Associations and corporations have been inflating salaries in recent years, but you may find in today’s environment that those big-dollar jobs just aren’t around. The biggest struggle for unemployed planners is that they’re competing for jobs with lesser responsibilities and lower salaries. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it helps to look for mitigating factors. For example, maybe there’s a shorter commute involved. You also can try to negotiate non-hard-dollar items as part of your package, such as a part-time telecommuting option, or an agreement that the employer will pay for your membership in several meeting industry associations. If they’ll pay for you to go to one or two meetings a year as well, that could be thousands you’d save in out-of-pocket expenses. Another mitigating factor could be more growth opportunities.

It’s difficult to take a step back when you’ve spent years building your career, title, and salary, but the reality is that a lot of those senior positions aren’t available right now. Employers understand today’s realities and won’t hold it against you later on if you take on a lesser title and salary than you had in the past.

Sources: Steven Williams, PhD, director of industry and market research, American Society of Association Executives; Sheryl Sookman, CMP, principal, The MeetingConnection, Novato, Calif.; Jim Zaniello, recruiter, Association Strategies, Arlington, Va.; Barbara Dunlavey, CMP, director of meetings and exhibits, American School Food Service Association, Alexandria, Va.; Dawn Penfold, The Meeting Candidate Network Inc., New York.