Dilemma spotlight: to say yah or nah to a job offer

Posted by | July 1, 2015 | Looking for work, Salary negotitation

to say yah or nah to a job offer blog header

You’ve got a job offer. Hurray! Happy? Not sure?

It’s staring at you on the table. It’s burning a hole in your conscience. You have to make a decision on whether to take it or not. Suddenly the clock is ticking louder than ever.

This may just be the biggest dilemma you’ve had since Nelly and Kelly’s back in 2002. It’s easy to sit and stew in your own juices of indecision. But here are a few questions to help you think through whether it is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

Question #1: Can I afford not to?
Money-wise, that is. It’s sad but sometimes true. Are you in such a position that you need to take on this role to pay rent and eat more than two minute noodles? If that is the case, and you are not too excited by the job, try to think about the parts of it you may enjoy or learn from, while you bring in the moolah and keep up your job hunt for something more appealing.

Question #2:  Is the price right?
Is the money offer on the table consistent with your salary expectations? Think about whether you’d like to negotiate or whether the do-gooder opportunities provided by taking on this role may make a drop in salary worth it. Remember that you are in strong position to negotiate at this stage too – some options might include a 4-day work week (or even a 9 day fortnight), or the flexibility to work from home and save commuting time. These benefits might help if the salary is below your expectations.

Question #3: What did I feel like as I left the interview?
Did you walk down the street after the interview feeling like ‘this would be a good place to work’, or ‘I really have some reservations about this job’? Despite what might look great on paper, your gut may be telling you it was not the right fit for you. If you came away feeling neutral, or like you couldn’t really tell if you would like to work for the relevant company, it could be worth asking some follow up questions to help inform your decision.

Question #4: Where to from here?
If you have a longer term view of your career path it may be worth thinking about how this job could lead you there. If this is the case, you may think of it as a short-term stepping stone kind of role. During the interview you can also ask what kind of career paths and skill sets are developed by people working for the company if this is an important factor for you.

Question #5: What would a day in the life be like?
Imagine you’re getting out of bed at 7am on a Monday morning and heading to work. What would you be doing? What level of motivation would you have? Look at the job offer and think about whether you think the role will motivate you on a day-to-day level. You may be receiving a lot of advice from others about what you should do with your dilemma. One of the best things my mum once said to me when I was making a big life decision was ‘You can receive all the advice in the world, but at the end of the day you are the one living your life’ (thanks Mum!). In other words, you have to make the right decision for you and the life you will lead 5 days a week.

Question #6: Should I hold out for the perfect dream job?
This is a tricky one. In an ideal world we would all do what we love, get paid for it and experience high levels of job satisfaction. But from another point of view is there such thing as the perfect role? To make matters more difficult, you’ll never know exactly what your job is like until you actually try it out (despite your best efforts to analyse the idea of it to death in your mind). Deciding whether to hold out will be mean weighing up factors such as how long you have been job hunting, whether you can afford to hold out, what the job market is like in your field and in your location, and how much emphasis you place on your career among your overall competing life priorities.

Still can’t decide?
You may wish to resort to the flip-a-coin-and-it-will-tell-you-what-you-really-want method, or ask an ‘80s decision making eight ball. Or, you could just make like Nelly and Kelly and dance around rapping about your dilemma and try to land a new career offer in hiphop!…


By Anita Perkins

Like this post? You might also like Throwing in the Towel: The trials and tribulations of job hunting land  and Learning from Rejection: finding out why you didn’t get the job

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