Should I take a crappy job in a city I love, or hold out for better?
January 10, 2017 6:27 PM   Subscribe

I am job hunting in my niche field, should I take a unrelated, crappy job in the city I want to live in or wait out for something better?

Thanks for all the great job hunting advice so far. I am a newly graduated architectural historian, but my job search hasn't progressed as quickly as I was hoping. On a whim, I applied for a totally unrelated, low level job ( but with the government, so not that bad) in a city I love, with the idea that maybe I would move there and start to build a career while supporting myself with this other job. I just found out that I was offered the job, but I'm unsure of if I should accept it.

Pros: I love the location, cost of living is low, the position is second shift so I could volunteer, etc. during the day.

Cons: I worry that taking this job will reflect poorly on my resume, and I worry that I won't ultimately be able to build a career in my field in the area, that I am being too optimistic about my opportunities there, that if I get a good job in my field I will need to move sooner rather than later and put myself through a lot of annoyance and expense.

Probably silly complicating factors: I am staying with family, it's rather toxic and I am very eager to leave as soon as possible. Also I have a romantic interest in a third city and this is clouding my thinking a bit? ( I should probably not factor this in, but it has been a part of my reasoning process so...)

Anyway, does anyone have advice about sticking it out for a great job versus taking something temporary for quality of life reasons? Thanks.
posted by the offing to Work & Money (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'd take the job and keep hunting. You don't *have* to put anything on your resume, it'll get you to a city you want to be in and it'll be easier to network/get hired once you're there (which is also a good reason to explain your non-ideal job if it comes up).

Caveat: do you have reason to believe this city is particularly unlikely to have career-type jobs you want? Have you been watching job postings there for a while? Can you use your network / linkedin / etc. to figure this out pronto? Still, "I might have to move again" seems like a small downside compared to "great city and getting own place".
posted by momus_window at 7:23 PM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

If you have time to volunteer, can you volunteer or get an internship in your field? That would probably reflect quite well on your resume.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:46 PM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

It seems clear that if you take the job you'll be better off than you are now. So the only reason not to do it would be if you thought it would make it harder for you to get the type of job you really want. Having this job on your resume isn't going to look any worse than having a period of unemployment, which is what it sounds like you have right now. I wouldn't worry about that. Will it be harder for you to search for jobs in your desired field while you're in the new city? If not, you might as well continue your search from there, while making some money, getting away from your current toxic living situation and living in a place you like. If you end up having to move again soon it will be because you've gotten a better job so you probably won't be too annoyed about it. And if you keep on living where you are now, it sounds like you're guaranteed to find that annoying.

I guess the romantic interest in the third city is something to consider. But you're already living in separate cities, so it won't be a change for the worse if you move (unless maybe you're moving a lot further away.) Unless you've been seriously thinking about moving to that city soon to be with your romantic interest I wouldn't let that keep you from taking this job.
posted by Redstart at 9:09 PM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Worst case if you take the job, you get a job in a different place and move again after living in a city you love for a short while.

Worst case if you don't take the job, you continue to be unemployed and to live in a toxic family situation.

posted by 26.2 at 10:23 PM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

As someone who is strongly affected by where I live, I would take the job, and then start hunting for a new job once you're there.
posted by easternblot at 4:10 AM on January 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Are you wanting a great location or a great job? I’m assuming both, right. The low-level job gets you half way there. Keep job hunting once you are there.

Reword your question of “sticking it out for a great X” to “working towards great X”. The low-level job is one step in working your plan. At this point, your pros appear to far out way the cons you’ve mentioned.
posted by mountainblue at 4:23 AM on January 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

I vote for getting out of the toxic living situation ASAP.
posted by Cranialtorque at 8:24 AM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

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