I am, or was until recently, a fairly low-level white collar worker, about 50 years old with a liberal-arts bachelor’s. My skills got outdated, perhaps, and I’ve been unemployed for nearly a year now. I’m working on a post-bachelor’s accounting certificate but it will take me a long time yet to complete.
In desperation I recently took a minimum-wage job as a deli clerk at a supermarket. My goal is to bring in a little money, and be employed, while I continue to pursue the elusive sort of job I’m used to, which is general office work or customer service, in a cubicle, with a phone and a computer. And down the road when my education is completed I want to be an accountant.
The deli job is much, much harder and more unpleasant than I had imagined, and I may or may not last very long. The money is not a survival issue just yet, but I don’t want to get into the habit of walking away from jobs because they’re unpleasant. However, at the same time, I’m thinking there is surely easier minimum-wage work to be had (one that doesn’t washing dishes, cleaning ovens and deep-fat friers, scrubbing floors, working night shifts, and carrying heavy crates around all night). I’d also like to see my family now and again. I believe I was somewhat ill-informed, or misled, about the nature of the job; for one thing I never counted on my shifts consisting mostly of hours-long hard-labor cleanup after the deli has closed. It’s basically a really, really bad job, and at minimum wage it has little to recommend it – except practicing a good work ethic by showing up when asked, doing what I’m asked as well as I can do it.
I asked a very similar question not long ago about a white-collar job lasting 4 months. I was (correctly, IMO) advised that at 4 months, the job would certainly show up in a background check. So on the resume it remains, even though I fear it looks bad to have a job that short – something obviously went wrong, and it’s not an asset to the resume.
This deli job, even less so. If I keep it for some time, I have to figure out how to frame it in the context of my whole career so it looks like a positive. But my question now is the same as before: how much time before the job HAS to go on the resume? If I walk off my shift today, of course I won’t mention the job at all unless asked. If I stay a month, two months, three … at what point does this crappy job become a permanent feature of my Official Work History for all future job applications? The answer to that question will influence how long I want to do backbreaking labor before my back actually breaks.