What are Survival Jobs?

Before diving into the pros and cons of a survival job, one has to understand what a survival job is about and why one should take it. We know that having a stable career is one of the most important turning points for many individuals in this day and age. Not only it acts as a good platform for the individual, but also functions as a stepping stone to help them achieve their future targets and aspirations that one have for themselves.

Survival Jobs

But getting and keeping up with such a high paying stable job is not always an easy task. Even if the employee is hardworking and committed to the job, external factors also play an important role in deciding whether or not that employee should keep their jobs. One example for such external force is recession. So, if the external forces are much stronger than the company could handle, then eventually, to cut cost and maintenance, employees are either fired or they leave their jobs. The next problem that will occur is how will they be able to save and earn money if they do not have any employment options?

This is where a “survival job” comes in. Survival jobs are defined as temporary jobs that saves a person from being completely unemployed. These jobs pay very less when compared to the previous jobs of the employee, but it is still just enough to take care of the monthly expenses and bills that the person has. Many employees often face the dilemma of whether or not to take the survival job offer, the best to answer this dilemma is to carefully understand one’s own situation and circumstances before deciding if a survival job is suited to you and is able to meet your needs.

Why People Choose Survival Jobs?

One of the main reasons why many people choose survival jobs is because they think that they can impress future employers by being already employed. But sometimes, this idea can easily backfire if the candidate is present in a rival company. In recent studies, it has been noticed that many employers are now understanding and aware about the problem of unemployment. The main reason being that, nowadays unemployment is so common that it has lost its shame factor. So, if you are unemployed do not be discouraged to accept it in front of the future employer. They know how hard it is in this competitive environment to get a job.

On the other hand, there are still people who still can’t resist following the decisions of taking a survival job so as to save the process of explaining it to the employer. If they explained what they learned from doing survival jobs in a positive and an optimistic manner, then most employers will be impressed by the candidate. While explaining, make sure that you start from the basic cause i.e. your monetary status. Try to explain that you took the survival job as a method of getting money to pay your bills and also your needs and requirements. Make sure that whenever you explain the reason; try not to sound too desperate.

The pros and the cons: Now that you have seen what a survival job basically means and how it affects the candidate, there are many factors that help the candidate to decide whether or not a survival job is a good option for the future. When an individual, who is highly qualified for a high profile job, is doing a low skill job, due to the fear of unemployment, then this phenomenon is called as underemployment.

As the name suggests, underemployment means that the person who has accepted a survival job might be over skilled and are more than deserving to do the job. For example: for recently graduated students, underemployment means that they are doing a job that requires no certifications. The main disadvantage of underemployment is that it forces many full time job seekers into accepting part time jobs that can diminish their chances of searching and getting selected for a full time job. The candidate chooses the part time job because of varying factors such as financial and emotional stress.

Pros and Cons of Having a Survival Job:

There are both sides to be noted while choosing a survival job. Some of it might be good for your career and some might take turn for the worst. How you act depending on your circumstances shows how effective choosing a survival job can be.

Pros of Having a Survival Job:

1. Stable flow of income:

By having a survival job, most candidates know that they will ultimately get paid. Whether if it is getting paid at the end of the month, at the end of the day or after your shift, most candidates know that the wage paid is enough to cover important bills, paying the rent and even buying necessary groceries. Most candidates will get money enough to make it through the month.

2. Being productive:

You get the feeling that you are contributing to the society by being part of a company and helping with their work and reach their targets and aims. Being unemployed may feel that you are getting an extended vacation , but that is not always the case. Having a survival job means that you are doing something productive and makes you feel wanted and useful.

3. Positive boost:

Having a survival job can prevent the candidate from depression or sadness from being unemployed. Whenever you feel that you do not have work and that you are going to lose your skills, then by getting a survival job you will feel more productive and confident again.

