If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, you might have started letting go of certain criteria you had. For example, when I was right out of college, I told myself that I was going to get a job that required a writing degree. Then I decided that a job that required any degree would work. Then I decided that as long as I avoided retail and food service, I’d be happy. I was about to add upscale restaurants to my possible targets when I finally got a call, and happily enough, the job utilized my writing degree.

It’s good to keep your options open, especially when you don’t have much work experience. But it’s also important not to settle, and to keep your overall goals in mind when deciding whether to take a job. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t take just any old job that rears its head:

  • Once you have a job, even if it is not part of your overall career path, you’re more likely to become complacent and stop actively pursuing advancement. This can set you back from getting where you want to be in life.
  • Work experience is good, but if your job has nothing to do with your intended career goals, you might have trouble using it as a selling point to potential employers.
  • If you’re taking a job that has nothing to do with your interests or skillset, it’s likely you’ll have to learn a lot more from the beginning, much of which won’t be useful in your future career endeavors.
  • Most “settling” jobs don’t pay as much or offer the benefits of dream jobs. This can keep you from contributing adequate funds to your retirement, and accruing benefits like life insurance, paid time off, and extras like disability and bill protect insurance.

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary to take whatever job you can get. Bills need to be paid, and recent studies show that those who are unemployed long term have exponentially lower chances of getting jobs, even below those without the required skills.

So if you’re forced to take a job, any job, here are some things you can do to keep it from holding you back:

  • Keep looking for jobs. You know how when you’re unemployed, you’re supposed to treat your job search as a full time job? If you’re employed outside your career path, you should treat it as a part-time job.
  • Keep honing skills you’ll need for your future employment.
  • Tailor your current employment to your needs as much as possible. Ask your employer if there are any current needs that fall within your skillset.
  • Continue to make connections in the industry you want to break into.

Above all, it’s important to keep focused on your overall objectives and not let the short term distract you from your long term goals. What are the strategies you’ve used to motivate yourself to pursue new employment even when your income is sufficient for the moment? Share in the comments!

The article was written by Arlene Chandler

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash