Hot Job Market

Dear Dr. Per Cap:

I work a tribal job that requires a college degree.  However, I see listings for delivery drivers that offer wages and bonuses that pay better.  I’m really tempted to switch but my friends say I’m crazy to leave a real job.  What should I do?



Dear Debating

Millions of Americans have similar thoughts.  The U.S. is currently undergoing a labor shortage of epic proportions.  In fact the country is more than 4 million workers light of a well-staffed labor force.

Economists are puzzled over the exact reason.  However, many point to a growing movement during the pandemic called The Great Resignation which has inspired people to reexamine their lives and careers.  Early retirements, scaled back work hours, and dramatic career shifts have been the result.

Employers are responding with big pay hikes and hiring bonuses like the ones tempting you.  There’s a McDonald’s near me that’s offering new hires as much as $20 an hour.  That’s forty thousand bucks a year.  Pay that competes with some “real jobs” your friends talk about.

For someone who spent years working in the service industry that label of a job not being real if it doesn’t require a degree or gets your hands dirty always ticked me off.  And if there’s one thing the pandemic has taught, hard working folks in supermarkets, shipping companies, and warehouses are vital to the economy and our modern way of life.  Don’t let peer pressure influence your decision.

You need to ask yourself what’s more important?  A paycheck or the nature of the work you do to earn it?  Higher pay is great but only if you enjoy what you’re doing.  Then again a meaningful career is a tough road if you can’t pay your bills.

I recommend a thorough review of your current expenses along with your current income.  Then compare how much a new job with higher pay will impact that bottom line.  If you see a significant jump in your disposable income, like 20% or more, a switch might make sense.

Then follow up with some soul searching to see if you’re emotionally ready for a very different type of work experience.  Also talk with your spouse, significant other, children, and any other family stakeholders who will be impacted by your career change.  You’ll find your answer when you think it through.

Ask Dr. Per Cap is a program funded by First Nations Development Institute with assistance from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. This content does not constitute professional and/or financial advice, and Dr. Per Cap is not a licensed investment advisor. To send a question to Dr. Per Cap, email