Now she sells mattresses at a shop that lets her read or lounge on the beds when there are no customers around. It’s a commission-based job, and pays barely 60 percent of what she earned managing a portfolio of condos, co-ops and apartments. Yet as the sole support of two teenage children, she needed a pay-the-bills position. “I had kids to feed,” she said. “You definitely don’t feel triumphant” in such a step-down job. “But this is an opportunity for me to succeed at something new.”
About 43 percent of laid-off workers last year landed jobs that paid less than their previous ones, according to a CareerBuilder survey of 900 people who lost jobs in 2010. Some 8.6 million Americans now hold part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time ones or because their hours were cut, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among them are people like Monique Riviere, who has 13 recommendations on her LinkedIn profile, and who works about 25 hours or less a week for a nonprofit organization handling itsconstituent database, Web site and IT needs. She is actively seeking a full-time job.
“I do need more money,” said Riviere, who makes less than half per hour what she earned five years ago. “It’s just not as easy to find as I’d hoped.”
She’s been looking off and on since the summer of 2009, when she decided she wanted back into the 9 to 5 world after three years of owning and running a window treatment franchise. “You’re working alone and all the time,” she said, between chasing new clients, writing proposals and keeping up with client needs. With a background in IT and three years of self-employment, she feels more qualified to tackle an array of projects and issues for employers.
“I didn’t get too many calls,” she recalled, as the recession’s grip brought hiring to a near halt. So she worked as a temp for a while, then landed her part-time job. Now she has gone to two interviews in a week or so and feels a little more hopeful that her fill-in days are numbered.
“It’s just a job. It doesn’t have to be my passion,” said Riviere, who at 35 is starting to think about having or adopting a child.
“I have family members in their 50s and they’re living paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “I don’t want to risk that,” so she hopes to land a job that will have a good retirement fund and also looks forward to paid vacations again. Her husband has a full-time research job at the Defense Department, but she thinks they are behind on their goals.
Saadia Chaudhry is single, and she has spent three years in a series of contract, part-time and temp jobs in Web site design and editing. “I worry a lot about money,” she said, and she hopes to snag something full time soon. “I wouldn’t feel like any job is beneath me. You’re still learning something.”