3 Essential Questions to Answer Before Accepting That Job Offer
My friend was happy and nervous when she told me she was moving on to another job: Excited by the idea of a new opportunity, but nervous about acclimating herself to a new environment. She hadn’t really been looking when they contacted her, but the offer came at the right time. Frustrated with her current position, she was mentally ready to leave. But would this career move be a step in the right direction?
It’s a dilemma anyone can face, even those who have been actively searching. Any number of reasons can motivate someone to consider a new job, but there are still a lot of unknowns that make a move a bit of a gamble. To help even the odds, ask yourself three crucial questions to determine how well a new job might be a royal flush – or a royal pain.
Will this expand your expertise?
The idea of starting fresh may be exciting, but it also means starting from square one. Only you can determine if the gains of a new environment outweigh the losses of having to build your credibility with a new boss and team. This is especially crucial if you’re making a lateral move with similar pay and responsibilities.
This question means taking a hard look at your reasons for leaving where you are, and examining whether or not you’ve exhausted the internal opportunities. Have you talked with management or HR about your career path? Have you asked for projects that will challenge you and move you toward your goals? If you’ve been stagnating, waiting for your boss to push you forward, you’re missing one critical piece of the advancement puzzle when already established in a position: your own initiative.
Will this benefit or block your lifestyle?
Don’t see your current position going anywhere? Now it’s time to explore the other factors – there’s more to a satisfying work experience than the duties you perform. Of course, a new position that gives you more pay and/or a better title has benefits, but also requires a certain level of commitment that may mean more hours at work. Entering into management? Remember you’ll be accountable and responsible beyond your own performance and will have to answer for your team as well.
How about the commute? Will you be relocating? If so, what about the cost of living versus your salary? Are there travel requirements you’re not used to? Finally, are the new employer’s expectations in line with your lifestyle? Another friend recently related her boss’s inflexibility for family needs, despite what she’d heard from the company during the interview process.
Will this make sense in the long-term?
Where you spend 40-plus hours a week will always shape your life and goals. Taking on a new job should be a stepping stone to move you further along your career path, not just an escape route from whatever issues you may currently face. A new position should offer the chance to work on projects, connect with people, and get the influence you need to achieve your dream job down the road. Pay careful attention to the nuances in your potential responsibilities – will they funnel you closer to your goals or divert your energy toward mostly irrelevant channels?
Take a long look at your potential new employer. Determine whether they have a track record of providing the opportunities and culture that retain and promote talent like yours, or if you’d be better off holding out for a different job elsewhere, or even negotiating with your current employer.
If your honest answers to these three questions makes you realize that your desire to move on is due to restlessness, proceed with caution – you don’t want to start a job-hopping habit that depends on externals to keep you engaged. Whatever position you hold, the key to your career satisfaction belongs to you.