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Drop your Ego and Get a Job

Updated on April 19, 2011

Holding out for a Management position?


Back in 2001 my husband and I were out of work and out of ideas. We had rationalized that since we both were graduate level college educated, experienced and hard working that we should wait until we found a job that would pay us what we were worth. The trouble with this line of thinking was that there was nothing available in our fields that would pay us the amount of money we would command with our years of hard work and the fact we both were over the age of 40, which meant we were not ripe for the picking.

Struggling to make ends meet, we spent our days sending out reams of resumes, emails and query letters and filling out applications until our fingers grew tired of their repetitive daily use with no results. There was nothing too low for me to consider in the job field, but my husband on the other hand was very choosy and also industry specific. This did not do us much good, creating a deep schism in our relationship. While I was willing to "do what it takes" from a New England work ethic view, he was holding out for something to come along that would feed his deep need for recognition and monetary gain.

It was not until we spend sleepless nights living in parking lots and campgrounds in our RV and meeting road block after road block, that we came to the conclusion that it was not what we did for work, but that we HAD work. And the qualities that we had inherent in ourselves could be utilized in another field because we apparently were not going to find work in the field we were trained in.

I am reminded of the movie "Christmas Vacation" where the character Cousin Eddie does not have a job and his wife informs cousin Clark Griswold that her husband is "holding out for a management position". We all laugh because this is an all too familiar excuse when it comes to why people will not suck up their egos and find work in any way possible. By waiting for this position to manifest itself in reality, money dwindles, families fall apart, bills continue to spiral upward and foreclosures happen.

I have heard every excuse as to why someone will not do what it takes to make ends meet. "The economy" is a good excuse. "No jobs" is another. Why is it that we see "Help Wanted signs" and listings for work available but we are often "too good for such a low paying or crummy job". So many times I even hear people (mostly younger people) tell me they are not going to work THAT hard for $10 an hour. As if they are too good for their employer. And I hear this from young people who are even working at their first job! They have no experience and they are already complaining!

When we were out of work I applied at several temporary agencies and worked seasonal jobs and more than one job. In 2003 my husband and I were really desperate and took a job for $7.70 an hour plus housing. We were grateful to get the work. Of course it did not pay the bills, but it paid more than $0 would have paid. And we worked long and hard and challenged ourselves to be the very BEST workers we could be. There were no incentives for raises and although we had more education between us than every single one of our bosses, we did the job without an attitude. We were grateful and we had work.

There are jobs available for those willing to work. Why is it that we are all too "above" working at a fast food place? Maintenance worker? Cleaning up after others? One of the things we were told we had to do was clean the bathrooms where we worked. Why would this be insulting to some of us? What makes you any better than anyone else? Why would you fool yourself into thinking you are too good to do such work? Society? Ego?

Last fall, 9 years after cleaning toilets, renting storage units, cleaning bins and collecting payments from deadbeat customers, we were able to buy a home. The metamorphosis in the decade had come full circle. But fate was not finished with us yet. One week before our closing my husband lost his job. In order to close the loan, he had to have a job and it had to be in the same field as the one he lost. We immediately went into hyper-mode to find him a job. It had to be immediate! Within 2 days, he found a new job and began the work in time to close the loan. Bad economy? No jobs?

Sure, he is not making what he is "worth" with the education he has and the experience he has gleaned throughout his life. But he IS working. And he IS doing what he needed to do in order to get the job done. Stop making excuses. There IS work available. There are training classes open to those who need them. In order to move ahead, sometimes we need to go back to "go" and of course we cannot collect the $200 until we do the work. But $200 beats $0 any day. And once you have a job, another one can be obtained more easily. The key is to surrender your ego. Check it at the door. We all are only one paycheck away from homelessness and/or success. Which do you choose?


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    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      thanks...if I had not lived it, I might not have realized it...but as a worker who still had no full time jobs, I juggle 5 college teaching jobs and have done so for 10 years or more...I"m getting a bit too old for this scattering, but I'll be damned if I give up! And my "Dr" husband still works a CSR job for minimum wage, as no one wants to hire him as he is overqualified! BLEAH.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Aley, this is an excellent hub with a lesson for us all, particularly those of us who were either downsized, terminated, and/or laid off from high paying jobs. Especially now, such jobs are disappearing more and more to be replaced by lower paying service jobs. It is quite disheartening and maddening instead. As you eloquently stated, one must suck up his/her ego in order to get the job of the moment. This hub should be required reading for recently laid off/ terminated/ downsized people and especially for new college graduates who adamantly refuse to take a McJob and will elect to live off Mom and Dad until the "good, perfect" job comes along. Great lesson to be learned from this hub!

    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      6 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Emilybee. Sorry you are one of those statistics that cannot find work in your field! Took me about 22 years to do so actually...and I am still working 3-4 only part time. Frustrating at best. Good luck with your job search.

    • emilybee profile image


      6 years ago

      Love this hub and the picture and reference to Christmas Vacation, too :) I see your point and you're wise for writing this and I understand it completely, yet at times it is so frustrating not using my degree and getting paid what I am worth. Voted up!

    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Thank you Janet. God seems to help those who help themselves!

    • EnjoyYourLife profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      Excellent hub, Aley. Your hub conveys the message that no job is too small. So true, so true.....


    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Thanks so much. I know this is not what most people would like to hear. It took my husband a long time to come to this release and as a male, he felt devastated at first that he could not provide more than he could. I appreciate your coming by to read this and sincerely hope everyone who reads this finds the kind of work they feel passionate about eventually.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I'm afraid this hub is aimed upon the blind and I can only say that I worked as a chemical engineer and retired at 50.;)

    • Carolyn2008 profile image

      Carolyn Gibson 

      7 years ago from Boston

      Powerful hub and one that many unemployed people should read. Pride goeth before the fall: don't wait until you almost lose everything to change your mindset about a change in career.

    • Bretsuki profile image

      William Elliott 

      7 years ago from California USA

      Hello Aley, a very strong hub. I do not look to the future in regards to work with any relish myself. I work in the public sector par-time in a library, with my wage raised by local taxes the tax expires in January 2013 if it is not extended by a popular vote. So with that coming and facing the probability of being at the bottom of the heap, being blind and 51 by then. I am preparing hard to fill the space with other means before the time comes, writing here on Hubpages, tutoring ESL to adults and helping at volunteer jobs, just to be known. We share a similar common bond, you the New England work ethic, me the "Olde Englande", work ethic. Do what needs to be done. Great hub.


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