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Ask Anyone


In this job market it’s hard enough to get a job and everyone knows it. I have the skills and a lot of experience, but I keep getting low-balled everywhere I apply. Should I fight for the money I deserve or settle? I’m afraid that if I undervalue myself now, I’ll never advance in my career.

Recession Confession


The Practical Cogitator says: The way I see it is, it’s hard to get a job when you don’t have a job. So, even if you have to “undervalue” yourself now, at least you are in the workforce. Seems like having a paycheck is better than having no paycheck at all.

It’s also beneficial to have employment records on your resume without lengthy gaps. I advise you to take a job, and even if you are feeling low-balled, you can ask what the time period is before a review or possible salary increase.

Keep in mind, the job market is hard on employers too. Finding the right candidate for the right job is not easy. Your prospective employer is taking a chance on you, and you need to give the employer and the job a strong effort. Keep in mind that you are among the masses looking for work. Take the job and get back into the workforce. Other doors will surely open.

The Omniscient One: It’s one thing to fight when you are in a job and know your value. It’s quite different when you’re an applicant. Since an average of 400,000 people a month are losing their jobs, I don’t know effective your fight is going to be for a job you don’t have, a track record with that job that doesn’t exist, and employer who knows they can have their pick of a multitude of applicants. There are probably dozens of people in line behind you.

The Straight Skinny says: There are very few people who are paid exactly what they’re worth. There are even fewer who are paid far more than they’re worth—and a very precious few at the top who are paid way more than they’re worth.

In order for those one percenters to reap their undeserved rewards, the vast majority of us must be terrifically undervalued: Our labor and our knowledge produce great wealth for other people and, if we’re what we’re taught to consider lucky, a modest living for ourselves.

If being absent from the workforce lowers your currency as an employee in the future—if, for example, you’re an academic, as opposed to a carpenter—then you’d better take any job you can get. But if you can take a break from your career and earn money doing something else for a spell, or freelancing, waiting for a better job market might be the right thing to do. In any case, don’t take a paycut from your last job in your chosen profession. You won’t forgive yourself or the company that gets you on the cheap.

The 99 Percenter says: Maybe this would be a good time for you to take a break from serious job searching. How about—and I am being completely serious here—borrowing a tent, gathering up your wool socks, and heading downtown to Occupy Buffalo? You are the 99 percent. And you don’t have a job, and you don’t have a fat bank account, and you don’t have fancy friends getting married on the pages of the New York Times, but you have a voice and an opinion and you can stand up for what many of us would like to say.

Also, unlike the low-ballers who grudgingly grant you interviews, the folks down at Niagara Square will greet you with open arms, and give you some food.

Dr. Sigmund Fraud says: Why not do what I did? I was just like you. Some schmuck going through the want ads, checking out Monster, putting on a suit and standing in line with everybody else at the job fair. Then it hit me. Most of these people with really important-sounding jobs are 90 percent bullshit artists. I thought to myself, “I can do that.” So, I dug out a few of my old college books for the handful of psychology courses I took back then. I went to the university library and became conversant in common terms used in psychiatry. Then, I purchased a diploma for $20 from a website and hung it on the wall at my apartment. I took out a small classified ad offering my services as a relationship guru in the weekly alternative paper, hung up my shingle and waited.

By taking this career path, I’ve managed to avoid the hassle of being an actual psychiatrist with all the ethical baggage that entails. And along the way, I’ve managed to talk my way into the sack with some beautifully screwed-up women.

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Send your questions for our panel of experts to

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