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« The Lord’s Way vs. The Government’s Way | Main | How to Feed a Family of Five on $300 a Month »

May 12, 2008


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Job search time is a factor of supply/demand in your specific industry, not of salary.

If you're trying to land a position as a physics instructor at a public high school, you could be on the job hunt for 24 months to make $35k, but if you're an entry-level tech worker with a buzzword-laden resume, you'll be looking for 2 weeks to make $55k.

A lot depends on the way your industry hires. I'm in a niche in the tech industry, and virtually everyone with my skillset is hired contract-to-perm. When I go looking to change jobs, I usually have a contract job offer within 2 weeks of starting to put my resume out and interview, and go straight from my current job to the new one. I've also always been offered the permanent position, so I've never experienced the dreaded "bench time" on contract work. (::knock on wood::)

Forgot to add. The salary range for my skillset is in the neighborhood of 65k - 100k+ (in different areas of the country). I'm currently running just shy of 90k.

I wouldn't say your old rule was "off on the time frame," but that it needed to be updated for inflation. You'd still be close if you said "one month of search per $10k (1985 dollars)."

A rule of thumb is not useful other than perhaps for the most low level work. Most of the time I was laid off was in recessions when the industry itself disappeared from the area. These changes are much more wrenching. It also depends on your desperation. Willing to move, it may not take any time at all. Not moving, it may be impossible. The last time I spent years looking before retiring.

im self employed so i dont really know but everyone that i speak with that claims they are "laid off" does not actively appear to be looking for work. they sit around the house, take care of household chores, etc. if you really want a job, you can probably go find one within a day or two. it may take a while to match a $100k position but if you need the money, you can probably land a $50k job and keep searching in the mean time...

For high paying management jobs I think the 20k / month rule is accurate, sadly. It may be even longer if the salary is on the high end (250K or so) and you are trying to match this in a new position. I'm surprised that this is a linear scale through the entire pay range- for example an entry level position in any field should be pretty easy to snap up.


When I change jobs, I'm usually changing careers, so that takes longer. Also, I don't quit until I have a job lined up, so I spend a lot less time per week, so it takes a lot more weeks. Also, virtually all my friends are into computers, which I'm not, so networking has never gotten me a job.

The first time it took me nine years for a job that paid 30K (from clerical worker to researcher).

The second time I was desperate and found a glorified clerical job in "only" six months and it paid about 28K.

And this time it's taken me five years so far, and I'm still looking. I don't want to take much of a pay cut, so it will have to pay close to 40K. But if I ever do get a job in this next field (education), I expect it to be my last one.

I would agree with Lord that if I really wanted a job I could find one pretty quickly (maybe a week or two rather than a day or two), but it would be part time and not pay much more than minimum wage. I have never earned 50K.

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