Unless you are competitive in a white hot market like mobile application development, it’s generally better to take a professional role than hold out in this economy.
I was asked this by a colleague recently who had left a great, albeit somewhat unusual job, at a well known company in the valley. While he is a very talented and well educated individual, too little attention was paid to making himself marketable. He had a fun, good job and stuck to it. Unfortunately, he was laid off several months ago. Offered a lessor title and far less salary, he wondered what the pros and cons were of taking that job. Money was a concern, he did need the cash flow.
My advice was to take the job but see if the title could be renegotiated. “Head of” sounds better than “manager” if you can’t snag a “director” title. Since a friend had approached him, I suggested using that to position himself. “I really loved my job and was getting bored not working. When my friend Sue asked me to help out at her early stage venture, I jumped at the chance both knowing it may be short lived’.
Candidates who haven’t been in the job market for some time or have long gaps in their work experience are potential red flags. The ability to go from the couch to mach5 in a 60 hour week isn’t common. Better to temp, to contract, to consult than do nothing. Volunteer? Last resort unless it is highly altruistic like 6 months in New Orleans working for Habitat for Humanity.