Hire Me! Will Work For Minimum Wage: From Wall Street To Pizza Delivery

by Jacques Sprenger on 2009-03-2325

During my life, I’ve hit a few speed bumps along the way, as I’m sure, most of us who are middle-aged (or older) will testify to. Facing pink slips, repossessions, foreclosures, and a sinking economy may force some of us to take on any job available. More than once, as a college graduate in my 30s, a prospective employer told me that I was overqualified — the euphemistic way of saying that he didn’t think that I would last long on the job, and that investing in my training would be a waste of time for the company.

Who Wants To Hire Me? Ask Job Seekers Everywhere

Unfortunately these days, employers will have to face an increasing number of applicants who will be trying out for jobs they are highly overqualified for. With the unemployment rate rising, more and more people no longer have a choice about the kinds of jobs they’re pursuing. Sadly, these tough economic times have been forcing many highly skilled individuals to shift careers and downsize their jobs involuntarily, and to apply for jobs that they claim they would never have dreamed of doing in a previous life. Take the story of the hedge fund manager who earned $750,000 a year just a few short years ago. He’s now a pizza delivery guy.

Will You Work For Minimum Wage?

He’s not the only pizza man in town. What about the fellow who was dismissed as a restaurant manager making $55,000 a year? He now packs pizza boxes in his family car and spends the night delivering pizzas for $10 an hour. Is he ashamed of his new position? Yes, his wife grudgingly admits. And yet, honest work should always be a source of pride, no matter what the conditions are.

hire me, will work for minimum wage, minimum wage, pizza delivery, wall streetImage By WA Chronicles

5 Radical Tips To Get Employed

Earlier, we published some tips on how to launch a creative job hunt. This time, here are some ideas for those open and willing to consider out of the box job opportunities:

1. Consider other career paths.
As mentioned, times have made it harder for people to stick to the familiar jobs and careers that they’ve long been cultivating. So would you be willing to take any job that’s out there? Or maybe it’s just a matter of shifting expectations and casting a wider net as far as what type of job it is you should consider.

2. Retrain yourself and build new skills.
You may not have to put everything you own on eBay, as a family from Georgia recently did to help defray heavy medical bills. A better choice would be to retrain (e.g. go back to school). For job hunters out there, you may be interested in a book by Ben Kaplan, called How To Go To College Almost For Free, which offers some options for the laid-off worker who wants to retrain. For those in a tough bind, you may be able to receive special help at no or very low cost.

Also, with the new stimulus package details in place, look for Obama to include retraining as part of the job stimulus programs in the works. Many jobless people only need to learn a new trade to find employment easily. One of the areas that has seen growth in spite of the crisis is the medical field. There are all kinds of jobs that do not require you to study medicine or nursing.

3. Advertise your skills through unconventional methods.
If you are not familiar with Craigslist, now is the time to find out what it is. Many skilled artisans have placed ads on Craigslist detailing their various abilities, and have subsequently found jobs quickly. You may have to pay a small fee to post your request, depending on the city.

4. Join networks.
If you are a professional, I recommend that you join social networks which are much more a fit to your skills and interests than your career or past job history. For example, although I’m a teacher, I also belong to ELanceTalk.com, a community of freelance writers who exchange information about our trade. You’ll be surprised by the opportunities you can uncover through these avenues.

5. Stay honest!
What’s so radical about being honest? Well, when times are rough, it’s much more tempting to bluff our way into a job we so desperately hope for. But avoid embellishing your resume with exaggerated facts or untruths. As a former HR manager, I’ve had the chance to detect lying candidates who were desperate to find a job. I strongly recommend that you don’t lie about your education. If the new employer finds out, he will lose confidence in you. Tell them the truth, but make sure you emphasize your commitment to the new job and what you can bring to the bottom line.

An unemployed architect friend found a job as a daycare supervisor after explaining her plight to the owner. She was hired because of her honesty and because the proprietor needed a reliable employee. She is making half of what she used to earn, but she is happy to be working. Would you be willing to do the same?

Whether you decide to retrain or take a lower level job, remember that excessive pride may get in the way of making an honest living. As the Mexican saying goes: “Hunger is the best counselor.”

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Young Cash Cow March 23, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I have some friends who are currently in the “overqualified” pickle. I’ve always thought it’s better to be busy and earning money rather than searching for something that meets your qualifications. I spent some time as a substitute teacher for awhile… although it wasn’t the best paying job and I was qualified for better jobs, it kept me busy and earning money and that was the key.

Give 2 Achieve March 23, 2009 at 11:35 pm


It is tough to decide which career field that one should choose if they don’t have good educational backgrounds. As for myself, I am learning to grasp the best opportunity for developing skills, learning more things on how things work in online, studying them day by day, and other stuffs. I need something that gives me full control on what I do, not doing work under pressure or something. I think, besides education, learning skills are required, and they need to be practice if you want to earn more and more.

Chris Derenberger March 24, 2009 at 6:07 am

Great advice, I’m sure many are looking for better ideas on how to land a job right now.

Manshu March 24, 2009 at 6:28 am

Linked In is also a good network for professionals. I’ve found it quite useful even though I am not a very active user.

Craig March 24, 2009 at 9:28 am

Those are extreme cases but could happen to a lot of people. Networking both online and off is a great way to keep contacts. Also broaden your skills, make yourself more marketable because people are switching jobs and industries all the time these days and you want to make the switch easier.

