Yes, yes, you read that correctly. In this post, I’m going to show you how to turn down a job offer that you actually kinda like. (But first, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!)
Sound counterintuitive? “But I want to be employed YESTERDAY, JILL!”, you may be screaming at me through your computer screen or phone. I know- TOTALLY get that, but stay with me here.
A client who took my 30-Day Swift Kick in the Pants Career Change Challenge earlier this year inspired this post. She just told me she got a job offer and turned it down. It looked good on paper and ticked some of the typical boxes- decent pay, an opportunity to manage a team and the ability to do so at a growing company. But ultimately she couldn’t quite say ‘yes’ to it. I sat down with her over frozen yogurt earlier this week and got some insight into her process, part of which I’m sharing here. Make sure you download the worksheet that accompanies these steps so you can come to the best conclusion for yourself like she did.
So, how do you determine that a job offer like that –attractive in many ways—is ultimately something you should turn down?
If you want the worksheet that accompanies this post, click here or the giant image.
- Check in with the gut. Sometimes there’s something non-verbal or intangible preventing you from being all BEES KNEES about the position. When you get the offer, make sure you thank them and of course, never accept it on the spot. Make sure you ask for a timeframe to respond (2-3 days is reasonable.) Once that’s all over with, think back to the moment they called with the offer. What was literally going on in your gut? Did you experience a tightening? Butterflies? A pit forming? This is what we’re talking about when we talk about the gut reaction – how it FELT. It might have been a fleeting feeling that your conscious mind immediately tried to suppress so it’s important to dig deep here as this is part of the key to figuring this ish out. Basically- and I’m no Brain-Sciency Lady (that’s an official term) so this is not backed by scientific experiments at WeWork or anything- our conscious mind can sometimes swoop in to rationalize the whole shebang and make it into something it’s not. For example, if you’ve been out of work for a couple of months, your thoughts swoop in to suppress your gut reaction and make you think this is JUST THE THING for you, when it might not be.
- Document your initial thought. NOW it’s time to bring in thought. This is slightly different than gut reaction- again, what was your initial thought? Was it “Oh shit, now I actually have to do that job?” Was it, “YAAAAAASSSSS! Can’t WAIT!” Was it somewhere in between?
- Check in with your long-term career goals. What are they? How does the position support those goals SPECIFICALLY? This is info you should have from the job interview process, and if you don’t have it, do not just say, “Oh well” and accept it! You can go back to the hiring manager before you said you’d get back to them with a final answer and ask some questions to help better illuminate this for you. It’s vitally important!
- Pay attention to other nuances. If it doesn’t tick the box in fitting your ULTIMATE career goals, does one aspect of the job offer set you up for a bigger move in 2-3 years? Does the increase in pay help you set aside capital to launch your business idea someday? There’s nothing wrong with leveraging a job opportunity with long term career progression- do not forget that! One of my clients who ultimately wants to go into urban design ultimately decided to take a job at a design firm doing photo editing work she’d done for a magazine. The people and network at the new firm is MUCH more in line with urban design and the photo work is much closer also. Lastly, the company is very much about the development of their employees, so when she expresses interest in learning another aspect of design to get closer to urban design, they’ll be open to it.
So, if you want to the worksheet to help you come to the right decision on your job offer for your career and your life, click here! And send me a little note when you’re done to let me know what you decided!