Written by Brenda Cunningham
Professionally edited by Kitty Carlisle
Of all the things on your mind as job seekers, turning down a job offer is rarely one of them. However, with 70% of our waking lives being spent at work, isn’t it crucial that we accept the right opportunities?
I often speak of avoiding desperation and being unwilling to do just anything. Your career is important and it will be tested. You will be given opportunities to do all sorts of things; some will align with your career plan and some will not. Your job is know what you want out of your career and to only accept those things that are right for you! Here are a few things to consider when assessing the worthiness of a job offer:
- Are you accepting this job out of desperation? Or is it a genuinely good fit? (Note: sometime we have to do what we have to do, and if you’re one week away from homelessness, take the job regardless of fit).
- Do I see myself fitting into the culture of this place? Is the commute something I can tolerate long term? Is the salary at a respectable level, in line with the marketplace, such that I won’t grow to resent my job?
- Will I be expected to work 60+ hours each week? Is this ok with my family obligations?
- If I take this job, out of necessity, will there be time for me to continue my search and schedule interviews during normal business hours?
Saying no, can be scary, but sometimes it’s absolutely essential for your sanity and the future of your career. Taking a job just to have one can ultimately work against you when you’re interviewing for your next, career-related position. Questions like, “What have you been doing for the past year,” can haunt you if the answer does not help you position yourself as an expert in your actual career field. As frightening as it is to be out of work, it is far scarier in the long run to just take a job that’s completely unrelated to your profession. So please be strong and courageous, and exercise your right to tactfully decline offers—and better yet, stop applying to positions—that are not right for you. You will get back to work, just don’t stop looking in the right places.