The Record Jobs Section 05-14-17

Place an ad Phone: 1-888-460-5322 Email: SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2017 • SECTION J P CAREER COACH Are you worth any less than you were before? By ELI AMDUR SPECIAL TO NORTH JERSEY JOBS T here’s an interesting but troubling behavior I see on a broad scale, and it’s become almost predictable on an individual basis. I’m talking about a long-held generalization that has, more or less, moved all individu- als into becoming their own self-fulfilling prophecies of it. That is, in itself, a puzzle when you think of a keen observation by the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur (Ignatius) Conan Doyle: “While the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty.” Doyle and I, then, are talking about the same thing, just differing on which is the cause and which is the effect. Or which is the premise and which is the conclusion. Enough cryptic talk. Here’s what I’m saying. Virtually every job seeker I’ve talked to for quite a while, especially in mid to late career, says at one time or another during our first conversation, something that’s nothing less than a clear indication of defeatism or insecurity. Or both. It’s something like this: “I know I’ll have to take a pay cut” or “I know I’ll need to take a step back in pay” or “I know I can’t expect to earn what I was making before.” Why, for God’s sake?!?!? Let’s get something straight. There is no reason to take a salary hit – unless you want to. (Hold that thought.) If you’re not willing to or looking to take a step back, that’s just wrong, wrong, wrong in every reasonable scenario. Are you worth any less than you were before? No. So is there any reason for this? No again. Then why does almost every one say it. Two reasons, methinks. One is a misplaced generality and the other is a misplaced specificity. The misplaced generality goes like this. The Great Recession, through which we trudged for so long, so badly damaged the entire job market and everyone in it (and the effects are still with us), that it’s certainly going to affect you at this time. Never mind that it’s no longer true, and that there have been six good, healthy years of job growth between then and now. Never mind that all surrounding economic indicators – median income, for one – are all up for the first time in a long time. Never mind any of that, the way you see it, you’ll have to take a hit. That’s just faulty logic. And for more faulty logic, let’s look at the misplaced specificity. Let’s concede that if you wanted to make an extreme career change – like you have a degree in chemistry (12 years ago), went into pharmaceutical sales (which has shed tons of jobs over the last decade or so), and now want to go into chemistry research — you’d surely take a hit, if you’d even get an offer at all. But that doesn’t hold true for every change you could make. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But apply- ing the same rule to all possible applica- tions is clearly a misplaced specificity. And it will get you nowhere other than taking a job for less money than you should. Misplaced generalities and misplaced specificities look alike – until you look really closely – just like the small difference between my observation and Doyle’s. But one thing is certain: this leads to bad conclusions and bad decisions. The underpinning argument is that you are not worth any less than you were before, but if you think you are, you’re either defeatist or insecure, and then you’re right. However, if you evaluate your- self confidently, you return to the conclu- sion that you have at least the same, if not more, value than ever. It is from that posi- tion that you attack the job market. OK, so it means that some really far out changes might not work out well, but it also leads you to make better decisions on direction – and to be a stronger candidate as a result. Now, you know that thought I asked you to hold? There will be, for many job seekers, the right reasons to accept a lower position and/or pay, but only when you decide it’s part of your plan for the rest of your career or retirement. If your finan- cial goals have changed (no more tuitions, mortgage, etc.) or if you just want to tone things down but not close things out, then fine. But only if you’re the one making that decision. So never stop asking: Are you worth any less than you were before? Because you know the answer. Career Coach Eli Amdur can be reached at eli.amdur@amdurcoaching .com. Please note his website, www. amdurcoaching. com. Please “like” him at AmdurCoaching and follow him on Twitter (Eli Amdur). To find previous columns by Eli Amdur, visit and click on Special Sections at the very bottom of the Home Page where prior editions of North Jersey Jobs are available for viewing. ADVERTISEMENT