Kathryn March 24, 2009 at 9:32 am

Important topic. I know of someone who participates in medical studies for pay and he’s said that there’s been a huge increase in the number of formerly-professional people who are showing up to get cash in this way. I think your advice is probably better. 🙂

Moneymonk March 24, 2009 at 9:41 am

“$750,000 a year just a few short years ago” … what no savings?

Silicon Valley Blogger March 24, 2009 at 9:53 am


The ex-hedge fund manager used $500,000 of his savings to start a business, which failed during this downturn. So unfortunately, he went broke. Also, I read that he was living beyond his means.

Dana March 24, 2009 at 10:00 am

Perhaps necessity and desperation will provide the kick in the butt for some people to go off and do their own thing!

tony March 24, 2009 at 10:01 am

Can you help me out? I was working as an investment banker but I am out of job now. I am really depressed with no job coming my way and mortgages and credit card bills to pay. What should I do now? Its getting frustrating with each passing day.

Doctor S March 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

Sometimes you have to have an extreme mindset because the economic crisis we are experiencing is THAT extreme. You have to be willing to throw you ego out the window in the name of finding a job, especially, if you are having that much trouble even to get a sniff of an interview.

Silicon Valley Blogger March 24, 2009 at 10:39 am

Here’s how bad it is.

I was talking to a former colleague of mine at a bank I used to work at. Now he said some top executives and managers were canned late last year. This bank usually just clears out contractors on a regular basis to thin the workforce based on cyclical trends. I worked there for 4+ years but never really saw them lay off the higher ups. As I still keep in touch with my friends there, I was surprised that one of our direct bosses was laid off — he had been working there for 14 years.

Now as I was surfing the net, I found a series of blogs my former boss has been maintaining over the last few months. Some of the entries saddened me — reading about the wife he just lost about a year ago, and now the loss of his long-term job. He even has a blog about living his life after the layoff.

This is certainly not the best of times for most people.

Silicon Valley Blogger March 24, 2009 at 10:46 am


Being an investment banker these days is tough. I can attest to that as I have a relative who is in this field of work. He’s now moving on to other things and looking at other pursuits, as business has dried up for him in the financial side.

My suggestion (aside from really cutting back on expenses) is to explore other forms of work and other income sources. We all need a hedge to fall back on. I wrote about this in this post: Why You Need To Stick With Diversified Investments and Income Sources. If you have unemployment benefits now, it may tide you over for a while. In the meantime, be open to other forms of employment, even as you look for jobs in the financial field.

Miss M @ M is for Money March 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm

My pride wouldn’t stop me from working a minimum wage job, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage on one. If you’re just going to go bankrupt and be foreclosed on despite working hard, there is very little incentive to try.

Meaghan March 24, 2009 at 3:21 pm

This is a very appropriate posting for the current unemployment situation. Thanks for helping all the jobseekers!

Ken March 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I’ll do whatever it takes to care for my family. I have been more fortunate than some of my friends during this recession. It’s about meeting the needs of those you love, bottom line!

The Personal Finance Playbook March 25, 2009 at 7:56 am

Those are unfortunate stories. They aren’t economically efficient stories, either, as anyone who has experience running a hedge fund is vastly underemployed delivery pizzas. I have to think he’s partially at fault on some level for not putting his skills to better use. Any job related to finance would be better use of those finance skills, even being a bank teller for near minimum wage. Just my two cents.

Moneymonk March 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Seems like he put all his eggs in one basket. Big gamble

Funny Quotes March 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Those are some pretty good tips. I still find it sad though when many people have to go from their usual day of work, down to a job that’s usually done by high school or college students.

Kristy @ Master Your Card March 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Personally, I’d take any job that came my way if I were ever in need of a job. I’ve been very fortunate in this economy and haven’t had to worry about losing my job. However, I’m ever mindful of how quickly things can change, so I’m in the process of learning new skills within the company to make myself more marketable. In addition, I’m still working on my degree, which is in a completely different field than banking.

But, I find all of the tips you’ve listed extremely useful, particularly the tip about keeping it honest! Desperate times calls for desperate measures I suppose, but the truth is, in most cases your employer will found out if you’ve lied. It’s just better to be honest up front!

Jacques Sprenger March 26, 2009 at 6:22 am

Tony’s story is one among thousands; he obviously did not benefit from outrageous bonuses some of his superiors got. I would offer three pieces of advice: 1) seriously consider moving to a different part of the country. Check the best places to find a job as some areas have not been affected as much 2) I have gotten some work as a freelancer through LinkedIn. Check it out and join one of the discussion groups. 3) Check the collection agencies. They need people who try to get debtors to pay.

Don’t forget Tony that the government is hiring at the federal level. They need people with a financial background. Hopefully somebody on this blog can offer something better than advice.

fathersez April 7, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I like the line saying that “honest work should always be a source of pride”. I suppose the comparison with the past, the lives of their friends etc is what is making them feel embarassed.

In these trying times, I think we have to just do the best we can to provide for those we are responsible for. Social status be damned.

Hermes July 6, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Awesome tips! It’s so important to stay positive and open to change. If I could be a skydiving pizza delivery guy, I’d totally go for it.

rallye August 26, 2009 at 10:27 am

An Skydiving pizza boy would be a cool job, but i think that’s not possible or only for show.

Chuck January 23, 2010 at 1:09 am

I saw him on the news and he was living beyond his means much like our goverment.
He used to live in a mcmansion in Florida. What ever happened to modesty?

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