Should I Accept This Job Offer?

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I recently met with two clients on the same day, both of whom were on the cusp of receiving job offers. The first was excitedly thinking through his first six to twelve months in the new position, how thrilled he was to be joining a young, growing company, and what he could do to quickly make his mark. He told me in great detail about the interviews, and what struck him repeatedly was how smart and passionate everyone was. The second client presented her situation to me in quite different terms. The interviews had gone well, she assured me. She could think of many pros to the offer she was about to receive, but some cons too, and she spoke disparagingly about the vice president she’d met. After I listened to her list both pros and cons, I asked her, “will you be happier on Monday morning if you’ve accepted the job or if you’ve turned it down?” She was unable to answer. That, in and of itself, spoke volumes.

If you’ve gotten a job offer and you’re like the second client in this example–just unsure of whether to accept the position–here are three guidelines that might help you to decide if accepting the position is the correct decision:

• Determine your risk tolerance. On a percentage basis, in order to feel confident accepting any job offer, how sure do you need to be the job will be a good one for you? My second client said, “85%.” Then, ask yourself how sure you are that the actual job you are about to be offered will be a good one for you. My client said, “60%.” That delta seems awfully large to me–in the wrong direction! If the difference between your percentages is dramatic, it’s quite possible that the position is not the right fit.

• Listen to the way you are talking about the potential new job, as opposed to what you are saying about it. In other words, just because you’re saying you are excited by the prospect doesn’t mean you actually are. Listen to your tone of voice and your verbal affect. Are you speaking excitedly? Is it real or manufactured? How’s your facial expression?

• Ask yourself if you are running away from your current job or running toward the new one. Here, you actually do need to listen to what you are saying. Are you constantly mentioning how miserable you are in your current job, and how you can’t wait to leave, or are you talking excitedly about the new position? Are you consistently saying how you can’t wait to tell your annoying boss that you’re leaving, so you can see the look on his face, or are you talking about how great it will be to work with your potential new boss, because you feel like you can learn a ton from her?

In summary, these three points ask you to be brutally honest with yourself. The best time for this self-analysis is before you accept the job, not after. If, after going through the above checklist, you still aren’t certain whether you should accept the offer, remember this: There are lots of other jobs out there that you don’t even know about. So, if you aren’t really excited by the job offer, don’t jump at it. Instead, ask yourself why you are considering accepting the job. If your answer is that you are afraid another offer won’t come along and you’ll be stuck in your current job “forever,” think about how much longer you will be stuck in a job you don’t like if you take the new position and immediately dislike it.

Are you still having trouble deciding about a potential job offer? We can help you to better understand the factors and how to weigh them. Give us a call at 301-520-9511 or email us at bob@epi.coach.

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