In the recent post that detailed how my wife got an interview and offer after months of ignored applications and finger-crossing, it occurred to me that I really didn’t get in to the details of the job she accepted and why she accepted it. That turned out to be an interesting story & philosophical depiction on its own.
The hospital that offered her a job is 23 miles door-to-door from our house. That may not be noteworthy on its own, but when you consider that there are three large hospitals within five miles from our house, it might seem like a bit of a head scratcher. And if you know how much WE HATE COMMUTING (we’ve gone from two cars to one, and I now bus and ride my bike to work), it might seem like an even bigger head scratcher (maybe even a butt scratcher).
On top of that, it’s a part-time job (two 12-hour shifts per week). This, obviously, means less pay versus the standard three 12-hour shifts than hospital nurses typically work. And we don’t have kids – so what the F?! On the surface, you might wonder why she took the job at all.
Did she settle? Is she crazy?
Most Job Opportunities are Not Perfect
Sure, it is possible that with another few months of applying for jobs at the three local hospitals, my wife could have secured an interview and landed the most ideal job. A typical job search usually takes a few months, so why not exercise a little patience?
For most professions, that would make sense. However, she was getting feedback from nurses and recruiters that told a different story.
In nursing, she has discovered, experience is everything. Taking on new grads and putting the time and resources in to their training so that they can leave and go elsewhere is not ideal for health care employers. Just a little experience in the field turns out to be golden. When you have it, as long as the openings are there, you’re probably going to land something relatively quickly.
My wife did not have any experience, but why not test the waters and hope for the best anyways, right? Waters tested. After a few months, that previous feedback seemed to be validated through the lack of interest in her applications.
So she expanded geographic reach and got more aggressive with her approach. We determined that she should take the first hospital offer she received. She got one. She accepted it. Sometimes you have to simply accept your current situation and make the best of it. If you don’t? A conversation like the following could ensue:
Clark: “How can they have nothing for their children?”
Ellen: “Well, he’s been out of work for close to seven years.”
Clark: “In seven years, he couldn’t find a job?”
Ellen: “Cathrine says he’s been holding out for a management position.”
In this economy, hold out, and you could be finding yourself “holding out” 7 years later.
All the Benefits, with Just Two Days of Commuting
What about that damn 23-mile one-way commute?
It’s not cool or desirable, but she only has to make it twice per week but gets paid 60% of a 5-day, 8-hour job, by virtue of it being part time and 12-hour shifts. That cuts total weekly mileage from 230 to 92, mostly highway. And with a car that averages about 34 mpg hwy, that’s less than 3 gallons per week.
The main goal of this job is for her to get the training and experience she needs to launch her new career in nursing. A year or two from now, if she decides she wants to take on another shift, work closer to home, or simply have a change of scenery, she will have the experience and resume to be able to call the shots.
We Can Afford Part-Time
With our limited budget expenses and decent income, taking on part-time work vs. full-time is a luxury we can afford. We don’t have a huge debt burden. We don’t have years to make up for past saving negligence. And we don’t have an expensive lifestyle that requires slaving away to maintain.
We are not financially independent yet, but when you can start to make decisions like this without any stress (similar to her dropping a career and going back to school, without income, to prepare for another), you can see how the hard work and preparation pays off and makes it completely worth it.
And that feels pretty damn good.
Meanwhile, we’ve followed this simple motto a number of times and it’s always paid off: take the best job you can get and worry about the rest later.
I feel like we too often wait for what’s perfect because we think we deserve it. This is a good example of making it work and gaining experience. Plus only commuting 2 days a week is a huge plus. What is she going to do with her extra time?
I enjoyed this post and I really enjoy your blog! I read it all the time. A quick note, G.E.: I think you might have meant to say, “she accepted it” instead of, “she excepted it” in the paragraph beginning with, “So she expanded geographic reach”. Normally I don’t mention typos, but I think this is a great post and an error like that can unfortunately interrupt the flow of reading (it did for me, at least).
Experience is key in many industries, but you can’t get experience without having a job. She will build up her experience and then will have a better chance at landing a better job. That is just how the world works.
This blog brings up a great point that you may not get your dream position right away and need to put in your time doing something else for awhile. Experience seems to be the key in many professions, so I’m sure almost everyone has gone through what your wife went through. She just needs to make the best of it knowing that it’s only temporary and it’ll help her land a more preferable job in the future.
Good article. Kind of confirms a dilema we all face at some time.I also took a part time job after college and it worked into an average of 7 hours per week. After two years I feel like I have the experience to look into something else.
Another comment I would like to make is to ask you to cut out the swear words or partial swear words such as What the F? Really not necessary. Thanks.
who really cares about the swear or partial swear words? this is how generation Y rolls.
Good post. I know too many close to me, that have waited out for the perfect opportunity that never came: 7, 8, 10 years later! There will always be new and better opportunities. But if you wait too long for that perfect job to come along, you’re then left with a large gap in your employment history. And that’s never good. I like your motto.
What a great wife!
this is a great post. I compromised a bit when I took my job a few years ago and it led to a few opportunities I never would have foreseen or been privy to had I held about for the “ideal” job. Life is all about compromise, I think our generation was told too often that we are special and can do anything we put our minds to by teachers and family, then a lot of us get shell shocked when we get to the real world and find out that we’re all not unique snowflakes.
Because I accepted the job I’m in now, it led me to a city I never would have imagined myself living in and some unique opportunities. I hope the same for you guys.
I recently declined a job because it would be an hour commute. My fiance and I are getting married this summer and relocating so I was desperate when applying for jobs. This position seemed like it could work at the time I applied for it, but driving 2 hours a day just to work at a job that I would probably hate didn’t seem like the right kind of settling for me. I have some time to find a new job, so I don’t think it will be an issue. I just hope I don’t regret turning this one down later. This post made me feel kind of like I made the wrong decision. However, like I said, I am not going to accept a job I am pretty sure I will hate.
Not at all Shawn, you’re forgetting a key part of G.E.’s motto, take the BEST job you can find. If you were pretty sure you were going to hate it anyway, then it clearly wasn’t the best you can do. If you thought the culture there, opportunity for advancement or teammates would be fantastic, then your daily 2 hour commute would be worth it. However, that doesn’t sound like the case here. So don’t worry, you’ll know a good compromise when you see it.