Monday, December 1, 2008
Is Any Job Beneath You?
I think there's probably nothing more demoralizing than looking for work and being unable to find a job.
Because let's be honest: Despite all the pep talks you give yourself, it's miserable to send out resumes and not hear anything back, or land an interview and then never get an offer. You try to stay upbeat, but day after day of not finding work is tough. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying or living on vodka.
Still, there may be one thing that makes you feel worse than not getting a job -- getting an offer that is beneath you. Wait. Let me amend that: There's nothing worse than getting a job you believe is beneath you.
Why? Because the minute you believe a job is not good enough for you, the minute you sell yourself against the idea that a job won't make good use of your time and talents, then you've set yourself up to be miserable. More miserable, in fact, than not getting a job at all.
The people who feel this way need to spend about an hour with Paul Facella, and they'll soon change their minds about how demoralizing it is to accept a "lesser" job.
Facella is a top management guru who used to be an executive at McDonald's after rising through the ranks from his position at age 16 manning the grill. He's got a new book, Everything I Know About Business I Learned at McDonald's" and I spent some time talking to him about how tough it is to find a job these days. He says that in this economy, you gotta do what you gotta do.
That means you put your ego aside, and take whatever job you can get. Oh, yeah -- and check the attitude at the door.
"Look at it as an opportunity with a big ‘o’”, he says.
Facella notes that anytime you take a job that knocks you down the ranks, you should look at it as a chance correct sloppy habits and improve others. In fact, it's sort of like an on-the-job business school as you "can see how management operates and what works – and what doesn’t. It will help you get ready for your next job by observing both the good and the bad.”
At the same time, Facella notes that any job where you have direct contact with the public will hone your skills faster than any formal training and probably give you a great deal of satisfaction at the same time. "Nothing teaches you quicker than getting feedback and recognition from the public," he says. "And, people in lower level jobs are often very social and close-knit. They have a lot of fun together."
Facella also advocates taking a lesser job because chances are very good you'll quickly move up the ranks, and be better for taking that path.
"There's a certain power you have as a manager when you know the job. When you talk to employees, and they know that you understand what they do every day, then the trust and leadership factor for you as a manager goes way up," he says.
Facella also notes that those who work in the trenches together often form lasting bonds that can pay off big dividends in the future. He says many of those he worked with at McDonald's now are top executives at other companies.
"You learn a lot about collaboration and cooperation when you depend on one another. Teamwork becomes very important, and you learn to create opportunities for yourself," he says. "You make a decision to be the best at whatever you're doing."
Do you think there are advantages to accepting a job at a lower level or pay?