Have an ok job. Leave for slightly better or wait for even better?
September 1, 2011 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Have an ok job. Leave for slightly better or wait for even better?

Disclaimer: I am completely thankful to be employed AND receiving jnterviews at all in this economy!

I currently work in higher education but not with students, which I want to do. My "dream" job is a high school counselor. Just finished my master's in school counseling, applied to 40 school counselor jobs, heard nothing from anyone except how hard it is to get a school counseling job. Also applied to 40 higher ed/nonprofit jobs, out of which I've had 10 interviews. Final candidate for 1 low-paying job at a high school that did not come through, now am top candidate for admissions/financial aid higher ed job (they gave a "pre-offer" and said they'll make final offer by end of week). Job pays better than current job and involves working with students, but I'd rather have more in-depth opportunities to counsel students on larger decisions (such as academic advisor). No other job offers or promising interviews are upcoming. Taking the job does may not easily lead into high school counseling someday but it's not totally unrelated either.

My gut sways back and forth between taking it or not.
My heart says don't take it.
My brain (also the wallet) says take it

Majority of advice I've gotten from others leans toward taking it, but usually with a confused look and comment like, "I don't know, that's a tough one..." Some have said if I'm ok at my current job (which I am... sort of... I like the people and work is not too bad, but it's lower level and unrelated to hoped-for career) then I should wait it out. Someone also brought up the fact that schools are mostly done hiring so it could be a pretty long wait.

I tried to find other relevant questions on MeFi but most were slightly different and involved continuing to look while accepting and starting an ok job. I'm not sure I have the stomach for that (the looking OR potentially leaving new employer high and dry on the off-chance I find something better).

Thanks to anyone who has advice - especially those of you who've taken a job that you weren't necessarily 100% gung-ho about.
posted by wannabecounselor to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I'd take it in a heartbeat. It's certainly closer to your goals than what you're doing, and who knows? You might enjoy it more than what you think you want to do.
Working in admissions and financial aid would give you more information that would be useful to students when you do segue into counseling==you can tell kids what they need to do to get accepted, etc.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:31 AM on September 1, 2011

So the new job:
* is at least some step closer to your dream job
* pays better

What's the downside? Jumping jobs in short order looks bad on a resume, but it doesn't sound like you're a serial short-timer. The worst case scenario is that your new job's co-workers/boss are awful. You can't do much about that from a distance beyond really grilling them in the interviews.

The second-worst case scenario is that you get a dream job offer one month into your new job. There are a lot worse things that could happen to a person, I think.
posted by introp at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2011

Your current job is "lower level and unrelated to hoped-for career," and pays less.


It sounds like one of the things that's holding you back is the worry that you might be jumping ship too often, and trying to explain that to future dream employer. If I'm hiring at future dream employer, and I ask you why you want my job 6 months after getting this job, and you give me the explanations above, we're fine. Jumping ship too often might ding you if you're lateralling from one position to an equal one, but if you're advancing your skills and your career with each step, I don't think it's seen as much of a problem, especially if it's coupled with an explanation as to why that advancement could not be accomplished within the old job/company.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:47 AM on September 1, 2011

This is not a tough one. Take it.

I have never been 100% gung-ho about a job but I take them if they get me closer to the ideal gung-ho job. This offer is a step up on the gung-ho ladder. TAKE IT!
posted by jabes at 11:39 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would say take it because when that better job does come around, you can point to the relevant experienced you gained in this one.
posted by jander03 at 12:33 PM on September 1, 2011

Take it. It never hurts to get higher level experience that pays better.

Especially if you have no experience in your "dream" job - are you sure it's the dream job?

You say:

I'd rather have more in-depth opportunities to counsel students on larger decisions

Admissions and financial aid are both huge things in most students lives, so you may find that this job offers you a bit of what you want. Take the long view and think about whether some of the skills or connections offered by this job can help you get where you want to go.

Some of the most successful people I know didn't indentify a "dream" job and hold out for that while ignoring opportunities - most of them seized the opportunities in front of them and gained skills while learning more about their own strengths/weaknesses. They were strategically opportunistic.
posted by rainydayfilms at 1:35 PM on September 1, 2011

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