your (compassionate) input.