You think you’ve gotten through the toughest parts of the process. You’ve written your cover letter, tailored your resume, passed through the phone interview and the in-person interview with flying colors. The offer comes, and you’re frozen. How do you know if this is the right move for you? Should you take the job? Or leave it?
You can make the decision to leave with the critical questions in “Knowing When It’s Time to Quit”, but how do you decide if the job offered is the right job for you? Ask these critical questions before you decide:
- Think Long Term – When you’re making a decision about a job, it’s easy to think about today and tomorrow. But you should really be thinking long term when you’re considering a job change. Truly successful people play the long game, not the short. Think about where you want to be not today or tomorrow or even a year from now. Think about five years, ten years, even twenty years if you’re young. Then, plug this job into that timeline. Does it make sense? You don’t have to have a path set in stone, but you should know at least vaguely what you need to do to get there.
- Avoid Brainwashing – In any industry, there are terms that get washed into your brain. Coming from the nonprofit sector myself, there is a notion that anyone who wants to be successful should want to eventually become an Executive Director of a nonprofit organization. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let someone in that sector convince me to apply for or consider an E.D. job, knowing deep down in myself that wasn’t the right path for me. But it’s easy to get brainwashed by the sector’s “shoulds” and not your own. When you’re thinking about a job, think from your head and your heart and do your best to avoid industry pressures.
- Talk to Someone With No Skin in the Game – Whether they admit it or not, your closest friends and family have skin in the game. Perhaps they’ve heard you lament about your current job, or they wish you would go a different direction in your career. All of the people close to us have opinions based on past experiences with you and your career. It’s impossible to gain an unbiased opinion. If you can, find someone to reach out to who doesn’t have skin in the game. Perhaps it’s someone in a similar position to you who you went to school with but didn’t remain close with. Perhaps it’s a connection of a connection on LinkedIn who works across the country but has a similar path to your own. Reach out to them and be honest. Tell them you want an unbiased opinion of someone who has been in or might be in your shoes at some point. Explain the situation and ask them if they think this is a good move.
- Don’t Leave Before You Leave – Great advice from Sheryl Sandberg’s famed TED Talk. It’s easy to decide to leave a job by predicting something that might happen – you might have a baby, you might buy a new house, you might want to take a big vacation. And we begin to factor those things into our job search in a way that could be limiting. Last year, I interviewed for job that had a huge event falling right before my wedding and I was distraught – do I tell them? Do I not tell them? How will I work the flight situation? What about a honeymoon? I was ten steps ahead of myself, none of which remained important when I realized the job was wrong for me in the first place. But it’s easy to let your paranoia leave the station without you.
- Don’t Look Back – You have to be confident in yourself and in your skills as a decision maker. So make the decision, and don’t look back. If you decide to stay in your job, stay whole-heartedly. If you decide to leave, give the new job your all. And don’t regret or question. You are smart enough, powerful enough, and knowledgeable enough to make this decision. Go with it.
The toughest part deciding to stay or go – and whatever you decide, it will be the right decision. Because it’s your decision, no one else.