4. Making your path:

Having survival jobs is a great method to get your foot into the company. Try to accept even entry level jobs so that from there you can have chances to prosper and develop into a better working individual and help you to achieve your ultimate goal through patience and hard work. Getting in a company through a survival job, helps you to search for other jobs that is suitable for your skills and needs.

Cons of Having a Survival Job:

As mentioned before, survival jobs have its own fair share of advantage and disadvantage. Some of the cons of choosing a survival job include:

1. Less paid:

Having survival jobs means that the candidate is getting paid less than the industry standards since most of the survival jobs are informal and commission based jobs. Most survival jobs are paid very much less than full time jobs that the candidate is used to working. In order to make sure that you fully utilize the wage, it is necessary that you have to decide on some sacrifices in the lifestyle and consumption of resources.

2. Might work overtime:

If you feel that the wage paid by one survival job is not enough, then most candidates often search for a second job. So in most cases, candidates will try to find two part time jobs so as to meet their basic expenses and needs. This means that the candidate has to work overtime in one day just to have enough capital to get through the month.

3. No time for career search:

Having a survival might not be the best option for a candidate who is searching for a full time position in a company, as mentioned before. Since survival jobs require a lot of work and time, most candidates do fail to search and join for a new full time job. This can be very dangerous for your career and your future, since survival jobs will give the candidates false hopes and hence will slow down their rate of development and progression. The candidate will start to underestimate their abilities and skills, and hence will settle down for a mediocre job.

4. No future careers:

Even though for the present circumstance having a survival jobs is one of the best methods to earn money and survive through the month . But having a survival job can make unwanted obstacles in your future plans and careers. Having a survival job requires your full concentration onto the job itself, so it makes it harder for the candidate to explore and test out the limits of their abilities and skills. It also makes it harder for the candidate to get back on track to their mainstream jobs. This issue can be solved with the help of hard work and focus, though it can be a bit frustrating to the candidate.

Factors To Think About:

Many employers do agree that having a survival job has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. One has to think carefully before searching or accepting a good survival job. These also include how your future employer might think about you if you have a survival job. These include:


1. The employer will think that you are a hard worker and it helps to show your true character. It also shows that you do jobs that need to be done and you have your priorities set.

2. Another advantage of having a survival job is that it helps the employer to understand that you are interested more about the industry and you want to search and explore new factors and horizons. Some might be able to achieve their passions and aspirations while searching for their survival jobs. Having a survival job also helps employees to get new opportunities and chances that have potential to develop their skills and abilities.

3. The main advantage of having a survival job is that it helps you be stable financially and also prevents outflow of money to an extent. Having a source of income can also have a positive impact on your behavior and personality and also encourages you to move forward and work hard.


1. Having a survival job means that you become more and more busy into the job and that makes it hard for you to concentrate and search for a job that has a much higher pay scale. So make sure that while doing a survival job, you have enough time to search for much larger job opportunities.

2. Most candidates stop searching for a better job altogether thinking that their survival job is going to support them till the rest of their career. They get a false sense of security and hope through this job, thus making it harder and harder for the candidate to search for a good job as each day passes by.

3. Another factor is the truth that most survival jobs do not pay you much money as much as you spend your time on the job. Most survival jobs are underpaid and most of them are usually commission paid jobs. But since you are unemployed and the economy is not helping things to settle down, to stabilize your financial status, most unemployed candidates end up taking a survival job.

If you are one of the unlucky unemployed individuals and you want to have a survival job, make sure that you set aside enough for searching various job opportunities and choices that not only will help you in the long run, but also helps you to explore various horizons and fields that are present out there in the industry. Even if you get a temporary job, you can see that your level of depression has drastically changed since you feel more productive and confident. Though , it may seem blissful at the moment, but after a few years, you might see yourself trapped within the job, and underemployed. By that time, not only will you be late to search for a proper job, but you will see that you have become out of contact with the industry, thus depleting your necessary skills and abilities suited for a full time job. The best way to prevent this from happening is to find a good survival job that is not only beneficial with your skills and abilities, but will also help you in the long run.