Most of us are familiar with the stress-inducing, nerve-racking, and self-doubting process of job-hunting. So much so that we can forget the fact that it's a process. After polishing up our resumes, pouring our hearts and souls into those cover letters, selling ourselves with all of the integrity we can muster at those interviews, and anxiously waiting out those periods of silence — when that job offer finally comes — it might as well be the glorious golden welcome letter to Hogwarts.
Especially if it's your first job offer or you're desperately trying to leave your current job, you may be tempted to take hold of this opportunity before it's gone. But with these things, it's important to feel it all out and really think things through before accepting that offer. Hopefully you applied for this job because you've taken the time to understand what it entails and you genuinely want it. But with that, make sure to conduct a final check in, especially with any new things you may have gleaned from that interview or after some time has passed since applying. You'll be helping yourself out later if you make sure you're not taking the job for the following eight reasons.
1. You Don't Think You'll Get Another Offer
Just because you got the offer doesn't mean it's the only one you'll ever get. And that's the first thing you should have ingrained in that smart, confident head before setting forth and agreeing to something you probably shouldn't. Because you have so much to offer, and you shouldn't only be saying yes if you're justifying it by settling and thinking this is as good as it's going to get. By saying no to that wrong thing, you're going to allow the right opportunity to come along later.
After graduating college, when the celebrations and congratulations quieted down, the panic of scrambling to secure a job quickly kicked in. After the rounds of interviews and phone calls and endless waiting, when I got my first offer, I had to stop myself from saying yes on the spot. But when I really gave it more thought, I didn't see myself working there at all. Though it was difficult and in that moment I felt like maybe I was jeopardizing my chance of ever having a job, my patience saw me through. About two weeks later, I got a better offer that finally felt right.
2. You Don't Feel Like Looking For Other Jobs
Looking for a job is hard work. Looking for the right job is even more difficult. Much of the same applies here like the previous point of feeling that you won't get another offer. After putting all that effort into applying and then finally succeeding, of course the last thing you may want to do is walk away and start all over again. But if you can walk away — that is to say, if you can afford to do so at the moment and you're not in a super tight bind — then by all means, walk away if it doesn't feel like the right fit. Because trust me, you'll just be creating more work for yourself down the road if the only reason you took this job is because you didn't feel like looking anymore.
3. It Pays Better Than Any Job You've Ever Had
As Peter Vogt pointed out for Monster.com, what seems like a high-paying career path now may not turn out that way. He explained that selecting a career based solely on the promise of big money can lead to a lengthy and costly career change later.
If this job is going to be a total soul-sucking vacuum of misery that makes you die a little bit inside each day, that's never worth a dime of your time. Never forget that your health and happiness are more valuable than any paycheck, however high it may be. Time is precious, and you should be spending it doing something you actually enjoy. Even if you may be paid less, every second of your time will at least feel richer. And that's the kind of money that counts in life.
4. Your Friend/Love Interest/S.O. Works There
First off, mixing the personal with the professional can create a whole bucket of issues you may not have initially thought through. That's not to say that it can't or shouldn't be done, but it's important to understand the boundaries you have to set with these two different worlds. And that you're OK with those boundaries. Having said that, this personal connection should not be the sole reason you're taking this job.
A friend of mine recently took a job at a media agency that really didn't seem like her cup of tea, but I didn't question it at first. I soon realized a guy she was seeing happened to work there, and things started making a little more sense. Well, she absolutely hated it. She didn't dig the work she did, the long hours drained her, and she lost sight of her values. The only thing keeping her there at that point was this dude. So when things didn't work out between them, she found herself stuck in a career she had no place being in. (She quit and she's doing awesome things now, by the way, but that was a lesson learned for sure.)
5. Your Friends And Family Are Pressuring You
So your friends and family may think this is a great opportunity. Great pay! Sick benefits! Cool company culture! You'd be crazy to pass this up, they say. But don't do it just because they're telling you to. In pretty much all matters of life that require important personal decisions — love, health, education, career, etc. — it can be difficult to make that choice on our own and so of course we'll want to seek out some sort of advice or approval from those whose opinions we trust. An outside perspective is always nice and helpful, but at the end of the day, it really is your choice. If it doesn't feel right for you, don't take it, because you're the one who's going to be doing that work, not them.
6. It Looks Like A Cool Place To Work
They have themed days every day of the week. The office aesthetic is to die for. And everyone is just so damn hip and attractive. But as a career, does it actually make sense for you?
As Ann Friedman pointed out for Fortune, a creative startup with only five employees or a scrappy nonprofit looks cool from the outside, but its loose structure may create some hierarchical frustrations or even confusion with professional responsibilities, for example.
Because while it may be a good time, if you don't actually like the work you're doing, you feel you aren't being challenged enough, or this just isn't the right step for your career, that will surely create some problems in the long run.
7. You Feel Obligated
One of the worst things you can do for yourself is base your decision on thinking that it's because you should. For whatever reason — whether it's peer pressure, it just makes sense for your career path considering all the steps you've taken so far, or maybe a friend helped you land that interview and you'd feel rude for turning down the offer. That's no reason to take a job, ever.
I once accepted an internship offer just because a friend of mine, who was leaving and looking to find someone to replace her, reached out to see if I'd be interested. She went on and on about how great of an opportunity it was, that it was paid, and she thought I'd do a great job. In all honesty it didn't sound like anything I was interested in but I felt guilty passing it up. It wasn't awful, but for most of my time there I definitely wasn't happy and felt that my time would be better spent elsewhere, as my gut feeling had indicated.
8. It's Convenient
Maybe it's a geographical gem and the commute is awesome. Or hell, there's no commute at all! Maybe you can practically do the work in your sleep or you were pretty much handed the job with no hurdles or challenges to overcome. Great timing and minimal effort, so you're thinking you might as well take it, right? Think again. While it's nice to easily slip into something that's super convenient, it's not nearly as rewarding if it doesn't challenge you in some way. That same internship I mentioned earlier had just this situation going on. I found myself slowly slipping into autopilot mode as I clocked into that nine-to-five corporate grind. My creativity levels dropped drastically and my desire to just go out and seize the day started to fade because I was bored and tired.
Or OK, it may be challenging you, but if you only took the job out of its convenience and you actually hate what you do, what's the sense in that? Sounds like it's turned into a major inconvenience that'll have you start looking for a new job pretty soon.
Saying "no" to a job offer, especially if it's your first, is a lot harder than people let on. They've chosen you and you may be feeling pretty damn awesome and grateful for that. But do yourself a favor and make sure that job is right and you're taking it for the right reasons — that'll be one of your best accomplishments for which you should reward yourself.
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