After months of applying, interviewing and chasing after that new job, you’ve received an offer! Congratulations! It is the end result of all your hard work. But wait! Is accepting this offer the right thing? Yes, it’s tempting, especially if you’re not working and this is the first offer to come along. But let’s take a closer look at some reasons you may want to decline.
Is the job you applied for the same job you interview for? This one sounds crazy, right? Well, it happens more often than you think. Just because you’ve gotten through the door and interviewed, doesn’t mean you have to stay in the running. Make sure the job you think they are offering is, indeed, the job you will get. Last year, a client accepted what she thought was a fabulous career opportunity only to discover the job was far beneath her abilities and a step backward in her career.
Did the job offer match the expectations they set? Is the offer they presented the same as they inferred during the interview process? More times than I like to acknowledge, I’ve seen a client offered less than the verbal salary range proffered during the interview process. What does this tell you? Did they lower your value in their eyes? Was it a bait and switch? Or perhaps the recruiter just spoke out of turn. Whatever the case, take a close look. Do you want to work for a company that doesn’t walk their talk?
Company Culture. I coach my clients heavily on developing a short list of ideal companies to pursue during the job search. Company culture plays a HUGE role in this. If you’re going to spend 40, 50 or 60 hours a week somewhere, don’t you want to make sure it’s a good fit? Throughout the interview process, be observant. How do people speak to one another? Do people appear happy? Stressed? Complacent? Do they stick to appointment times? Are they consistent in their messaging? If things don’t appear to be what they claim, run, don’t walk from that job offer. After all, they should be putting their best foot forward during the interview process. If they don’t, that’s a warning sign.
What does the total offer package look like? This is a tricky one, and one that many clients overlook. It’s easy to get enamored by a big paycheck. But wait! What is the cost of healthcare? What does that healthcare plan include? What’s your commute look like? Parking expenses? How much vacation and/or sick time do you accrue? One time, a client was offered a bigger paycheck, but by the time he factored in commute time and expense and increased insurance costs, he was actually making less than his old job. Before you ever start interviewing, sit down and write out what you need. Understand your bottom line. If you have a family, are they included in the healthcare plan and how much will that cost? If you’re used to 4 weeks of vacation and the new job only offers 2, can you live with that? Understand all the implications of the offer before accepting.
So yes, it’s tempting to accept any job offer so you can return to work. But wait. If you start a new job, you’ll likely feel compelled to stick with it for a while. What if you stop looking and miss out on a really great job that aligns with your career goals and values? It’s ok to say no. Starting, and getting stuck in the wrong job, will hurt you in the long run. Know what you expect from an employer, pay attention to the small details, and make the right choice. Sometimes that right choice is to decline the offer and continue your search.
Admit it. You are tired. You are frustrated. You are overworked, lacking free time, feeling underappreciated, your boss is less than a stellar leader, and a multitude of other common afflictions of the American workplace. I remember a colleague who refused to leave an absolutely horrendous job simply because he didn’t want to give up his 6 weeks accumulated vacation. To this day, I believe it’s more important to love the job you spend 40+ hours a week at than any amount of benefits. You spend more time at work than any other single pastime, even your family!
I’ve been that employee. Unhappy, uncertain about my future, knowing that I should move on, but uncertain or unwilling to make a change. That is, until I wised up. I reached a point where I wanted to love my work, to look forward to getting up and going to work every day. I’ve become accustomed to taking risks that I believed would bring me to a happier worklife, which in no small way, greatly enhanced my personal life. Here’s how:
That’s right. Like everything in life, settling is not the answer. You DESERVE to be happy at work, to be in a place where you thrive and are appreciated. Settling is undervaluing yourself. As Sheryl Sandberg says “Knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better”. Take stock of your value, know your worth, understand your passion and GO FOR IT!
STOP BEING WHO YOU THINK OTHERS THINK YOU SHOULD BE
Another quote that I love comes from Brené Brown, “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are”. Too many of us follow a path that our parents encouraged, or were taught to be loyal, to stick with it. Well, that just doesn’t hold true anymore. Your only obligation in life is to be true to yourself. You are a unique being. Nobody else has the unique combination of skills, traits and knowledge that you have. Follow YOUR heart, not anybody else’s.
DON’T BE AFRAID
I remember feeling stuck in a job that I knew wasn’t a good fit for me. The longer I stayed, the less confident I felt. The less confident I felt, the more I believed nobody would want to hire me. That just led me to stay in this job, continuing to feel less and less valuable, to believe in myself less and less until the day came that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d reached a point where I either needed to leave, or I’d likely be asked to do so. The fear of being fired was stronger than my fear of failure on the job. I learned a valuable lesson here. Yes, it was painful, but I realized that pursuing the wrong job, or the wrong career, will only take me to a place where I not only won’t be happy, but I won’t be successful. Leaving that job, moving to another that was more suited for me was one of the best moves of my career.
YES, IT WILL TAKE TIME AND EFFORT
I won’t mince words here. I hate this excuse! Yes, it will take time before and after work, and probably on weekends. Yes, you’ll need to find ways to ‘sneak’ out of the office for clandestine interviews. But let’s face it, if you just stay where you are, you’re not going to end up where you want to be. And these days, jobs don’t come and jump in your lap. An average job application takes 2 hours per job. I used to get up an hour early every day to spend an hour on my job search. And it was worth it! I ended up with an extraordinary job that I loved!
I WON’T BE ABLE TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY
Another excuse I have trouble accepting. Honestly? You’d rather live day in and day out in a miserable job, unhappy, drained, and frustrated than find a job that may pay a little less, but make you happy? I’ve lived this one too. I took a $15k drop in salary once. Sure, I had to tighten my purse strings and cut back some on my expenses. But you know what? I was HAPPY! And beyond that, because it was a better working environment, I learned and grew. I was given opportunities to take classes and go to conferences. All things my previous ‘well paying’ employer would not allow. Stop looking a just the salary. And really? Do you NEED the fancy car, the huge wardrobe, all those dinners out? Being happy is so much more valuable. And maybe, just maybe, you're wrong and there ARE jobs out there that will pay the same or more. Most people these days find the fastest way to improve their salary is to get a new job.
I’m sure you’ve heard a dozen more reasons people stay in bad jobs. What’s your least favorite?
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Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.